The Shiba’s Name: Brushwood, Size or Color?

NPDD veterans know from previous posts that “Inu” is the Japanese word for dog; less clear is the origin of the prefix “Shiba” as it pertains to the breed. A few theories on the meaning of the Shiba Inu‘s name have been postulated, but none proved beyond a doubt.

“Shiba” means “brushwood” in Japanese, a type of bush. Some have theorized that the hunting prowess of the Shiba Inu in these bushes contributed to its name. The brushwood also turns a lovely red in the fall, and because two of the breed’s accepted colors are red and red sesame, it’s plausible that the dog was named for the shrub’s color. A final theory is based on an old translation of “Shiba” which also means “small.” A Nagano prefecture dialect translation for “Shiba-Inu” is, “Little Brushwood Dog,” which is no help because the Shiba Inu is a dog that hunted in bushes that were the same color as the dog. In this light, all the theories have credibility.

The work of Olivia Beaumont who painted this Shiba Inu can be seen and purchased here

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