In order to deeply understand the character of the Shiba we must go back to his ancient origins. Used as a hunting assistant in cold and mountainous regions, our dog had got a bold, determined character, so much so that he was employed for chasing bears. We are therefore speaking of a very brave dog, but also extremely watchful and sometimes mistrustful; only this feaure guaranteed survival when he had to confront big, wild animals. He may appear unduly cautious in letting himself be approached by strangers, al least initially. Such attitude must never lead up to excessive distrust or, even worse, fear (a serious fault to be penalized in exibitions and breeding). Accustomed to pack hunting, he meets no difficulty in cohabiting with other dogs, cats or possible "tenants" you may have in the house. You must not think of him as of a toy-dog because of his limited dimensions; the Japanese define him "a great dog in a small box" for his potential and versatility. Stubborn and enterprising, he will often test our patience. We should make him understand who is in charge, by gradually but constantly getting him used to uncongenial situations. The key to success with the Shiba is to avoid excess, both in granting permission and in expecting rigour. Results will not be late to come, and you will manage to establish an exceptional relation with your dog, and render your cohabitation pleasant and serene. Let's not forget, as a demonstration of his trainability, that in the countries where he is more widely spread, he is often used in Agility Dog tests. Another quite uncommon peculiarity of the Shiba's is a natural attitude to cleanliness. Since an early age, he is inclined not to foul the place where he lives. It will be enough to grant the puppy a few walks in the open air during the day, at least two as an adult dog, to prevent him from fouling in undesired places, thus solving what is often a problem for a dog owner. Incindetally, it is good to remember that the Shiba has no problem in living in the house or in the open air, even in very cold climates, as he is protected by a thick undercoat. A feature he shares with other dogs is that, left alone for most of the day, he will grow sad, unduly independent and detached. It is therefore fundamental to dedicate our four-legged friend some time every day; in return we will receive much more than we give him.