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7 Facts About Shiba Inus You Probably Didn’t Know

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on May 18, 2023

Shiba Inus, with their bright, alert eyes and fox-like features, has captured the hearts of many dog enthusiasts around the world. While you might be familiar with their iconic, curled tail or their doge meme fame, there are many intriguing aspects of the Shiba Inu that remain less known. Let’s delve into seven surprising facts about this ancient and captivating breed.

  1. One of the Oldest Breeds

Shiba Inus are considered among the oldest and smallest native breeds in Japan, with their history tracing back to 300 B.C. Originally, they were bred for hunting small game in the mountainous regions of the country. Their ancient lineage adds an extra layer of allure to this already fascinating breed.

  1. The Meaning of “Shiba Inu”

The name “Shiba Inu” is Japanese, but the exact meaning is somewhat ambiguous. “Inu” means “dog,” but “Shiba” can mean either “small” or “brushwood” (a type of shrub). Some believe the name is a reference to the dog’s size, while others think it describes the breed’s red coat, which is similar to the color of brushwood leaves in the fall.

  1. Survival Against All Odds

Shiba Inus have come dangerously close to extinction several times. During World War II, the breed suffered as many dogs starved or were culled due to a rabies outbreak. Afterward, only three bloodlines survived, which are responsible for the Shiba Inus we know today.

  1. Shiba Scream

A less-known but certainly unique characteristic of Shiba Inus is their so-called “Shiba Scream.” This breed is known to produce a high-pitched scream when they are extremely happy or stressed. This behavior is not common among other breeds and can be quite surprising to those unfamiliar with it.

  1. They’re notoriously Clean

Shiba Inus exhibit cat-like behavior when it comes to cleanliness. They often groom themselves and even avoid stepping in puddles. This trait can make housetraining easier than with other breeds, but their independence may pose challenges in other aspects of training.

  1. Shiba Inus and the Internet

The Shiba Inu breed experienced a significant surge in popularity due to the viral ‘Doge’ meme, which features a Shiba Inu coupled with multicolored Comic Sans text representing internal monologue. The term “Doge” itself originates from an episode of a web series called “Homestar Runner.”

  1. National Treasure of Japan

In 1936, the Shiba Inu was declared a natural monument of Japan. The Japanese government took steps to protect the breed, recognizing its significance in Japanese culture and history. This declaration came after a renewed appreciation for native Japanese dog breeds developed in the country.

To sum up, the Shiba Inu, beloved for its spirited character and attractive features, holds a number of fascinating traits that go beyond its well-known aspects. From their status as one of the oldest breeds, the ambiguity of their name, their survival against the odds, their unique Shiba Scream, their cat-like cleanliness, their internet fame, and their standing as a national treasure of Japan, these lesser-known facts offer a deeper appreciation of this beloved breed. Whether you’re a Shiba Inu owner or an admirer, these intriguing facts uncover a new dimension to the multifaceted nature of this popular breed.

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