Red and white Shiba Inu mix dog standing in the snow. You can see snowflakes on his face and back.

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Red and white Shiba Inu mix running towards camera in green grass. There is a black jeep in the background.
Remington Action Shot

A long, long, long time ago, before the beginning of time (or at least several years before I met my husband) I was dating a guy long distance. He lived in Minnesota (where I grew up) and I lived in Miami working with dolphins as a seasonal employee. This was the year of Hurricane Katrina, but more importantly, it was also the year of Hurricane Wilma. Wilma hit the area I worked at much harder than Katrina did. My place of seasonal employment in Miami ended up having to temporarily close for an indefinite period to do repairs and such. Meanwhile, I had been laid off and was running out of money to pay my bills. My boyfriend back in Minnesota offered to let me move in with him, but I loved living in Florida and was not thrilled about having to go back to Minnesota so soon. After looking at my bills and going over my options; I counter-offered. I would move back to Minnesota only if I could get a dog (I had been wanting a dog for years but there were no dog-friendly apartments in Miami that I could afford). I figured this would help ease the pain of having to go back to my home state. He agreed, but only if it was a hunting dog. My dream breed was a Husky or Chow Chow but they both were on the banned lists of most rentals, which left me open to any particular breed so I did not care about this restriction. 

Side profile of a red and white Shiba Inu mix nearest the camera. Next to him is a brown-haired woman holding a black dog wearing a life jacket. They are on an airboat in Florida.
Remington showing Kiara how to enjoy an Airboat Ride

After moving back across the country, we discussed possible breeds and I began the preparations to get a dog. I bought a crate, dog treats, toys, leash; everything a puppy would need. Purchasing these items brought me to multiple pet stores and I came across a lot of places selling puppies as I was trying to find the best deals. One day I went out to some stores with a friend’s little girl in tow and she really wanted to play with some of the puppies they had there. There was a litter of half Shiba Inu and half American Eskimo puppies and the store associate was more than happy to bring out the little fluff balls.  I had told them I wasn’t going to purchase any of them because I had agreed to a getting a hunting dog but they insisted on bringing them out anyway.  After spending time with these puppies, I could not stop thinking about them for weeks. Eventually, I went back to the store and surprisingly they still had a few available. I went home and quickly looked up some information about the breeds (what we all SHOULD do before we commit to a dog but admittedly rarely do). Lo and behold Shibi Inu was in fact a Japanese hunting dog. I went ahead and did the unthinkable to most in my field; I bought a dog from a pet store instead of a rescue or responsible breeder.

I brought the new puppy home and believe me when I say my then-boyfriend was not happy with the adorable hairball I walked in with. I explained that the little fluff ball was in fact a hunting dog and showed him the research to back me up. I pointed out that he never said what kind of hunting dog I had to get and that was the end of it. It took me a few days to come up with a fitting name; Remington (named after Remington Steele a detective show in the 80s starring Pierce Bronson) middle name Chesterfield.

A red and white Shiba Inu mix sitting and looking head on towards the camera. The dog is wet and on a beach with an ocean sunset in the background.
Remington at Jacksonville Beach

Remington was an adorable regal puppy and he was fiercely independent. He hated being held which was excoriatingly painful for me because he was so soft and fluffy. The only way he would allow me to bond with him was to hold his Nyla bone for him while he chewed on it. Remington was also highly destructive; he destroyed pillows, bedding, carpet, trim, etc.  I tried keeping him in a crate while I was gone, but it was like releasing a tornado when he got out. I ended up keeping him penned off in the kitchen and he would be fine as long as he was exercised for at least two hours every day.  By exercise I mean it had to be two hours of running and/or the dog park.  Walking was not enough, even if it was for more than two hours.  Anything less than that meant he was going to destroy something. To be honest, for the first 6 months I got him I cried in frustration at least once a week. Before he would get crazy, his pupils would dilate giving him the possessed look of the demons in the TV show Supernatural.  His demon nickname was Notginmer (his name backward) because when this happened, he was the opposite of the cute little angel I raised. Remington was and is a brilliant dog though. He learned to sit within hours of coming home the first day and only had one true accident in the house during potty training (technically two accidents but the second time he urinated inside because someone accidentally gave him the command “go potty” while he was inside.  Once given the command he immediately went to the bathroom like he was trained to do- this accident was not his fault).

Now I did do some brief research on the two breeds that made up this perfect dog before I got him. I did not, however, do good in-depth research. If I had, I would have been prepared for many of the frustrations and difficulties I had raising him. To be honest, I may not have gotten him at all which would have been horrible and would have changed my life for the worst. I highly recommend researching personality, energy level, and grooming needs before taking a dog in.

A close-up of a woman's face and her dog (a red and white Shiba Inu mix) in a park. There is a brick building in the background.
Free Concert in the Park

Shiba Inu, as I said before is a Japanese hunting dog. They are highly intelligent, independent, loyal, loving, adaptable dogs that have a magical coat that seems to repel dirt and needs regular brushing. They are not recommended for first-time dog owners (I can attest to this) as they are so smart they can be difficult to train as they outsmart and trick their owners (this is something I often see with other animals in the zoological field also). As for his other half, American Eskimos are descendent of a German breed but after WWII they changed the name to American Eskimo because of the anti-German sentiment. This breed is very agile, smart, and highly trainable but will need daily exercise and fastidious grooming. This would have warned me about his high energy level, need for daily exercise, constant shedding, fierce independence, and the ups and downs of his training had I done full and proper research.

He was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 4 but it is managed by the medication phenobarbital.  He also had luxating patella in both of his back legs that we monitor closely. Originally it was expected for him to need surgery but with some modifications (no more play wrestling with other dogs) and some tailored exercises based on PT for people with similar issues it has been well managed, and surgery avoided.

A Red and White Shiba Inu standing on a log in an autumn forest. He is staring of in the distance looking very regal. Most leaves are on the ground.
In the Woods

Remington is a very special dog, people love him. He knows exactly when he can disobey and how far he can push my buttons but knows to be a complete angel when we are out in public. We get constant compliments on how well-behaved he is. People stop to ask to meet and take pictures of him, and several non-dog people I know have been turned into dog lovers by getting to know and spend time with him. I am always quick to warn people about his breed though and admit to the large amount of monetary damage he had done as a puppy and all the work it took to get him to this point. I hate the thought of people that are not prepared to bring a terror like him home, which is how many dogs end up being abandoned in shelters because people bite off more than they can chew. We have developed an amazing relationship built on trust which has let him assist me at a shelter in Virginia training and socializing the more problematic dogs there. Remington is one of a kind and has opened the door in our life to giving homes to more animals and helping rescues and shelters any way we can.

A close-up of two hands and a dog paw on a wedding day. The grooms hand is on the bottom with the bride's hand on top. Sher is wearing a sapphire ring and pearl bracelet. A white dog paw is laying on top.
Forever Family

Sadly he was diagnosed with kidney disease in spring of 2022 and we lost him to this illness on Christmas Eve of the same year. Remington was my soul dog and there are no words as to how much he will be missed.

Want to meet Remington’s dog siblings? Click the name to meet his sisters Kiara and Emma, or his brother Charlie!

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About Author

Animal and wildlife enthusiast that currently owns four dogs, loves to travel, and try new things while saving as much money as possible!

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