Origin and Purpose The Shiba was developed in Japan, and is the smallest of the native Japanese breeds. Developed as a hunting dog for boar, rabbit, grouse and other small game in dense undergrowth, the Shiba needed strength, agility and a coarse thick coat, as well as courage and tenacity. While still retaining these hunting skills, the Shiba is now primarily an excellent companion.
General Appearance and Characteristics The Shiba is a small dog of Spitz type, just off-square, well balanced and muscular, with erect ears, dark slanted eyes, tapered muzzle, and coarse standoff coat. Males and females display both strength and elegance, neither coarse nor fine, while retaining obvious differences. The overall impression conveys a spirited boldness, good nature, alertness and agility.
Temperament Spirited boldness, good nature, and independence characterize the Shiba temperament. Extremely lively and fun-loving with their families. While sometimes aloof with strangers, aggression to humans or extreme shyness to be severely penalized. Shibas may not tolerate other dogs’ intrusions, and will display aggression if challenged.
The Japanese have three terms to characterise the Shiba's combined intrinsic qualities:
KAN'I: Kan'i is the most important quality of a Japanese breed. It means not only dauntlessness, audacity and courage, but also mental strength, harmony, balance and self-assurance. In Japan the male dogs stand vis-á-vis in a circle, like the Terriers in the USA. A male dog having kan'i confronts his competitor face to face with composure and looks him calmly and straight in the eye. He keeps his tail tightly in position. If the dog averts his eyes or allows his view to wander, the white of his eyes protrude or if he is unsettled or lets his tail droop, then he has no kan'i and will never get a good rating.
RYOSEI: The good character of a Shiba is a peace-loving, pleasant, faithful and obedient character. A good Shiba must be a good watchdog and companion – clever, easy to handle and companionable. He must have keen senses, but most of all he must be obedient and respect his master.
SOBOKU: Naturalness, vivacity, briskness, straightforwardness and spontaneity, that is the third essential aspect of the Shiba's personality. A good Shiba must not be obtrusive and affected, as many small breeds are, but above all he must not be uncouth or vulgar. Soboku indicates the dog's natural and intrinsic beauty and harmony.
For more information please refer to the CKC Shiba Inu breed standard https://www.ckc.ca/CanadianKennelClub/media/Breed-Standards/Group%206/Shiba-Inu.pdf?ext=.pdf