Shiba Inu History The Shiba Inu, the smallest and oldest of Japan's dogs, has been with the Japanese people for centuries. They make excellent watchdogs and have established themselves as the number-one companion dog in Japan.There have been many stories on how the Shiba came about its name.
Some are of the opinion that the name Shiba Inu was given because of its skill in going freely through the brushwood bushes.
You will hear people refer to the Shiba as the Little Brushwood Dog. Another story has it that the other meaning of the Japanese word shiba is small; therefore this word has also been attached to these dogs. None of these stories have been validated. What is valid is this small dog called Shiba first came to its name in approximately the 1920s.
In December of 1936, through the Cultural Properties Act, the Shiba was designated as a precious natural product of the Japanese nation. Thus, the breed was given official recognition. After reaching near extinction during World War II, those Shibas remaining were from three different bloodlines. They were the San In Shiba, the Mino Shiba, and the Shin Shu Shiba - the last being the most popular in Japan past and present.
It is from these three lines that the Shiba has evolved into the breed you see in and out of the ring. The first documented Shiba in the US was in 1954. In the late '70s, Americans started to import the Shiba for breeding, and the first litter was born in the United States in 1979.
The Shiba Inu was admitted to the AKC Stud Book April 1, 1992, with exhibition in the Miscellaneous Class June 1, 1992, and regular classification in the Non-Sporting Group June 1, 1993.