Questions to ask a breeder (from Jacey Holden, President of the NSCA):
1.How long have they been breeding dogs in general and Shibas in particular?
2. Do they breed more than Shibas? (While it’s not uncommon tohave a second breed, many different breeds may be an indicator of minimal commitment to Shibas)
3. What health screenings do they do with their Shibas - OFA (Hip Displasia), CERF (Eye Disease), Patella (Knee Joints) checks, etc.? If you don't know these terms, find out about them from your local veterinarian.
4. How are the puppies raised? Are they well socialized? Early socialization is considered essential for a well-adapted puppy.
5. Get at least two references from other people who have acquired Shibas from them.
6. Has the Shiba been exposed to children, cats, other pets?
7. Do the pups have documented immunization and health records?
8. What type of contract, conditions or guarantees are involved in the sale of the Shiba? Expect the breeder to require that a pet be spayed or neutered.
9. If it looks good and feels right to you, then put a deposit down on a future puppy. If you have hesitations, then pass. You are making a 14-16 year commitment, and it should not be taken lightly.
Although many potential Shiba owners would rather get a puppy, please think about adopting a dog from a Shiba Rescue organization.
Gibbs Burch of Shiba Rescue East Coast finds that, “the dogs I take in are normally puppies that have been bought from pet shops by individuals who haven’t properly educated themselves on the breed. They bought the dog more on impulse due to the Shiba's size and appeal than anything else, and then once the dog has grown up/matured, they realize it's a lot more dog than they were prepared to take on. That's where I come into the picture. I do, on occasion, take Shibas out of area shelters who have either been brought in as strays and never claimed, or have been given up by their owner(s) for any number of reasons (i.e., they're moving and the dog can't go with them, it's their kid's dog who just left for college, it jumps the fence and runs away, etc.).”
What’s the advantage of getting a rescued Shiba versus one from a breeder or pet store? Most of the are already housebroken, are no longer teething (so they won't destroy anything), are crate-trained, and have basic obedience training - you pretty much know what you're getting, so there's less chance of a surprise.
“When a dog comes into my home for rescue, I evaluate its temperament for how well it interacts with other dogs, cats, children and people in general, as well as situations that include a certain amount of stress,” says Burch. “The average length of time a dog spends in my home before it's adopted averages approximately six to eight weeks, sometimes longer. I pretty much learn anything I need to know about that dog and what should be taken into consideration when trying to make the proper placement.”
One thing you need to remember before adopting a Rescue Shiba is that it takes a certain amount of patience and effort on your part to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. No dog is an “instant pet” and if you have unrealistic expectations, you’re setting yourself and the dog up for major disappointment.
“I normally tell people it will get worse before it gets better and ask them to give the adoption a minimum of four weeks to see how things work out,” Burch adds. “If the adoption doesn’t work out within that period, their adoption fee is fully refundable, provided the dog comes back to me, a requirement in my contract.”
And finally, educate yourself as much as possible about the Shiba before getting one, whether from a rescue organization, a breeder, a pet shop or your neighbor. There are books out about the Shiba, as well as web sites on the Internet.
And if you do get a Shiba, congratulations, you’ve added a uniquely fun member to your family.
Shiba Rescue East Coast
11816 Pittson Road
Wheaton, MD 20906
Shiba Rescue Contact List for the USA and UK