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Shiba Inus have become one of the most recognizable breeds in the world due to their popularity in all corners of the internet. Their expressive faces, distinctive appearance, and overall cuteness lends itself to popular memes and photo sharing. However, there's more to these dogs than meets the eye.

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1. An ancient history

Japan is home to six native dog breeds, of which the Shiba Inu is one of the most popular. Their bloodlines have been tracked since the 19th-century when the modern understanding of dog breeds became popular. However, they are depicted in art and described in writing for centuries prior to that. Purebred Shiba Inus nearly became extinct during the early 20th-century because imported western breeds surged in popularity, but dedicated breeders in the 1920s began working to save them. They faced another setback during World War II and were nearly wiped out again, but dedicated breeders managed to save them again. Shiba Inus were first imported to western countries in the 1950s.

Shiba inu, a Japanese breed alynst / Getty Images
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