Shiro Stories Question And Answers

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on October 04, 2019
Exclusive

Shiro is a beautiful white Akita exploring Spain and Europe.

Whether you like aesthetically pleasing photos of dogs and landscapes, or charming snaps full of character, Shiro’s account has a bit of everything.

Shiro has documented his adventures in nine different countries so far.

Nearly 45,000 people are following this stunning Akita’s stories.

We spoke to Shiro to learn more about the Akita breed as well as his life in Spain.

You can check out Shiro on Instagram (@shiro_stories) to find more of his beautiful photos.

1) How did you first hear about Akitas?

Shiro the white Akita (Photo: @shiro_stories / Instagram)

Shiro the white Akita (Photo: @shiro_stories / Instagram)

Everyone who has seen Hachiko’s movie (Hachi: A Dog’s Tale) has let out a little tear, even if they don’t want to admit it. That’s our first memory of seeing an Akita – long before we ever imagined sharing our life with one.

Todo el que haya visto la película de Hachiko (Hachi: A Dog’s Tale) ha dejado escapar alguna pequeña lágrima aunque no lo quiera admitir, quizás ese sea el primer recuerdo. Eso fue hace mucho, antes de imaginar que compartiríamos la vida con uno de ellos.

2) Why did you decide to get an Akita?

We had some wonderful weekend plans in Vitoria: savor some wine, good food ​​and in passing we would see some Akitas, just out of curiosity. We didn’t think much of it because if you want an Akita, you have to request them months in advance. During the trip we started looking at names of Akitas in Japanese for fun; Shiro, which means white, is the one we liked the most. That weekend we received a message that said there was an akita available because the litter had been very large – a white akita. When we arrived we took little puppy into our arms, he was two months old; It is something I wouldn’t recommend if you do not want to immediately fall in love. Coincidentally, the name on his passport was “Shiro”. There was nothing else to consider.

Teníamos un buen plan en Vitoria para el fin de semana: unos vinos, unos “pinchos” y de paso veríamos unos Akitas, sólo por curiosidad. Estábamos tranquilos porque si quieres uno hay que solicitarlos con meses de antelación. Durante el viaje empezamos a mirar nombres de akitas en japonés; Shiro, que significa blanco, es el que más nos gustó. Entonces recibimos un mensaje que decía que había un akita disponible porque la camada había sido muy grande, un akita blanco. Cuando llegamos cogimos al pequeño Shiro en los brazos, tenía dos meses; Es algo que no debes hacer si no quieres que te atrape por dentro, ya no había nada más que pensar. Casualmente en su pasaporte ya estaba escrito el nombre de “Shiro” desde hacía una semana.

3) Can you give our readers an insight into Shiro’s personality?

Shiro’s personality is more Japanese than Mediterranean. He is very independent and everything must be on his terms: if he does not want cuddles he will move away and if he wants them he will come to ask for them. Do not waste your time, he will not change. He is a good boy who is always smiling, feels important and he knows he is handsome. He certainly has no self-esteem problems.

Shiro no tiene un carácter mediterráneo, es más bien japonés. Es muy independiente y es él quien siempre decide: si no quiere caricias se alejara y si las quiere vendrá a pedirlas, no pierdas el tiempo, no cambiará. Es un tipo simpático siempre riendo. Se siente importante, sabe que es guapo; Sin duda no tiene problemas de autoestima.

4) Has owning an Akita lived up to your expectations?

One time we were travelling and we made a stop in Monaco. The Monte Carlo Casino was an obligatory photo op and Shiro gave us his best pose. There were dozens of tourists around who seized the moment and pointed their cameras at him, forgetting about the row of Ferraris in front of them. It was then that we realized that we were traveling with a special “someone”, capable of seducing more than money, even if for a brief moment.

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Habíamos hecho una parada en Mónaco. El casino de Montecarlo era un sitio obligado para unas fotos y Shiro puso su mejor pose, había decenas de turistas alrededor; Aprovechando el momento apuntaron sus cámaras de fotos hacia él, olvidándose de la fila de Ferraris que tenían delante. Ahí te das cuenta de que viajas con “alguien” especial, capaz de seducir más que el dinero, aunque sea durante un instante.

5) If you could debunk one stereotype surrounding Akitas, what would it be?

Shiro the white Akita (Photo: @shiro_stories / Instagram)

Shiro the white Akita (Photo: @shiro_stories / Instagram)

Akitas are considered dangerous race in Spain (PPP), something that is hard to believe if you know Shiro. Every day we greet dozens of strangers who cuddle him, including children. He has never had an aggressive attitude with anyone and if he does not want someone to touch him he will warn them. Obviously he can be a powerful and protective dog if he feels threatened and can be territorial with other male dogs, but he has a very clear philosophy: “If I’m not bothering you, don’t bother me.”

Los akitas son considerados raza peligrosa en España (PPP), algo que cuesta entender si se conoce a Shiro. Casi todos los días saludamos a decenas de desconocidos que le hacen caricias, incluidos niños. Nunca ha tenido una actitud agresiva con ninguna persona, si no quiere que alguien le toque le advertirá. Evidentemente es un perro poderoso, protector si detecta una amenaza y territorial con otros perros macho, pero tiene una filosofía muy clara: “ yo no te estoy molestando, no me molestes tú a mí”.

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6) What are the most common questions or comments you get about Shiro?

The most repeated question is undoubtedly: “Can I pet him?”, Although, the most surprising was a girl who asked if we combed our dog’s tail to get it to curl. Overall, the comments we get are positive and complementary – the soundtrack of our walks. Occasionally people have doubts about the breed as white akitas are uncommon and can generate some confusion.

La pregunta más repetida es sin duda: “¿lo puedo tocar?”, aunque la más sorprendente fue de una niña que preguntó si le peinábamos la cola para que estuviera enroscada. Los comentarios son siempre piropos y buenas palabras, es la banda sonora de nuestros paseos. La gente suele tener dudas con la raza, un akita blanco genera cierta confusión.

7) How much exercise do Akitas require?

Shiro has a very calm temperament; he spends hours resting, sometimes next to you and sometimes hidden or on the terrace. When he wants to go for a walk, he’ll sit in front of you and stare, if you don’t take the hint he will come to pat you with his paw. When he has the opportunity to run free he does it for a brief a moment. We have tried to go jogging together, but at 500 meters he will find something to smell or browse that is much more interesting than running.

Shiro es muy tranquilo, pasa horas descansando, a veces junto a ti y a veces escondido o en la terraza. Cuando quiere salir a pasear se sienta delante mirándote, si no te das por aludido, vendrá a darte unas palmaditas con la pata. Cuando tiene la oportunidad de correr libre lo hace sólo un momento. Hemos intentado salir a correr juntos, pero a los 500 metros encuentra algo que oler o curiosear que es mucho más interesante que correr por correr.

8) Are Akitas smart dogs?

Shiro always decides and sets his priorities. He knows how to communicate, he understands everything but will only obey if it seems appropriate. It will not follow you without more, for that you have to be the most interesting stimulus. It is better not to ask him to give you a paw, he would look at you puzzled with the face of “do you think I’m stupid?”

Shiro siempre decide y establece sus prioridades. Sabe cómo comunicarse, lo entiende todo pero sólo obedecerá si le parece oportuno. No te seguirá sin más, para eso tienes que ser el estímulo más interesante. Es mejor no pedirle que te de la pata, te miraría desconcertado con cara de “¿crees que soy estúpido?”.

9) Can Akitas be left alone or do they suffer with separation anxiety?

He prefers to have company, “together but not scrambled.” At home or places he knows, he is calm for hours, does not suffer stress or anxiety, does not touch or bite anything. At home he is very relaxed. You can usually find him behind the door, waiting to explode and jump for joy as soon as he hears you arrive.

Prefiere estar acompañado, “juntos pero no revueltos”. En casa o lugares que conoce está tranquilo durante horas, no sufre stress ni ansiedad, no toca ni muerde nada. En casa se queda relajado, probablemente justo detrás de la puerta, esperando para estallar dando saltos de alegría en cuanto te oiga llegar.

10) What advice would you give to someone considering an Akita as a pet?

Shiro the white Akita (Photo: @shiro_stories / Instagram)

Shiro the white Akita (Photo: @shiro_stories / Instagram)

You need to establish yourself as a leader while he is young – Akitas will challenge you every day to assume the role, letting them achieve it could become a problem. Through playtime, we’ve taught him that we are the Alphas and it has cost us some extra scratches since Akitas play very hard. Perhaps this is why they are discouraged as a first pet, but Shiro is now a calm and balanced dog despite being first in our lives, it only takes determination and perseverance as he matures.

Necesita un líder, mientras es joven te retará cada día para asumir el rol, de conseguirlo podría llegar a ser un problema. A través del juego le hemos enseñado que no manda él, nos ha costado algunos arañazos de más, los akitas juegan muy fuerte. Tal vez por esto se desaconsejan como primera mascota, pero Shiro ahora es un perro tranquilo y equilibrado pese a serel primero en nuestras vidas, solo hace falta determinación y constancia mientras madura.

11) Are there many Akitas in Spain? What’s life in Spain like with an Akita?

Akitas are not very common in Spain. The weather is a large factor as you have to limit the walks in summer to avoid the hottest hours. The “dog friendly” philosophy has not yet penetrated society, although it is improving little by little. It is surprising that many large stores, hotel chains and public transport companies do not admit pets or only small breeds. With Shiro, we see it as a good opportunity to show that a well trained dog, regardless of race or size, is capable of behaving and not causing problems.

No son muy comunes, el clima es un hándicap, hay que limitar los paseos en verano evitando las horas de más calor. La filosofía “dogfriendly” aún no ha calado en la sociedad, aunque mejora poco a poco. Sorprende que muchas grandes superficies, cadenas hoteleras y empresas de transporte público no admitan mascotas o sólo a las razas pequeñas. Shiro quiere verlo como una buena oportunidad para demostrar que un perro educado, independientemente de la raza o el tamaño, no causaría ningún problema en ningún lugar.

12) What’s the most rewarding aspect of having an Instagram page for Shiro?

It all started at the insistence of some friends who wanted to see more pictures of Shiro, but quickly the interest to grow the account crept up on is and it was unstoppable. We have realized that it is a very powerful tool to make things more “dog friendly”. Thanks to Instagram, we have traveled to more places and met new people, as well as being a creative stimulus. The best thing is that we have created a photo archive that we can look back on.

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No teníamos ningún objetivo, todo empezó por la insistencia de unos amigos, pero rápidamente el interés comenzó a crecer y ya era imparable. Nos hemos dado cuenta de que es una herramienta muy potente para hacer que las cosas sean más “dogfriendly”. Gracias a Instagram hemos viajado a más sitios y conocido a nuevas personas, además de ser un estímulo creativo. Lo mejor es que hemos creado un archivo fotográfico como no habíamos pensado.

13) How much time do you spend building your Instagram community?

There are many aspects to consider besides having an attractive content that generates interest. You may think you have uploaded your best photo, but the algorithm is quick to make sure that its reach is mediocre reach and you don’t get the chance to connect with your followers. Currently we invest most of our time in trying to understand how the social network itself works, the psychology of our followers and how to improve engagement. Luckily we have no commitment, we can be creative and play through “trial and error”, but we still need to think in which direction we want to go. There are many aspects to think about and that all require time and attention.

Hay muchos aspectos a considerar además de tener un contenido atractivo que genere interés. Crees que has subido tu mejor foto pero el algoritmo se encarga de que tenga un alcance mediocre y no consigues que conecte con tus seguidores. Actualmente la mayor parte del tiempo la invertimos en tratar de entender cómo funciona la propia red social, la psicología de quienes te ven y como mejorar el “engagement”. Por suerte no tenemos ningún compromiso, podemos ser creativos, jugar a “prueba y error”, pero hay que pensar en qué dirección queremos ir. Hay muchas cosas en las que pensar y eso requiere mucho tiempo.

14) What is your favourite place that you’ve explored with Shiro?

Shiro has already visited nine countries! We have been to some incredible places but the best, where you see Shiro at his happiest, almost always have snow. Getting to the Aran Valley (Spain) is like coming home; Walking through snowy roads surrounded by trees, enjoying the pure mountain air, he loves it all. The only downside is that you shiver with cold while he enjoys.

Shiro ya conoce 9 países, hemos estado en lugares increíbles, los mejores son donde ves a más Shiro feliz y eso casi siempre tiene que ver con ¡la nieve!. Llegar al Valle de Arán (España) es como volver a casa; Pasear por caminos nevados rodeados de árboles, disfrutar del aire puro de la montaña, todo esto le encanta. La parte negativa es que tú tiritas de frío mientras él disfruta.

15) What are your favourite Akita accounts that our readers should check out?

• @yuki_white_akita: she was one of our first followers. She has very good photos and Yuki looks a lot like Shiro!

• @malcolm_the_akita: A very professional account for those who love American Akitas.

• @andrewknapp: It’s not an Akita, but it’s an exceptional account. A great one for those who love beautiful images of furbabies and amazing travels.

• @yuki_white_akita : es una de mis primeras seguidoras, tiene muy buenas fotos y Yuki se parece mucho a Shiro

• @malcolm_the_akita : una cuenta muy profesional para los amantes de Akitas americanos.

• @andrewknapp: No se trata de un akita, pero es una cuenta excepcional. Una referencia para los amantes de los “peludos”, viajes y fotos increíbles.

Akita Inu pros and cons

Shiro the white Akita (Photo: @shiro_stories / Instagram)

Shiro the white Akita (Photo: @shiro_stories / Instagram)

Pros

• It is a privilege to live with them, and a constant challenge; something so close that you can not touch, something fascinating.

• Their Independence. You can go hours without hearing from them. They find a space that they like and enjoy it in solitude.
Unconditional love as you would never have imagined. A born protector.

• They like to be clean (environmental and personal). They’ll go as far to avoid a simple puddle if it means not getting dirty. Additionally, every night Shiro has his self-cleaning ritual.

• They show so much gratitude – more so than humans; although this may not be exclusive to the Akitas.

• Es un privilegio vivir con ellos, un reto constante; Como algo cercano que no puedes llegar a tocar, algo fascinante.

• Independiente, no le oirás durante horas. Busca su espacio y lo disfruta en soledad.

• Incondicional como nunca habrías imaginado. Un protector nato.

• Cuidadoso con la casa y consigo mismo. Evita un simple charco por no ensuciarse, todas las noches tiene un ritual de autolimpieza.

• Agradecido como ningún humano, aunque puede que esto no sea exclusivo de los akitas.

Cons

• They are a constant challenge; Sometimes it feels like something that you are so close yet so far from dominating.

• Their independence. If there are exciting things to explore, they lose all interest in you – because of this it can be difficult to let them off lead.

• Dominant with other dogs, he feels important and does not want rivals nearby.

• In Spain they are considered dangerous race, so there are more restrictions and prohibitions for them.

• Un reto constante; Como algo cercano que no puedes dominar, algo que puede llegar a desesperar.

• Independiente, si hay cosas que explorar no te prestará atención, los paseos en libertad pueden ser complicados.

• Dominante con otros perros, se siente importante y no quiere rivales cerca.

• En España están considerados raza peligrosa, por lo que hay más restricciones y prohibiciones para ellos.