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A Complete Guide to Black Shiba Inus (2024 Updated)

Last updated on February 23rd, 2024 at 04:12 pm

Picture a Shiba Inu, not in the usual reddish coat, but dressed in a smooth, enigmatic black. That’s the black Shiba Inu, a dog shrouded in mystery with a charm that makes hearts skip a beat and eyebrows rise. They are often confused with mixed-breed dogs, but these Shibas are purebred and belong to a rare and fascinating variation of the beloved Japanese spitz.

If you are a dog enthusiast with a taste for unique things, someone who loves the Shiba Inu but wants something different from the ordinary, or simply curious about this captivating breed, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will give you an in-depth look into the world of black Shiba Inus. Let’s dive in!


Unlike the more common red Shibas, the black ones trace their roots back to three distinct regional strains that existed in pre-war Japan: 

  • The San’in Shiba: Hailing from the mountainous regions of Tottori and Shimane, these Shibas were primarily black with minimal markings. They were known for their larger size and less affectionate personalities, likely contributing to the independent streak we see in modern Shibas.
  • The Mino Shiba: Originally from Gifu Prefecture, these Shibas were smaller and often had black coats with brindle markings. Their fiery spirit and hunting prowess were legendary, laying the foundation for the Shiba’s agility and playfulness.
  • The Shinshu Shiba: From the Nagano Prefecture, these Shibas were predominantly red or sesame (red with black hairs) but could occasionally be black. They were known for their thick undercoats, a trait still present in modern Shibas.

The black Shiba’s history was not easy. During the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the influx of Western dog breeds led to widespread crossbreeding, pushing purebred black Shibas to the brink of extinction. Fortunately, conservation efforts in the early 20th century brought these three regional strains together, creating the foundation for the modern Shiba Inu we know and love.


black shiba inus

Shades of black:

  • Black sesame: This variation features a black base with subtle sesame hairs (red and black) interspersed, creating a mesmerizing depth of color.
  • Black and tan: These Shibas sport a bold contrast with a black base and vibrant tan markings on the face, legs, and chest.
  • Kurogoma: The rarest of the bunch, the Kurogoma has a pure black coat with minimal urajiro (cream markings) and a unique “agouti” pattern, where individual hairs have multiple color bands.


  • All black Shiba Inus, regardless of coat type, should display the characteristic urajiro markings: cream or white fur on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, and undertail.
  • The extent and placement of these markings vary, adding to the individuality of each dog.

Texture and shedding:

  • The double coat of a Shiba Inu, black or otherwise, consists of a coarse, straight outercoat and a soft, dense undercoat.
  • While their shedding isn’t excessive, expect “blowouts” twice a year during seasonal transitions.


  • Black Shibas are the rarest color variation within the breed.
  • This makes them highly sought-after, but remember, rarity shouldn’t dictate your choice; responsible ownership comes first!


  • The standard Shiba Inu build applies to all coat colors, including black.
  • These sprightly dogs are compact and muscular, with a fox-like face and a curled tail.

Unique features:

  • Some black Shibas may have a slightly longer coat compared to other colors, but this isn’t a breed standard.
  • Their black coat can sometimes have a subtle bronze sheen, adding to their mystical allure.


  • Independent spirit: Black Shibas, like their red counterparts, are known for their independent streak. They can be fiercely loyal and loving to their chosen humans but don’t expect blind obedience. 
  • Playful and energetic: Beneath that dignified exterior lies a playful soul. These pups love interactive games, chasing toys, and exploring their surroundings. 
  • Alert and protective: Their inherent alertness makes them natural watchdogs, ever vigilant in guarding their territory and loved ones. This can manifest as barking at strangers or unfamiliar noises, requiring proper training and socialization to prevent excessive protectiveness.
  • Potential for stubbornness: Shibas, black or otherwise, might be notoriously stubborn. 

There’s no scientific evidence to suggest a temperament difference based on coat color. You should evaluate an animal’s temperament based on individual characteristics and behavior rather than making assumptions based on superficial features like their color.

Exercise needs

shiba breed

While not the most demanding athletes in the dog world, Black Shiba Inus require at least 45 minutes of daily exercise. This can be broken down into a combination of:

  • Walks: Enjoy brisk walks and explore new environments to keep their curiosity piqued. 
  • Playtime: Engage them in interactive games like fetch, tug-of-war, or puzzle toys to stimulate their minds and bodies. Consider incorporating agility training for a fun physical and mental challenge.
  • Off-leash playtime: In a securely fenced area, let them run freely and explore their instincts. 

Consider your individual Shiba’s age, health, and energy level when adjusting their exercise routine. Puppies might require shorter, more frequent sessions, while older dogs may prefer calmer activities.


Brushing is key:

  • Frequency: Regular brushing is essential, with at least 1-2 sessions per week being the norm.
  • Double coat approach: Use a slicker brush for the topcoat and an undercoat rake for the dense underfur, especially during shedding seasons (spring and fall).
  • Gentle does it: Be gentle while brushing, avoiding pulling or tugging that can irritate the skin.


  • Less is more: Unlike other dogs, black Shiba Inus don’t require frequent baths. 4-6 baths per year are sufficient, using a gentle dog shampoo specifically designed for double coats.
  • Blow-drying is essential: Use a cool or low-heat blow dryer to prevent matting and ensure even drying.

Additional tips:

  • Paw care: Regularly trim their nails to prevent overgrowth and discomfort.
  • Ear cleaning: Gently clean their ears with a dog-safe ear cleaner once a week.
  • Dental hygiene: Brush their teeth regularly to maintain good oral health.

Training and socialization

black shiba inus
  • Positive reinforcement is key: The black Shiba Inu thrives on positive reinforcement, like rewarding desired behaviors with treats, praise, and affection. 
  • Keep it short and sweet: Short, frequent training sessions are more effective than marathon ones. Aim for 5-10 minute sessions several times a day.
  • Embrace the playful side: Incorporate games and fun activities into training. This keeps your Shiba engaged and makes learning enjoyable.
  • Harness their intelligence: Shibas are smart, but their independent streak can lead to stubbornness. You can challenge their minds with puzzle toys, agility training, or new tricks.
  • Early socialization is crucial: Start socializing your black Shiba Inu puppy as early as possible. Expose them to different people, animals, and environments in a positive way. This will help prevent fear and anxiety later in their life.

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free online dog training workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.

Dietary needs

Typical Shiba nutritional needs:

  • Active breed: Black Shiba Inus are active dogs with moderate energy requirements. Their diet should reflect this, balancing protein, fats, and carbohydrates for sustained energy.
  • Double coat: Like other Shibas, black ones have a double coat. You should choose a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.
  • Individual needs: Consider your Shiba’s age, activity level, and any potential health concerns when choosing a diet. It’s best to consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations.

Make sure you’re not overfeeding your Shiba, as they can easily get overweight. To avoid that, follow the instructions on the dog food you buy and adjust it according to how much exercise your dog gets. Secondly, try feeding them smaller meals throughout the day instead of one big meal. That will help their digestion and prevent them from eating too much. Lastly, always keep a bowl of clean water nearby for them to drink. These simple tips will keep your black Shiba Inu in top shape.

Lifespan and health


  • Average: The average lifespan of a Shiba Inu, black or otherwise, is 13-16 years. With proper care, they can even live longer.
  • Contributing factors: Good nutrition, regular exercise, preventive healthcare, and a loving environment all contribute to a longer, healthier life.

Common health concerns:

  • Allergies: Shibas are prone to allergies that can cause skin irritation and itching. 
  • Hip Dysplasia: This condition affects the hip joints and can cause pain and lameness. 
  • Luxating Patella: This kneecap displacement can cause limping or hopping. 
  • Eye conditions: Cataracts and glaucoma are potential concerns. 

Lifestyle and ownership

Living environment:

  • Apartment dwellers: Black Shiba Inus can live happily in an apartment if they get enough playtime and things to keep their minds busy. But it’s important to have a safe balcony or a nearby park where they can stretch their legs.
  • House with yard: Ideal! A fenced yard allows them to run, explore, and fulfill their natural instincts. 
  • Active lifestyle: Black Shibas thrive with active owners who enjoy walks, hikes, and engaging activities. They’re not couch potatoes!


  • Children: While some black Shibas adore children, early socialization and respectful interactions are essential. Their independent nature might not always align with playful youngsters.
  • Other pets: Introduce dogs to each other carefully and keep an eye on them. Sometimes, they can get territorial and need a bit of help to manage their instincts.


  • Initial costs: Breeder fees, initial supplies (food, bed, leash), and vet checkups can add up.
  • Ongoing costs: Food, regular vet care, pet insurance, training classes, and grooming are all ongoing expenses. You should factor these into your budget.


black shiba inus

The black Shiba Inu is a stunning variation of the Shiba Inu breed that has gained popularity due to their enigmatic charm and midnight coat. These dogs have unique personalities that are independent, playful, and alert, making them great companions for an active lifestyle. However, owning a black Shiba Inu is not for everyone, as they require dedication, respect for their nature, and a commitment to their well-being.

Becoming a dog parent is one of the most memorable moments of life. But before bringing your new best friend home, it’s vital to have all the right things to make sure the adoption is really smooth and makes them feel right. You may feel overwhelmed by tons of puppy products on sale and not sure what items your puppy actually needs. That’s why we’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started.


Are black Shiba Inus rare?

Yes, black is the rare color variation within the breed. However, rarity shouldn’t dictate your choice; responsible ownership comes first!

How much does a black Shiba Inu cost?

Prices can vary depending on breeder, pedigree, and location. Generally, expect to pay between $1,400 and $5,000 for a black Shiba Inu puppy. 

What is the rarest Color for a Shiba Inu?

The rarest color for a Shiba Inu is sesame. It’s not just a simple color because specific requirements exist for a Shiba to be considered a true sesame. If the dog has too much or too little black fur, it will be penalized in the show ring. It will also be penalized if the dog doesn’t have proper red eye patches and leg markings.

What is the temperament of a black Shiba Inu?

Black Shiba Inus have similar temperament traits as other Shibas. They are loyal, independent, playful, mischievous, alert, territorial, stubborn and strong-willed.

About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

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