Mac the Shiba Inu I am a classy Shiba that enjoy long walk on the beach… IS THAT CHEESE?


National Geographic – Shiba Inu is Most Wolflike

National Geographic February Issue showing dog breeds and their genetic markups

In their February issue, National Geographic (NatGeo? Not a fan of the new name) published a story about how we came to have so many different dog breeds and what we can learn from their genetics. Among the great story is this chart on the right that generated quite a buzz in the Shiba Inu community. The reason? Shiba Inu is the dog breed that is genetically closest to the wolves. Chow Chow and Akita came in second and third, Malamute 4th. You can click on the chart thumbnail to see the complete chart.

The descriptions for each of the 4 categories are a bit vague, with the description for the Wolflike category as follow:

"With roots in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, these breeds are genetically closest to wolves, suggesting they are the oldest domesticated breeds."

I would not misinterpret this as Shiba Inu having the most wolf-like mentality (pack order, alpha... etc), for me this conveys that Shiba Inu did not have as much human tinkering along the way and stayed relatively true to how nature intended. At least that's how I read it. What do you think?

Comments (13) Trackbacks (1)
  1. awesome. i must go get the copy today!!

  2. I read this issue of Nat Geo. When I saw that chart I went nuts. I been talking to my Shiba, Yuki about it ever since. I keep reminding her she is “most wolf-like”.

  3. wow..thats cool. my shiba “the gizzamonster” is a hunter!!! she will eat anything and hides everything. her favorite spot to hide pigs ears is under my pillow on my bed…yes yuck…but thats her place. we also have an akita. the two together are such a pair. will never own another breed besides these two. best dogs we’ve ever had!

  4. Very interesting, thanks for sharing! I just got my first shiba 3 weeks ago, so I’m reading up on the breed some more 😉
    But I agree with you, I read it as shibas being closest genetically and least mixed and modified by humans, but as they have been bred withing the breed and domesticated for so long, I don’t think that makes them wolves. Although I have to say, compared to the mini dachshund (way down the list!) we had before, there are many more “wild” instincts.

  5. How ironic. My garbage man mentioned nat geo when he saw my new shiba Inu puppy today. Asked if I had seen the article or the show over the weekend. I said no. But can you guess what I called my 3 month old Shiba pup – Wolfie!!

  6. I agree that shiba inu’s are awesome Hunters and fierce dogs however they seem a bit hard to train, I prefer a dog that I can interact with all day, such as Frisbee fetch, bike riding..I also do not like breeds that are not good off of a leash.I live in NYC and my border collies are never on a leash and they are insanely smart…I prefer a dog that performs well rather than one that looks great. I also have a huskie that I rescued from a friend and he is all looks and no brains lol

    • Jason – my Shiba was very easy to train and I take him in my car with me to coffee shops, Petco or anywhere else they allow dogs. Kenji will play Frisbee and fetch all kinds of things and bring them back. I won’t trust him off the leash yet because he is so young. It really depends on the breeder and character of the dog. Kenji is insanely smart and has a quirky personality to go with it, so don’t base everything on just a few comments.

      • I have a 3yr old Shiba named Choco. I do let him off leash. I admit, he doesn’t come the first time every time… but, I do not worry that he will not come back. :] He is very smart, independent, and playful. I can ride a bike and go for a run with him by my side. As far as the fetch aspect goes, he will almost always go and get the ball, but bringing it back to me depends on if he wants to or not. Choco wasn’t difficult to train and he was very food motivated! And he can do many dog tricks! Awesome personality! I’m told from other dog owners that my Shiba is different from other Shibas they’ve met…very social, friendly, and obedient. :] He is a wonderful dog.

      • My Shiba name is Kenji as well. He is very smart and more cat like than dog, so off leash is a problem. However he is not very prey driven. He doesn’t try to escape and is friendly to almost all other dogs. Aloof with people until he gets to know them. He cries and hides his special treats, digs a hole to put his balls and toys. Very quirky little fella!

  7. There is a saying that I find very true…. If you own, or should I say are owned by a shiba, you get 50 dogs in 1. That is so true. I never know what I’m going to get with my 2. But they are lovable.

  8. such wow no domesticashun

    such wilde
    much howl


  9. Such article. Much read. Very word. So doge. wow.

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