Shiba Inu refers to the smallest of the six original and distinct Japanese breeds of dog. A small, agile dog that copes well with mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu was originally bred for hunting. It is similar in appearance to the Akita, though much smaller in stature. The Shiba Inu nearly became extinct in the latter phase of World War II, with all subsequent dogs bred from only three surviving bloodlines.
Shibas are fiercely independent and highly intelligent dogs. They have a reputation for aloofness with strangers, and obedience training is often difficult. Recent DNA analysis confirms that this is one of the oldest dog breeds.