The Shibamistress lives with her husband and three dogs:  Toby and Jezebel (Bel) who are Shiba Inu, and Oskar, who is an American Akita.  The House of the Fox Dogs focuses on her adventures and experiences with her dogs, and what she’s learned about canine behavior, training and nutrition over the years, as well as general dog related chatter and silliness.

Many years ago, a friend described my Shiba as “fox dogs,” a common enough description of them (though one that has always puzzled me–do people really think these stocky, curly tailed dogs look like foxes?).  It amused me, though, and hence the name of this blog, though we have never exclusively been a house of “fox dogs.”

More facts about us:

  • The House of the Fox Dogs contains about 175 pounds of canine madness:  as of June, Oskar weighs 110 pounds, Toby weighs about 40 pounds, and Bel is usually around 35 pounds.  This is much more than the Shibamistress’s husband weighs.
  • We are Sagittarius (the Shibamistress), Aquarius (Toby), Aries (the husband), Gemini (Oskar), and Cancer (Bel)
  • So far, Toby appears to be the most literate of the dogs. He even enjoyed chewing on a good book as a pup.  Bel “writes” but uses a lot of exclamation marks and has a hard time focusing. It probably depends on which of her personalities is in charge that day.   We do not believe that Oskar reads or writes, though that might change.
  • Other dog breeds the Shibamistress likes and occasionally fantasizes having include, in a rough order of how often she thinks about having one:  Kai Ken,  Basenjis, Hokaido Ken, Japanese Akitas (instead of the American variety like Oskar), Caucasian Ovcharkas, Anatolian Shepherds, Norwegian Elkhounds, Greyhounds, Border Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Fox Terriers, New Guinea Singing Dogs. There are probably others. Of these, she expects she’s most likely to get more Nihon Ken someday.
  • The Shibamistress tends to have deep, abiding interests and obsessions.  Others include spirituality, perfume, holistic health, and reading and writing.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. taro
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 18:43:35

    just wanted to thank you for your post about you get what you pay for (a lesson on choosing a breeder). really well done.

    i included your post in the update of my post about “adding a shiba to your pack”: http://tar0shiba.tumblr.com/post/3447689427/addingashibatoyourpack

    thanks again for sharing.


  2. Dan
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 05:44:53

    I could have sworn Ive messaged you before but I can’t seem to recall the posts. I apologize if I have and being redundant. I wanted to ask you how easy/difficult it was to raise the shibas vs your akita? I currently have a 3.5yr old Akita who I’ve raised since she was 9weeks. To say she was a challenge is an understatement. It took alot of time considering their inherent nature of strong will stubbornness but the work paid off. She behaves well when its just us at the home. However, her recall ability and manners go out the window when we have guests or we take her out to the public(vet, groomed,etc). In a perfect world, id love to always have an akita. However, thinking in the future, she will probably be my only akita as i’ve seen the struggles my wife had to control her(due to her sheer size, strength, and stubbornness). In your experience, what breed was easier to train as a pup? Not to toot my own horn, but I feel that if one can raise an akita from a pup onward, one can take on just about any dog breed out there! Id love to hear your opinions. Thanks!


    • shibamistress
      Feb 09, 2012 @ 11:08:24

      It all depends on the individual dog of course, but I would say that Akitas are MUCH easier than Shibas. Shibas are small, so they are sometimes easier to manage because if necessary, you can make just pick them up (but oh, they HATE that, and neither of mine are small enough to make it particularly easy). But in comparison, my Akita was much more easier to train. He was always more interested in being with us (the Shibas could care less, especially as puppies). He’s more biddable, and more interested in working, and generally just a more easy going dog. I was able to train him to at least something of a recall (probably not reliable, but he always comes in the yard at least), when I have virtually no recall with the Shibas. And the Shibas were wild, mouthy puppies, and neither food nor toy motivated, so they were very hard to train. I finally gave up on Toby to a degree, and when he matured, it was like he was another dog: he’d always been super smart, but never had even a bit of interest in doing what I wanted him to do. But as adult dog, he started to be interested in training, and was more food motivated, and he’s actually pretty good now (recall aside). I will say that any kind of force-based training absolutely will not work on a Shiba, and will probably exacerbate any problems that might already exist.

      Like I said, it depends on the dog, but I know when I make comparisons with other people who have both, most people feel the Akitas are easier and more easily trained than Shibas. In my mind, the Shibas are by far the most challenging of the Japanese breeds, though I’ve really only had personal experience with these two. I’m also basing this, though, on comparisons others have made, and I do think there may be some truth to it.

      So…if you’re looking for a dog who is more biddable, a Shiba probably isn’t it! 🙂 Hope that helps!


  3. Dan
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 07:12:58

    Awesome. Thanks for the detailed reply. It sort of confirmed what deep down I thought was true about Shiba’s being even more difficult to train vs Akitas. Too bad Akita’s cant stay in that cute puppy stage of 20lbs max!


  4. Angela Quaranta
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 19:18:30

    My Shiba Male Ryobi is 43lbs.. hes 4 years old.


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