The purpose of this page is to educate and inform breed fanciers and aspiring judges alike as to what a Shiba Inu really should look like!
This page is currently under construction, please keep checking back.
It is quite hard to come across a Shiba with good ears. More importance should be placed on the shape and balance of the ear, rather than the size of the ear. The standard asks for the ears to be small and triangular in shape. The base of the ear should be as wide, or nearly as wide as the sides with the inside plane of the ear being straight, and the outside plane having a slight outward curve. The ears should have a forward tilt when the dog is alert, but should never be extreme as to become an ‘awning’ over the eyes. They should also be thick and well furred. The ears should harmonise with the rest of the head, and correct ears will allow the dog to have a pleasant expression. A suggested proportion is that the distance between the ears is one to one and a half times the width of the ear. The length of the inside edge of the ear is half the distance between the ear.
When judging the shiba in the ring it is useful to remember that a dog that is free-baiting and looking upwards towards the handler may give the impression of having ears that are too large and upright and even having round eyes. On the other hand, a dog that is “strung up” and looking towards the ground may give the impression of having smaller eyes, more ear pitch, and a wider than normal ear set. A natural stance with the dog looking straight ahead will give the true perception of the eye and ear shape.
The eyes of a shiba should be relatively small and most importantly somewhat triangular in shape, remembering that nothing is extreme in a shiba, even the eyes. The shiba is not a toy breed, therefore should not have the characteristics of one. For a long while, many breeders were producing shibas with large, round, toy-like eyes and now as a repercussion some breeders are now breeding dogs with eyes that are too little. Eye shape can often be associated with the skull shape. A shiba with a round, bulging eye will also ordinarily have a short muzzle, wide skull and a bony eye socket to boot. Whereas a dog with a snipey head is usually found to have small, oblique eyes, both of which could be considered extreme. The eyes should always be dark in colour
"The face and expression of the Shiba reflect the dog’s soul. The gaze is calm and confident with strength, good nature, and maybe a bit of mischief".
The distinctive head is a hallmark and very important feature of the Shiba Inu. The forehead of a shiba should be broad, flat and on a plane with the muzzle, and the stop is moderate. The proportion of the muzzle to the base of the stop is 40% of the total head length. A slightly longer muzzle would be preferred over a muzzle that is too short. The head is said to resemble a badger, rather than a fox (as many people would describe them) because the cheeks should be full with a rounded muzzle and strong lower jaw. In viewing the head front on, it should appear round due to the fullness of the cheeks and hair. A shiba should always have black pigment and the lips should be tight. There should be no excessive skin or wrinkles on any part of the head, chin or neck, as this is highly undesirable.
A shiba should have a scissor bite with full dentition. The teeth should be strong, substantial and evenly aligned. Five or more missing teeth is a very serious fault.