Beebe’s sire, this sesame fellow above flirting with her mommy, had AKC “papers”. Their happy union was the result of a mutual handshake agreement reached at a meetup from what I can tell. When I first saw him, I thought he was very handsome and nice, but then again, I really, really didn’t know much about Shibas then. Don’t laugh, I honestly thought because the breed was rare, that it wouldn’t matter if I got one out of the paper since the “show” world had not had time to “corrupt” them and cause poor health. I was soooo way off, it’s embaressing.
The breed was in terrible shape when it first came to the US, and it has only been thru the focused efforts of past and present breeders (breeders meaning the reputable people who imported dogs at great cost, formed the breed clubs, helped push for AKC recognition and who trialed and errored and selected to improve health and temperment), that the breed has survived after near extinction in post war Japan. Like it or hate it, the breed IS improved and genetic diversity has increased, as has better health and temperment because of the work of people in the show world. Now, many won’t agree with me and will cite the very obvious poor health, temperments and lack of conformation of the unfortunate Shibas coming from backyard breeders and puppy farms.
I agree that those people (I can’t even really call them breeders) are not interested in improving the breed and have harmed it, but the real BREEDERS are constantly striving to make progress in spite of that. There have been and always will be shitty breeders in every breed, and the unfortunate reality is that dogs will end up in puppy mills, even rare breeds. Hopefully the many great breeders/enthusiasts who are out there never give up caring about the breed and will keep showing, or else all that will be available is the largely unhealthy mill/byb shibas, and wonderful dogs like Ike will disappear forever. Like AKC or hate AKC, the people involved are the best people to support if you love the breed.
This was her nearing 6 month-ish to 1 year picture. This was the time when we all started noticing that she was not really a healthy dog (allergies, mange, immune issues and temperment problems). This was when I also woke up and got with it, and started doing real research into the breed. We entered our first training classes way late in her development. In my arrogance, I felt I knew enough about dogs and had watched enough Dog Whisperer to know how to teach her to be obedient. The Cesar Milan dogma I tried with her resulted in a very unhappy dog and owner, several dog bites and a very unpredictable dog. I had been consdering dumping her with a rescue. I firmly believe that Dog Whisperer training helped ruin my puppy experience with her and this is why I will never endorse his methods.
This is also when I joined some online Shiba forums and began seeking advice from reputable, prominant AKC breeders. I was pointed to an outstanding behaviorist with lots of breed experience, who recomended positive training based on current research (as in, no alpha/dominance bs). She became a different dog and I became a better person. This is when I fell in love with her, and this was the start of a sometimes frustrating, but immensly rewarding journey into AKC, Obedience, Rally, Agility and Flyball.