A brand-new Shiba from the Stone Age – the Jomon Shiba 

In Japan dedicated breeders have founded an association called Shiba Inu Hozonkai (SHIBAHO) which has made it its business to recreate a dog from the Paleolithic Age (Old Stone Age) – the Jomon Shiba.

Recent archaeological findings indicate Stone Age life existed in Japan 20,000 years ago when the northern islands were still connected to the continent. About 14,500 B.C. the Jomon culture developed, named after the ceramic pottery decorated with cord patterns (jo = cord; mon = pattern) characteristic of that period. The Japanese original inhabitants of this period sustained hunting dogs which they highly appreciated.

There are Jomon sites all over the archipelago and many of them contain well-preserved skeletons of dogs that were buried in the graves. Researchers assume the dog of the Jomon culture with its prick ears and its sickle tail to be the ancestor of the six indigenous Japanese breeds. The contemporary Jomon Shiba was bred to correspond with the build of the dogs that were found in the Jomon sites.

Jomon site with dog's skeletal remains Reconstruction of a Jomon dog
after the excavation find

The main differences between the Shiba we know and the Jomon Shiba are the narrow, thin head, a shallow stop (small forehead depression) and the big teeth. With respect to character the Jomon Shiba is considered to be not quite as compliable.

The pictures are from the very recommendable book "Japanese Dogs" by Michiko Chiba (Kodansha International, Tokyo, New York, London 2003).

The following pictures are of Jomon Shibas we found on the web site of the SHIBAHO association.

© Dr. Holger Funk 2004