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Japanese Shiba Breed: Ultimate Guide for Lovers (2024)

Last updated on February 18th, 2024 at 12:52 am

With their fox-like appearance, curled tails, and charming personalities, it’s no wonder the Japanese Shiba breed has won over the hearts of people all around the globe. These ancient dogs are gaining popularity on social media and becoming increasingly popular as pets. But what makes them so unique and special? 

If you’re interested in learning about Shiba Inu dogs, you’ve come to the right place! This post will give you the lowdown on this adorable pup. So sit tight and get ready to discover everything you need to know!


Asian origin:Japan
Height:14.5-16.5 inches (male), 13.5-15.5 inches (female)
Weight:23 pounds (male), 17 pounds (female)
Lifespan:13-16 years
Coat type:Double, short-length
Colors:Black & tan, cream, red, sesame
Temperament:Alert, active, attentive
Suitable for:Experienced owner, apartment-friendly, families with older children



Energy level:


Tendency to bark:

Shedding amount:

Shiba Inu pictures


The Shiba breed has a long history, dating back to 300 BC in Japan. The first known Shiba to arrive in the United States was brought over by a military family in 1954. Following World War II, these dogs were nearly extinct, but they persisted through Japan’s wartime hardships and are now the most popular companion animal in the country. Over the past 50 years, their popularity has been on the rise in the United States.


shiba breed

Originally from Japan, the Shiba Inu is a small dog breed. They were first bred to hunt in the mountains using their sharp senses. They make excellent watchdogs and companions due to their alertness and agility. You can find that these canines have a compact frame with well-defined muscles. Males hold a masculine appearance without being coarse, while females are feminine without lacking structure.


The Shiba breed is known for their independence, loyalty, and affection towards those who earn their respect. They can be reserved with strangers but possess a good nature and are forthright. This combination results in natural beauty and dignity. Handlers must ensure that Shiba Inu dogs are always under control, especially in the presence of other pets.


Shiba Inu dogs usually shed twice a year, but some owners say it can last up to six months. Brushing them during heavy shedding will reduce the amount of hair around your home. You can use a strong blow-dryer or a shop vacuum in reverse to remove loose hair, dirt, and dandruff and to check for fleas. Most Shibas like the blower because it feels good and doesn’t scrape their skin or pull their coat. Just make sure it doesn’t get too hot. In addition, keep in mind that many Shibas don’t like nail trimming. So, it’s best to start when they’re a puppy, but if it’s too hard, it’s okay to let a professional do it.


While Shiba Inu dogs won’t become destructive if they don’t exercise every day, it’s important for their owners to ensure they get enough physical activity, especially if they don’t have a large yard to play in. Most of them are pretty active and enjoy going for walks.


shiba breed

If you own a Shiba, you must know that they can only be trusted to stay nearby when off-leash, if in a secure area. It doesn’t matter how well-trained they are; this is just how Shibas are. Letting them roam free is risky, as an open door or moment of inattention could result in them running off and potentially never returning. 

On a positive note, Shiba Inu dogs are naturally clean, and potty-training them is relatively easy. By four weeks old, they’ll start moving away from their sleeping area to go to the bathroom, and by five weeks, they can hold it all night. The bladder takes more time to control and depends significantly on the owner’s diligence and quick access to the outdoors.

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 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.


Allergies are the most common health condition in the Shiba breed, and they cause skin irritation and itching. Thankfully, most dogs with allergies can still live normal lives with products that treat their symptoms. Allergies typically develop in dogs when they are at least six months old. Responsible breeders should also screen their stock for health conditions like hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and patella luxation.


To keep your Shiba Inu healthy, feed them high-quality dog food, either store-bought or homemade, with your vet’s approval. Make sure the food matches their age, whether they’re a puppy, adult, or senior. 

Your Shiba needs clean, fresh water available at all times. Some dogs gain weight easily, so keep an eye on their calorie intake and weight. Treats are a great way to train them, but too many can lead to obesity. Ask your vet about safe human foods for dogs and if you’re concerned about their diet or weight.

Living Condition

shiba breed

The Shiba breed is originally from Japan and has historically been used as a mountain climber and hunting dog. They are well-suited for outdoor work and can adapt to different weather conditions. However, it’s important to keep an eye on them during extreme hot or cold weather. If your dog is panting heavily or shivering, it’s time to take a break.

Shiba Inus can be suitable for apartment living because they are naturally clean and easy to train. They make great indoor pets, as they are independent but enjoy being close to their family. They are generally calm and relaxed inside the house.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Japanese Shiba Breed

1. Shiba Inus Have Cat-Like Characteristics

Did you know that the Shiba breed has some cat-like characteristics? They’re known to be independent and stubborn when it comes to training. Plus, they’re cautious about cleanliness and spend much time grooming themselves. It’s always exciting to see how unique each dog breed is, isn’t it?

2. A Shiba Inu Saved Her Family During an Earthquake

Mari, a Shiba Inu dog, saved her puppies and elderly owner during an earthquake that hit the Yamakoshi village in Japan in 2004. When the earthquake destroyed their home, Mari quickly moved her puppies to a safe area. She then found her owner trapped under a cabinet and woke him up. Her owner managed to free himself and was later evacuated by helicopter. Unfortunately, Mari and her puppies had to stay behind. Two weeks later, when her owner returned, he found Mari and her puppies alive. This story was adapted into a Japanese movie called “A Tale of Mari and Her Three Puppies.”

3. Shiba Inu Dogs Almost Became Extinct

During World War II, the Japanese Shiba breed was almost completely wiped out. Many dogs died in bombing raids or from a highly contagious viral infection called distemper after the war. However, breeding programs implemented after the war helped the breed recover. The Shinshu variety of Shiba was the most common surviving type, while a few Mino and Sanin dogs also remained.

Shiba Inu for Sale

shiba breed

Among dog breeds, the Shiba is moderately popular. Therefore, if you want to get Shiba Inu puppies, consider checking local animal shelters and rescue groups first. They might have one in need of a home. When buying a purebred, be prepared to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the kennel and if the puppies come from champion stock. 

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 I’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started.


The Shiba Inu is an old Japanese dog breed. They are small but muscular and were initially used for hunting. Nowadays, these canines are popular companion dogs in Japan due to their intelligence and attentiveness. The Shiba breed is adaptable and comfortable living in both urban and rural environments. They are great companions for experienced owners looking for a loyal and family-friendly pet.


Is a Shiba Inu a Good Family Dog?

Shiba Inus can be good family dogs. However, they are independent and stubborn, so they need to be trained and socialized from a young age. They may not do well with young children, as rough play can make them easily startled or annoyed. However, with proper training and socialization, these dogs can become loyal and loving companions for families with older children.

Is Shiba a Friendly Dog?

Shiba Inus are generally friendly dogs but can be reserved with strangers. You should socialize the Japanese Shiba breed early to help them overcome their shyness and become more comfortable around new people.

Why Is Shiba Inu Dog So Expensive?

Shiba Inu dogs are expensive due to a few reasons. They are purebred, meaning they have specific physical and temperamental traits that make them more costly than mixed-breed canines. Additionally, they are popular, which drives up their price. Lastly, breeding Shibas can be challenging, contributing to their cost.

Are Shiba Inus a Healthy Breed?

Shiba Inus are generally a healthy breed but prone to a few health problems, including hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and allergies. Remember to talk to your breeder about their dogs’ health before buying.

What Makes Shiba Inu Dogs So Special?

Shiba Inu dogs are special for a few reasons. First, they are one of the oldest breeds in the world. Second, they are known for their fox-like appearance, which makes them very popular on social media. Third, they are intelligent and loyal dogs but can also be stubborn and independent. This makes them a challenging but rewarding breed to own.

Why Are Shibas So Dramatic?

Shiba Inus are known for their dramatic personalities. They can be very vocal, especially when they are excited or frustrated. They can also be very playful and mischievous. So, the Shiba breed is a fun breed to have around.

Are Shibas Hard to Train?

Shiba Inus can be hard to train because they are independent and stubborn. However, they are intelligent dogs and can be trained with patience and consistency. Positive reinforcement methods are recommended.

Are Shibas Cuddly?

Many Shiba Inus prefer to have their own space and may not always be interested in cuddling. However, they can be very affectionate with their families and often cuddle up on the couch or in bed.

Do Shibas Bark a Lot?

Shiba Inus can bark a lot, especially when bored or excited. They can also be bark-prone when alerted to something, such as a doorbell or a stranger outside. However, you can teach them to bark less with proper training.

Disadvantages of a Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu dogs are independent, stubborn, and opinionated, which makes them challenging to train. They have a strong prey drive, making it difficult to keep them off-leash. They shed heavily twice a year and moderately throughout the year, requiring regular brushing. In addition, Shibas can be aggressive towards other dogs and people if not appropriately socialized.

How Big Is a Full Grown Shiba Inu?

According to the American Kennel Club, here’s what you should know if you’re looking for the ideal size for a Shiba Inu. For males, the height at the withers should be between 14.5 and 16.5 inches and weigh around 23 pounds. Females should weigh approximately 17 pounds and measure between 13.5 and 15.5 inches at the withers.

Can Shibas Get Wet?

Yes, Shibas can get wet. They have a thick double coat that helps to protect them from the elements, but they can still get wet if submerged in water or playing in the rain. Drying your Shiba Inu off thoroughly after they have been wet is vital to prevent them from getting cold.

Do Shibas Like Other Dogs?

Some Shiba Inus get along well with other dogs, while others can be aggressive towards them. You have to socialize your Shiba with other canines from a young age to help them learn how to get along with others.

Do Shibas Shake a Lot?

Shibas do shake a lot, especially when they are wet or excited. They also shake to release excess energy. Shaking is a normal behavior for dogs, but if your Shiba Inu is shaking excessively, it could be a sign of a health problem.

Are Shibas More Like Cats?

Shibas are often compared to cats because of their independent and aloof nature. However, there are also some critical differences between Shiba Inus and cats. For example, Shiba dogs are pack animals and enjoy being around people, while cats are more solitary. 

Can Shibas Be Left Alone?

Shiba Inu dogs can be left alone for short periods of time, but they should not be left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to become destructive if left alone for too long and may also develop separation anxiety.

Do Shibas Attach to One Person?

Shiba Inus can attach to one person but can also be affectionate with multiple people. They are loyal and devoted to their families and will form strong bonds with their family members.

Can Two Shibas Live Together?

Some Shiba Inus get along well with other Shibas, while others can be aggressive towards them. You should introduce them slowly and carefully. 

What Age Are Shiba Inus Full Grown?

Shiba Inus are considered fully grown at around 2 years of age, but they may continue to develop until they reach about 3 years old.

How Do Shibas Show Love?

Shiba Inu dogs show love in a variety of ways. They may lick you, cuddle with you, or wag their tails. They may also follow you around the house or bring you toys.

Why Does My Shiba Lick Me?

Shiba Inu dogs lick to show affection, to groom you, or to relieve stress. They may also lick you to get your attention or to ask for something.

How Much Does a Baby Shiba Inu Cost?

The price of a baby Shiba Inu can vary depending on the breeder, the lineage of the dog, and the location. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for a purebred Shiba Inu puppy.

Lifespan of a Female Shiba Inu

The average lifespan of a female Shiba Inu is 13-16 years. This is similar to the lifespan of other small dog breeds.

Are Shiba Inus Messy?

Shiba Inu dogs are relatively clean. However, they shed twice a year and need to be brushed regularly to keep their fur under control.

Oldest Living Shiba Inu

The oldest living Shiba Inu was a dog named Pusuke, who lived to be 26 years old. He was born in 1985 and died in 2011.

Do Shiba Inus Have Anxiety Problems?

Shiba Inus can be prone to anxiety, especially separation anxiety. They form strong bonds with their owners. If they are left alone for too long, they may develop destructive behaviors or become depressed.

Do Shiba Inus Get Separation Anxiety?

Yes, Shiba Inus can get separation anxiety. This is a common problem in dogs left alone for long periods. Symptoms of separation anxiety include excessive barking, destructive chewing, and pacing.

Why Did Shiba Inus Almost Go Extinct?

Due to World War II, Shiba Inu dogs almost went extinct in the early 20th century. However, a few breeders were able to keep the breed alive, and Shiba Inus eventually began to make a comeback after the war.

Difference Between a Shiba Inu and an Akita Inu

Shiba Inus and Akita Inus are both Japanese dog breeds, but they are different in a few ways. Akitas are bigger and have a more muscular build and aggressive temperament.

How Many Puppies Do Shiba Inus Have?

The Shiba breed usually has a litter of 4-6 puppies. However, some Shiba Inus have had litters of up to 10 puppies.

Should I Get a Shiba or an Akita?

Choosing between a Shiba Inu and an Akita depends on your lifestyle and needs. A Shiba may be a good fit for you if you live in an apartment or have an active lifestyle. On the other hand, an Akita can be a good option if you live in a house or have experience with large dog breeds.

Three Types of Shiba Inu

Before World War II, there were three types of Shibas: Mino, Sanin, and Shinshu, named after the regions where they came from. Today’s Shiba Inu breed is most similar to the Shinshu.

What Dog Looks Like a Shiba Inu but Bigger?

Some dog breeds resemble Shiba Inus but are larger. These include the Akita Inu, a more powerful version of the Shiba Inu. The Japanese Spitz has a longer and fuller coat than the Shiba but looks very similar otherwise. Another breed similar to the Shiba breed is the Kai Ken, which has a more pointed face and a longer muzzle.

How to Tell if a Dog Is a Shiba Inu

There are a few ways to tell if a dog is a Shiba Inu. Shibas have a fox-like appearance with curled tails, thick double coats, and triangular ears. They are also relatively small dogs.

Small Dog That Looks Like a Shiba Inu

Some small dogs look like Shiba Inus, such as Pomeranians and Japanese Chins. Pomeranians have long, fluffy coats, rounded faces, and a shorter muzzle. Japanese Chins are also a small Spitz breed similar to Shiba Inus.


  • https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/shiba-inu/
  • https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/8-shiba-inu-facts/
  • https://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/ShibaInu.pdf
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