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Shiba Inu & Japanese Chin


As a breed, Shibas can be described as sturdy, healthy little dogs, able to withstand the rigors of outdoor life as well as enjoying the comfort of indoor dwelling. They are easy keepers, and can run for miles with an athletic companion or take their exercise chasing a tennis ball around the backyard. Their catlike agility and resilience provide good resistance to injury, and the "natural" size and symmetrical proportions lessen susceptibility to conditions caused by structural imbalance.

Shibas do have some defects which all breeders should screen for, and affected animals not used in their breeding program.

  • Hip dysplasia occasionally occurs - mild dysplasia will not show any adverse clinical effects and the dog will lead a normal life; but again, should not be part of any breeding program. Xrays are needed to detect this condition.
  • Patellar luxation is not uncommon - it causes loose kneecaps and is usually not severe enough to be detrimental to a Shiba's life, but should not be bred. An experienced veterinarian can detect this condition by palpation.
  • Eye diseases include PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) and Glaucoma, both of which are extremely serious. Both progress to blindness and are extremely painful. Early detection is important, but removal of eyeball may be required to lessen pain.
  • Skin issues are an increasing problem in all dogs, caused by suppressed immune responses. Causes have not yet been identified, but vaccines, chemicals, allergens, parasites and other environmental factors may be involved.

A smattering of other issues have been reported, but none in numbers to indicate a problem in the breed.