Shiba Inu

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The Shiba Inu (柴犬?) is the smallest of the six original and distinct breeds of dog from Japan.[1]

A small, agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu was originally bred for hunting.[1][2] It is similar in appearance to the Akita, though much smaller in stature. It is one of the few ancient dog breeds still in existence in the world today.[3]

Contents

Origin of the name

Inu is the Japanese word for dog, but the origin of the prefix "Shiba" is less clear. The word shiba means "brushwood" in Japanese, and refers to a type of tree or shrub whose leaves turn red in the fall.[4] This leads some to believe that the Shiba was named with this in mind, either because the dogs were used to hunt in wild shrubs, or because the most common color of the Shiba Inu is a red color similar to that of the shrubs. However, in an old Nagano dialect, the word shiba also had the meaning of "small", thus this might be a reference to the dog's small size.[4] Therefore, the Shiba Inu is sometimes translated as "Little Brushwood Dog".[1]

Description

Appearance

The Shiba's frame is compact with well-developed muscles. Males and females are distinctly different in appearance: males are masculine without coarseness, females are feminine without weakness of structure.[2] Males 14 1/2 inches to 16 1/2 inches (35–43 cm) at withers. Females 13 1/2 inches to 15 1/2 inches (33–41 cm). The preferred size is the middle of the range for each sex. Average weight at preferred size is approximately 23 pounds (10 kg) for males, 17 pounds (8 kg) for females. Bone is moderate.

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