author: Tibor Tóth
Shiba breed has been in Slovakia for more than 20 years. In that time the breed have gone through some development - at the beginning the base was quite narrow. It was related to the fact that the breeding of this breed began and the individuals only increased gradually. The number of puppies born (and imported dogs) to date is about 500 individuals, which is, for example, compared to the breed Akita only a third. In the neighboring Czech Republic, however, the number of puppies born (again with imports) already reached the number almost 3000, which is six times more compared to Slovakia. In the first years of breeding we had to deal with several more or less problems. The first was a low - and hence considerably homogeneous - breeding dog base. Breeding dogs and bitches in the breeding (and pedigrees) often repeated. It was not a favorable situation and as breeders we worked to expand the breeding base gradually.
We had to deal with several challenges - we can divide them into 3 areas.
The first is the basic exterior defects. For a layman, this can be explained as follows - the standard of each breed describes a certain ideal of the breed, which breeders try to maintain and protect for future generations of dogs. In breeding Shiba at the beginning there were problems such as:
Dental-related (missing teeth, incorrect bite)
Incorrectly carrying / holding tail and ears
Less expressive urajiro
We managed to deal with these problems quite well. Most dogs are already full teeth and have the right scissor bite. Other exterior features have been improved, a better eye shape (triangular) has been achieved, and the size and carrying of the ears are much better today than they were 10 years ago. Today, breeding dogs and bitches have nice and distinctive urajiro (whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, under the sledge, on the neck, chest, abdomen, bottom of the tail and the inside of the limbs).
The second challenge concerns nature. Again, the situation has improved considerably. In the past at dog exhibitions, often happened that Shibas could not even come into contact. Many representatives were non-contact, shy and some fearfully aggressive. Thanks to breeders and owners this situation has improved significantly. Shiba as the original natural breed needs more consistent socialization during breeding as well as its continuation with the new owner. It means that in a responsible breeding puppies with their mother can not be excessively separated from the presence of man and the environment in which the puppy will later live (household).
Proper and sufficient accustomization of puppies (for the presence of man, touch, taking on hands, play, sounds at home, crate, touches of children or strangers, etc.) the new owner gets a well prepared puppy. It is reasonably curious, cheerful, has a desire to discover, not afraid of a human hand or accidental loud sound. If the new owner continues in the process of socialization correctly, he and his dog - Shiba - will be satisfied. Today the dog exhibitions show another generation of Shibas - most of them are contact, friendly, without signs of shyness, fear or aggression. They conform to the standard and spirit of the breed - a significant step forward has been made in recent years.
The third - the last challenge - is the breeding aspect . However, I will try to say this also for laymen and future owners of our puppies. Anyone interested in a puppy wants a dog that will be healthy and will behave and look like a typical Shiba. To achieve, maintain and develop this state of affairs, a lot of effort, knowledge, energy and finance is needed. It would not be possible to achieve this goal (and not to lose it) if we did not import new blood - it costs considerable resources and the result is never guaranteed. We are confronted with successes and failures in this direction, successes are pleasing and failures teach and motivate us at the same time. Thus, more varied genetics will help the breed to develop properly. At the same time, each of us breeders is faced with the question of the right choice when deciding in our breeding for the next generations
Individual dogs / bitches that want to involve / include in breeding
And which partners to choose for the given connection (choosing the right partner)
In this respect, the situation is already better thanks to the availability of information (the Internet and various databases of information). Searching in pedigrees is quite difficult, but only then we can identify dogs that will enrich our breeding (improve) or on the contrary, it can cause a serious problems in the next generations (cryptorchism, infertility, missing teeth, bite, unbalanced nature, etc.).
Breeders from neighboring countries also contributed to the development of breeding in Slovakia at the beginning. We owe them thanks for allowing us to join them and accepted to breed our stud bitches with their quality stud dogs, which started breeding Shiba in Slovakia. Without the willingness and correct conditions, we would not get into our pedigrees quality representatives, unrelated foreign blood and dogs on which we could build firmly our future breeding. Many of us went abroad to the neighboring countries, we often traveled many kilometers. Therefore, we would like to express our gratitude to breeders from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and other countries.
As breeders we all work on our own breeding, but at the same time we are part of Shiba breeding in Slovakia altogether. I think we are doing well in improving the exterior and in improving the type, as well as the nature and behavior of dogs. One without the other would make no sense. Why would someone want a dog that looks like Shiba, but by nature it would be something completely different. The reverse is also true - the preservation of character traits, personality traits and desires cannot go hand in hand without trying to maintain the typical exterior features that make Shiba itself.
About 20 litters are born in Slovakia at that time, which is approximately 60 puppies. We want to continue in responsible breeding and work on its development whether we breed one, two or more stud dogs / bitches. We are pleased that the general public is beginning to realize that to develop every breed in the right direction, it is necessary to have not only educated and responsible breeders but also future owners of puppies. We are pleased that people are interested in the conditions in which fathers and mothers of dogs live, what is the breeder’s attitude, experience and knowledge about these dogs and that people are interested to visit breeders in person.
Only then we can manage to develop the Shiba breed in the right direction. When Shiba puppies get from the RESPONSIBLE hands only to the RESPONSIBLE hands. Both breeders and future owners should be prepared, knowledgeable and responsible - in that case our work makes sense, in which the puppies will have a good life so we will be able to preserve everything in these dogs.
Chikako Wakizashi of Tianito, photo/breeder/owner: Tibor Tóth