Talk to some people about the Shiba Inu and they would NEVER have another.  The dog was aggressive, hyperactive or fearful.  Unfortunately many people are dealing with Puppy Mills or a rescue dog from a Puppy Mill and ended up with a Shiba that was bred with the only motivation being profit! Corners were cut and breeding stock was used that had poor temperaments and health problems.  Of course the breeder did not get the blame, the breed did!  

There are a few dedicated breeders striving to protect and preserve the breed.  These breeders breed for a well balanced Shiba that will be an excellent family pet and companion as well as a beautiful breed representative that can win in the show ring!  A list of these people will be found at  

There is a lot of work involved in breeding a great Shiba.  I have shown dogs since 1998, and have been in Shibas since 1993 when they were first recognized by the AKC.  I am currently the only NSCA member breeding and showing Shiba Inu in MN.  Sadly there are many Shiba breeders  who do not show or abide by a Code of Ethics towards breeding quality dogs.

A lot of research is done when I plan my breeding.  I only have 3 to 4 litters a year and Kayobi Shibas are like no other Shibas here in MN.  I breed for a dog with a great laid back calm and confident personality. Temperament is #1 for me.  I want a dog I can live with!   We love the unique temperament of the Shiba Inu.  The Japanese have a word, kan-i, to describe the spirited boldness and Shiba attitude.  A good Shiba temperament is one of calmness, bravery and alertness, tempered with obedience and we strive to preserve these traits in our Shibas.  We have seen many Shibas that are either shy or have a disobedient, wild nature, more like a husky then a true Shiba temperament. Of course a puppy raised in a family with children who run and scream will chase and may turn nippy, so it is wise to evaluate your family to see if this may be a concern.  Likewise a pup that is not taken out to new places and socialized may be fearful in new situations.  I recommend a puppy socialization and a beginners obedience course.
 I check all of my adult stock for hip, knee and eye problems as well as overall health. In the past we have just kept the records in a book as there are additional fees to record them with OFA.  However since most people are on-line now we have decided to "get with the times" and as of 2013 we will be submitting all our results to OFA for official numbers!
I also prefer a certain look in a Shiba.  I breed to the standard, but every show breeder can interpret it slightly differently, and some people concentrate on different things or have different breeding practices.  I love a pretty face with a lot of cheek and thick, well furred ears!  It is one of the things I look for when I want to keep a puppy to show.  I prefer to line breed and inbreed to keep the type I like and to eliminate genetic problems.  I do have outcross lines as well.

 Our puppies are treated with the greatest veterinary care and get daily attention and socialization. They are raised in our home underfoot and get exposed to the many noises a family makes. Once they are old enough to explore their environment we provide them with many toys and surfaces to stimulate their development.  Pups that are raised in a commercial facility often lack human companionship and miss out on various experiences that promote brain development.  These dogs are often found in rescues when puppy mills are done breeding them and they take professional training to make them acceptable companions and many can never lead a normal life as a family pet.

We start a "reservation list" for our pups once the litter is born.  In most cases we do plan to keep a pup to show and we always reserve the right to keep our pick puppy. A $400 deposit will reserve a pup for you from one of our future litters. Our pups are currently $1600-$2000 Show prospects are $2500-$3000

Many people start out looking at buying a pup from a reputable breeder, but are put off by the price.  Yes, you can find Shibas at bargain prices in the newspaper.  You may end up paying many times over the cost of a pup from a reputable breeder in vet costs.  My first dog was a "Bargain dog"  He had Hip dysplaysia, entropian in both eyes and severe allergies.   His breeders cut costs but not screening their breeding stock for genetic problems, they were just breeding pets.  His temperament was also wild and he was not a good dog for a first time owner and an experienced breeder would have matched me up with a better pup had I been willing to pay a little more and wait for an upcoming litter.

A pet pup from a reputable Shiba breeder averages $1800  This pup would have a champion background or parents, OFA/CERF clearances in his lineage, AKC limited registration and a spay/neuter agreement.  We sell our pups as "show potential"  At 8 weeks it is impossible to guarantee that your pup will be a show dog, se we will ask you to re-evaluate your dog at 6 to 9 months of age.   

Lately the trend has been for backyard breeders to charge $2,000 and up for pets!  I know of a couple of these breeders who have gotten dogs intended for pets because they produced many health problems. They turned around and registered the dog with ACA or APRI and are advertising Champion lines.  They have no health clearances on their dogs, but of course they are seen by their vet every year and are in great health.  A puppy from a breeder who does not have time to show and does no OFA clearances, or AKC papers is a $400 puppy at most!  Any more then that and the breeder is breeding pets to make a quick buck and does not care about the breed and it's health and reputation. 

If a website has a lot of puppies of varying ages, or more than 3 breeds the breeder is probably a puppy mill.  Reputable breeders carefully plan their litters and do not breed every heat cycle.  If a breeder is selling "Show Quality" puppies or "Champion Lines" I would also be careful.  Most breeders do not just sell show dogs to any person off the street and just because a Shiba has champions in it's background does not mean that it is a show dog.

There are dedicated breeders showing NIPPO (there are not any shows in the midwest, most are on the west coast) and I have seen a few people show with IABCAA, UKC and CKC (Canadian Kennel Club)  Not to be confused with the Continental Kennel Club where you send in a picture of the dog and tell them what kind of papers you would like!  

Many vets can do OFA for hips.  It is done once in the dogs life and costs about $300 here in MN.  Almost any vet clinic can do OFA reports on Patellas.  It is an exam and a $15 fee to register with OFA. Eyes need to be checked by a specialist.  That can be harder to find, as I know of one in MN.  It is $30 for the exam and $15 to register with OFA.  It should be done every year, but most back yard breeders don't bother with it at all.  They can make a trip into the Mall of America every year, but can't be bothered to take in their dogs even once during their lifetime to have their eyes certified...and then you should pay the same price as if they had!

Avoid buying from a place that uses alternate registries such as CKC or APRI.  This is usually done to avoid AKC inspections for cleanliness and record-keeping. You should always try to visit the breeders home and meet the dogs before you commit to purchasing a puppy.  There is so much information on the internet, but the real test is to see what the dogs and breed are like up close and in their home environment.

I was recently at a site that had three litters on the ground and two more due!  Another site just changed from a "breeder and owner" of Shibas to "selling them for a friend."  Yes they had 3 litters on the ground!  A very convenient way to say you could not see the parents or inspect where the pups were raised!  

USDA licensed facilities should also be avoided.  Their regulations require that all puppies are raised in pens that can be sterilized.  They must be in a separate building, not in the home.  Most USDA breeders keep their dogs in raised plastic pens with plastic floor grates so the poop and pee goes through.  The pups are not allowed on the grass or on any surface such as carpet or wood (your deck) so they are not properly socialized.

You may get lucky buying a bargain pup, but is it really worth the risk?