Shiba Inu History

Historians believe that there were dogs associated with humans in Japan seven or eight thousand years ago. Dating to the end of the Jyomon Era, about three thousand years ago, remains have been found of dog bones similar in size to the Shiba Inu. There also are ancient clay pottery images of dogs with triangular upright pointed ears and curled tails. Perhaps even at those distant times people loved Shiba type dogs as family companions and as good hunters of small animals.

Japan is an island country which was made even more isolated by the feudal Shoguns of the Edo era who closed the ports for several hundred years. The dogs in Japan were not exported and foreign breeds did not enter the country. However, during the Meiji era, in 1868, the country became open to the outside world. Many new things came into the country, including dogs from other countries. Many mixed breed dogs resulted, and very few pure-bred Japanese dogs remained. In 1928, people who loved dogs wanted to maintain pure Japanese breeds, notably the Shiba Inu. They established Nihonken Hozonkai project. The Japanese government named the Shiba Inu as a National Monument, giving it protection.

Sadly for the world and for the Shiba Inu, World War II occurred and a major risk of extermination of the breed developed during the severe conditions in Japan at that time. Fortunately there were some people remaining who were dog lovers. They maintained and protected their animals and searched for others that seemed to be pure-breds. They found some living with hunters in mountainous areas. These dogs were gathered and bred, seeking to obtain Shibas that would look like the ancient originals. The most famous result of this breeding work was "Naka-Go", born in 1948. Today, practically all Shiba Inu bloodlines can be traced back to him. So it is no exaggeration to say that a few people protected and maintained the breed that is our Shiba today.

Establishment of Shiba Ho

Shiba Inu Hozonkai, Shiba Ho for short, was established in 1959. Its purpose is to maintain the Jyomon type of Shiba Inu by selecting and breeding Shibas presenting a more primitive type of appearance. For these purposes, a group of people led by Mr. T. Nakajo studied the prehistoric information and worked to develop a set of characteristics which would produce Shibas resembling those of 3000 years ago.

The ideal Shiba Ho has the following attributes:

  • Close to primitive dog profile
  • Shallower stop
  • Well developed back of skull
  • Wide, flat forehead
  • Sharply triangular eye shape with deeply set eyes
  • Sharp and strong big teeth
  • Long thick muzzle
  • Well balanced body
  • Strongly standing ears
  • Attentive, spirited expression
  • Clearly urajiro with double coat
  • Light and flexible gait
  • Neat body lines

These elements that Mr. Nakajo and the Shiba Ho group sought to develop have taken a number of years to be attained. There are a great many generations of dogs going back to Naka-Go, with each step leading to the present situation. Today there are many more Shibas coming out in Japan with attractive Jyomon-type original appearance.

Mr. Nakajo
Mr. Nakajo
Kurohime
Kurohime
Benitarou
Benitarou
Shibaho BoB
Shiba Ho BoB

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