The Shiba Inu's Origins and History Source: Wikipedia. Country/Region of Origin: Japan Original purpose: hunting in the mountains and among its shrubs Name: translated from Japanese as "small dog" but it can also be from a type of shrub that has the same name and color(red) as that of the dog; also known as Shiba Ken, Japanese Small Size Dog, and Japanese Shiba Inu. Historical notes: Similar in appearance to the Akira, it is also one of the most ancient and most unchanged dogs in Japan. They almost became extinct during the closing days of the Second World War. Shiba Inu dogs of today are derived from three bloodlines: San'in, Mino, and Shinhu.