Shiba Inu Information

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(Japanese Shiba Inu, Japanese Small Size Dog, Shiba, Shiba Dog) The Shiba Inu is a medium sized, arctic-like dog. Their small, round heads end in short, square muzzle. Their large, round eyes and petite, triangular ears give them a friendly, yet alert appearance.  The breed’s body suggests its strength: these dogs have thick necks, broad shoulders, and large chests to make hard work easier for them.  Despite the look of their bodies, the dog’s legs are very thin and their feet are tiny.  One of their most arctic-like features is their thick, furry tail which curls up on their back like an Akita’s. Their coat is thick and usually comes in red or red and black. The coat can also come in black and tan, as well as many other color variations. Regardless of the coat color, the dog’s cheeks and stomachs should be white or cream color.

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This breed comes in shades of red, tan, fawn, black, black with tan and white or tan and white. Their plush coat is very soft.

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The Shiba Inu is an affectionate and devoted dog. They love nothing more than being with their owner and getting attention. Children love them, and they are great companions for kids. Strangers should not fear this dog but will not be greeted in a sweet or loving way; they will just be ignored. Dogs and even cats can live with Shiba Inus, but the breed can sometimes be combative with same sex dogs. Around little animals like hamsters or rabbits they should never be trusted because of their strong hunting instincts.  They have tedencies to not bark much and are mostly gentle natured. 

It's best to train and socialize this breed from birth or they may be aggressive and unpredictable with other animals. They are naturally dominate and require an alpha type owner. Again, a lot of training and socialization are needed. They are sweet, intelligent and loyal, but can also be stubborn and self thinking. They are not known to bark much but may bark when strangers are present. Sometimes they may not even bark at all but make a yodel or loud meow sound when they are happy. They may also scream when displeased. They will bark but it's rare. They are fairly quiet dogs for the most part.

Socialization should begin from birth to acclimate a Shiba Inu to children. A Shiba Inu not socialized with children should be watched until it appears relaxed and comfortable.

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13-16 inches
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18-30 pounds
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General Health

The Shiba Inu is a healthy breed with only a small number of health concerns, such as CHD (canine hip dysplasia), patellar luxation, and PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).  This small size breed can live to about 12 to 15 years of age.

The Shiba Inu can have heredity eye defects or cataracts.

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The Shiba Inu’s ancestors were brought to Japan, where the breed officially originated, from China about two thousands years ago.  Its ancestors spawned six other breeds of dog, including the Akita and the Shiba Inu.  In Japanese, the dog’s name means either “small dog” or “brushwood dog.” The latter meaning may refer to the Shiba Inu’s job of chasing birds and other small game out of the brushwood for hunters.  After World War II, the Shiba Inu almost became extinct but thankfully careful breeding saved this breed.  Today, it is the most popular dog in Japan and has become increasingly common as a companion for U. S. pet owners as well.

It is Japan's oldest breed.

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The Shiba Inu needs little grooming to stay clean. Brushing should be done on a regular basis to remove dead hair. Bathing should not be done unless it is extremely needed because it can get rid of the coat’s natural water proofing. Exercise should be done frequently because they are quite energetic. Long walks or runs are very enjoyable for them. The breed likes to exercise every day but is fine if you skip a walk every now and then.

Shibas are clean dogs but they do shed seasonally. Their under coat sheds during the spring season and requires daily brushing to keep the coat looking groomed.

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Ideal Environment

The Shiba Inu is a great dog for the right family. Love and affection from their family is top priority for them, even though they seem independent. Children have fun playing with the dog, and the dog is great with the kids. Strangers do not get warm welcomes; they just get ignored by the Shiba Inu. The breed does well with dogs and cats if socialized well at an early age. However, their hunting instinct will come into play if they are around small animals, such as gerbils. Living in a house or an apartment is fine with this easy going dog, and their coat allows them to live in any climate. The breed is fairly calm in the house, especially if exercised regularly.

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Dog Training!

If you're having problems training your dog or getting control, you should read our review of Adam will do whatever it takes to help you whip your dog into shape. I've used them to help with my Great Dane as well as help friends train their dogs. It's the first place I go to help answer users Questions. Many training issues are too extensive to answer in this forum, which is why I refer a lot of the load to his site. Update: I've been using and recommending DogProblems for three years now. I, as well as my users, value the techniques we've learned. I get weekly emails from users who have become better owners from the information they received.

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Shiba Inu Q&A

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I am a new Shiba owner. I have a very sick 4 1/2 month old puppy. He has had 2 episodes where his head started wobbling like a bobble head and led to temporaty paralisis of his hind legs and loss of bowel function. Blood tests were negative for everything excepet a mildly elevated cortisol and BUN. Just wondering if anybody is aware of anything that may present like this in a Shiba. Astro would appreciate your help.

Not surprised. Many health problems like this are common in Japanese breeds. Maybe check with your veterinarian and see what he says. Hopefully your dog gets well.


We just got a puppy 8 wks old, whose adorable but I couldnt help noticing that when she does poop, inmediately after she goes to sniff it and eat some. Can you tell me why, is this normal for this breed? I have never seen anything like this. I understand she is a puppy and we are training her to go out everytime she feels the need to pee or poop.

We have a ten week old and he does eat our other dogs poop. I try to push him away quickly. I just hope it's a puppy thing. Anthony


Any tips on keeping your shiba's fur from getting all over the house?

You should brush them regularly, but this dog breed tends to shed and there isn't very much that you can do to keep the hair from getting all over the house other than keeping them outside.


My dog is a male10 month old Shiba and recently has become very nervous. He shivers and sits under my chair He is a great dog. well behaved given lots of love hugs. he is great with my grandchildren but this behavior concerns me. He started doing this when he experienced his first thunder storm. But he has continued this behavior when the storm has stopped. Any insight would be helpful. Thank you for your response.

My 4yr old loves hiding under the kitchen stool with a toy, but move it and she s creams like she s in pain. SOunds like she is still displaying fear, maybe show her safe place near it like a bed with toys?


My dog is a male10 month old Shiba and recently has become very nervous. He shivers and sits under my chair He is a great dog. well behaved given lots of love hugs. he is great with my grandchildren but this behavior concerns me. He started doing this when he experienced his first thunder storm. But he has continued this behavior when the storm has stopped. Any insight would be helpful. Thank you for your response. susan ilardi

I truly haven't heard of a fearful Shiba Inu. But there is a wonderful site online called "shiba shake." Their web address is I have a nearly 1 yr old Shiba Inu and he is afraid of nothing. He owns everything unless we tell him otherwise. He is pretty obedient, but we work with him all the time. He is friendly and playful with most people. However, there are two in our town that he has not liked since he was a pup. Sorry for that, I just love our little guy. Please go to that site and ask your questions. They have been through many things with their Shiba and Akita. Their articles are well written and helpful in most situations. I hope that your Little darling comes out of this trouble.


I adopted my dog, a rescue and I'm constantly asked 'what kind of dog is she?' Someone suggested a Shiba Inu . She looks a lot like the 41/2 month old sick puppy ( I hope better!} She has bigger ears than the other photo"s I've seen and her tail does not curl that tightly. Is it likely that this is her breed?


I have a 4 year old Shiba Inu and i have just got a new partner, she is fine with the dog till she comes round to doing the washing and the dog grabs stuff and runs off and you can not get it off hime unless you want to end up with no hand. Also he seems to go for strangers that come to the house and in the street, i would like to know what can i do with him to stop doing these things ? i am scared of my partners life incase i go home and find that the dog had cornered her and bit her and there was nothing she could have done to provent it. can help you handle your dog.

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