All about the Shiba Inu-A very famous Japanese dog breed

The Shiba Inu is a famous dog breed in Japan. They are moderately compact, with a slightly longer body but not very tall. They have typical dogs from the Northern heritage with features like small erect ears, thick fur, a powerful body, and curled tail. Their expression is often bold, spirited, and good-natured. Their gait is light and agile, with an effortless and smooth stride. The Shiba Inu’s fur on their body consists of a double coat with a solid straight outer coat and a soft undercoat that provides excellent insulation. Today, Shiba is the most popular companion dog in Japan.

If fed with high-quality dog food that is either bought ready-made or cooked at home as per your veterinarian’s advice, the Shiba Inu will do well. Some Shiba’s are picky, and others will eat anything in sight. Some of them tend to become overweight, and thus it is essential to keep track of their calorie intake daily and their weight. A quick way to check is by touching the dog’s ribs and backbone; you should feel them but not see them. People tend to give them treats while training them, but that can make them obese. Ensure to continually give them fresh and clean water to drink.

Is this your dog that you would like to own as a pet? Let us find out.

History of Shiba Inu- A very famous Japanese dog breed.

The Japanese dogs are divided into six breeds. Amongst those, the smallest and probably the most ancient dog is the Shiba Inu. The word Shiba means small. However, it may also mean brushwood about the brilliant red brushwood trees that closely matched the breed’s red coat. Shiba also has nicknames as little brushwood dog because of these theories.

The exact origin of the Shiba is unclear, but they belong to the Spitz heritage and are mainly used as a hunting dog in central Japan in 300 B.C. Three main types of dog breeds existed, and each of them was named after their area of origin:

  • The Shinshu Shiba (from the Nagano Prefecture)
  • The Mino Shiba (from the Gifu Prefecture)
  • The Sanin Shiba (from the northeast mainland).

The Shibas have come from the Yamanashi or San’in areas of Japan. After World War II, this breed of dog was nearly lost, and the distemper further decimated it in 1952. Different types of dogs were interbred to save the Shiba Inu, crossing the heavier-boned dogs from the mountainous regions with the lighter-boned dogs from the other areas. As a result, the Shiba survived as a breed. Since then, Shibas have been widespread, and their popularity continues to grow.

The Japanese Kennel Club was established in 1948. The Shiba Inu breed standard was made by Nihon Ken Hozonkai and adopted by both the Japanese Kennel Club and the Federation Cynologique International.

An American service family goes imported the first Shiba Inu into the United States in 1954.

The Shiba Inu dog breed was bred to flush birds and was occasionally used for hunting wild boar. They’re one of Japan’s six native breeds:

  • Akita (large)
  • Kishu
  • Hokkaido
  • Kai
  • Shikoku (medium)
  • Shiba (small)

The Shiba Inu is one of 9 monument breeds to Japan. Shiba’s are considered the oldest and smallest of Japan’s dogs. They are superb hunting dogs, and the breed’s ancestors were the hardiest survivors of Japan’s mountainous regions. They were initially used for hunting big game, but they are currently used on smaller animals.

Characteristics, Feeding, Growing, and Care

  1. Breed Traits
  • Energy level- 3 out of 5
  • Exercise requirements-3 out of 5
  • Playfulness-3 out of 5
  • Affection level-3 out of 5
  • Friendliness to dogs-2 out of 5
  • Watchfulness-3 out of 5
  • Ease of training -2 out of 5
  • Grooming requirements-3 out of 5
  1. Breed Characteristics:
  • Adaptability
  • Adapts well to Apartment Living
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Sensitivity Level
  • Tolerates Being Alone
  • Tolerates Cold Weather
  • Tolerates Hot Weather
  • Friendliness
  • Affection With Family
  • Kid-Friendly
  • Dog Friendly
  • Friendly towards Strangers
  • Health and Grooming Needs
  • Amount of Shedding
  • Drooling Potential
  • Easy To Groom
  • General Health
  • Potential For Weight Gain
  • Size
  • Trainability
  • Easy To Train
  • Intelligence
  • Potential for Mouthiness
  • Prey Drive
  • Tendency To Bark Or Howl
  • Wanderlust Potential
  • Physical Needs
  • Energy Level
  • Intensity
  • Exercise Needs
  • Potential For Playfulness
  1. Vital Statistics:
  • Dog Breed: Companion Dogs
  • Height of the dog:13 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder
  • Weight: 17 to 23 pounds
  • Life Span: 12 to 16 years

  1. Temperament

Bold, independent, and headstrong, the Shiba Inu brims with self-confidence. They are observed to be lively when in the outdoors, whereas they are calm while indoors. They behave well provided they get their dose of daily exercise. They are a hardy breed always ready for adventure. Some tend to be headstrong and dominating, while some are alert and reserved with strangers. They can also be quite vocal, and they always keep barking.

  1. Taking Care
  • A daily workout is essential for Shiba, either in a physical game, the outdoor, a long walk, or a good run in a fenced area. Their double coat needs brushing once or twice weekly and more often when they are shedding.
  • Shiba’s are known for their lively personality, small ears, and agility.
  • Dog Time recommends providing a bed to give a good night’s sleep to your medium-sized Shiba Inu. You should also pick up a dog brush and massager your long-haired pup!
  1. Size
  • Males stand up to 14.5 to 16.5 inches tall and weigh about 23 pounds. Females stand up to 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall and weigh about 17 pounds.
  1. Personality
  • The well-bred Shiba Inu is friendly-natured, alert, and bold. It is strong-willed and confident. He is loyal and affectionate, and very careful with strangers.
  • The Shiba Inu doesn’t like to share. It tends to guard its food, toys, or territory. And it doesn’t always get along with other dogs, especially if it’s intact. It won’t hesitate to chase small animals.
  • Training, a Shiba Inu, is not easy. While a Golden Retriever is delighted to come when called, the Shiba Inu will come depending on when it feels like it or not. It’s been described as stubborn, but independent is probably a more positive way to characterize it.
  • Temperament is affected by various factors. Usually, puppies are playful and friendly with people around.
  • Always ensure to meet at least one of the parents of the dog. This ensures that they have a nice temperament and that you are comfortable with meeting them is the key.
  • The Shiba Inu needs socialization. It is always better if they are exposed to people around, different sounds and sights. As a puppy, if the dog meets several people and has adequate exposure to the environment around, they grow up to be disciplined and friendly.
  • Enrolling it in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors regularly and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs to meet other people also supports them to socialize as they grow.
  1. Health status
  • Shiba Inus are primarily healthy, but they’re prone to specific health conditions like all breeds. Not all Shiba Inus will get health conditions, but it’s essential to know them.
  • Always take the puppy from a reliable dog breeder to ensure that the puppy has good health.
  • In Shiba Inus, check for their health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for various diseases like hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, and hypothyroidism.
  • Major concerns: patellar luxation
  • Minor concerns: allergies and cataract
  • We have occasionally seen: CHD, distichiasis, PPM, and PRA.
  • Suggested tests: knee, hip, and eye
  • Life span: 12–15 years


  1. Allergies: Allergies are commonly found in dogs. We have different kinds of allergies like:
  • Food allergies caused due to particular food in dogs.
  • Contact allergies caused due to a chemical reaction to something.
  • Flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals
  • Inhalant allergies caused due by airborne pollutants like dust and pollen.
  1. Diseases:
  • Chylothorax: Chylothorax causes an accumulation of fluid in the chest. This leads to difficulty in breathing, decreased appetite, coughing, and lethargy. An underlying condition can cause chylothorax. The disease can be cured by either removing the fluid or operation.
  • Glaucoma: This disease causes increased pressure in the eye. Vision loss and pain are the symptoms of this disease. This can be treated either with eye drops or surgery.
  • Cancer: In this, the dog may get too much swelling, a sore bump, bleeding, and even difficulty in breathing. For the Cancer treatment, the dog will have to undergo chemotherapy and be on medication.
  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy causes seizures. Attacks are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally excellent.
  • Patellar Luxation: The patella means the kneecap, and luxation means the dislocation of a joint or bone. Patellar luxation happens when the knee joint moves in and out of place, and that causes pain.
  • Hypothyroidism: It is related to the thyroid gland that can lead to epilepsy, obesity, hair loss, and dark patches on the skin.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA leads to deterioration of the retina. In this condition, slowly, dogs lose their eyesight.
  • Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia leads to dislocation of the hip bone. Some dogs display uncomfort while others don’t. This can lead to arthritis, too, with age. The Orthopedic Foundation does x-ray screening for hip dysplasia. It is imperative to check for this disease in the dog while adopting from a dog breeder.
  • Tail Chasing: Tail chasing is a complex condition and yet not understood. It usually begins at six months of age. In this condition, the dog losses his appetite and may circle his tail for hours. They may also start biting. It can also lead to seizures in the dog. Dogs can be treated with phenobarbital either alone or in conjunction with other medications.
  1. Care
  • A house with Shiba Inu should have a fenced garden. It is a breed that enjoys playing, jog and take walks with you.
  • Socialization is vital. They need to socialize, or they can become timid and quarrelsome.
  • He should always be kept under leash, or it can cause harm to other smaller animals around.
  • One quirk to Shiba Inu’s personality is his dislike of being restrained. He refuses to wear a leash, and thus the leash training requires time and patience.
  • Shiba Inu understands things well and hence follows it too.
  • Crate training ensures that the dog does not have accidents at home. This training will also support the dog to learn to stay at one place, which may be required if the dog is hospitalized.
  • Remember, he shouldn’t spend more than a few hours in it except when he sleeps.
  1. Feeding them
  • They can consume 1/2 to 1.5 cups of dog food.

You don’t always need to give the same quantity of food. It is obvious that an active dog with more physical movements during the day will require more food as compared to a dog that hardly moves during the day. Pay attention to the quality of the dog food as tat also impacts the overall health of the dog.

  • Ensure to give your Shiba Inu food twice a day. Do not keep food available out in the open all day long.
  • First, look down at him. You should be able to see his waist. Check his ribs with your spine, you should be able to feel them and not see them. This will help you understand whether the dog needs more food or exercise.
  • The fur on the dog is thick making it look fluffy and cute. The outer skin of Shiba Inu is stiff while the inner skin is soft and thick. He sheds his coat all around the year but heavily twice a year. You will be able to see as it drops all-around your house especially, on your sofa and bed.
  • The Shiba Inu coat comes in two colors, orange-red and sesame. Sometimes, they have markings in white color on the tip of the tail and the forelegs, and the hind legs.
  • The Shiba Inu is naturally a clean and odor-free dog. He needs brushing to remove dead hair and oiling once a week or more often when he’s shedding heavily. He needs to bathe but not very frequently as it is not good for his coat. In fact, bathing once in three to four months is good enough.
  • Brushing of their teeth twice or thrice a week is important. This is because they tend to build up tartar and then bacteria can breed in their mouth. Thus it is important to brush their teeth.
  • Do you hear a clicking noise as your dog walks? If yes, then it is time to trim his toenails or it can lead to other problems. However, be careful while cutting them as their toenails have blood vessels and it can lead to bleeding. So be careful while cutting their nails or your dog will not allow you to cut next time.
  • Dog ears also accumulate dirt. Thus, it is important to check them weekly for any redness or odor that indicates infection. Uses a PH balanced cleaner that focuses on cleaning only the outer area.
  • When you are grooming your dog, be alert for signs of rashes, sores, infection, etc in their nose, mouth, feet, and skin.
  1. Response to children and other pets
  • The Shiba Inu is a family dog, as long as he is appropriately raised with opportunities to interact with others. Usually, if children respond to the dog with love and respect, they also reciprocate with them likewise.
  • It is important to inform children of the right way to respond when they meet a dog. Also, inform children that they should never touch or go near a dog when he/she is sleeping or eating. This is not appreciated by the dog and he may respond negatively.
  • Training with consistency will support Shiba Inu to learn the right ways of interacting with others around. However, there is no guarantee that they will not get aggressive in their response. So keep training and also always keep them on a lease when there are other people and pets around.
  1. More about Shiba Inu:
  • Shiba Inu just like a ninja warrior, moves quickly, nimbly, and effortlessly. It is also keen and alert. It approaches the world with a calm dignity that is uniquely it’s own; that is why it is also described as stubborn. It is an independent dog and, therefore, not the easiest breed to train.
  • Socialization is how puppies or adult dogs learn how to be friendly and get along with other dogs and people. This training should begin early in their lives to teaching the Shiba Inu proper canine manners.
  • It is also essential to understand the freethinking nature of the Shiba Inu so you won’t be frustrated. The Shiba Inu is brilliant, but it doesn’t necessarily want to do what you want him to do. For best results, work with the support of a trainer.
  • The Shiba Inu guards are very possessive by nature. So keep his belonging away when there are other dogs around.
  • The Shiba Inu is loyal and devoted and does well with children as long as it is properly socialized and trained. The provided children treat him kindly and respectfully.
  • The Shiba Inu has shown the fiery side of its personality with other dogs and animals. Most Shibas cannot be trusted off-leash because they are natural hunters and love the chase. There’s a strong chance it will go chasing a squirrel, chipmunk, or cat. It is generally suspicious of strangers and is a good watchdog, as it will alert you about anything unusual.
  • Getting outside for some action is also crucial to a Shiba. It needs a good daily workout, whether it’s a walk in the neighborhood or a jog alongside his bicycling owner. It is best suited to a home with a securely fenced yard where it can romp. It should always be leashed when outdoors because of its prey drive and potential for dog aggression.
  • When you decide to buy a Shiba Inu, look for a reputable breeder who tests their dogs to ensure that they are free of diseases.
  • The Shiba Inu is an intelligent breed that learns quickly. Be patient if you want to own a Shiba Inu.
  • The Shiba Inu is a beautiful companion with a strong personality. Thus, owning a Shiba Inu is more like a lifestyle change decision that you are making.
  1. Rescue Huddles
  • It has been observed that people purchase the Shiba Inu without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Shibas in need of adoption. If you would like to adopt a Shiba Inu, contact a dog breeder club today.

Take a conscious decision and then be responsible for taking care of Shiba Inu.


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