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Shiba Inu & Japanese Chin

A Brief History of the Shiba Inu

Around 7000 BC the ancestors of today's Japanese breeds accompanied the earliest immigrants to Japan. Archaeological excavations of the shell-mounds left by the Jomonjin show that they had small dogs in the 14.5 to 19.5 inch range.

In the third century BC, a new group of immigrants brought their dogs to Japan. These dogs bred with the descendants of the Jomonjin dogs, and produced canines known to have pointed, erect ears and curly/sickle tails. In 7 AD, the Yamato Court established a dogkeeper's office which helped maintain the Japanese native breeds as an integral part of Japanese culture. Although the country was closed to foreigners from the 17th through 18th centuries, some European and Chinese dogs were imported and crossed with native dogs living in the more populated areas. Dogs in the countryside remained relatively pure.

From the original Japanese native dogs, six distinct breeds in three different sizes developed. They are the Akita (large size); Kishu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kai (all four medium size); and the Shiba (small size).

World War II nearly spelled disaster for the Shiba and the other breeds, and many of the dogs that did not perish in bombing raids succumbed to distemper during the post-war years. After the war, Shibas were brought from the remote countryside and breeding programs were re-established. The remnants of the various bloodlines were combined to produce the breed as it is known today.

The Shiba Inu was recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1994, and by the American Kennel Club the following year.