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Eight Surprising Facts about the Shiba Inu

Although Shiba Inus have only recently gained widespread popularity in the United States, the Shiba Inu is one of the oldest domesticated dog breeds in the world. First bred for hunting purposes by Japanese mountain-dwellers, the Shiba Inu is one of six original Spitz breeds, characterized by a long, thick coat, pointed ears, and a long tail which curls over the dog’s back. The Shiba Inu is unique among Japanese dog breeds, with a smaller size and distinct personality. Here are some facts you may not know about the Shiba Inu:

1. Although considered an ancient breed (predating modern breeds of the 1800’s), the first known litter of Shiba Inus wasn’t born in the United States until 1974. Today, Shiba Inus are gaining popularity, and the American Kennel Club rates them as the 46th most popular dog breed in the US.

2. The oldest known Shiba Inu lived to the age of 26! Pusuke was born April 1, 1985 and passed away December 5, 2011. At the time, he was the 10th oldest dog to ever live.

3. Shiba Inus will potty train themselves. Known for their extreme cleanliness, Shiba Inus have an intense dislike for soiling themselves or their surroundings, even as puppies. Many owners report their Shibas have never experienced accidents inside the house, and some will refuse to even relieve themselves in their own yards.

4. Shiba Inus were named one of the top 10 healthiest dog breeds by All-State Insurance. With a lifespan of 12 – 14 years and a small list of known health problems (such as certain eye diseases and bone and joint disorders), Shiba Inus have relatively few health complaints in comparison to other purebreds.

5. The modern Shiba Inu is descended from one of three bloodlines. During World War II when Japan was less focused on dog breeding, experiencing a food shortage, and were in the midst of a distemper epidemic, the Shiba Inu breed almost went extinct. Only three bloodlines remained: the Shinshu Shiba, the Mino Shiba, and the San’in Shiba. These dogs are solely responsible for the breed we know today.

6. A Shiba Inu is behind Japan’s second most popular Instragram account. Maru, the Shiba Inu, has 1.8 million followers, and is only second to movie star Kiko Mizuhara. Maru, 9, often posts photos of his adorable and silly antics, such as trying to drive a car and posing with Japanese models. He even makes media appearances!

7. Shiba Inu means “brushwood dog” in Japanese. The origin of this name is unknown, but may either refer to the fact that Shiba Inus were bred to hunt in brushwood bushes, or that their red coat is similar to the color of the brushwood bush during the fall season.

8. The Japanese breed standard requires Shiba Inus to have a spirited boldness, good nature, and natural beauty. Per the breed standard, they are also permitted to be aggressive towards other dogs. Ever wonder why your Shiba is a bold, independent, brat? The answer is that this is an inherent trait!

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