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A Complete Guide to Red Shiba Inus (2024 Updated)

Last updated on February 23rd, 2024 at 07:12 pm

Hey, did you know about the Shiba Inu? It’s the internet’s famous meme king! These cute Japanese dogs have a stunning red coat that symbolizes the rising sun and autumn foliage of their homeland. Not just a pretty face, they also have a unique personality and rich history. 

If you’re curious about red Shiba Inus, you’re in luck! Our blog post will be your ultimate guide to these charming and independent pups. After reading, you can decide if they’re the perfect match for you. 


The story of the red Shiba Inu goes back centuries as a part of Japan’s history. They were originally small-game hunters that honed their skills in the mountains. Their red coats blended in with the autumn landscape. 

The red Shiba is a distinct breed but wasn’t always the “official” version. In the early 20th century, crossbreeding with Western dog breeds almost wiped out pure Shibas. Fortunately, preservation efforts identified and bred three surviving bloodlines, one of which was predominantly red, known as the Shinshu Shiba. This red lineage, with its dense, fiery coat and compact build, became the foundation for the modern red Shiba Inu. Today, these furry ambassadors remind us of their deep roots in Japan’s cultural heritage, carrying a legacy of resilience and adaptability.

Appearance of red Shiba Inus

red shiba inus


Red Shiba Inus come in a range of fiery shades, from bright orange-red to a rich, deep auburn. Their undercoat is typically a soft gray-blue that provides insulation and contrasts beautifully with the outer coat. Some red Shibas may have black tipping on their back and tail, known as “sashige” in Japanese. While not preferred in show rings, it adds a distinct charm.


Red is the most common and popular Shiba Inu color, but it’s not the only one. Black and tan, sesame (a mix of black and red hairs), and cream variants also exist. However, true red remains the most desired and historically significant within the breed.


The red Shiba Inu shares the standard Shiba Inu build, known for their compactness and athleticism. They stand around 14-17 inches tall and weigh in at 17-23 pounds, with males slightly larger than females. Their body is well-proportioned with a strong chest and muscular legs, allowing for agility and speed. Additionally, red Shibas have small, triangular ears that stand erect, almond-shaped eyes, and a curled tail that sits proudly over their back.


  • Independent spirit: Red Shibas, like all Shibas, are known for their independent streak. They’re not your typical lapdog and may prefer some solitude.
  • Confident and bold: These fiery foxes exude confidence. They’re alert and curious, often taking the initiative to explore their surroundings.
  • Loyal and affectionate: Despite their independence, red Shibas are deeply loyal to their families. They show affection subtly, like gentle head nudges or curling up near you. 
  • Lively and energetic: Red Shibas are playful and active dogs with a mischievous side. They require daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation to stay happy and prevent boredom-induced mischief. 
  • Cat-like tendencies: Some red Shibas exhibit cat-like behaviors, such as meticulous grooming, and prefer to perch in high places. They can be vocal when they want something and may not always respond readily to commands.

Exercise needs

Red Shiba Inus may have a fiery spirit but also moderate energy levels. While they don’t require marathons, they do need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Here’s a breakdown of their needs:

  • Daily walks: Aim for at least one walk per day, lasting 30-60 minutes. Choose varied routes and terrain to keep things interesting. 
  • Playtime: Dedicate 15-20 minutes to interactive play sessions each day. Fetch, tug-of-war, and puzzle toys are great options. 
  • Off-leash time: If you have a secure and fenced-in area, allow supervised off-leash playtime. Let them run, jump, and express their natural instincts freely.
  • Consider additional activities: Explore options like dog parks, agility training, or swimming (with proper supervision, of course!). These can provide additional physical and mental stimulation.

Remember that puppies may need shorter walks and more frequent play sessions, while seniors might require less strenuous activities. Most importantly, always listen to your dog and adjust their exercise if they seem tired or uninterested.


red shiba inus
  • Brushing: Brushing is key! During shedding seasons (spring and fall), brush daily with a slicker brush to remove loose undercoat. Otherwise, weekly brushing is sufficient. 
  • Bathing: Unlike some breeds, red Shibas are relatively clean and don’t require frequent baths. You only need to bathe them every 6-8 weeks with a gentle dog shampoo to avoid stripping natural oils. Use lukewarm water and thoroughly rinse. Blow dry them on low heat, following the direction of their fur.
  • Nail trimming: Trim your Shiba’s nails regularly to prevent them from getting too long and uncomfortable. 
  • Ear cleaning: Check their ears weekly for wax buildup and debris. Use a gentle ear-cleaning solution and cotton swabs to gently clean the outer ear canal. 
  • Dental care: Brush your Shiba’s teeth regularly (ideally daily) with dog toothpaste and a toothbrush to prevent dental disease and keep their breath fresh.

Training and socialization


  • Positive reinforcement is key: Red Shibas thrive on praise, treats, and positive reinforcement. For example, you can reward desired behaviors like “sit” and “stay” with enthusiasm and yummy treats. 
  • Embrace short sessions: Keep training sessions short and engaging (5-10 minutes max). Shibas have short attention spans, so frequent, shorter sessions are more effective than marathon training sessions.
  • Make it fun: Incorporate play and games into training. Use toys, hide treats, and make learning an enjoyable experience for both of you.
  • Be Patient and consistent: Remember, Shibas are independent thinkers. Don’t get discouraged if progress seems slow. Remain patient, consistent, and positive, and you’ll eventually see results.


  • Start early: Socialization is crucial for all dogs and even more important for independent breeds like Shibas. Start exposing your puppy to different people, animals, and environments from a young age.
  • Positive experiences: Ensure all interactions are positive and controlled. Introduce your Shiba Inu to new things gradually and reward calm, curious behavior. 

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

red shiba inus

Choosing the right food:

  • High-quality kibble: Opt for high-quality kibble formulated for their size with real meat sources as the first ingredient.
  • Consider raw diets: If you’re comfortable, discuss raw food diets with your veterinarian. These can be beneficial but require careful planning and preparation to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

Portion control:

  • Don’t overfeed: Red Shibas are prone to weight gain, so strictly follow the feeding guidelines on your chosen dog food. Adjust portions based on your dog’s age, activity level, and individual needs.
  • Monitor their weight: Regularly weigh your Shiba Inu and adjust their food intake if necessary. 

Common concerns:

  • Food allergies: Some Shibas may have food allergies that manifest as skin problems or digestive issues. Consult your veterinarian if you suspect allergies and explore hypoallergenic diets.
  • Picky eating: Shibas can be picky eaters. So, avoid giving in to their demands; stick to their regular food and offer treats sparingly.

Lifespan and health


  • Average lifespan: Red Shiba Inus generally have an average lifespan of 13-16 years, with some living even longer. 
  • Factors affecting lifespan: As with any dog, several factors influence a red Shiba’s lifespan, including genetics, diet, exercise, preventive healthcare, and overall care. Providing a loving home, proper nutrition, regular exercise, and timely veterinary care can significantly contribute to a long and healthy life for your furry friend.


  • Generally healthy: Red Shiba Inus are considered a relatively healthy breed with few major breed-specific health concerns. However, like all dogs, they can be susceptible to certain conditions.
  • Common health issues: Some potential health concerns to be aware of include allergies, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and eye problems (like cataracts and entropion).
  • Preventive care is key: Regular veterinary checkups, vaccinations, parasite control, and dental care are crucial to preventing and detecting health issues early, ensuring your red Shiba enjoys a long and healthy life.

Lifestyle and ownership

Living environment:

  • Space: While not demanding acres, Shibas need adequate space to roam and explore. A house with a fenced yard is ideal, but apartments can work with proper exercise and stimulation.
  • Activity level: These are moderately active dogs who require daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. Are you an active person who enjoys outdoor adventures? Your lifestyle should match their energy needs.
  • Independent nature: Shibas value solitude and may not be constantly cuddly companions. They thrive in homes that respect their independent spirit and offer quiet spaces to retreat.


  • Children: Shibas can be wary of children, especially young ones. Early socialization and respectful interactions are crucial. You should consider your family’s dynamics and ability to supervise interactions.
  • Other pets: They can do well with other dogs and cats with proper introductions and socialization. However, their strong prey drive necessitates caution with smaller animals.


  • Initial costs: Expect to pay for a puppy from a reputable breeder, spaying/neutering, basic supplies, and initial vet visits.
  • Ongoing costs: Factor in food, regular vet care, pet insurance, training, grooming, and potential doggy daycare or walking services. Be prepared for the long-term financial commitment!


shiba inu names

Red Shiba Inus are unique and have a way of capturing your heart. They’re not your typical couch potato, but they offer loyalty, playful moments, and a connection to Japan’s rich heritage. From their ancient hunting roots to their fiery personalities, they demand respect for their individual nature. 

If you’re drawn to their fiery spirit and can provide a loving, stimulating environment, a red Shiba Inu might be your perfect match. Remember, owning a dog is a lifelong responsibility, so do your research, choose wisely, and prepare to be charmed by their unique spirit.

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.


How much is a red Shiba Inu?

The price of a red Shiba Inu puppy depends on a few things. First, it’s all about the breeder’s reputation. If they’re legit and take good care of their pups, they’ll probably charge more. Also, if you want a pup that’s fit for the show, you can expect to pay more. Lastly, prices vary depending on where you are in the world. Generally, you’ll have to shell out between 1,000 and 3,000 bucks for a red Shiba Inu from a good breeder.

What is a red Shiba Inu?

A red Shiba Inu is simply a Shiba Inu with a red coat. It’s the most common and original coat color within the breed, symbolizing the rising sun and autumn foliage of their Japanese homeland.

What are the 4 Shiba Inu colors?

The four standard Shiba Inu coat colors are:

  • Red: The most common and popular, ranging from bright orange-red to a deep auburn.
  • Black and tan: A black coat with tan markings on the legs, chest, and muzzle.
  • Sesame: A mix of black and red hairs, creating a speckled appearance.
  • Cream: A light, solid coat color ranging from ivory to light beige.

What is the temperament of a red Shiba Inu?

Red Shiba Inus, like all Shibas, are known for their independent spirit, playfulness, and loyalty. They can be affectionate but also enjoy solitude. Here are some key temperament traits:

  • Independent: They’re not clingy lapdogs but form strong bonds with their owners.
  • Confident and bold: They have curious and assertive personalities.
  • Loyal and affectionate: Though independent, they show love in subtle ways.
  • Lively and energetic: They require daily walks and playtime to prevent boredom.
  • Cat-like tendencies: Some exhibit grooming habits and a preference for perching high.

Remember, these are general tendencies, and individual personalities can vary.

What is the best color for a Shiba Inu?

There is no “best” color. It’s entirely subjective and depends on your personal preference. Red is the most popular and traditional, but all four colors have their own unique charm. Choose the color that resonates with you!

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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