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Hunting with shiba inu
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    I was wondering if there is any info on hunting with the shiba inu breed and how they do it also on what type of game they used for them to hunt?

    I know it probably was rabbits, pheasant, and I've heard some did boar hunting too.

    I'm not looking to hunt with Saya or anything, but I was sorta interested in the hunting shiba inu history and how they did it or how they trained a hunting shiba inu from birth to adult..

    Thanks for the help I've seen a few blogs online, but I was wondering if there was anymore info on it.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
    Post edited by curlytails at 2012-05-31 01:16:16
  • From what I understand Shiba's where originally used as pack hunters that would hunt down and hold at bay for the hunters. They were used to hunt boar originally. Anyway that's what I found out when I was looking. Hope I helped.
  • I don't hunt with my Shiba, so this is all hearsay.

    My understanding is that Shiba actually make effective bird dogs. Of course breeders haven't selected for hunting traits in many generations (and to my knowledge never have in the U.S.) so you may find that today's Shiba is a less capable hunter than it's ancestor you may read about. Like the other nihon ken, they tend to work closer to the hunter than most of the typical north American hunting breeds like pointers, spaniels, or retrievers. They will naturally flush birds but would need to be taught to point out birds before flushing. They also aren't natural retrievers so you would need to work with them on that as well if you wanted them to retrieve. One of my Shibas has a very soft mouth and could probably be an effective retriever. The other one...not so much.

    As for other game, I know my Shiba are more than athletic enough to hunt small game like rabbit and squirrel. They will seek out prey naturally, you just have to teach them to focus on the scent of your desired game. If you're lucky, they will chase the prey in your direction so you can dispatch it. If you aren't, they'll take off away from you and I wish you good luck finding them if you don't have a GPS collar. Shiba will catch small game as well. If you aren't quick to catch up to the chase, your shiba may end up with a meal before you get there. ;-)

    As far as boar hunting goes, I'm pretty sure you misread that. To my knowledge Shiba have never been used to hunt boar. That's not to say you couldn't train a Shiba to hunt boar. The process of finding a boar is no different than the scenting/tracking that a Shiba would go through to find a rabbit or other small game; however, boar are FAST and MEAN animals and a small Shiba would have a VERY difficult time keeping it bayed for any length of time. Perhaps if you had a pack of 10 Shiba working together they might be able to bay a boar. But even then I suspect one of them is going to get hurt. You'd have better luck hunting boar with a Shiba as a tracking (or "strike") dog and then bringing in a couple heavy hitters like a Cur, CC, or pitty to do the heavy lifting and catch/bay the boar.

    Again, all this info I've compiled through a lot of reading on hunting with nihon ken, so YMMV.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    Maybe when sources were finding information about what shibas hunted, they took the general information of what people in Japan hunted with their dogs. I did read somewhere that shibas were even used to hunt bear, which is pretty far fetched. But, if someone was hired to write a quick article about the shiba inu for a dog breed book, they wouldn't really know that there are other hunting breeds in Japan. So they could have taken information found on the Shikoku and Kai, and thought that those were shibas as well. Could also explain why some books state that the shiba inu comes in brindle and a few other colors that no one has actually seen.
  • DexterDexter
    Posts: 31
    hmm you would think that a Shiba vs. a bear would end pretty gruesome for the little Shiba...but maybe if it was a pack hunt, the odds would be in the Shiba's favor? just a thought....
  • katikati
    Posts: 34
    Something to think about too is that there are smaller species of bear, the Asian Black Bear for instance is roughly 3 1/2-4 1/2 feet tall and weighing in around 140-200 lb. I bet a pack of shiba could bay a small bear like that. (in theory it works in my head)
  • Most of the sources about Shibas mention boar hunting, small game, and birds. There is material on the internet about how Shibas can be used for flushing pheasant. Some of this has been posted on either the Shiba or Nihon Ken Forums. Just do a search on "hunting". As to boar hunting, I have always suspected that Shibas were part of a mixed hunting pack with other Nihon Ken. (The Shibas could have been the "spotters and bayers" while the other larger Nihon Ken actually brought down the boar.) But there are also the "boar holding" trials conducted by the current Nippo association twice a year (see photo on National Shiba Club Judges Seminar). Maybe the Walrus can pose the question of Shiba hunting techniques to the hunters he knows...
    Post edited by sukoshi’s mom at 2010-02-11 23:45:42
  • Perhaps I should clarify. There are plenty of one-line blurbs on the internet stating the Shiba were bred to hunt birds and small game and even hunt boar and bear. My interpretation of that based on the research I've done getting prepared to hunt myself and from talking with a few people who hunt their nihon ken is that they are traceable to passages such as this one (excerpted from

    It is a known fact that foundation stocks of shiba-inu as exists today are originally brought down from the mountains of Shinshu, San-In, Shikoku and other remote areas of Japan. There are numerous accounts of expeditions by the pioneers of Nippo in search of purest of the indigenous dogs in 1920’s and 1930’s. All such reports indicate that the best and the purest were found among Matagi hunters living in the mountainous regions of Japan. Matagis are professional hunters who make living by hunting bears, wild boars, deer, foxes, raccoons and other wild animals. The Matagis of different regions used different types of hunting dogs and Nippo established several breeds such as Shikokus and Kishus out of these indigenous dogs. In general, medium size dogs were used for hunting large animals while shibas are used mainly for small animals and birds.

    It's easy upon a quick read to interpret that as an indicator that Shiba were bred to hunt boar when, in fact, they weren't. When I said "To my knowledge Shiba have never been used to hunt boar" I worded that poorly. Yes, I'm sure people have successfully hunted boar with Shiba. Hell, if I recall correctly Shigeru has even hunted boar with JRTs. I even alluded to use of Shiba to hunt boar when I suggested they would make good strike dogs. The way I should have worded that is to have said that "Shiba were never *BRED* to hunt boar." I think the Shiba would be in a boat similar to that of an american or european bird dog if they were put on boar. They can do it, but it's not their natural tendency and they would need more training than a Hokkaido, Kishu, or Shikoku which have been specifically bred to hunt large game like boar, bear, and to a lesser degree deer.
  • This is really interesting--I've read the same kind of things people are mentioning, and seen the bear thing, and thought, huh, that sounds a little unlikely.
    And I have always wondered exactly how the Shibas were used as hunting dogs.

    I live in the mountains in New Mexico, and have a fenced in 1/2 acre. This means there is plenty of hunting for the Shibas in the yard. They've caught mice, woodrats, rabbits, lizards, snakes (which always worries me a bit--what if it was a rattler?) and birds. I've seen both of them catch birds out of the air, though Toby is a bit too lazy and fat to do that anymore. I'm sure a lot of you have seen similar things in your shibas. I always thought, sure, they can hunt, but would you ever get anything away from them once they had it? So I too have wondered how they hunted and how they were trained...

    I think I came across something once that claimed they hunted in male/female pairs....but maybe someone just told me that. It's hard for me to imagine a pack of shibas! I keep imagining them getting into scuffles with each other instead of hunting, but who knows.

    Interesting anyway, and I'd also like to know more.
  • "It's hard for me to imagine a pack of shibas! I keep imagining them getting into scuffles with each other instead of hunting, but who knows."

    We've actually discussed this point on the NKF quite a bit. Here's a summary of those discussions as well as my interpretation of it's implications on hunting with Shiba.

    Theories suggest that instinct and upbringing create certain "Fixed Action Patterns" (FAPs) in dogs. Drives (like prey drive) in dogs lead to the desire to express those FAPs. The stalk, chase, catch, kill pattern is a very important FAP in dogs linked to prey and survival drives. Dogs with altered FAPs like pointers who stalk and then freeze often times have high levels of anxiety because their natural FAPs are truncated and they don't get the release associated with completing them. At least that's my theory. :-) When hunting, dogs are all focused on the prey and their natural FAPs are playing out as they should. In that case, their fight drive is not engaged so the chances of them fighting are very low. When you might encounter a problem is when one dog completes their FAP by catching prey and another is still letting it play out. The dog that has completed their FAP may guard the prey as a resource and their fight drive may kick in when another dog approaches.

    When a pack of dogs is hunting larger prey like boar or bear, the odds of them actually bringing down the prey are very low. If they are the baying type of dog (i.e. shiba, shikoku or kai) they will be locked into their prey FAP until the hunter arrives and dispatches the prey at which point they'll all get to bite and complete the FAP. Also, the hunter will be around to redirect them to avoid any potential problems. On the other hand, with a catch type dog (i.e. a kishu) the dogs will bite the prey as part of the FAP and hold on. They will still remain in their prey FAP until the hunter dispatches the prey.

    Now, if the pack encounter a small prey like a rabbit that one dog can catch, kill, and then walk away from the other dogs, I could imagine there being some snarkies. Perhaps that's why I too have read that Shiba tend to be hunted in pairs whereas the larger-game nihon ken are often hunted in packs of 3-5.
  • Ooops, got wrapped up in the drive/FAP thing. As for training a hunting dog, this is also something I've been doing a lot of research on. Most dogs can be trained to hunt; however, the best hunting dogs are those that have strong drive and strong instincts for tracking and catching/baying. Dogs from hunting lines are selected to have a high drive, strong nose, fearlessness, and the athletic ability to bay/catch. When training a hunting dog, you basically need to reinforce those natural instincts coming out. In some dogs, it happens really early. Gen and Shigeru have told of their 4 month old Kishu trying to bay pigs from behind a fence. 4 months old!

    From what I've been able to put together in my research, there are really three important components to reinforcing the natural hunting instincts in dogs: 1) recall/checkins; 2) tracking; 3) baying/catching. First, dogs are by nature pack animals and their ancestors hunted collectively in packs. As a result, it is their instinct to not wander too far from the hunter. To train recall/checkins a lot of offleash time is necessary where lots of praise and/or treats are supplied to reward the dog returning on it's own and when called. Second, tracking can be trained starting at any age by using the scents of the prey you plan to put the dog on. If you plan to hunt rabbit with your dog, get rabbit hides and give them to your puppy. As they get older, take your puppy out in the yard and hide the rabbit hide and then having him/her find it. Third, your dog will need practice catching/baying (this is especially true with big game). Many dedicated hunters will trap or purchase some of the prey they plan to hunt with their dog and create a training facility that consists of a sectioned off pen that will allow your dog to get safe exposure to it's intended prey. Lots of praise for the proper attitude when the dog bays/catches the trapped prey. Lastly, practice practice practice. The more you read about people that hunt with their dogs, the more you realize they put a LOT of time into training. I even know of one nihon ken owner who quit his job as hunting season started so he could spend more time in the mountains with his young dogs. And more importantly, you have to set them up for success. Don't put your 20 pound Shiba on a 400 pound boar their first day out in the woods. It will be disastrous for the dog even if they escape with their life. Take things slow and create positive experiences so your dog learns to enjoy hunting with you.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Thanks a lot for posting this Dave I meant to comment on this sooner, but I got busy and forgot. This really satisfied my interest on this topic.

    One note Saya does display a lot of interest in things like birds, rabbits, squirrels, and snakes.

    At 9weeks old Saya has showed interest into chasing animals that was the age she chased two big bunnies they of coarse were too fast for her and once they ran into the forest she stopped and ran back to me which I gave tons of praise and treats.

    During the spring time when the garter snakes were active in the fields Saya would always sniff them out and if she found it she'd poke at it with her paws which the snake would slither in the high grass.

    Ever Sunday when I go do my errands I bring Saya to come with me and when I take her into the pet store she gets really excited at the Macaws she whines, screams lightly and she gets pretty focused on the birds.

    I just wanted to share my experiences and I just am fascinated and happy that Saya is so interested in things like that thankfully she didn't see the quail in my field when I walked her she would have went berserk. lol
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • Saya the snake hunter??? Hmm. If you are in rattlesnake country, you may want to discuss rattlesnake vaccination with your vet. The vaccination will provide you with more time to get her to the vet for treatment -- if bitten.
  • nuki is a bird hunter.
  • We live in Long Island, NY...not too many critters around here for MoJo to chase...but he sure likes to chase the squirrels. Squirrels seem to be faster than him and can scale a fence in no time. Birds interest him, but they are pretty fast too.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    I know there might be rattle snakes, but they were hunted down pretty bad here I'll have to contact the local wildlife people to see if they're still around.

    So far only snakes I've observed are garter snakes and black rat snakes which both are harmless.

    I love snakes I have two corn snakes used to be three but Yoshi died at age 10 he was an amazing snake very tame never bitten me. I always stop Saya from messing with the snakes, but sometimes during the times when baby garters are around they are a bit harder to spot.

    Thanks for letting me know about that in indiana rattle snake is listed under native snakes, but I never seen them I walk three times a day in the fields and forests I guess I never thought of it since they were hunted down a bit..
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 1361
    Hey! I love snakes too! We have a pueblan milk / California banana king snake hybrid :) [ I've kept corns, water snakes, & southern ring necks before him ]

    Down here, we went on a hike, & we stumbled upon 1 coral, 1 cottonmouth, 1 rattler, & a harmless little garter, all sunbathing on the trail D: [ all on the same hike! ] so...our pups will be taught to leave snakes alone, as much as possible, since Florida is filled with venomous species. :(


    There is a new "hunting / working" category on the NK side of the forum if anyone's interested in hunting with their pups. Lots of good info there :) ~
  • RedShastaRedShasta
    Posts: 38
    Take a look here: A couple of the dogs look like rangy Shiba-types.
    Visit for Shiba evilness!
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    The two dogs appear to be Hokkaido Inu and I think one may even be a western hound cross.

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