Akashima Shiba Inu and Shikoku Kennel

Tracking ability of the Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu

The Shiba is, of course a scent hound first and foremost Shibas have been used for hundreds of years in their native Japan to search out small game, primarily rodents and fowl. Bear, moose, elk and other large game have been successfully hunted as well.

Today, Shibas are active in drug enforcement, search and rescue as well as in hunting and tracking.

Our Ashiba certainly showed us her abilities, when without formal training, she successfully tracked down her pup over a three-kilometre area of dusty gravel road and dense rainforest.

It started innocently enough. After three days of camping and hiking on the west coast of Vancouver Island, we were heading back to the car, loaded with backpacks, tents and equipment, and accompanied by two of our Shibas, Ashiba (four years old) and her pup Anjin-Sun (seven months).

The trails are crisscrossed by bears and cougars. However, we left the two dogs off the lines as the narrow, boggy trails were difficult enough to handle without dogs tugging on lines.

At about kilometre one of our five kilometre route, we were passed by two young hikers on a day outing without backpacks, allowing them much faster going.

Unfortunately our dogs were ahead of us and resorted to their instinctive behavior of staying ahead of the "game," in this case the two hikers, and trying to stand them.

In short order, the dogs where hopelessly far ahead of us and gone.

It should be noted that this part of the world is somewhat remote.

How remote? Well the nearest town was Bamfield, a town of about 500, ten kilometres away. The next closest was Port Alberni with about 5,000 persons, but it was 100 kilometres away. In between was nothing but coastal rainforest and perhaps a logging camp or two.

Trying to suppress our panic as our beloved dogs disappeared was not easy. At the trailhead we had a very joyful reunion with Ashiba. Anjin however was nowhere to be seen. After loading our gear into our van under the watchful eye of Ashiba, and repeated calls using our dog whistle, it was clear that a ground search was required for the missing pup.

Ashiba was put on the line and immediately began to track her lost offspring. After three kilometres of dusty road, complete with speeding pickup trucks, swamps and moss-covered rainforest, we found our little Anjin huddled under a tree stump.

Ashiba never wandered from the track, in spite of the vehicles, the varied terrain and water.

Shiba Inu plays with crab on beach
Shiba Inu enjoying ocean
Shiba Inu
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Akashima Shiba Inu & Shikoku Kennel
5427 Wildwood Road, Courtenay, BC V9J 1P5
Telephone: 250.703.9565
E-mail: katja@akashima.bc.ca
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