National Geographic – Shiba Inu is Most Wolflike

In their February issue, National Geographic (NatGeo? Not a fan of the new name) published an article about how we came to have so many different dog breeds and what we can learn from their genetics. Included in the article is this chart  that generated quite a buzz in the Shiba Inu community. The reason? The chart states that the Shiba Inu breed is genetically closest to the wolf. Chow Chow and Akita came in second and third, Malamute 4th.

The descriptions for each of the 4 categories are a bit vague, with the description for the Wolflike category as follows:

“With roots in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, these breeds are genetically closest to wolves, suggesting they are the oldest domesticated breeds.”

I would not misinterpret this as Shiba Inu having the most wolf-like mentality (pack order, alpha… etc), to me this conveys that the Shiba Inu breed did not have as much genetic tinkering and stayed relatively true to how nature intended. At least that’s how I read it. What do you think?

Yoshimi, a beautiful Shiba Inu, is a frequent VIP guest of The Hydrant.

13 thoughts on “National Geographic – Shiba Inu is Most Wolflike

  1. Lorcan

    I have a lurcher (mainly greyhound) and was interested to see that they Greyhound was 16th on the list, yet had very little of the “wolflike” bar in it’s line….what are your thoughts on this? Is the list ranked in order with Greyhound 16th closest to the wolf?

    I’d be interested to know!




  2. milly stapper

    I have a shiba inu. And yes. I do believe it. His caracter, the way he acts. My vet always said( kyo is 8 years old) that he is dog the most close to nature.


  3. Shiba owner

    I have two shiba inus and I confirm they are very natural wolfy weirdos 🙂 No dogs (and we did have many dogs of different kinds before) never behavied the way shiba inu does. Very independent, catlike, very smart and unique personalities.


  4. Jwall

    ” would not misinterpret this as Shiba Inu having the most wolf-like mentality (pack order, alpha… etc), to me this conveys that the Shiba Inu breed did not have as much genetic tinkering and stayed relatively true to how nature intended. ”

    Well the idea of “alpha” and “pack order” is factually incorrect with wolves anyways. There is no such thing as an alpha wolf and that was disproven by biologist David L. Mech in the 90s and it sucks that this idea still exist though it isn’t true. Wolf packs are family units. They are made up of the parents and pups from that spring until they reach a certain age and then split off into their own family pack with pups.

    So with shiba being wolflike, it means that their genetics is pretty unchanged since they were first domesticated hence why their behavior, prey drive, health, coat, appearance, is all still very primitive and wolf-like.


  5. Greg

    Agree with the above two comments about my Shibas. My other breed, the Alaskan Klee Kai (miniature Husky) was not on the list (too few to register) – and it makes them all seem domesticated! VERY fox like.


  6. TonyaH

    I believe this. I have 2 shiba inn’s, and had another one before these two. Their temperament is very different from my other dogs. The rescue I adopted them from will not even adopt them out to anybody who has not had experience with shiba’s before.


    1. Michael Holwell

      I have a 14 year old Shiba and he’s a total wolf. That being said, other than my son, and my son would agree, he’s the greatest gift that we could have ever received in our lives. I spent many year with golden retrievers. They are wonderful dogs but I would never have another dog if he or she was not a Shiba. I’m concerned that they are becoming a popular breed. I’d be very interested in speaking with the folks that you mention adopt them without experience. My boy’s story needs to be heard and I’m looking for the right people to tell it to. If you could put me in touch with them, I’d appreciate it. Thank you for that post.


  7. Julia

    I have a Black and Tan Shiba. She is unlike any other dog I have encountered. Highly intelligent, stubborn, fiercely loyal and possessive. She’s also quite a funny character. Not to mention adorably cute. I can’t see my life without her. It is these endearing and primal attributes that create such breed loyalty for Shiba owners. Once you are owned by a Shiba you are unable to be pleased by any other dog breed. They simply bring out the wild in you.


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