The Perils of Facebook Pages for Primitive Breeds

Since owning my Shiba Inu, Buttons, I’ve not become a dog person, but I have become a Shiba person. At the recommendation of a few friends, I joined 3 Shiba Inu Facebook groups.  The idea of these groups is to post adorable pictures of your pups and if you have any questions about raising your Shiba you are more than welcome to ask and receive feedback.

I’ve learned a lot about the breed from these groups. I’ve also learned a lot about general dog ownership from them. But I’ve also learned how high and mighty some Shiba owners can be.

I’ve never been the recipient of this elitist attitude, but I’ve seen it happen frequently. People will post a picture of their dog or brand new puppies and if some group members even get an inkling that you might be breeding your dog, they will immediately vilify you for not “maintaining the integrity of the breed.” They don’t even bother to check if you have credentials, they immediately assume that you don’t. They assume that you are some backyard breeder out to pollute the waters of the sacred Shiba pond.

shiba inu Buttons

Buttons and his favorite toy.

Last night someone posted a picture of her adorable black and white shiba puppies. They looked healthy and happy but that did matter to some people. What was more important was that the “color was not correct” and people felt compelled to tell the owner not to breed her dogs again.

Because what matters in this world is not that you love your dogs and place them in good homes, but that they live up to the breed standard.

Ridiculous.

Over and over people shamed this poor woman and her dogs. In fact, a commenter actually called her cruel for breeding them. I don’t know about you, but I consider puppy mills cruel. It’s not cruel to breed your dog with an off color, because guess what? The dog doesn’t even know that it’s not the perfect color standard. It just cares that it is loved.

Many of the breeders who commented left me wondering what they would do if they ended up with a dog that was not standard. Would they ship it off to a rescue? From their verbal smackdown to this woman, it certainly didn’t sound like they would love it. Love, and certainly respect, appeared to be foreign concepts to some of these people.

shiba inu Buttons

An adorable “aberration.”

I jumped in on the conversation on the Facebook page and said that we shouldn’t shame people. These groups should be a place to celebrate Shibas, not reprimand people we don’t know. I don’t go to these pages to see bullies in action. I go to see Shiba butts and Shiba smiles.

My comment was met with a snarky “so you just close your eyes and see rainbows” by one poster. That comment is as laughable as the time a Buzzfeed commenter told me to “read a book sometime.”

The fact is, I don’t close my eyes and see rainbows. That view is pretty much the opposite of my stance on life. My Shiba is one of the few joys in my life. He doesn’t care about all of the trappings that we humans care about. He just cares that I love him, play fetch, take him on walks and give him bacon.

And I don’t care that he doesn’t live up to the breed standard. His tail doesn’t uncurl all of the way like most shibas. He’s black, red and tan. He’s also taller than the standard. He’s got three strikes against him, which I guess makes him an aberration.

“Aberration” is a pretty strong and negative word to use to describe this beautiful creature that god has trusted me with. I don’t consider his life to be a mistake, but it’s clear that many people on these Facebook groups do think that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of protecting the Shiba breed. No one wants the breed to die out and no one wants to breed an unhealthy dog. I know that preserving the integrity of any breed is important to a lot of people, but owners of primitive breeds, like the Shiba, seem to be more militant about it.

Then again, maybe this sort of bullying and shaming behavior is prevalent in dog owners of all types. I don’t know. What I do know is that there’s a lot these kinds of people can learn from their dogs – the main thing being not to care so much about the color of one’s coat but to care more about the size of one’s heart.

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Comments

  1. Yes, let’s talk about breeding standards, shall we! At least Shibas seem to be healthy dogs. What those people on the forums should really get upset about is those idiots that breed dogs into (debatably) interesting shapes, to the detriment of the dog’s health. Popping out eyes – cute. Nose pushed in – cute.
    I saw a page somewhere recently that showed how well known breeds have changed over the past 100 years, and it actually made me realise that even the dachshund we had 25 years ago was different from the ones you see around now (and actually more like the ‘old’ version in below link)…
    http://dogbehaviorscience.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/100-years-of-breed-improvement/
    Now, that’s a disgrace!

  2. Charlène says:

    Le 7 avril, je me suis battue moi aussi sur un groupe facebook soi disant sympa sur les shiba inu. Je trouvais leur attaques méchantes et cruelles sur un shiba inu bringé (une photographie qu’ils étaient allé trouver sur internet, d’un chiot à vendre), et je l’ai finalement quitté en laissant un commentaire : “l’humain serait plus heureux s’il ne se fiait pas qu’au pelage de son shiba inu, et qu’il regardait ses yeux (le reflet de son ame)”. L’humain décoit par sa fierté mal placée.
    Je m’excuse de l’écrire en francais. Mais votre article fait du bien car je ne suis pas la seule à avoir pu voir cette “elitist attitude” on Facebook group.
    Peut-être avez-vous suivi ce groupe francais sur le shiba à ce moment-là pour poster cette article.

    • No worries about writing in French, I know enough of the language to understand what you said 🙂 I’ve not been on a French Shiba Inu Facebook Group, but I know there are some French people who frequent some of the English pages, so we might be interacting with some of the same people!

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