Chinese go barking mad over Shiba Inu dogs

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Shiba Inu

SHANGHAI (Jiji Press) — The number of people in China who keep Shiba Inu dogs originally from Japan is increasing.

The popularity of the dog is growing steadily among young people who were attracted by the breed’s charms through social media.

A 78-year-old man who took his Shiba Inu for a walk in a residential area in Shanghai recently said that he bought the dog as a grandchild begged for it, and that the dog is now the apple of his eye.

A growing number of households keep Shiba Inus, and there are over 10 in his housing complex, the man said.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, a Shiba Inu cafe in Shanghai was bustling with around 20 customers. Among them, a male corporate worker says he loves Shiba Inus and often visits the cafe, while a couple from Singapore came to the cafe for the first time after they were mesmerized by the dogs on social media.

The cafe was opened about a year ago by Huang Richeng, 26, with financial support from his parents.

“Our main customers are young couples who play with the dogs for two to three hours on a day off,” Huang said, adding that the cafe is profitable.

Wei Haibo, a 68-year-old Shiba Inu breeder in Shanghai, explained that the breed is gaining in popularity mainly in metropolitan areas, where residents are prohibited from keeping big dogs.

“People like them as they are clean, docile and very friendly,” Wei said.

Meanwhile, the dog’s popularity seems to be overheating, as a Shiba Inu recently fetched 160,000 yuan, or some ¥2.9 million, in an online auction.

“I want to promote accurate knowledge about the Shiba Inu, including its pedigree and history,” at a time when the number of fraud cases involving unscrupulous businesses is increasing, Wei said.