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Shiba Inu

About Us

A long time ago, in 1974, we welcomed a little black bear of an Akita puppy into our lives. "Tamyu" introduced us to the world of purebred dogs and we participated in both obedience and conformation. She was bred once, and produced our beloved Can. Ch. Dogstar's Akuma-Za CD, one of the first Akitas in Canada to earn both an obedience and championship title. We came up with a more unique kennel name (SunoJo), added more Akitas,  and our dogs went on to become Specialty winning champions in both Canada and the US. More important, their health, soundness, and temperament were second to none. SunoJo Akitas can be found in the backgrounds of many successful kennels around the world today. We lost our last Akita "Karet" several years ago, but we still miss her immensely.

In 1985, a little red whirlwind joined our family. SunoJo's Ginger Tornado became our son's best friend and taught us what being Shiba was all about. We loved her dearly, but she wasn't going to set the show ring on fire. It wasn't long before 'Smidge' joined us - she was the total package of type, soundness and more than a dollop of Shibatude. She was bred to a Japanese import, produced the wonderful brother & sister team of Toshi and Mitsu, and we haven't looked back since. SunoJo Shiba Inu are well recognized for their quality, health, temperaments - all around the world. We have had Shibas in the Top 5 every year since breed recognition, specialty winners in both the US and Canada, Best in Show, Best Puppy in Show, and group placements that I have long ago lost count of.

I started the journey to become a conformation judge, and while studying various breeds, I was introduced to the Japanese Chin. Our daughter Rowan was looking for a small breed she could take with her while working as a professional handler's assistant - and that is how such a dependent, snub-nosed, unnatural, hairy little beast came into our lives. They are the exact opposite of Akitas and Shibas, truly being so very dependent on us, never running away (!!), and living only to be near those they love. We dabble in the breed - I have never considered myself to be a breeder of Chin - the few litters we did have were incredibly difficult to part with, as no one is considered 'Chin-worthy'. 

Over the years, I have instructed both obedience and conformation classes, been involved in both breed and all-breed clubs, and am now a CKC licensed judge for all breeds (Terriers on permit). We have downsized both our home and the number of dogs we keep, but if anything, my commitment to all things purebred dog has increased.


Are your dogs purebred?
YES. Our dogs are not only purebred and registered, but premium quality.

Is there an added cost for registration papers?
NO. As Canadian Kennel Club members, all puppies bred by us must be registered, and the certificate of registration provided to new owners AT NO CHARGE.

Are your Shiba Inu health tested?
YES. We have required hip and eye clearances since we started in the Shibas back in 1986. Regular veterinarians perform Hip xrays and palpate patellas (knees), while eyes are examined by an ophthalmologist.  These three tests are then certified by OFA (the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). We also have our veterinarians do heart checks for our own peace of mind.

Do you show your dogs?
Yes - and very successfully too! While some dismiss dog shows as simply beauty contests, in truth they serve as a tool to evaluate the characteristics of each breed, including not only looks, but soundness and temperament. We all think our dogs are 'the best', and the only way to prove that is to get out and compete.

So your dogs don't live like 'real' dogs?
On the contrary - the Shibas live a very 'real' life. One of the reasons we chose this breed is that they do not need coddling to keep them in show condition - in fact, the more vigourous exercise they get, the better they do in the ring. So our Shibas run through the rough terrain, dig holes, chase rabbits and squirrels, wrestle with each other, and generally have a great life. So don't feel sorry for those 'poor show dogs'!

Is there a long waiting list?
NO. We actually do not 'reserve' puppies. Submitting an Application Form is the first part of the screening process, with the next step being a visit to meet the adults and learning more about the breed and determining if it is the right breed for your lifestyle.  Once puppies are actually born, we will take deposits from screened homes, bearing in mind it is not 'first come', but rather 'best for both puppy & person'. It may take six or seven weeks before we can tell you exactly which puppy is going where, but we NEVER promise anything and then renege on it.

Can I come see your dogs?
YES. An Application Form must be completed prior to a visit. We do have to schedule around work and show committments, and that can mean visits on weekdays as well as weekends. We have had to limit visits to those genuinely interested in acquiring a dog from us, not just looking to get some puppy snuggling.

Why do you require spaying or neutering?
There are several reasons, with the most important one being to avoid unwanted litters. Secondly, altered animals make better pets, with the stress of raging hormones removed. Thirdly, we have invested considerable time, energy and finances in developing our successful breeding program, and both the genetics and our reputation will be damaged with irresponsible breeding choices.

Do you ship?
NOT pet/companion puppies. It has become extremely difficult due to security measures, airline restrictions and cost. We highly recommend finding a breeder in your local area - this avoids the cost of shipping, is less stressful for a new puppy, you can evaluate the puppy's background and upbringing, and you can build a relationship with the breeder. For show/breeding potential puppies, we can discuss shipping.

What is in the SunoJo Puppy Package?
The SunoJo Puppy Care Manual (70+ pages of Shiba specific information); Medical Folder (outlining puppy's vaccinations, wormings, weight, vet exam, etc); written contract; relevant articles on training and socialilzation; collar; blanket; toy; dry dog food for the first few days; and lifetime support.

buyer beware

There has been an unprecedented demand for puppies, and with that a rise in unscrupulous, even criminal actions. If you are looking for a Shiba Inu:

The only way to guarantee a dog is purebred is if it is REGISTERED with the Canadian Kennel Club, the  American Kennel Club, or the official kennel club of the originating country.

Genetic health: it is not possible to 100% guarantee a dog won't have some health issue, but if the parents and family have been screened and selected for sound structure and health, the odds dramatically increase. Shiba Inu breeding stock should be certified with OFA for hips, patellas and eyes.

Breed Type: the reason to buy a purebred is predictability of size, shape, and to a certain extent, temperament. Along with that is the breeder's commitment to protecting the heritage of that breed, which encompasses its historical form and function. There is a reason why any breed looks like it does, and a well bred Shiba is a total package of beauty, elegance, strength, agility, intelligence. The Breed Standard describes what the breed should be, and while you may not be wanting a show dog, you obviously want a dog that is a good example of its breed, in both looks and temperament.
Temperament: a puppy's temperament is influenced by genetics and environment. Therefore, parents should be available for you to assess. Shiba puppies not raised in-home with lots of human contact can be quite feral and more difficult to live with.
There are disreputable breeders producing poor quality puppies in terrible conditions; there are also brokers who purchase puppies in bulk, and represent themselves as the breeders. These puppies are actually born in puppy mills, domestic and foreign. There are online puppy mills, fairly easy to identify (multiple breeds, mixes, cute photo sets). There are rescues that import dogs, with compelling stories of neglect designed to generate as much income as possible (referred to as 'retail rescue'). And there are the scams where there is no puppy at all - send a deposit and never hear from them again.

It is fairly easy to check out any of the above - simply Google their names. Don't send money anywhere until you are 100% sure you are dealing with reputable people. Ask questions, ask for photos/videos of parents of puppies.

Remember, the reputable breeders will be checking you out too!