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  #1  
Old 03-25-2007, 10:34 PM
AnimalLoverCatRescuer AnimalLoverCatRescuer is offline
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Default Shiba Inu and Akita

They are both from Japan right? but are they conisdered to be related? I always thought yes partly because they are so similar looking, but my teacher insists they are not. But she also said the Shiba is not from Japan...

So tell me, where do they originate and are they related at all?
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Old 03-25-2007, 11:30 PM
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They are both native Japanese breeds, but not related in any respect. The only similarities lie in the fact that the country of origin has a particular aesthetic that many of the dogs lean towards. If you look at other native Japanese breeds like Kishu, Kai Ken, Shikoku, and Hokkaido, you'll see that they all have some vague similarities- but at heart are VERY different breeds. At any rate, the American Akita most people are used to is an even further cry from the Shiba than the Japanese Akita Inu.

As for your teacher being positive that Shibas are not from Japan- she's 100***37; and undeniably wrong. The very words "Shiba Inu" mean "small dog" in Japanese. (Or by some counts, "little brushwood dog.")

There are records of early Shiba skeletons found in Japan from the Joumon period- thousands of years ago.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:56 PM
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Very interesting, TT, your posts are always a good read. I had no idea that the Shiba breed was so ancient.

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Old 03-27-2007, 06:12 PM
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Their histories are one reason that I am so in love with Asian dog breeds.
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Old 03-28-2007, 12:52 AM
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Believe me, when I found out how old the breed was, I was pretty astonished!

I was thinking about this, and I'm wondering if part of the reason that so many people believe in the misconception that Shibas and Akitas are related, is how Shibas were introduced to this country. Thinking back to some OLD early kennel advertising, I clearly remember a well-known Akita breeder advertising that in addition, they were now breeding "Shibas- the Little Akita!"

Early on, a lot of owners stuck trying to explain what exactly a Shiba Inu was to curious people, would get frustrated with the immediate jump to conclusions they would make. Apparently the name "Shiba Inu" sounded enough like "Shih Tzu," in their minds, that they would nod knowingly and say "ohhh, you mean those fluffy toy dogs!"

Obviously, Shibas are a far cry both in temperament AND conformation from Shih Tzus, and breeders wanted to make that as clear as possible- so of course, you couldn't help but slip into describing the "most similar" thing that your average Joe would be likely to recognize.

Despite my best efforts, I STILL occasionally find myself describing them as "sort of like a small, red (or black and tan) Akita," to people who have no clue what I'm talking about.
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