Shiba webcam legacy?

I’ve got a Google Alert for “shiba inu” up and running.  Before the Shiba inu puppy cam, I would get maybe one or two emails a week about Shiba stuff – mostly news stories where Shibas were mentioned and the occasional ad.  Now I’m seeing a huge increase in the amount of Shiba Inu stories coming into my inbox.  Most are advertisements for Shiba puppies, Shiba stud service, want ads for “$100 Shiba” or “Free Shiba Puppy” and the ever-present Yahoo! Answers queries about getting a Shiba and/or Shiba ownership.

Now, this could be because Google has become more efficient in its search techniques, but it’s funny that it seemed to begin at the webcam’s peak popularity.  My Google Analytics also shows a jump at that time and is still getting hits from the ustream.tv site where the puppy cam streaming feed is hosted.

The puppycam owners have been very careful to urge people to think carefully before bringing a Shiba into their lives and to only go to responsible breeders or rescues for a dog.  They also have not attempted to capitalize on their puppies’ sudden fame to make money for themselves; the only item they are selling is a puppy calendar, with all the profits going to Shiba rescue.

However it does appear that this puppycam has thrust the Shiba into the spotlight.  Whether this is good, bad, or indifferent, the Shiba is becoming more well-known.  Consequently, it is also more likely to be prey to irresponsible breeders, callous puppymillers and profit-run pet shops.

However, we can’t control how popular the Shiba gets.  We can only do our part to educate and, failing that, make scathing remarks about irresponsible dog owners should the occasion require.

Thoughts?  And check out this Cafepress.com store, where you can proclaim your Shiba allegiance as dating before the puppy cam.

Shiba Inus: The Next Big Thing? (I hope not!)

Shiba Inus: The Next Big Thing?

It’s great to see a little more balanced overview of our breed!  I got this from Shiba Inu Spirit.

The only part I disagree with (in part) is this:

They’re Good with Children: Just ask our three-year-old niece. A sense of dread and fear struck us last Christmas when she grabbed Kody by the neck and proceeded to climb on his back for a “horsey ride.” While Kody shot us an expression of utter misery, he let her ride him, grab his ears and hug him without as much as snarling his lip.While Shibas sometimes have trouble interacting with other dogs, they are surprisingly gentle with children.

Well… While Shibas can be quite good with children, I wouldn’t advertise Shibas as a breed that a child could generally do this to.  But then again, I’m against allowing a child to EVER do this to a dog.  It can result in spinal and head injuries for the dog and a serious bite for the child.  I wouldn’t vouch for a kid’s chance with Tierce if it did this and I can’t vouch for the parent’s chance with me if they allowed it.

Uh-oh.

The Shiba inu joins a top 10 list.  Yay.

Some varieties are hard to breed, such as bulldogs, she said. The French bulldog, new on the list and sharing 10th place with the Shiba Inu, “has risen in popularity. It’s a cute little dog, small, and it sells for a big price.”

“We need to have careful breeding. When you have a breed that a lot of people want to get, you find novices getting into breeding for fun and money. One of the heartaches is when so many people want to have puppies, it can damage a breed,” Cadiz said.

Oh, please, popularity, stay away from my breed, ohpleaseohpleaseohplease.  If the words, “cool”, “in”, “latest”, “hot”, or “style” are in any way involved with your desire to get any breed, it’s pretty much a sure sign that you shouldn’t get one.

Don’t let them hang with the cool kids

Shassi was born on August 27, 1993. When I started showing her in 1994, I was often the only person nervously trotting back and forth in the breed ring. I have a bagful of impressively coloured ribbons, but Shassi only achieved 9 points before an unfortunate incident involving my father, an open car door, and the highway going through Cloverdale, BC marked the end of her show career.

Back in 1993, somebody casually recognizing Shassi as a Shiba was cause for throwing a mini-party. It meant that I could talk to someone who understood. Back then the only people who recognized Shibas were Shiba owners or the owners of some breeds who greatly resembled a Shiba in looks and temperament.

In 2008, “Hey, that’s a Shiba!” means that someone has a friend or a relative with one or considered one as a pet. This means that Shibas are (slowly) becoming more popular. 16 years after the Shiba Inu was recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club, they are slowly becoming mainstream. With Tierce, proper breed identification stands at about 33%. The other 67% is broken down into “What kind of dog is that?”, “Is that a Chow mix?”, and other haphazard breed guesses, with the most points going to people who at least name some variety of spitz breed. From one or two breeders on Vancouver Island, I can count at least five who are closely involved with breeding Shibas.

Popularity has its ups and its downs. On the plus side, I can now find Shiba merchandise at the local dog biscuit kiosk that also peddles breed-specific keychains, stickers, and other memorabilia. People actually recognize my dog’s breed! It’s easier to convince people of the Shiba’s unsuitability for their lives when they have a vague memory of the problems that their brother’s friend’s nephew’s sister’s dog’s best friend’s owner went through.

On the negative side, the Shiba can now be found in pet shops and bred by unscrupulous fucking idiots. The more common a breed gets, the more likely that members will fall prey to the shelter/SPCA/rescue roundabout. Being as the Shiba can be a high-strung, dominant, independent breed to start with, rehoming a mistreated/unsocialized/ill-trained one can be, at best, difficult.

A Shiba breeder of my acquaintance lamented that the Shiba people at one dog show she visited were unrelentingly negative about the breed’s traits. I was of a differing opinion. I thought then and I still do now, that emphasizing the negatives of the Shiba scares away the undedicated and prepares the tenacious of dog ownership. It also keeps this breed mildly unpopular with those who want an easy ride on the pet wagon, despite its appearance in Vodka commercials and as the evil genius (how appropriate) behind Silent Hill 2.

Unpopularity is the Shiba’s saving grace when it comes to people who are not willing to accept and address its unique philosophy that all things exist to be eaten/chewed/played with/dominated. Most owners are already addressing this by rabidly jumping on even a hint that someone wants a dog “just like yours!” with tales of valuable items destroyed and frantic chases through the streets, not to mention the unfortunate incident with the neighbour’s cat.

Keep up the good work. We don’t want the Shiba to go through what the Akita went through in the 90’s, what with being shoved into the limelight as big, unique protection dogs. The last thing we need is someone touting the Shiba as the very latest thing in wash n’ wear home alarm systems. Thank Dog they’re too big for your average handbag.