A few weeks ago at one of my NYC Shiba Inu Meetups, someone asked me “do you know who owns this dog?” He was pointing to a poor quality male Shiba standing near me. I replied “Sorry, I don’t. Is something wrong?” He said “No, I’m planning to breed my female and he has all his parts.”
Apparently the only requirement for a mate to breed his female (which I didn’t see) with was a male with balls. <SIGH> I’m not saying the male Shiba in question wasn’t a great pet; he seemed friendly, healthy and well behaved. But this dog was not breeding material! His color and markings were completely wrong, he was not double-coated, and he had a skinny chest. (AKC Shiba Inu breed standard)
Irresponsible owners – and owners who simply don’t know any better – are contributing to the pet overpopulation problem every time they make a decision to casually breed their dogs. I found myself in a tight spot. I wanted to tell this person why what he was considering was a very, very bad idea, but I was there as the organizer of my meetup group and it didn’t seem like a diplomatic time to start a dog run brawl. I ended up holding my tongue, but in a way I regret that. After all, as we’ve discussed here before, the solution to the dog overpopulation problem really is education.
I was thinking about all this a couple days ago and it reminded me of an email I wanted to publish on the blog. Several months back, someone sent an inquiry to a Shiba list that I check sporadically.
Subject: Looking for male shiba in NYC/NJ to breed my sweetheart shiba
My sweetheart is a 1.5 year old female shiba (cream). She is belownormal size (only 15 lbs) and perfect for NYC size living condition.several friends of mine seriously urge to have a baby of my shiba. Idiscuss it with my vet and she thought it is fine as long as I havefriend to adopt the babies.the problem now is to find a male shiba for her.Do you have a cream or light brown male shiba around the area? Pleasecontact me and let discuss further. thanks…
Many of the responses to this inquiry were blind outrage and, unfortunately, not very helpful in educating this person. One response however was so thorough and well-written that I asked permission to post it here. This is what it said:
I’m sure there are others who will sugar coat this, but as a former breeder and as someone who rescued Shibas for over 10 years, I have a few comments/suggestions.
1. Clearly, you do not know the breed standard for the Shiba Inu. If you did, you would know that the cream color is considered a fault and there is NO brown Shiba. I presume you are thinking of RED. It may appear to be a light brown color, and that is improper, too. Ideally, it should be a flame orange red but can go all the way to a deep mahogany red. NO responsible breeder intentionally breeds creams.
2. Size. Weight is not the important indicator of size. A Shiba bitch should be between 13.5 to 15.5 inches at the withers. If it is smaller or taller, it is a DQ in the standard. That means it doesn’t reflect what a Shiba should look like.
3. Do you know WHY your female is so lightweight? Does she have normal thyroid levels? Have you checked?
4. Have you taken her to a canine eye specialist to have her eyes examined for cataracts and glaucoma? Either of those diseases IS hereditary and can have devastating consequences. Like blindness or loss of an eye!
5. Have you had your bitch’s hips x-rayed and the x-rays submitted to OFA to be certain she doesn’t have hip dysplasia. This is also hereditary, and can cause lameness severe enough to require surgery.
6. Have you had her patellae (knees) checked to be certain they do not luxate (slip out)? Luxating patellae can require surgery as well.
7. IF you choose to ignore all the above and breed anyway, do you have the money for an emergency C-section, if needed? If the dam cannot produce enough milk, are you available to tube feed 1-5 puppies every 2 hours for several weeks? Puppy replacement formula is VERY expensive. Do you have a plan for what you will do if your female doesn’t survive the labor or delivery? Can you afford the vet care for 1-5 puppies? Can you afford to feed a high quality feed to the pregnant dam and her puppies? The female would be pregnant for 9 weeks, and you must keep the puppies until they are 8 weeks before you can legally sell them. Can you afford to advertise your pups for sale for weeks? I hope you don’t plan to make a profit, as breeding is very expensive!
8. Do you have firm commitments from 1-5 people who will accept a puppy, regardless of gender or color, since you can guarantee neither? What if everyone wants girls and you get only boys? What if everyone wants a cream, and you don’t have any? Breeding cream to cream may not produce cream. Do you have any idea of the quality of the parents of your female? Are there any champions in the first 3 generations? Is she AKC registered? Does she have limited registration? If not, the breeder who sold her isn’t a reputable breeder!
9. A regular vet telling you your dog is healthy is NOT enough. That simply means that it doesn’t APPEAR to have anything wrong during a brief, cursory exam.
10. Do you KNOW how many nice Shibas and mixed-breed Shibas are out there right now, needing to be rescued or re-homed? There are hundreds!
11. If you love your little girl, then do what is best for her. Spay her and enjoy her company for the years to come. Breeding DOES shorten the life of a female and failure to spay DOES dramatically increase the likelihood of mammary cancer.
You are fee to do as you wish, of course, but I hope you will consider the best interest of the Shiba Inu and your female.
IF you won’t rescue, DON’T breed!