Shiba Inu means “brushwood dog” in Japanese! That explains so much! This smallest of the Japanese native breeds was bred to hunt small wild game, boar, and bear in the dense underbrush of Japan’s mountainous regions. The same qualities that originally made him a great hunter make him a great companion and watchdog today. They are keen, nimble, alert, and independent. They tend to be aloof around strangers but full of devotion and affection for family and trusted friends. Shibas are adaptable to apartment life but need regular exercise since they are hunter at heart. They benefit greatly from obedience training and their thick coat requires regular brushing.