The oldest Japanese dog

Shiba InuShiba inu

The oldest and smallest of Japan’s dogs, the Shiba Inu (pronounced SHEE-ba EE-nu) was originally bred to hunt small, wild game in the dense underbrush of mountainous areas. “Shiba” means brushwood and “Inu” means dog in Japanese.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the breed almost became extinct in Japan after World World II due to bombings and distemper, but bloodlines were combined after the war to create the breed as it is known today. The AKC recognized the Shiba Inu in 1992, and its popularity is growing. TV personality Ryan Seacrest recently put the breed at the top of this list for a new dog.


  • Bold, good-natured and forthright
  • Can be shy around strangers, but affectionate to those who earn their respect
  • May be aggressive toward other dogs


  • Small, compact and muscular
  • 17-23 pounds
  • 13½ to 16½ inches tall at the withers (shoulders)


  • Fine in apartments if given sufficient exercise
  • Does best with an average-sized backyard
  • Although their thick, waterproof coats allow them to live outside, they are much happier indoors
  • Needs stimulus; walks, fetch, agility training, obedience classes
  • Because of their independent nature, should be kept on leash whenever outside a secure, fenced area
  • Excellent watchdog
  • Superb hunting dog
  • Gets along with other pets, but keep them away from small animals due to their natural hunting instincts

Training & Exercise

  • Must be exercised regularly on a leash or in a secure area
  • Early obedience training is a must
  • Needs stimulation such as walks, playing fetch, agility training and obedience classes


  • Coat color may be black and tan, cream, red or red sesame
  • Double-coated, with a stiff and straight outer coat, and soft and thick undercoat
  • Seasonal heavy shedding
  • Requires regular brushing but otherwise easy to groom


  • Strong, healthy breed
  • Prone to hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and patellar luxation


  • 12-15 years


  • To adopt a Shiba Inu, contact National Shiba Inu Rescue

American black bears

American black BearAmerican Black Bear inhabits wooded and mountainous areas throughout most of North America, from Alaska to Florida, and Canada to Mexico.

The Black Bear is approximately 5 feet long and varies in weight from 125 to 400 pounds. It has small eyes, rounded ears, a long snout, a large body, and a short tail. The shaggy hair varies from white to black, but most bears are indeed black or a darker shade of brown. Different color phases may occur in the same litter.

Black Bears are usually solitary animals except for females with their young. A pair may come together for several days during mating season, and in time of abundant food, several bears may feed closely together with little interaction. Male bears keep large territories that overlap the smaller ranges of several females.

When fall approaches, black bears must eat large amounts of food in order to gain weight to sustain them. Through their winter hibernation, they will survive on their reserves of body fat. During periods of relatively warm weather, they may awaken for short excursions outside.

Black bears reach sexual maturity about 4 to 5 years of age and breed every 2 to 3 years. Mating usually takes place in May and June. The embryos do not begin to develop until the mother dens in the fall to hibernate through the winter months. However, if food was scarce and the mother has not gained enough fat to sustain herself during hibernation as well as produce cubs, the embryos do not develop. The cubs are born in their mother’s Winter den (generally in January or February). Gestation is 6 to 9 months with a litter ranging from 1 to 4, but twins are most common.

Cubs are 8 inches long, and weigh between 9 and 12 ounces. They are blind for the first few weeks, hairless, and can not stand until they are 6 weeks old. Cubs are weaned around 6 months but may remain with their mother for a year and a half. Cub survival is totally dependent upon the skill of the mother in teaching her cubs what to eat, where and how to forage (find food), where to den, and what to seek for shelter from heat or danger.

Bears have a life span of 25 years or more in the wild.