First off, thank you for taking the time to seek resources finding an ethically breed Shiba Inu.
You are on the right start to help ease the tragic issue of puppy mill Shiba Inus and backyard breeders. The issue of puppy mills is serious and dire.
The Shiba Inu is a wonderful breed of dog.
But it is not a breed for everyone.
They are certainly not a breed for someone that knows nothing about the breed other than the breed’s irresistible cuteness factor.
Social media has played a role in popularizing the breed at a rather fast pace.
From Instagram videos to Doge Memes to Facebook groups, the Shiba Inu craze looks as if it’s here to stay a while.
While there is nothing sinisterly wrong with the social media issue in and of itself - there is a problem with people acquiring Shiba Inus without properly understanding what this special breed is all about.
And this issue is not due to the lack of information and resources - there out there.
The problem is that this type of information is simply not “viral” material.
So the majority of the responsibility lies on Shiba Inu shelters, advocates, and organizations like us to be vigilant in spreading information that will protect our beloved breed of dog.
First Things First - Are You Ready For A Shiba Inu Puppy?
Bringing a Shiba Inu puppy into your home will be an enormous commitment of time, energy and patience.
Are both you and your family members ready for that?
One of the best methods to test your readiness is to completely forget all the exciting parts of acquiring a Shiba Inu and just look all of the possible unpleasant scenarios.
Forget the cuteness, the puppy breath, the snuggling, and anything else that is making you excited about bringing a Shiba Inu puppy home.
Now, think of all of the free time that you now have to do whatever you want and go wherever you want to go when you want to go - suddenly, gone.
The first six months of rearing your Shiba Inu puppy will take up an extraordionary amount of your time.
From potty training, feeding, cleaning, obedience training, bonding, playing…. The list goes on. Are you ready to commit to that?
Next, think about the next two things pee and poop. Oh, and spit-up too.
Think about the those three things deeply and clearly.
With your new Shiba Inu puppy on hand you will see a lot of those three things.
You will be cleaning it (and the puppy), accidentally stepping on it and smelling it throughout the day and into the night. Accidents will happen anywhere and everywhere you wish it would not.
Are you and your family up for that task as well?
I could go on and on describing the not so cute side of puppy rearing but I think you should have gotten my point by now.
Before of even thinking about finding a Shiba Inu breeder you must first make sure that you are 110% ready and committed to bringing a new life into your family.
This commitment includes caring for the puppy in good times as well as bad. What will happen if your puppy develops a serious medical condition. Are you financially able to cover any unforeseen medical costs?
Before even considering the idea of getting a new Shiba Inu puppy, take as much time as necessary to think things through. This action can save you a lot of future headaches, as well as heartaches.
Finding an Ethical Shiba Inu Breeder Near You - Initial Steps
To begin your search for a responsible and ethical Shiba Inu breeder, we recommend visiting both the Shiba Inu Club of America and the AKC’s websites to view breeder listings.
Take note that just because a breeder is listed in any of these sites, DOES NOT necessarily mean the breeder is an ethical and responsible breeder - especially on the AKC site as it not necessarily difficult to become an AKC member and be listed in their breed directory.
Once you have found a list of potential breeders it is now time for you to do some research and outreach. Be on the lookout for the following things:
- Is the breeder a member of any breed clubs, the AKC, or any other breed specific organizations?
- Does the breeder participate in breed shows, conformation, agility trials?
- Has the breeder produced Champions or other achievements?
- Does the breeder have current images of their adult Shiba Inus?
- Does the breeder only breed Shiba Inus?
- Does the breed demonstrate that they have thorough knowledge of the breed and have made it their mission to improve the breed
- What type of health screenings does the breeder do?
- What type of health certificate / warranty does the breeder offer?
- How often does the breeder breed? What is minimum breeding age for their Shiba Inus?
- Does the breeder to thorough vetting of potential new owners?
- Does the breeder have the breeding pair or at least the mother on premise. Will the breeder allow you to see the mother?
- What is the living condition of the breeder’s Shiba Inus?
- Why does the breeder breed Shiba Inus?
- How long does the breeder keep the Shiba Inu puppies with their mother?
- Does the breeder provide detailed contracts regarding spaying / neutering requirements, returning of the puppy,
- Does the breeder advertise their puppies or already have a waiting list?
- Does the breeder provide references?
- Can you find any information about disputes, legal issues, etc about the breeder online?
Is the breeder a member of any breed clubs, the AKC, or any other breed specific organizations?
Most if not all ethical Shiba Inu breeders will be a member of a Shiba Inu Club, the main one in the U.S being the National Shiba Club of America and the AKC.
Being a member in good standing in these two organizations demonstrates that the breeder is at the minimum, making an effort to be apart of organizations that focus on preserving, protecting, and improving their breed.
An extra bonus would be if the breeder is also a member of other organizations that aim to better the breed. These could include local Shiba Inu chapters, obedience clubs, agility clubs, e.t.c.
However keep in mind that being a member of various organizations does not guarantee that the breeder breeds ethically and / or has the required knowledge to breed healthy, well - conformed Shiba Inus.
For example, the AKC does not screen their members’s dogs but simply require registration online or through the mail.
Belonging to these memberships however, is a good start in the search process.
If the breeder is not a member of any these types of organizations, you should probably scratch these breeders off your potential breeders list.
While there are some ethical breeders that do produce quality Shiba Inus who are not members of any clubs - there are just too many bad breeders that are also in that same group.
Puppy mills and most backyard breeders would not make the effort to join any of these types of organizations so looking for breeders with these affiliations make the filtering process much easier.
So unless you have a referral of such breeder (not members of any breed club, etc), it’s better for first time Shiba Inu parents to stick to all of the criteria that will most likely result in finding a good breeder.
Does the breeder participate in breed shows, conformation, agility trials?
Reputable breeders that produce high quality Shiba Inus would definitely want to show them off to the rest of the world.
Breeders that regularly show their Shiba Inus are very likely to be good candidates in your ethical breeder search.
In fact, participating in dog shows is usually the principal reason ethical breeders produce puppies.
Their main goal is improve their lineage so that their dogs can excel in these shows and having puppies to sell is far from their main purpose of breeding their Shiba Inus.
Some breeders are interested in training their dogs to succeed in obedience and / or agility trials. That's a good sign of a breeder interested in producing healthy and fit dogs to excel in these rigorous events.
Has the breeder produced Champions or other achievements?
Breeders that have a lot experience will usually produce or acquire Champion Shiba Inus in their adult stock.
The ownership and especially the producing of Shiba Inu Champions is a good sign that the breeder is reputable.
Try researching any dog show type events in your area. You can inquire if any scheduled event will feature Shiba Inus in the non-sporting category.
If possible, visit these events and see if you can learn more about the Shiba Inus and their breeders. You might be able to get some valuable information and leads to acquiring a quality Shiba Inu puppy.
Does the breeder have current images of their adult Shiba Inus?
Many Shiba Inu breeders have a webpage where you can look at their current and past Shiba Inu adults.
If they don’t have a webpage, ask them if they can email you pictures of their current and past adult Shibas.
If you think about it, most breeders that have had successful Shiba Inus “should” have multiple photos of their dogs to show off to the world.
I would be very skeptical about breeders that do not have or do not want to send you photos of their adult dogs.
If you are able to view photos of the breeder’s Shiba Inus, take the time to scrutinize the adults in terms of conformation to breed standards.
Are they right size in terms of height and weight. Do they have the correct facial and body proportions? Is their coat color standard and is their Urajiro markings correct? What about their tail?
It might not be easy for someone not familiar with Shiba Inus to distinguish the differences and nuances of a properly conformed Shiba and one that is out of conformation.
The best way to improve your Shiba Inu visual judgement is to find and study current and past winners of notable dog show competitions.
Ideally, it’d be best to find and study photos of Shiba Inu Champions from Japan.
Here is a link to get read about what makes a Shiba Inu a Shiba Inu from a Shiba Inu breeder in Japan. Fortunately for us, the page is in English.
Does the breeder only breed Shiba Inus?
Breeding any type of dog breed is a full time commitment that takes tremendous dedication and energy - especially if the breeder is reputable.
Ideally, breeding only one breed of dog is a good sign that the breeder is genuinely interested in bettering their chosen breed over breeding simply for volume and profit.
I would be cautious if the breeder specializes in two breeds. If the breeder breeds more than that, that’s a definite red flag and that breeder should not be considered.
Does the breed demonstrate that they have thorough knowledge of the breed and have made it their mission to improve the breed ?
A reputable Shiba Inu should have vast knowledge of the history of the breed as well as current breed standards.
The breeder should be knowledgeable about every detail about what an ideal Shiba Inu should look like as well how a sound Shiba Inu should behave like.
Reputable breeders understand genetics as well as temperament testing procedures. They should how the various health afflictions that affect Shiba Inus as well as best health protocols to follow.
Additionally breeders should be well-versed in canine development, socialization, and training.
Some of this information can be found on the breeder’s website.
Otherwise, the best way to know if the breeder is knowledgeable is to contact the breeder directly and see if you can ask them questions on the phone or through email.
What type of health screenings does the breeder do?
All reputable breeder routinely do various health screenings and tests on their breeding stock.
Some of the most common tests include tests for eyes, hips, thyroid function, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Ideally, the breeder should perform these tests on a regular basis and have up-to-date certificates that you can view.
Do not consider a breeder that never does any tests because of “insert some creative excuse here.”
What type of health certificate / warranty does the breeder offer?
Most reputable breeders have good faith their puppies and will show that with a health warranty.
In most cases, the breeder will have a warranty that states the puppy to be free of any genetic defects and will clearly state their policy if the puppy does get diagnosed with a genetic defect.
And as stated earlier, the breeder should have done various health screenings of their Shiba Inus and have the certificates available for you to look over.
How often does the breeder breed? What is minimum breeding age for their Shiba Inus?
Reputable and compassionate breeders make sure that they do over-breed their female Shiba Inus.
Giving birth and nursing puppies is very taxing on a female Shiba Inus body and mind.
Most ethical breeders will rotate mating their adult females and make sure that both the females and males are healthy and rested before another mating.
An ethical breeder should not breed their females until at least two years of age. This will ensure that the female is mature physically as well as emotionally.
The breeder can also monitor the young female for any health or behavior issues that would affect their decision to mate her.
Does the breeder to thorough vetting of potential new owners?
All reputable breeders will never ever promise a puppy simply on a first come, first served basis.
Reputable breeders will usually conduct thorough interviews with potential Shiba Inu owners that include home checks, financial responsibility, and emotional readiness.
These breeders will also usually make new owners sign detailed contracts that lists all of the requirements needed to legally keep custody of their puppy.
Does the breeder have the breeding pair or at least the mother on premise. Will the breeder allow you to see the mother?
Ideally, Shiba Inu breeders typically breeds their females to other males from other reputable breeders.
This action ensures ample genetic diversity and a better opportunity for breed betterment.
However, most breeders will have at least one quality male Shiba Inu that they own and breed. I would be wary if a breeder only breeds their Shiba Inus from within their within their own adult stock.
Most reputable Shiba Inu breeders will be happy to let you visit the mother. If they don’t, that’s already a red flag to take note of.
When you do visit the Shiba Inu parent(s), take note of their physical appearance.
Do they look healthy and not stressed? Also, observe their living conditions. Is the area clean, safe, and comfortable for the mother and her puppies? What about other Shiba Inus? Does it seem that the breeder has too many dogs in relationship to the size of their living quarters?
What is the living condition of the breeder’s Shiba Inus?
Ideally, the breeder’s Shiba Inus should live like spoiled pets. They should be indoor dogs living in a clean environment with ample space to play and interact with the rest of their family, both humans and dogs.
By having their Shiba live indoors, the breeder is demonstrating their commitment to their dog’s health, happiness, and rearing.
Indoor dogs are usually better socialized and enjoy better overall well-being than outdoor dogs.
Puppies coming from these environments will therefore be better socialized and ready for their new homes.
Why does the breeder breed Shiba Inus?
This one question can shed the light on a breeder’s true motivation for breeding Shiba Inus.
Ideally, the answer to this question would show that the breeder is truly interested in bettering the breed due to his or her’s passion and love for Shiba Inus.
Any breeder with a less worthy answer such as “they just thought it would be cool to try their hand at breeding” - should not be considered.
How long does the breeder keep the Shiba Inu puppies with their mother?
Ideally, a Shiba Inu puppy should stay with their mother and litter mates until at least 8 weeks old.
If the breeder is willing to give up a younger puppy, that usually is a sign that the breeder does not truly care about the well-being of the puppy.
However, there are certain times when a litter might need to be separated from their mother earlier due to health complications of the mother.
In these instances, the breeder is looking out for the health of their adult female that may suffer long term consequences from continuing to nurse.
Does the breeder provide detailed contracts regarding spaying / neutering requirements, returning of the puppy,
All reputable breeders usually require spay / neuter contracts for their puppies unless the puppy has the right credentials and is being sold as a “show dog”.
These breeders want to make sure that their puppies are going to homes as beloved pets and not used for inexperienced breeding.
Occasionally, breeders may have show dog quality puppies available to serious parties. These puppies will cost a lot more and still may come with a specific contract that you must follow.
However, most reputable breeders are very selective with who gets to purchase their show dog quality stock.
Does the breeder advertise their puppies or already have a waiting list?
The Shiba Inu is a relatively new breed to the United States therefore there are not a lot of Shiba Inu breeders out there - at least ethical ones.
Just about all reputable Shiba Inu breeders have a waiting list that sometimes run into wait times of a few years.
Any breeder that needs to advertise puppies on various platforms such as Craigslist, classifieds, or online should be avoided.
You will never find a quality Shiba Inu on Craigslist. Never.
Instead Shiba Inu puppies sold on Craigslist are commonly puppy mill type / backyard breeder puppies.
These puppies typically are of inferior quality in terms of physical standards and breed conformity. Additionally, these puppies usually come with various health and behavior issues as well.
Does the breeder provide references?
Most breeders that have been breeding for a while, and take their breeding business seriously will have references.
If the breeder does not have any written references available, ask them verbally if they have done business with any persons notable in the Shiba Inu / and or dog show / dog training community.
Can you find any information about disputes, legal issues, etc about the breeder online?
It won’t hurt and take long to do an Internet search on the background of the breeder that you are interested in.
To do this, try typing in the breeder’s name or business along with various keywords such as:
Additionally, you can join various social media groups and do searches or inquire there about the breeder you have in mind.
It's quite obvious that finding an ethical Shiba Inu breeder will take some time and work. However, hopefully the extensive information from this article will set you up on the right path.
Remember, a Shiba Inu is not a cute accessory that can easily be bought on a whim's notice. You are bringing an innocent life into your care and you need to be a responsible and conscientious pet owner before even bringing the new puppy home.
The decisions you make in terms of acquiring your new Shiba puppy has far-reaching consequences for other innocent animals as well. Do your diligent research and make every effort on your part to help stop the puppy mill cycle of cruelty.
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