by Viktor Adamov
I think many of us have dreamed of a little hairy ball of happiness in childhood that they could play with and cuddle from morning to evening. I was no exception and as a child I wanted a dog. I did not have anything specifically selected, at that time the Rex or Lassie was popular. But having a dog is not just a joy, but also a worry, and so my parents stressed it. Here and there, I have sometimes tried to raise the topic of a puppy at home, but always with the same result. I ended my waiting when I was about 25 yo, when it happened quite quickly. But let's start from the beginning.
How did I even get to shiba? In fact, it was a long and winding road. Probably the start of this journey would be the day I met a medium-sized dog with a tremendously furry coat and a cheerful smile on his face. It was Samoyed, but at that time I had no idea what that snowman was. I could be 14 years old and the first thing I did as soon as I found the breed is that I went looking for puppies on the bazaar. In 2006, you did not have much choice where to search for advertising dogs. Of course there were many offers for a few hundred euros. Even so, I knew it wouldn't work at home, but the enthusiasm remained. Gradually, I began to search for various informations and coincidentally, I got one book from Samoyed breeder. In it I learned some of the history of this beautiful and great breed, as well as about their nature and the way of living with man. By living together for a long time in remote parts of Siberia the breed has not changed much throughout history and therefore they are in the category known as primitive breed. The book also described the breed standard, care for the dog, but also the breeding itself and its importance. It was at that time when I started to realize why there were some kennels and why it was so important to approach the breed responsibly. So that in a few generations will not waste all the treasure that has kept for centuries in those dogs.
Over time, I was enchanted by a whole group of primitive breeds and my idea of the nature of the dog gradually crystallized into an independent, individual, intelligent and faithful dog. I did not want a dog that would be headless to fulfill all sorts of commands just because I wanted it. I wanted a dog that would have "its own head and opinion". Given that I have always been interested in Japan's extraordinary culture, so I gradually came to the original Japanese breeds. Of course, Akita was the first to charm me. I held that for a few years, when I studied everything from A to Z. Maybe because I like something unseen, I gradually began to get to know the relatively unknown breed in Slovakia at that time – Shiba. Small fearless and independent samurai with his own head. The right challenge for me as a beginner dog owner. From the moment I decided that Shiba was the right breed for me to the time I brought my Japanese treasure home, it was about 5 years.
This time I filled not only with the study of the breed, but also education, care or diet of dogs in general. I have read 3 different books focused specifically on shibas by different authors. Another variety of different books, articles and videos on training dogs. I was ready for the worst, but waiting for the right trigger. It was when my friend bought an Australian Shepherd in the summer and I saw how the pile of furry ball makes her happier every day. It was decided, I started to search what kennels we have in Slovakia. That was quite fast because there are not many of them and I extended my horizons to the Czech Republic. I made an overview of all known kennels and gradually narrowed my selection based on various criteria such as the number of litters raised, active breeding, years of experience or active participation in exhibitions. I just wanted a shiba who would be a proud representative of the little samurai I had dreamed of for years.
In a narrow selection I contacted more than 10 kennels. Although I tell everyone that the choice of kennel and puppies must take responsibly and sometimes have to wait several months, I went to this stage quite superficially. I had my last year at university, I had enough time to raise a puppy and I could be flexible in time. In addition, I counted on the fact that at the time of bringing puppy home will start 2 months of exam period, which I planned to resolve in December. So the plan was clear, a kennel that will have a litter in the fall and taking puppy will be possible in winter. This narrowed the selection of addressed kennel to about 3. For a long time I believed that it will be a puppy from the Czech Republic, but eventually failed to mating bitch and the next litter was postponed by several months. At that time I received an email from a Slovak breeder that they have two litters and still have one red female available and I can come to see her. When I opened the attached photos, of course, I was disenchanted. But I haven't made any hasty conclusions yet, and I thought I'd make a trip to where the foxes gives good night.
After 300 km of road I was greeted by very nice breeders who asked me various questions but also spoke with enthusiasm about their work. When we went to see the cubs, they were just small beans with mini feet and a funny tail. A cuddly proud mother ran around us, taking care of her two little puppies. The dog was affectionate and was still at our feet and forced attention. On the other side as soon as the bitch felt the opportunity, she went to explore the court and was not interested in any people. That's when I met my Nala.
All the way home, I told myself this was the real shiba I was looking for. I could not take her for another 4 weeks, but they ran like water in the river. When I came for her, the little bean was already a shiba. We managed to go home smoothly and the first night at home was trouble-free. The first days are always about popping, and even Nala took a while to get used to the new environment, which is quite normal. At the beginning she didn't even want to go further than 50m from the house, but gradually gained confidence and began to discover the surroundings.
Since then we have tried to participate in the exhibition and I believe that we could be successful, but I personally was not excited for it. And that's why I'm grateful for breeders, who participate in exhibitions and trying to get the most out of it for breeding. Actually, I never had such ambitions, I always wanted a partner on the couch, but also for wandering in the mountains while having a shiba that looks not only like a shiba, but mainly has the right shiba's temperament and the nature of this great primitive breed that thanks to many great people, whether in Japan in the first half of the last century, but also current breeders, who treat this "craft" responsibly.
And thanks to this, I can have a balanced, trouble-free and independent shiba at my side, who sometimes rattles my cage with her stubbornness and that's why I love her.
You can find Nala and Viktor on Instagram and they also have their travel blog on Shiba Inu Slovakia website - Wanders with paws.
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