Shiba Inus date back to 7,000 B.C. They were originally Japanese mountain dogs accustomed to temperatures well below freezing. This long history of dealing with extreme temperatures has led to the breed developing a coat that both helps them stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
One of the first things you will notice about a purebred Shiba Inu is a luscious, thick coat. While a Shiba's fur is medium in length, what really makes the coat look so luxurious is the undercoat which makes the top coat stand out as thicker than it really is. This dense undercoat is characteristic in both male and female Shiba Inus and helps these small dogs regulate their body temperature and deal with extremities.
Twice a year, Shiba Inus shed this wool-like undercoat. While the majority of Shibas, especially those that have more exposure to outdoor temperature fluctuations, shed in buckets full during these times, you may find that your Shiba will show minor signs of shedding during the fall in spring. During other times of the year, a Shiba who is regularly brushed may show little to no signs of shedding. Keep in mind whether your Shiba Inu sheds a lot or a little, this is a perfectly natural breed characteristic.
The reason a Shiba Inu's semiannual shedding is called blowing coat is because they will lose so much undercoat at one time that you will swear your entire dog is wasting away to nothing but fur. This light-colored undercoat will loosen and work its way to the surface and stand out as pale patches on the fur. You can easily pluck the undercoat off your furbaby without causing her pain. By the time she is done blowing coat, you will likely have collected enough fur to make two or three plump bed pillows. It is hard to believe that much undercoat can come from such a compact pooch until you have seen it a time or two.
During the typically two to three weeks of blowing coat, you will need to brush your best friend daily. Invest in a dog brush designed for shedding and a large supply of plastic grocery bags. Most Shibas want to be rid of this excess coat as much as you do and will allow you to brush them to your heart's content. Make this quality time with your pet by talking with her, using your hands to smooth down her coat and, of course, don't forget to bring along the dog treats.
- Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images News/Getty Images