Shibas in dog books

I have a collection of older dog books and keep my eye out for others. Being a Shiba fancier, I always check to see if there’s any reference to the Shiba in any dog book (often I am disappointed; they are only now becoming popular enough to merit a reference in books outside of the kennel clubs’ book compilations of the dogs they recognize). Most of the time, if there is a mention, it is somewhat akin to the National Geographic “Man’s Best Friend” – [referring to dogs used for small game hunting] “In Japan, it’s the little Shiba”. Which is fine; at least they acknowledge that the breed exists.

However there are some weird notions about Japanese breeds and Shibas in particular that I have found in this one book, “The New Dog Encyclopedia” (The Stackpole Company, 1970, ISBN: 0-8117-1064-5)

The smallest dog of this type is called the Shiba, or the Shiba Inu. It stands 14 to 16 inches at the shoulder.

So far, they’re doing fine. But then they stray into what I can only call a wild flight of fancy, or the result of experience with a very small percentage of the Shiba population.

The Shiba differs from the Akita and the Nippon Inu in that it is born tail-less or with a short bob- tail. In this, it is like another miniature Spitz, the Schipperke.


Here’s one of the earliest pictures of Tierce at 3 weeks (his breeder sent me a whole set of pictures that she took from birth to 8 weeks):

And notice the appendage that The New Dog Encyclopedia claims shouldn’t be there:

And, since I didn’t rectify this situation, it has only grown and become more obvious:

Do we actually have defective Shibas? Should we actually have red, red sesame or black-and-tan Japanese Schipperkes? Or, as I suspect, did the person who submitted this particular piece of information only see one “Shiba” who happened to be wearing a shorter tail than most?

Of course, if one reads further, one finds that the book claims that the Beauceron hails from South America, so I think that somebody was hitting the sauce during certain portions of the editing process.


  1. I guess they mixed up information about Japanese cat breeds with that of dogs.

  2. Is that a tail- that thing at the end of my body which periodically causes me to run around in circles as I attempt to catch it?

  3. Hmm. My dog is part Shiba, according to the SPCA, so I guess I should assume her tail is from the rest of her ancestry? Actually, it doesn’t look like a Shiba tail.

    Methinks someone committed poor editing in that book.

  4. I’d say that their whole section on Shibas need revising.

    Exactly what is a “Nippon inu”, because literally translated – it means “Japanese dog”… hmmm.. last time I checked, the Shiba, Akita, Tosa, Kishu, etc., are all “Nippon inu” or “Nihon ken”….

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