Here’s the statistics for Japanese Shiba Inu Rescue UK ‘s first year of operation. ....we launched the rescue July 10 and up to July 2011, we rescued and rehomed 23 shibas, that figure does not include the 5 dogs also rehomed by breeders as a direct result of an enquiry passed to them from us. Nor does it include dogs homed by other rescues. 23 dogs is a significant number in a breed as numerically sparse as ours....annual registrations are around 200 – 240 , 23 dogs represents around 10 % , That’s 1 pup in every 10 being bred are ending up in THIS rescue. Then additionally there’s the dogs being returned to breeders or ending up in pounds etc. The point I’m trying to make is that a significant amount of the pups bred are being ‘recycled’ and not getting their forever homes first time around. I’m also still thinking that we are missing out helping many dogs which are unfortunate enough to end up in ‘pounds’ . The reason for this is I believe that the breed is not being recognised by shelter staff. Shibas and akitas don’t fair well in pounds and I know akitas are often PTS without given a chance for rehoming, shelters are so overwhelmed with the volume of unwanted dogs they are expected to take, that any dog that wont ‘kennel share’ is often first on the euthanasia list. As we all know, shibas don’t generally want to share anything and can often come across as being nervous and aggressive when scared. I have contacted no less than 270 plus shelters with a poster displaying shibas of different colours, types and coat stages to hopefully make them aware of what shibas look like. So why are there so many needing rescue? Of the 23 we took 8 were due to death or illness of owner, 7 were due to other changes of circumstances i.e. divorce, change of work plan etc, 7 were due to behavioural issues and 1 was picked up as a stray. The dogs arriving with the supposed behavioural issues were most concerning as all but one, were just typical shibas placed in totally inappropriate homes. i.e. the 10 month puppy placed with a 77 year old couple who were in and out of hospital was never destined to ever be a positive outcome. Another dog was handed to rescue as an ‘escapologist’ but it turns out the couple had no garden fence ! It’s our duty as breeders to try and place our dogs properly and give true and full advice on this breed to all prospective owners. In the above cases it really was just a case of taking the money and slamming the door, as I’m sad to say, no further help was forthcoming from the breeder.
So what can we as breeders do to safeguard the long term future of the pups we sell or older dogs we rehome? ....as a priority I would advise microchipping or tattooing, this way the dog can always be traced back to the breeder. Always neuter any adult dogs before rehoming, Contract your dogs so they are returnable to you and endorse your pedigrees to prevent anyone breeding without your consent. Vet homes thoroughly, get references and use the internet and networking to get information on prospect puppy buyers to ensure they are where they say, close ranks on dodgy enquiries and inform others. Many of us are doing all the above but we are never going to stop the most determined getting a shiba, but I do believe that our networking of dodgy enquiries has stopped more
that ‘one bad apple’ getting into the breed. However, there are an alarming number of bad enquiries at the moment, people wanting to buy dogs for breeding who have never even seen a shiba is quite a regular request. As rescue co-ordinator I get a constant stream of requests to supply cheap/free dogs to breed with , some people seem quite genuinely shocked when they are told this is not what rescues are about.
Next problem arising is how to stop the breeders of these weird and wonderful crossbreeds cashing in on shibas. We have already someone breeding shibas with pugs and another doing shibas x collies and a further one doing shibas x bullterriers. If anyone has any ideas on how to protect the breed against this exploitation please let us all know. In the past 2 weeks rescue has been asked to take 2 shiba Xs from pounds in Ireland. I have agreed for the time being as there are no shibas on rescue and prospective homes are relatively plentiful right now. One of these Xs , Paddy, was described as a shiba x pom, when he arrived Paddy was clearly not a X pom, but probably a shiba X with german spitz or Finnish lapphund. We’ll never know for sure what Paddy is, but a new home was waiting straight away so a happy ending there. The other dog, Errol was advised by the pound to be a Akita x shiba, when he arrived I was surprised at the size of him, he is probably a cross between American and Japanese type akitas, I doubt there’s any shiba blood, but he is a great dog , very affectionate and again a home was waiting. The latest crossbred we have been asked to help with is a sharpei x shiba..at time of writing he is still needing a home and can be seen on our website.
Fundraising went very well not only for us, but we should take a pat on the back for the magnificent effort co-ordinated Nation Wide after the Japanese Tsunami with 5 events organised by JSIR raising the fantastic amount of £2000 for the animals of Japan who were affected by the tragic event. The photo shows myself and Steve Smith along with our generous sponsors Royal Canin with the cheque which was sent to JEARS (Japanese Earthquake and Animal Support Rescue) more details of their efforts can be seen at www.jears.org Well done and thanks to all who gave so generously.
FINALLY, THANKS EVERYONE FOR THE PHENOMENAL SUPPORT THAT HAS BEEN SHOWN TO RESCUE SINCE OUR BEGININGS BACK IN JULY 2010....it means a lot to me and YOUR breed.