From Japan have come dogs of several related breeds, generally known as the Nippon Inu. Of these, the large Akita is best known to the Western world. The smallest, the Shiba Inu (Japanese Turf Dog), is probably the oldest and is now considered a separate breed. History has long recorded its presence in many areas of Japan, but the dogs are believed to have migrated quite early from Southern Asia.
Originally, the Shiba Inu was to have been a companion and guard dog that also would hunt small game and birds. Although it has been used on boar, bear and deer, it is best employed with small animals, since the male stands only 15 to 16 inches at the withers (females are somewhat shorter).
This dog has a compact, muscular body and a regal carriage. It is agile, graceful, lively and elegant. Its forehead is wide, its cheeks are well formed and its pointed muzzle is neither short nor long. Its nose is dark with a straight bridge. Its eyes are dark brown and its bushy tail usually is rolled over the back.
One of the Shiba Inu's most noteworthy characteristics is its recognition of and attentiveness to the feelings of its owner, making it a faithful and trusty pet.