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The origin of the name Shiba Inu

The name "柴犬(Shiba Inu)" is made up of two parts: "柴" and "犬".

The word "犬" can be read in two ways, "Inu" or "Ken”, which mean "dog" in both cases.

The readings "Inu" and "Ken" are used in different ways in different situations. Grammatically, the reading "Shiba Inu" is more correct. Therefore, it is used for the registered name of a Natural Monument.

However, the difference between the two readings is not so important in Japan, and "Shiba Ken" is also widely used.

The word "柴" can be read in several different ways, such as "Sai", "Shiba" or "Husa(gu)", but in the case of "柴犬", it can only be read as "Shiba".

The word "柴" means a short tree or a branch of a tree.

How did it come to be used as a dog's name?

(1) Because, in hunting, Shiba Inu goes through the bushes made of shingles and assists    humans.

(2) Because the color of the red hair resembles the color of a withered bush.

(3) In ancient Japan, the word "shiba" was used to describe a small object.

These three theories are considered to be very likely, but the exact origin of the word is not clear.

From a long time ago, other Japanese dogs like Akita-Inu and Kishu-Inu have been named after places they are living.

But, as for Shiba Inu, it was named in a different way


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