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Samu the Boar Hunter September 30, 2008

Posted by Alex Sawit in Stuff in General.

By Alex Sawit

30 September 2008



Meet Samu.

Samu-san, as his doting owner Mrs. Tisha Samson calls him (alternating between this and the more sugary “Samu Pie”) is a one-year old Shiba-Inu. A cool customer of the four-legged kind, he never barks out of place when he’s brought to the wine shop, stays calm and collected even in the company of merrymaking strangers and is undeniably popular with the ladies, who just can’t resist his teddy bear looks. And he is, of course, a Cyrano friend.

But don’t let his demeanor and lack of size fool you, Tisha proudly tells us. Underneath that sweet puppy-like charm is the roaring spirit of the Shiba-Inu, the legendary hunting dog of Japan, ready to take down the mightiest of forest prey at his master’s command.

Behold, Samu…The Wild Boar Hunter!

“Oh, yeah, that’s right, Shiba-Inu is a Japanese hunting dog,” I said to Tisha when she brought Samu to the wine shop last week. “I just checked Wikipedia and it says that the Shiba-Inu was traditionally raised to flush small birds and hunt small game… like rabbits and mice.”

“Why don’t people believe me,” Tisha exclaimed with a little exasperation, “when I tell them that Samu is a boar hunter??? The Shiba-Inu was bred in Japan to hunt wild boar!”

Hmm… did I just touch on a sensitive subject?

“Alex,” Tisha continued, “you can Google this right now… he’s a boar hunter!!! No one wants to believe me!”

I politely suppressed my chuckling as Tisha fervently defended the honor of her little samurai. I was quickly told that poor little Samu has become the regular recipient of comments from Tisha’s friends and family (her brother Manito is particularly gleeful), all of whom express lighthearted doubt about his alleged ability to take down a beast of the woods that possesses a big, bulky frame and is armed with the ugliest dental work in creation.

Let me put things into perspective. Although wild boars typically grow to about 3-4 feet in length and reach about 150 pounds in weight, under certain conditions these aggressive porkers with deadly tusks are capable of attaining freakish sizes – like the 550 lbs. juggernaut shot in the French forest inside Ardennes in 1999. Granted, such giants seem to hail mostly from Europe, but it’s still a scary thought. Even today in Samu’s ancestral home of Japan, wild boar attacks against people still occur every once in a while. The Mainichi Shimbun mentions an incident from 2002 wherein a heroic motorist had to use his automobile (I repeat, his automobile) to shove away a boar that had knocked down an elderly lady after it had already injured a young mother and her child.

On the other hand, the Shiba-Inu (inu is the Japanese word for “dog”) is one of Japan’s original dog breeds and one of the world’s oldest; as such, it possesses the prized intelligence and cunning hunting traits of the first domesticated dogs, directly carried over from their wolf ancestors. Though considered small at a little over 20 pounds, the Shiba-Inu comes into its own in dense forest brush, where large dogs have difficulty entering and where a quicker, more agile hunter like the Shiba (which translates as “small”) is lethal.

“Here!” Tisha said, beaming with satisfaction as she called me to the shop’s laptop computer, having just appropriated it along with our internet connection. “Read what it says on this website!”

Looking at where her finger was on the screen, I read the text as follows:

“The Shiba Inu was developed in Japan, to flush birds and small game and occasionally used to hunt wild boar.”

Having made her point, a smiling Tisha returned to the backroom of the shop where Samu awaited. By now, however, her cute predator was calmly napping on the floor and eliciting sighs of approval from everyone passing him by.

Alright, Tisha, I believe you. Samu is now Cyrano’s official wild boar hunter. I hereby concede this title to him – even though I actually didn’t get to read aloud the rest of the text to you:

“It has been said that a Shiba looks like a live teddy bear. But the Shiba is not a toy.”

All hail Samu. Woof.






1. tisha - October 1, 2008

I think your title is missing the word “WILD”

2. Carme - December 12, 2008

I miss Samu. =(

3. The One Kicker - January 31, 2012

Having two shibas myself and living deep in the Colorado Rocky Mountain wilderness, I can attest to their skill as hunters. Mine have both been attacked by large and aggressive bears and have come out of it unscathed, with the bears wearing out and giving up the fight after several minutes, or after being pelted with rubber buckshot. These dogs have a very sociable demeanor when it comes to people, but despite their friendly appearance, can be quite aggressive hunters that rely on speed, agility, and endurance to win. They won’t even back down from mountain lions, though I’m not THAT confident in their abilities. 😉

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