Someone asked for my advice on finding a Shiba Inu, so here it is!
Many dog lovers will recommend that you adopt a rescue. The reasoning goes: Why buy a puppy when there are so many abandoned dogs in need of a loving home?
I actually do not recommend a rescue, if you are dead set on a Shiba Inu and you are a first time dog owner. With a rescue, there is a great deal of uncertainty. You do not know how it was raised, socialized, trained, or bred. You also do not know of any health risks. I think this uncertainty is more manageable with other dog breeds than a Shiba Inu. You have to be realistic about your own ability to raise and train a potentially difficult dog. An improperly socialized Shiba may require rehabilitation, and you need to be prepared for that possibility. Cesar Millan certainly makes dog training/rehabilitation look easy on TV, but even he took Marley for himself to deal with (ep. on March 28, 2008). Raising a dog is a skill that you learn from experience, not from reading or watching. Therefore, if you have plenty of experience with dogs, especially primitive breeds (Siberian Husky, Basenji, Chow-Chow, Akita, or Alaskan Malamute), then by all means, go ahead and consider adopting a rescue.
Otherwise, I recommend finding a reputable breeder. The first place to look is:
http://www.shibas.org/breeders.html. Next, look at regional clubs: http://www.shibas.org/clubs.html.
I found Loki’s breeder on the webpage of the Shiba Club of Southern California. But now that the webpage no longer exists.
Loki’s breeder is Kari-on Akitas. As the name implies, she breeds Akitas as well as Shibas. She is located in the dessert in Southern California. She also boards and grooms dogs. I highly recommend her.
I have also heard good things about Copperdot Shibas (Northern California) and Jogoso Shibas(Southern California), but I have no experience with either of them.
Breeders are a good source for both puppies and adults. As you may have noticed, I looked for a young adult for our second dog, not a puppy.
Lastly, I’ll state the obvious, just in case it isn’t obvious, don’t buy a puppy from a pet store, at least not in the U.S. Puppies in pet stores are supplied by puppy mills. Dogs from puppy mills are not necessarily of good health and are not necessarily treated humanely.
P.S. I do believe that it is theoretically possible to mass produce puppies in a humane way. The problem isn’t the mass production part, it’s the humane part. I have heard that in Japan, it is common and acceptable to buy a shiba at a pet store. These pet stores are supplied by good breeders and the industry is well-regulated, possibly by the government.