Shibas have been compared to foxes probably from the time of their emergence as a distinct breed. However, have you heard of a genuine domesticated fox? Wikipedia has an entry and several links about the Tame Silver Fox.
I’m wondering just what this “fast-forward” domestication is doing for the foxes’ genetic health. From what I’ve read, it looks like these animals were mass-bred to produce these results in such a relatively short period of time. 45,000 foxes in 45 years. That’s 10,000 foxes bred a year… over 1500 litters if one assumes that 6 kits are born per litter.
Foxes are relatively solitary creatures and people who have raised them describe their behaviour as cat-like. Obedience training would be an interesting proposition at best.
Dogs have instincts that have been modified from wolf pack behaviour. We can use these instincts to mold the behaviour of the dogs in our lives. What fox instincts can be modified to make sure that a domesticated fox can integrate with our human world like the dog has?
The biggest problem, of course, is that this may be the next “cool” pet to own and, like every other “in vogue” animal, be treated like a commodity; sold and purchased by people who have no clue about the needs of the animal or consider whether they can handle those needs.
I would consider owning one of these animals, but I confess that it woul be the novelty factor. I could get a healthy, well-bred Shiba more easily for less, so I don’t think I’ll be switching allegiances any time soon.