The Shiba Inu, also known as the Shiba Ken, the Little Brushwood Dog, the Japanese Turf Dog, the Little Turf Dog, the Japanese Small-Size Dog or simply the Shiba, is the oldest, smallest and most popular of all Japanese breeds. Its name translates from Japanese as “small dog.” It strongly resembles a smaller Akita but is solid in coat color. Today, the Shiba Inu is the most abundant companion dog in Japan, and it also makes a wonderful watchdog. The Shiba is independent, disinterested in strangers and retains its strong prey drive. It rarely barks, and when it does vocalize it tends to emit a strange howl called the “Shiba Scream.” It is cat-like in its cleanliness and can be headstrong. The Shiba Inu was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1992, into its Stud Book and as a member of the Miscellaneous Class. It became eligible for full registration as a member of the Non-Sporting Group in 1993.
Mature male Shibas should stand 14½ to 16½ inches at the withers; females should stand 13½ to 15½ inches in height. The preferred weight for males is 23 pounds, and for females 17 pounds. This is a double-coated breed, with thick but short hair that does not require excessive attention. It has alert pricked ears and a tightly curled tail, and always looks alert and ready for adventure.