Shiba Inu

Grooming Advice

The smallest and oldest of all Japanese dogs, the Shiba Inu was originally bred to hunt large game such as boar and bear in the mountainous regions of Japan working the underbrush from which his name is reportedly derived. Known as the “Little Brushwood Dog” he was given official recognition as a precious natural product of Japan and is the # 1 Companion dog in Japan today.

More elegant than the original, larger boned, more rough looking dogs, the modern Shiba Inu is an excellent watchdog and hunter of small game. He is compact of body with well developed muscles and one expects to gain an overall impression of hard muscle plus an air of importance. This little fellow exudes confidence and beauty.

His coat calls for a double coat with stiff, straight outercoat and soft, dense undercoat. Colours are Red, Black & Tan, Red Sesame or Black Sesame. The undersides of his body, tail, inside leg and sides of muzzle and on cheeks is “Urajiro” or a whitish colour. The coat must not be long or woolly and the AKC standard states that is must not be trimmed. Whiskers remain intact.

Understanding that form follows function, this coat would have needed in his working mountain environment, to be of good texture and resistant to water and cold. Arctic or mountain coats, all need to be impervious to dampness. Whilst his tail calls for longer hair standing off like a brush, the rest of his coat is approx 1 1/2 to 2 inches long with shorter fur on face, ears and legs.

To maintain the best for the Shiba Inu, one should never use conditioner on this coat as it serves to flatten or soften a coat, the very things you don’t want. However to retain the all important colour and water resistant quality, you do need to hydrate the coat. Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil is a natural blend of wonderful extracts and oils of Evening Primrose, Calendula etc and is water soluble. Use this after bathing by saturating the coat with a mix of 2 litres warm water and 1 dessertspoon of Seabreeze Oil. Leave in and do not rinse out. Blow dry if possible for best finish. This will never be greasy or unsightly but instead gives you the absolute best finish and sheen to the coat whilst retaining all the texture and volume you need. It is a very natural look to the coat and with constant use, the coat will look fabulous. We even spray the Seabreeze Oil onto the coats during the week for extra protection. You can dilute this or use undiluted - just revert to the bath mix recipe when preparing for a show.

For show bath, choose either the Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo or Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo diluting both at 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo. The Body Building Shampoo gives lots of lift and volume to a coat that is skimpy or is not in full coat and the All Purpose gives a fantastic shine. Neither will soften or flatten the coat and you can choose to mix 1/2 and 1/2 of these shampoos too if you wish for both the Body Building and superb shine qualtities. Then of course rinse, and saturate the dog with the Seabreeze Oil mix as described above, and leave in and don’t rinse. This is your basic routine.

When the dog is out of coat, always choose the Body Building Shampoo and then Seabreeze Oil diluted and saturated onto the coat but you can at this point add 1 tbspn Plush Puppy Volumising Cream to the Seabreeze Oil mix and leave in and don’t rinse. Blow dry starting from the rear and working forwards towards the head drying against the growth of the coat for as much lift and fullness as possible. The Volumising Cream is not sticky and does not feel artificial. It just gives a “more coat” feel to the dog. How did we manage without this? You can also mix 1 tbspn of Volumising Cream to 1 cup warm water and mix with a fork till blended and use in a Plush Puppy 250ml Spray Bottle to lightly spray the dog prior to showing on the day and then blow drying quickly back up for maximum fullness. The coat when not in full bloom, tends to flatten overnight and a quick spruce up with the Volumising Cream and a 3 minute dry, will make the coat spring back to life.

For general brushing, always use a Grooming Spray. Never brush a dry coat without it. Use Plush Puppy O.M.G. Grooming Spray diluting the Concentrate at least 30:1 i.e. 30 parts water to one part O.M.G. This will keep the coat free of static and tangle free. It is quite remarkable! Again, another product we cannot live without! Coats just behave with O.M.G. and you eliminate the possibility of breaking or stretching the coat.

Every couple of weeks, treat the coat with Plush Puppy Coat Rescue. This should be applied for easier dispersion diluted to a workable, runny slurry i.e. 3 parts water to 1 part Coat Rescue approx and worked through the coat and left on for as long as possible before rinsing off. We leave this on our kennel dogs for several days but 10 minutes is better than nothing! It has everything known to man in this formulation giving deep hydration and depositing protein for extra structure to the hair.

If the topline does dehydrate and get dry flippy ends, then use Coat Rescue regularly but also mix Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream 1 tablespoon to 1 cup warm water and agitate with spoon to blend and apply liberally in a Plush Puppy 250 ml Spray Bottle along the topline to instantly flatten and put some elasticity back into the damaged hair. This is great for keeping that topline even and flat.

On show day also use a light spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for instant reflection and gleam to the topline. Hold the bottle a good 30 - 45 cms away and allow the mist to fall onto the coat rather than blasting the coat. Run your hand along the topline and see the glamour in the hair appear. By keeping shine to the coat, you instantly give the appearance of deeper and richer colour as the light reflects off a smoother surface better than a rough surface.

Some extra info for those with dogs whose coats are a trifle soft, add a few dustings of Plush Puppy Powder Puff Terrier. You don’t need much. Just a few siftings through the fingers onto the coat and worked well into the hair. This is mighty tough stuff. It gives instant texture where there is little or none. Use as much as you need till texture is achieved but don’t overdo it. Once worked well through the coat, brush out excess or preferably, blow out excess.

Finally, a light spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher onto the dog for a final olfactory enhancement to the dog. Judges do judge with eyes, hands AND nose. Better to have a dog that doesn’t smell like a dog trailer or a kennel. Some dogs just get into all sorts of smells or pee all the way to a show in their trailer. Clean up their undercarriage with a quick spray of P.P. Wonder Wash, work the lather around the offending area and towel dry off and follow with a light overall spray of Odour Muncher.

Now your inquisitive, confident little fellow is ready to party! Gaited on his loose leash at a good trot around the ring, his outgoing, confident disposition is apparent to all. His gorgeous foxy head with triangular, pricked ears with slant of back of ears following his arch of neck, tail set high and caried over back in a sickle or curled position, all lend to the forthrightness and dignity of his character. His nimble and easy gait show a brightness and energy that is quite magnificent in such a small dog. He may be small but he can work and this proud little breed is well deserving of his #1 Companion status within Japan. An arrestingly natural beauty!

- Cheryl Le Court