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SunoJo

Shiba Inu & Japanese Chin

Temperament

The Japanese have three words to describe the Shiba temperament. The first word is "kan-i" which is bravery and boldness combined with composure and mental strength. The opposite of "kan-i" is "ryosei" which means good nature with a gentle disposition. One cannot exist without the other. The charming side of the Shiba is "soboku" which is artlessness with a refined and open spirit.

Shiba puppies are exemplary examples of canine cuteness, but are also fiery little fuzzballs-from-hell. They strut, posture, hunt their siblings, pounce without mercy, and the next minute are snuggling under your chin. These are "real" dogs - not wind up toys. Shibas require firm-but-fair discipline, consistency, and lots of human interaction. Early socialization is mandatory for the young puppy - they have to learn to trust and enjoy humans, which includes car rides, vaccuums, meeting strangers, and a host of other circumstances.

Generally, a Shiba puppy will integrate well into a household with pets already in residence. Please remember this breed was developed to hunt, so that pets like rabbits, hamsters, birds, etc are at high risk. Cats, on the other hand, are often preferred companions over other dogs. Intact (unaltered) males and females may find it difficult to co-exist with other intact animals as they mature and hormones start to kick in. Shibas have a strong sense of ownership - in other words, they don't share.

Shibas have been described as stubborn, which is merely a reflection of their intelligence. They learn quickly, and also bore quickly. This is why obedience classes can be so challenging - a Shiba sees little reason in walking around and around in circles. Short, intense, and rewarding training sessions are the best way to educate a Shiba.

This breed has a very definite "personal space", and the owner must be aware of that. Shibas do NOT like strange dogs intruding into that space, and will snarl or snap to protect themselves. They are not like Golden Retrievers that love everybody, it may take a Shiba several meetings before he decides that the new dog next door is OK. Do not get a Shiba if you are looking for a dog to run loose at a dog park and have lots of doggy friends.