Objective Dog Ratings: Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu

Shibas are a spitz dog, which, if you remember from the original Dog Ratings post, is my projected winner for the All-Dog All-Stars Contest, but that doesn’t mean that this spitz will take the trophy home.

Let’s take a look:

First, it must be noted that shibas have the curly tail which is most distinctive of domesticated animals, which is a Good Thing. Props to you, noble shibas.

Behaviorally, shibas are very clean animals. They clean themselves, they’re very easy to housebreak, and…well, they will track mud into the house and not wipe their feet off first, but they’re still dogs. You can only expect so much from them. They’re clever, but the jury is out on just how much so.

Shibas do not bark very much, instead preferring to emit terrible, nearly goat-like noise called a “shiba scream,” which has been described as “bloodcurdling” and like the “screams of the damned.” The name sounds like an anime attack move, and I wholeheartedly approve.

I could not find much in the way of terrible diseases, which is a little surprising given their history. Shibas were extensively crossbred with other dogs in the 19th century and, between crossbreeding, distemper outbreaks, and WWII food shortages, only three “bloodlines” or “variations” of shiba still remained in the post-war era. It’s hard for me to get details on this, so I can only assume that the gene pools were relatively large and healthy or the breeders did a good job, because, as I say, they aren’t a tragedy of inbreeding.

This is, admittedly, a little bit conjecture, but I imagine that their healthiness has something to do with the story of their preservation as a breed. Shibas were bred to do a job (hunting and flushing out small game and, on occasion, boar), and hunters were among those who tried to preserve them.

Anyway, the point is, they are pretty healthy dogs, and that’s pretty important here at Objective Dog Ratings. Shibas aren’t exceptionally intelligent, but there’s something awful and awesome about their unique vocal talents, so I’m going to award them a very tentative, by-the-tip-of-their-nose, three stars. A forward-thinking, politically progressive wolf would not be ashamed to know a shiba, though they might well be a little unsettled.

Rating: ★★★ (Good)

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