Owning a Shiba is not like owning other dogs.
Okay, everyone says that. This is one of the breeds that, if you say you like it, the owners immediately go into a litany of why it’s not the right breed for everyone and that its natural temperament is somewhere between Vlad Tepes and that bitchy girl in 7th grade who tripped you going into Math class.
But, really, it’s not.
Shibas are this Beagle-sized breed of dog that looks like a tiny husky. A little fox. A Corgi. A Basenji. Mini-Akitas. They’re 20ish pounds and they usually come in red. But they could be black and tan. Or sesame, which is a colour hard to describe, but looks like you took the red dog, rolled it in some glue and then in some charcoal.
But what we really want to warn you about is the temperament. They’re great little dogs. Except when they’re not. Except if you try to clip their nails. Or brush their tails. Or do anything – ANYTHING with their ears. But they’re great little dogs. But there’s that other dogs thing. Some of them play with other dogs. Others destroy them in small bites, like furry piranhas. It’s worse if there are two of them. They feed off each other. Oh, no, they don’t fight together. Well, except for that one time. That was a $250 vet bill. But normally, they’re very nice.
Do they learn quickly? SO quickly! Then they use it against you. Recalls are virtually unknown here. Oh, this one is okay with the recall, but that just means they’ll come up to you if there’s nothing else to do. You are the most boring thing on their walk or run or whatever you’re doing and, if there’s something better, good luck getting them to come back. They never will. Oh, one did this one time, but it was a fluke. And a hunk of cheddar.
Grooming? They’re so clean; they practically bathe themselves. Well, there was that mud incident. Bathing them is great if you are tired of hearing… everything. They scream. Did we mention the scream? Like a train whistle crossed with a dying rabbit. No, we’re not being crude; that’s how it sounds. No, we haven’t actually been around a dying rabbit, but anyway, they’re loud. They blow coat like Michelangelo painted – with great perseverance, as if they put their whole hearts into re-insulating your house. We hope you like the colour cream. We’ve already mentioned the nails? Good.
How are they with kids? Oh they can be great if raised with kids, but we do recommend older, respectful children. Younger ones are merely springboards to the Cheerios. Well, I wouldn’t say that they would bite them, but Shibas do like their space and aren’t always fond of darting youngsters. Oh, and that little habit of Junior of grabbing dogs’ cheeks needs to be stopped yesterday. I’m sure it’s cute and looks great in family photos, but your dog with Junior’s head in its mouth is going to look slightly less photogenic.
You have to go? Well, it’s been great meeting you and introducing you to this wonderful breed that we love with all our hearts. Maybe the Shiba isn’t right for you, but it is for us and – in some small way – that makes us special.