Shiba Inu Colors
Red is probably the most common and well-known color in the Shiba Inu especially because of its bright contrast with their urajiro. Bright orange-red with urajiro lending a foxlike appearance to dogs of this color. Clear red preferred but a very slight dash of black tipping is permitted on the back and tail.
Black and Tan
The black and tan Shiba Inu is also really popular and is gaining in popularity. This type of tricolor coat combines Black with tan points and urajiro. Black hairs have a brownish cast, not blue. The undercoat is buff or gray. The borderline between black and tan areas is clearly defined. Tan points are located as follows: two oval spots over the eyes: on the sides of the muzzle between the black bridge of the muzzle and the white cheeks; on the outside of the forelegs,downward to the toes; on the outside of the hind legs. Black penciling on toes permitted. Tan hairs may also be found on the inside of the ear and on the underside of the tail.
Sesame (black-tipped hairs on a rich red background) with urajiro. Tipping is light and even on the body and head with no concentration of black in any area.
Sesame areas appear at least one-half red. Sesame may end in a widow's peak on the forehead, leaving the bridge and sides of the muzzle red. Eye spots and lower legs are also red. Clearly delineated white markings are permitted but not required on the tip of the tail and in the form of socks on the forelegs to the elbow joint, hind legs to the knee joint. A patch of blaze is permitted on the throat, and chest in addition to urajiro.
What is Urajiro?
Urajiro is white fur in specific areas, All colors are clear and intense. The undercoat is cream, buff or gray. Urajiro (cream to white color) is required in the following areas on all coat colors: on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the under jaw and upper throat inside of legs, on the abdomen, around the vent and the ventral side of the tail.
Cream Shiba come in many shades of golden cream or can be pure white, any shade is called "cream". We think that a cream/white coat is absolutely beautiful, as lovely as all other coat colors, Cream Shiba are among the four colors of the Shiba Inu dog breed. While cream Shiba are beautiful dogs in their own right, their coat color has stirred some controversy in Shiba Inu circles. While there are some who want cream Shiba to be non-faulted in the show rings - some Shiba Inu fanciers, especially those from Japan - want the cream colored coat genes to be weaned out of the gene pool.
The main reason being that the urajiro markings cannot be seen on such a light colored dog as the cream. The urajiro is a distinctive feature of the Shiba Inu dog breed and consists of light colored markings on the Shiba chest, face, and tail areas. Strong, vibrant colors are another Shiba Inu characteristic that is important in regards to breed standards - especially to those from Nippo.
Nippo is organization in Japan that was formed to preserve the Japanese breed standards. With cream Shiba, this characteristic is not visible and therefore cannot be judged. Yet, despite cream Shiba having a serious disadvantage in the show ring, they still are eligible to enter competitions - and win.
The Origins Of The Cream Shiba Inu
Just like other three colors of the Shiba Inu breed, the cream Shiba Inu was produced by a selective breeding in the early 20th century. At that time, the Japanese dog breeds were on the verge of extinction. War, illness, and the introduction of western dog breeds into Japan almost completely decimated the native Japanese dog breeds. Three remaining Japanese Shiba dogs were bred together to produce the Shiba Inu dog breed that we know today.
The three preferred colors of the Shiba Inu are red, black and tan, and sesame. While a cream Shiba Inu is still a recognized coat color of the Shiba Inu, it is not a preferred coat color in terms of breed standards for anyone wanting to show.
The Genetics Behind Cream Shiba Inu Coats
The exact science about the genetics of Shiba Inu coat colors are beyond the scope of this article. Though in a nutshell, a cream Shiba Inu is the result of having two recessive "e" genes. These recessive e genes will not allow a single black hair on a cream Shiba Inu.
Are Cream Shiba Healthy?
Yes, the recessive gene that causes the cream colored coat variation does not affect the Shiba Inu's health in any way. Secondly, a cream Shiba Inu's coat is not the same as an albino coat. There are no health issues associated with this color.