Since the breed is very ancient, there are no reliable sources of its origin. Shiba Inu refers to Spitz, the oldest group of dogs, characterized by standing ears, long double wool, a specific tail shape. It so happened that all the dogs that appeared in Japan before the beginning of the XIX century, refer specifically to the Spitz. The exception is only a few Chinese breeds of companion dogs, for example, Japanese hin.
The first settlements of people appeared on the Japanese islands about 10,000 years ago. They brought with them dogs, whose remains can be found in graves dating to 7 thousand years before our era. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say for certain whether these remains (rather small dogs, by the way) have any relation to modern siba-inu.
The ancestors of the Siba Inu arrived on the islands no later than the 3rd century BC.with another group of settlers. Their origin and nationality remain unclear, but it is believed that they were from China or Korea. They also brought dogs that crossed with indigenous breeds. Experts argue, appeared Siba Ina from the dogs of the first settlers or from the second ones, but, most likely, from their combination. This means that the Shiba Inu lived in Japan from 2300 to 10 000 years ago, which makes them one of the ancient breeds. This fact was confirmed by the latest research of geneticists and the breed was attributed to the most ancient, among which one more Japanese breed – Akita Inu.
Shiba Inu is one of the few Japanese breeds that is found everywhere in Japan and is not localized in one prefecture. Its small size makes it possible to maintain content throughout the archipelago, it is cheaper to contain than Akita Inu.
She is able to hunt in a pack, pair, alone. At the same time, it does not lose its working qualities and was used in the past when hunting large game, boars and bears, but it is also good for small hunting. Just gradually large game disappeared from the islands, and the hunters switched to small. For example, Siba Inu is able to find and raise a bird, before the advent of firearms in the region, this ability was important, since birds were caught with the help of a network.
After the appearance of firearms, the popularity of the breed only increased, as they were used to hunt birds.
It should not be forgotten that for thousands of years the Shiba Inu did not exist as a breed in the modern sense of the word, it was a disparate group of dogs, similar in type. At some point, in Japan there were dozens of unique variations of siba-inu.
The name siba-inu was used for all these variations, combined their small size and working qualities. However, in some regions there were unique names. The Japanese word inu means “dog,” but Shiba is more contradictory and polysemantic.
It means shrubbery, and it is widely believed that the name Shiba Inu means “a dog from a forest full of shrubs”, since it hunted in a dense bush. However, there is an assumption that this is an obsolete word, meaning – small, and the breed is so named for small size.
Since Japan for several centuries was a closed country, her dogs remained a secret for the rest of the world. This isolation lasted until 1854, when US Admiral Perry with the help of the fleet forced the Japanese authorities to open borders. Foreigners began to bring Japanese dogs to their home, where they became popular. In the homeland, the Shiba Inu is crossed with English setters and pointer, in order to improve the working qualities. This crossing and the absence of a standard of breed lead to the fact that in urban areas the breed begins to disappear, remaining intact only in remote rural regions where there were no foreigners.
By the beginning of 1900, Japanese breeders decided to save aboriginal breeds from extinction. In 1928, Dr. Hiro Saito created Nihon Ken Hozonkai, better known as The Association for the Preservation of the Japanese Dog or NIPPO. The organization starts the first breeding books and creates a standard of the breed.
They find six traditional dogs, the exterior of which is as close as possible to the classical one. They enjoy the support of the government and unprecedented growth of patriotism among the Japanese, before the Second World War. In 1931, the NIPPO successfully conducts a proposal for the adoption of the Akita Inu as a national symbol. In 1934 the first standard of the Shiba Inu breed was created, and two years later it was also recognized as a national breed.
The Second World War smashes all pre-war successes into dust. Allies bomb Japan, many dogs die. The difficulties of wartime lead to the closure of clubs, and amateurs are forced to put their dogs to sleep.
After the war, the breeders collect the surviving dogs, there are not many of them, but enough to restore the breed. They decide to merge all existing lines into one. Unfortunately, there is an epidemic of cannabis of dogs and significantly reduces the surviving population.
Although there were dozens before the war of various variations of the Shiba Inu, after it only three remained in substantial quantities. Modern Shiba Inu all come from these three variations. Shinshu (English Shinshu Shiba) were characterized by a thick undercoat and stiff coat, red color and the smallest size, most often found in Nagano Prefecture. Mino-Shiba (born Mino Shiba) were from Gifu Prefecture, they had thick, erect ears and a sickle-shaped tail.
San-in Shiba (San’in Shiba) met in the prefectures of Tottori and Simane. It was the largest variation, larger than modern dogs, black color. Although all three variations after the war were rare, the syn-hsi survived more than others and began to define the appearance of modern Shiba Inu in a significant way.
The newly acquired Shiba Inu quickly gained popularity in the homeland. It was restored along with the Japanese economy and did it also quickly. After the war, Japan became an urbanized country, especially in the Tokyo area.
And urban residents prefer small dogs, the smallest working dog was the Shiba Inu. By the end of the XX century, it is the most popular dog in Japan, comparable in popularity with a European breed such as the Labrador Retriever.
The first Shiba Inu in the United States were dogs, which were brought with them by American soldiers. However, she did not acquire great popularity overseas, until she was not interested in large breeders. This was facilitated by the fashion for everything that began in Japan in 1979. American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1992, it was joined by the United Kennel Club (UKC).
In the rest of the world, this breed is known and popular due to its small size and appearance similar to the fox. These dogs are still excellent hunters, but few are used for their intended purpose. As in Japan, and in Canada, it is a companion dog, with the role of which she copes well.