The Eyes Have It: Unique Features of the Shiba Inu

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One of the distinct features of the Shiba Inu is its eyes – a feature that distinguishes it from western dog breeds. The triangular shape of the recessed eyes gives the dog a plaintive look, one that is pronounced by the dog’s thick eyelids. Shibas do not feature the round eyes of many dog breeds, such as the Pekinese, Pomeranian, or Maltese. Instead, the Shiba’s eyes almost give the dog a lonesome and quiet quality – one that suggests a fiery spirit within combined with a touch of the outdoors.

Therefore, the uniquely shaped eyes of the Shiba depict the dog’s toughness and sturdiness. The dog’s insulated coat enables it to withstand both cold and hot temperature extremes. Because of the little dog’s robust character, it rarely requires grooming and pampering. Their muscular and compact bodies enable them to convey an attitude that is marked by elegance, dignity, and gracefulness.

What captivates most people about the Shiba is its fox-like appearance – one that emphasizes the dog’s primitive behaviors. Almost acting wolf-like during play, the dog also likes the night over the day. Indeed, this dog is unlike any other dog you have ever met. While other canines gambol about, the Shiba watches the dogs at play, seeming to prefer the solitude over pulling or chewing things. This may confuse some Shiba owners during dog or puppy training, as they may be confused by the dog’s lack of canine interaction.

Many Shiba owners in Japan state that their dog is not only loyal but a reliable and trusted friend. The traits of the dog suggest the characteristics of ancient Japanese people – sensitive, valiant, gentle, and good-natured. Therefore, dog lovers are drawn to the Shiba because of its dignified yet playful demeanor. Other qualities associated with the dog include the following:

  • Loyal to their owners, or those whom they trust
  • Self-reliant and self-confident
  • Protective of their owners and family
  • Athletic and energetic
  • Fearless and bold

To perfect the above traits, you need to socialize your dog early and involve it in puppy training as soon as possible. If the Shiba is not socialized or trained early, it may snap at others when it is nervous or be possessive of its foods or toys. It can also become territorial when dealing with larger dogs. If the dog becomes bored or suffers from separation anxiety, it will howl or chew on items that it should leave alone.

Therefore, having a Shiba is a big but rewarding responsibility, as the dog is filled with personality. As long as you are consistent in directing the dog in a calm and firm manner, the Shiba will end up being a lovable companion dog and pet.

Plus, you don’t have to spend a good deal of time on puppy potty training, as the Shiba is cat-like when it comes to grooming and cleanliness. This makes the dog easy to housebreak and keep clean. While you do have to bathe the dog every now and then, you don’t have to invest a large amount of time in the process. To make sure the Shiba is more amenable to getting a bath or getting groomed, get the dog used to the activity when it is a puppy. Again, early socialization and training can go a long way in developing a strong bond with your Inu pet.

When you adopt a Shiba Inu, you should summarize the health conditions that usually affect the dog. That way, you can create a preventative health plan that will keep your dog healthy and well in its later years. You can prevent some predictable risks by knowing which conditions are related to the Shiba breed. While these conditions do not mean your Shiba will have them, it will help you prepare in case your Shiba gets sick or has an unexplained illness.

Because the dog’s eyes make the Shiba a one-of-a-kind dog breed, it helps to learn more about any possible future vision problems. Actually, the dog is predisposed to several vision conditions that you should note.

Glaucoma can affect Inus and can quickly lead to blindness if the condition is not addressed immediately. Symptoms may include a bluing of the clear part of the eye, or the cornea, squinting, and redness. Glaucoma can be extremely painful, and, in advanced cases, can cause bulging or swelling. If you suspect this problem, consider it a medical emergency.

Cataracts can also affect older Shibas. If your dog’s lenses become cloudy, he probably is suffering from cataracts. Surgery may be prescribed to restore or improve the Shiba’s sight.

Distichiasis is yet another vision condition that can affect the Shiba Inu. Distichiasis occurs when additional hairs grow inside the dog’s eyelid, thereby rubbing the eyeball and causing irritation.

A Shiba is more likely to inherit this vision condition than other dogs, so you need to make sure your Shiba is checked by the vet regularly. If distichiasis is not treated, the additional hair can trigger chronic eye pain or the development of corneal ulcers. Once the extra hairs are removed, the prognosis is good for recovery.

As you might imagine, the eyeballs are pretty complex and may not develop according to plan, which may cause some structural abnormalities. While some of these abnormalities are not a cause for concern, others can lead to specific eye problems. That is why you need to have your Shiba’s vision checked twice a year by a vet.

For example, sometimes some small pieces of tissue, may get attached to the dog’s iris. This condition, called persistent pupillary membrane, is more likely to affect Shibas than other dogs. While these bits of tissue usually do not impede the sight or hurt, they may occasionally lead to an optical problem if the tissue fragments are not removed.

No doubt about it, when you adopt a Shiba, you have one unique breed of dog. That is why it is important to learn all about its features and traits. By taking this initiative, you can form a bond with your dog that will make him a special companion dog and friend.

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