Where Did Shiba Inu Get Their Name?
There are many theories on how the Shiba Inu acquired its name. The first is that shiba means “small” in Japanese and the Shiba Inu is the smallest and most ancient of Japan’s dogs, being around for nearly 3,000 years. Another is that the breed was named for their unique ability to maneuver through brushwood bushes, as they are also referred to as Little Brushwood Dogs. Either way, they officially acquired their current moniker in 1920.
The ancestors of the modern day Shiba Inu were originally from Japan’s mountainous regions and had a larger boned and harsh-looking appearance. Their strong prey drive makes them magnificent hunters of small game and they are even capable of hunting larger game, including boar, deer, and bears. They are also outstanding watchdogs.
The Cultural Properties Act of 1936 gave official recognition to the Shiba Inu as a “precious natural product” of Japan. The population of Shiba’s dwindled during World War II and today’s Shiba is the result of the interbreeding from 3 different bloodlines (the Sanin Shiba, the Mino Shiba, and the Shin Shu Shiba) to preserve the breed. The Shin Shu Shiba is the most popular of the 3 bloodlines. In 1954, America saw its first Shiba Inu, since a military family brought their pet dog home from Japan. The Shiba was officially imported from Japan to the U.S. in the 1970s for breeding, with the first litter being born in 1979 to Julia Cadwell’s sire and dam. The Shiba Inu remains the top companion dog throughout Japan, and was officially recognized in 1992 by the American Kennel Club.