Elon Musk, dogecoin craze add to heightened demand for Shiba Inu dogs


Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors (TSLA) during the day and a Johnny-come-lately cryptocurrency influencer in his spare time, is no stranger to setting trends. 

He can now add a special breed of dogs to that list. 

On Friday Musk tweeted, “My Shiba Inu will be named Floki,” sending both dog and crypto lovers on a frenzy amid heightened interest around dogecoin (DOGE-USD), the digital currency that features the Shiba Inu dog. 

Interestingly enough, dog breeders Tom & Sandie Rolenaitis initially found out about the craze from Musk himself. 

“I’m a big fan of Elon musk and the things he does,” Tom told Yahoo Finance in an interview, but “not necessarily dogecoin though.” 

For over 30 years, the couple has bred dogs at Rodel Shibas in Aspers, Pennsylvania. They said it was initially the meme coin — which recently was sold as an NFT for $4 million dollars at an auction — that captured dog lovers’ attention a couple of years ago. 

According to Sandie, the recent rise of dogecoin added to the already scorching demand for dogs during COVID-19. 

The meme coin “brought something to the forefront,” she said, noting the dog breed was “best kept secret” and the breed “raised in popularity a lot” because of the interest in the meme coin. 

This Shiba Inu Dog is one of breeders’ Tom & Sandie Rolenaitis of Rodel Shibas in Aspers, Pennsylvania. (Courtesy: RODEL SHIBAS)

In a typical year, the couple breeds 2 litters per a year, containing 3 puppies in each. However, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were receiving nearly 250 applications per a month for their purebred Shiba Inu dogs. 

They chose not to breed during the outbreak due to CDC guidelines inhibiting the ability to go to the veterinarian with their dogs. Sandie also feared that new dog owners, especially those who are returning to work in the near future, do not realize what they’re getting themselves into. She encourages potential pup parents to conduct extensive research. 

Shiba Inu dog breed, which originated as a hunting dog from Japan, is a “very big dog” in a “very small package,” Sandie warned.

“It can jump a four foot fence from a standstill, they cannot be off leash in an unconfined area…they’re the closest to the wolf that you can get DNA-wise…they’re quick to learn, but whether they repeat it or not, it’s up to them — they’re very independent.” 

The Rolenaitis, among other breeders interviewed by Yahoo Finance, stated that the breed is particularly vulnerable to Glaucoma, leading to vision loss. In an effort to combat that, the couple launched a Shiba Inu Glaucoma Genetic Study Fund through Penn Giving Pages in an effort to find the DNA marker for this condition.

Tom suggested with the heightened attention, “maybe Elon Musk will fill the void” in finding the solution. 

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at [email protected] Check out her latest:





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