Saturday, 10 March 2012

14. Identity Crisis

So while I was out at a Charity Training course, hubby got a bee in his bonnet that Bella was not who we thought she was! 
      When we picked her up from the Rescue Centre in October 2011, they couldn’t give us any info on her because she had just been handed over (with a broken leg, see earlier posts), but because of her blue tongue they guessed she had some Chow in her and from her build possibly staffie. So she was classed as a Chow x Staffie.
      Her breeding didn’t matter to us; she was a gorgeous, quiet, cute, lovable, nine month old who stole our hearts, nearly broke our hearts and lives in our hearts!!  Everybody loves her! Everybody we meet stops and admires her, probably because she’s not a pedigree like many of the dogs around here! But they are genuine when they say she’s beautiful, and she is – and just like children she behaves impeccably (well, almost) when around other people, but this walking thing ………….!!
      So hubby did some investigating and when I got home presented me with our new breed of dog : a Shiba Inu, a Japanese breed! has quite a bit of info on the breed:

- The Shiba is a small compact dog - √ 
- The head is in proportion with the body - √
- The round muzzle has a moderate stop and tapers slightly towards the nose – I suppose it does!
- The tight lips and nose are black - √ (very tight-lipped!)  
- The teeth meet in a scissors bite – well, uhm….
- The deep-set eyes are triangular in shape and dark in colour – well they look like the other pictures of Shibas!
- The eye rims are black - √
- The erect ears are triangular in shape and small in proportion to the rest of the body – well yes, except for the fold-over one!
- the high-set tail is thick at the base, curled and carried over the back, either in a ring or with a sickle curve - √ absolutely!  
- the coat is double with a soft thick undercoat and a stiff straight over coat – if that’s how it’s described, yes!
- Coat colours come in red, or red with a little black overlay, black with tan markings, sesame with red markings, all with a cream, buff or grey undercoat – from looking at pictures of the Shibas on the website, Bella is a Sesame!!
- Markings should appear on the cheeks and sides of the muzzle, throat, underside and chest - √
- There may be white on the legs, tip of the tail and above the eyes - √

- The Shiba is alert - √ confident - √ - courageous - √ (going off on her own for an entire day or climbing over the fence into the school playing ground counts as courageous!), and bold – I suppose one could say yes to this too!
- Loving - √√√  kind - √ - trainable - √ indoors! She sits and lies down on command, has learnt to wait until we say she can eat, has learnt not to dash out the door first but we go first, - very trainable … inside!!
- Brave – Not afraid of any dog bigger than her!
- They are clean – uhm unless you’ve taken her through muddy fields!
- most try to avoid puddles – she used to but the x bit kicked in and she gave up trying to walk around the puddle taking up the entire pathway!
- relatively easy to housebreak - √ She seemed to be housetrained when we brought her home, but she’s only messed inside twice – once on day one or two, and once in the holiday cottage!!!
- They bark little - √
- bond closely with their handler - √
- Playful - √√
- Delightful - √√
- well-adjusted - √√
- good with kids – not had much exposure as yet
- good with other dogs - √ mainly, she just wants to play with them!
-  and cats – well uhm?!!!  Maybe she just wants to play with the ginger cat!
-  active - √
- Lively - √
- Agile - √√ climbing fences! I wonder how she’d do at Dog Agility?!
- Fast - √√√√
- can be reserved with strangers - √ after four months she came and sat at my feet in a room full of people who’d been coming to our home every Tuesday evening, but she didn’t interact with them.
- If the Shiba is not completely convinced that its handler can handle the pack leader position and regards herself as stronger minded, they will become a bit stubborn as they will believe they need to make up their own rules - √√ That explains everything!!
- a natural hunting dog - √
- be careful when taking them off leash as they like to chase - √√√ :D
- adapts well to travelling - √ she eventually lay down on the back seat and didn’t whine for an hour’s journey!
- Height: Bitches 13-15 inches (33-38cm) - √
- Weight: Bitches 15-20 pounds (6.8-9kg) – x oops this is maybe where the x breed kicks in again. Last weight check she was 20kg!
- Health problems – prone to hip dysplasia, PRA and patellar luxation (slipped kneecap) – she already has a pin and plate in her leg! But at least fore-warned is good.
- It is moderately active - √
- The Shiba’s waterproof all-weather coat protects it in both cold and hot conditions – √ well that explains why she enjoyed the snow and never looks like a wet rag!
- The Shiba Inu is an undemanding dog – √ except when she really needs to go!
- That will adapt to your circumstances so long as it gets a daily walk - √ I think the experiment of taking her on holiday with us proved that.
- This breed can walk for hours on end as it has tremendous endurance - √√√√√√ yes, but human doesn’t!  
and lastly
- the Shiba was bred to hunt small wild game, bear, boar and to flush birds - √ that explains the fascination with the local country pheasants, the intense pounce on what might have been a mouse, and while inside the staring competition with the birds at the bird feeder, and when outside the sudden jerk at the silly blackbird tottering about on the path in front of us!   

 At first I thought these characteristics could be attributed to any dog, but I'm not too sure! Add to that the blue/black tongue also appearing in the Shiba Inu and that fact that she ticks so many of these boxes, I think we've found ourselves the owners of a very cute, beautiful, adorable, stubborn, willful - Shiba Inu called Bella!