Shiba Inu dog breed

The Shiba Inu is a popular dog that originates from Japan. The exact origin of the breed is unclear, but it’s part of the Spitz heritage and is assumed to be used as early as 300 BC as a hunting dog in Central Japan. The Shiba Inu is in the lower range of medium-sized dogs with its maximum height of 42 cm / 16.5 inches and weight of 10 kilo / 23 pounds. They are medium shedders and barkers, and they are not among the easiest dog breeds to train for inexperienced owners as they are quite independent and full of confidence. They can be reserved with strangers and even aggressive towards small animals and other same-sex dogs

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Shiba Inu
Breed height

M: 37 - 42 cm / 14.5 - 16.5 in
F: 34 - 39 cm / 13.5 - 15.5 in

Breed weight

Males: 10 kilos / 23 pounds
Females: 8 kilos / 17 pounds

Breed lifespan

Healthy dogs of this breed lives
average between 13 to 16 years

Breed group

Non-sporting: Dogs whose main purpose now is to serve as pets

Breed size
Shiba Inus are medium-sized dogs. Adult dogs weigh up to 10 kg / 23 lbs and has a height of up to 42 cm / 16.5 inches to the shoulders
Coat size
Shiba Inus has a double coat of medium size that protects them from the weather. High cold tolerance, but not so much for heat
Shedding
Shiba Inus shed medium throughout the year. They also blow their double coat two times a year, taking it up to a heavy shedding level
Trainability
Shiba Inus are independent dogs that take time and patience to train. They might not be the best choice for inexperienced owners
Breed health
Shiba Inus are considered to be a pretty healthy breed. Genetic concerns can be hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and eye problems
Socialization
Shiba Inus are not the most social and friendly of dog breeds when it comes to encountering strangers and other dogs on their strolls
Energy
Shiba Inus are quite energetic dogs, but they are not the most exercise needy of breeds. 1 hour of exercise every day is recommended
Barking
Shiba Inus are considered medium barkers. They bark when they are very happy, very mad, or to alert you of potential dangers

Shiba Inu breed general information

The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the 6 native Japanese dog breeds, and most likely the oldest one too. The origin of the Shiba Inu is unclear, but it is from spitz heritage and was used as a hunting dog in central Japan as early as 300 BC. Their main purpose was to flush out birds and small prey, but they did also participate in hunting wild boars. Today, the Shiba Inus are Non-Sporting dogs whose purpose is mainly to serve as pets. After the second world war and the years following, the breed was almost lost. By interbreeding the different types, the Shiba Inu survived by crossing the heavy-boned mountain region type with the lighter-boned type from the other regions, resulting in the breed we know today. In the year 1954, the Shiba Inu made their way to America, but they were not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1993, 39 years later. They are now one of the most popular dog breeds in the world

Breed appearance

The Shiba Inu is a medium-sized dog breed that is equipped with a double coat, also medium in size. The colors should be either red or red with a black overlay, or black and tan with a white underside. The Shiba Inu has a fox-like appearance on the head, with small triangular pointy ears and a black nose similar to the red fox. The males have a broader and more masculine face than the females. Shiba Inu males can also grow up to 42 cm / 16.5 inches and weigh up to 10 kilos / 21 pounds, with the females being somewhat smaller. Shiba Inus have strong straight backs with their bellies tucked up a little, and a thick tail carried in a curve above their backs. Their undercoats are soft and dense, while the outercoats are straight and harsh to the touch

Breed temperament

Shiba Inus are bold, headstrong, and independent dogs brimming with self-confidence. They are lively outdoors, but remain calm indoors, as long as their exercise needs have been satisfied. They may be aggressive towards same-sex dogs and chase small animals they encounter. Shiba Inus are also usually reserved towards strangers. Well-trained and socialized Shiba Inus can make good family dogs that handle children well. As with all dog breeds, not just Shiba Inus, socialization with humans and other dogs should start at an early age to teach the dog how to behave when encountering strangers and other dogs. Signing up for a puppy class is the first step along the way to get a companion that reacts to the world around it in a healthy well-behaved way

Shiba Inu health information

Shiba Inus are generally considered to be a healthy breed, as long as they come from reputable breeders. Major concerns are patellar luxation, with allergies and cataracts as minor concerns. As with all dog breeds, they are also prone to developing common diseases. This can include eye problems, orthopedic problems, and ear infections. Healthy Shiba Inus has an average lifespan of 13 to 16 years. Regular wellness checkups at the vet should be done at least once a year to track the dog’s development and catch any potential health issues early on, which improves the chances of successful treatment. If you suspect that your dog is having issues, or have changed its behavior radically, you must contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for a checkup as soon as possible

Shedding and grooming

Shiba Inus are medium shedders throughout the year, but when it’s time for them to blow their double coats, expect the shedding to become quite intense. The shedding season usually lasts for 3 weeks and happens during spring and autumn. The amount of fur floating around the home and furniture can be greatly reduced by brushing the dog as often as deemed necessary. Keeping the dog on meat-rich dog foods also helps reduce the shedding amount and prevents dry skin. Meat is digested and absorbed quickly, promoting better overall health in your beloved companion. If your dog is subject to excessive shedding, contact your local veterinarian and ask for guidance and maybe schedule a checkup, just to be on the safe side

Breed barking level

Shiba Inus are considered medium barkers. They bark when they are very happy, very angry, or when they need to alert you of any potential dangers. Common reasons for dogs barking are protection, alerting, being bored, fear, seeking attention, separation anxiety, or just saying hello. You can read more about barking at WebMD Pets: Understanding why dogs bark. All dog breeds can be trained to reduce their barking amount, another thing that should be focused on learning from an early age. There are plenty of books and online resources where you can learn how to reduce barking, like YouTube, online courses, and various websites that you can find by doing a search on Google

Shiba Inu training

Shiba Inus can be quite challenging to train. They are very intelligent dogs that are also independent. Reward-based training from an early age is a must with this breed, a lot of patience is also required. Teaching your dog new commands and tricks should be done in a distraction-free area after a walk when the dog has burned off energy. The first step on the long road is signing up for a puppy class, here you will learn the basics about dog care and training, most classes also have supervised playtime among the puppies for socialization. You can also watch free dog training videos, attend some online dog training courses, or maybe get yourself a couple of dog training books

Exercise requirements

Shiba Inus have a fairly high energy level, recommended daily exercise is a long walk lasting at least one hour. If you are an active hiker, you will find the Shiba Inu to be a great companion on your adventures. In addition to physical exercise, they should also get mental stimulation in form of various games, this applies to all dog breeds. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise may become depressed, bored, and destructive as a result of being bored. They are also prone to becoming overweight. A fun way to exercise your dog is to play good old fashioned fetch, either with a stick or a ball. For mental stimulation, hiding treats around the home is a fun and rewarding game for the dog. Another popular game is “guess the hand”, hide a treat in one of your hands and let the dog guess which one. This can also be done with multiple cups

Caring for dogs

Grooming is not the only maintenance your dog requires throughout its life. Complete examinations at the vet should be done at least once a year for adult dogs. Puppies should come in every 3 or 4 weeks until they are around four months old. Contact your vet and they will set you up with schedules.
Trimming the claws should be done whenever they touch the ground when the dog is standing up, or make it a frequent routine to keep them short
Brushing the teeth should be done on a daily basis to prevent gum diseases. Chew bones and toys will also help strengthen your dog’s teeth and gums
Cleaning the ears to prevent ear infections is also another important part of the dog’s routine maintenance. You can have your vet show you how to do it

Socializing dogs

No matter what kind of dog breed you have, socializing it from an early age is the most important thing you can do in order to get a well-behaving buddy that reacts to the world around it in a healthy way. Until your puppy is around 16 weeks old, it should encounter different kinds of people, situations, and locations, learning that the world is a wonderful place to live. Puppies have a short developmental window in which their experiences will form their future selves. Puppies should however not be forced into situations they might feel uncomfortable with, as bad experiences may imprint and stay with the dog for the rest of the life. You can watch free videos from professional dog trainers on how to socialize your new puppy and learn how to do so the correct way

Shiba Inu dogs on Instagram

Here are some pictures of the fabulous Shiba Inu on Instagram. See even more pictures of this dog breed by exploring #ShibaInu or at the Google Image Search

Video of the Shiba Inu dog breed

Here you can see some footage of the Shiba Inu along with some pros and cons. Well worth checking out if you are considering getting a companion of this breed

Frequently asked questions

Are Shiba Inus good family dogs?

Shiba Inus can be good family dogs, as long as they are properly trained and socialized from an early age

Are Shiba Inus hypoallergenic?

There are no dogs that are hypoallergenic, some breeds can however cause fewer allergic reactions than other breeds. The proteins that dogs produce are what causes the allergic reactions. These proteins are found in the hair, saliva, dander, and urine. Some individuals may have an irritant response to the actual dog hair, the solution for that is getting a dog with a low level of shedding. You can continue reading about allergies and reactions at HealthLine

Do Shiba Inus shed much?

Shiba Inus are medium shedders throughout the year. During spring and autumn, they blow their coats, causing them to shed heavily for 3 weeks

Are Shiba Inus intelligent?

Yes. Shiba Inus are very intelligent dogs, but they are also stubborn. Even thou they know what you want them to do, they will not do it unless they want to

Are Shiba Inus good for apartments?

Shiba Inus can adapt well to apartment living, as long as their daily exercise needs are met

Can Shiba Inus be left alone?

Shiba Inus do generally not handle being alone very well, as they are prone to suffer from separation anxiety

Are Shiba Inus aggressive?

Shiba Inus can be aggressive towards other dogs, mostly towards dogs of the same sex

References and resources

You can absorb more knowledge about this dog breed from the resources below. Websites, books, and social media sites where you can ask dog owners questions

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