Shiba Inu

Ancient, squinty-eyed beauties!

Shiba Inu

By Antonia Cirjak - Last updated on March 20th, 2021

All you need to Know about the Shiba Inu

Whether you know them as one of the oldest dog breeds or as a popular internet meme, Shiba Inu dogs have surely left an impression on you. These gorgeous pups were originally bred as hunting dogs in Japan. This was back in the 3rd century BC.

Shiba Inu is a native dog breed from Japan. Some of the other native breeds are Akita, Kishu, Hokkaido, Kai Ken, and Shikoku. Still, the Shiba Inu is the most well-known out of the bunch. It is also the smallest!

Their personality is high-spirited, and they are known for their agility. Nowadays, we can mostly find Shiba Inu pups around Japan and the United States serving as companion dogs.

Are you interested in getting a Shiba Inu for your family? If so, you will surely want to learn all the important facts about this breed! Read on to find out.

Fast Facts

Height - 14-16 inches (male), 13-15 inches (female)

Weight - 20-30 pounds (male), 19-28 pounds (female)

Group - Non-sporting

Coat - Short, Double Coated

Shedding - Heavy Shed

Lifespan - 12-15 Years

The Appearance of Shiba Inu

Whether you’re a dog enthusiast or someone who is just learning to love them, you will most likely recognize a Shiba Inu right away. Their unique look will turn heads wherever they appear! 

Their size varies from 13 inches to 17 inches tall and 17 to 25 pounds in weight. You may have also stumbled upon a Teacup Shiba Inu somewhere! These pups are even smaller and were intentionally bred to stay tiny!

Originally Shiba Inu dogs were bred for hunting, and it shows in their build. They have a compact frame with developed muscles. 

Their eyes have a somewhat triangular shape, with a dark brown iris and black eye rims. The ears of a Shiba Inu are triangular and relatively small. However, they are always proportionate to the head and body’s size and consistently stand at attention.

These dogs have thick and sturdy necks with a straight topline. The body of a Shiba Inu is well-muscled. Although they may look cute, there is more to them than meets the eye!

The Shiba Inu has a double coat. The outer coat is stiff and long, while the undercoat is soft and short. In general, its fur is short all over the body.

The tail of a Shiba Inu is fluffy, and it curls up over the dog’s body. They also have soft pads on their feet. Many people compare a Shiba Inu to a cat, and we can definitely see the resemblance!

Another breed that looks similar to these dogs is the Akita. However, if we were to compare Shiba Inu vs. Akita, one significant difference would pop up right away. Akita dogs are much larger!

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What colors does a Shiba Inu come in?

The easiest way to find out about the different colors of a Shiba Inu is to look at the breed standard. According to it, there are only three colors accepted for this breed. These are the colors you should aim for if you want to show your Shiba Inu:

  • Red
  • Black and tan
  • Sesame (red with black-tipped hairs)

Another important thing about the color of a Shiba Inu is the “urajiro.”  These are white markings that appear on certain parts of the coat. These parts include the cheeks, the muzzle’s sides, inside the ears, the abdomen, and a few others. “Urajiro” markings need to be visible.

Shiba Inu dogs can come in other colors as well, such as orange or yellow. They can also be completely white, which is considered a fault by breeders. Still, if you don’t plan on bringing your pet to shows, it shouldn’t be a problem for anyone!

There you have it! You now know just about everything related to the looks of a Shiba Inu! But what about its personality?

All about the Shiba Inu personality

When it comes to their personality, Shiba Inu dogs are good-natured but always alert. While they will become attached to you, they value their independence. These pups will often have their crazy ideas about things and act accordingly!

A Shiba Inu will be highly affectionate with its family. On the other hand, it may be suspicious of new people and strangers. 

These dogs don’t like sharing! You can expect a Shiba Inu to guard its food and toys somewhat aggressively. Another thing we should mention is that they won’t always get along with other dogs. When meeting a small animal, a Shiba Inu might start chasing it like prey!

Their temperament is affected by various factors. Some of these include socialization, training, and heredity. Shiba Inu puppies that have a nice temperament are playful and curious. They will approach people willingly and allow them to hold them. 

This is why you should carefully pick the right puppy for you! Some will be extremely playful, while others will sit alone in their corner. The differences in personalities make this an exciting breed!

Exposing a Shiba Inu to early socialization is probably the safest way to ensure it will grow up well. Surround it with different people, animals, and experiences while it’s little!

Is a Shiba Inu easy to train?

You probably already guessed that they are not the easiest breed to train. 

This is why you should begin training and socializing your Shiba Inu puppies as soon as possible. Getting along well with other people and dogs is a good way of teaching them proper manners!

You should be aware of the freethinking nature of these dogs. Once you learn to accept it, their behavior won’t frustrate you. These dogs are brilliant. However, they won’t always do what you want them to.

The best way to go about this is to make your dog believe that being obedient is its own idea! Naturally, working with a professional trainer will make all of this a lot easier.

Shiba Inu dogs are also highly possessive. They carefully guard all of their belongings, be it toys or food, even their territory. If socialized correctly, this characteristic won’t show up as often. 

Still, it is recommended to put away their favorite toys when there are other dogs nearby. This way, you can prevent your Shiba Inu from feeling threatened about someone else touching its toys!

You may think all of this doesn’t make the Shiba Inu a good family dog. Well, that is not the case. These dogs are devoted, loyal, and they get along well with kids. If you take the time to train and socialize your dog correctly, it will make a fantastic pet.

How much Grooming does a Shiba Inu need?

When it comes to grooming, the Shiba Inu is a relatively simple dog to maintain. These dogs are naturally clean, but still, that doesn’t mean you can just let them be!

You should brush their coat once a week. This way, you will remove any dead hair and distribute oils properly. Give them an occasional bath, but don’t do it too often! This could dry out their skin. It is recommended to bathe Shiba Inu dogs every three to four months.

Shibas shed seasonally. On average, they do so twice a year. However, the shedding period can last for a long time, so it can feel like it never ends! Brushing and combing their hair can help with this, but you can also blow your dog with a strong blow-dryer. Naturally, this means that Shiba Inus are not hypoallergenic. 

You should brush the teeth of your Shiba two or three times a week at least to get rid of the bacteria and tartar buildup this way. 

Trim its nails regularly, at least once or twice a month. Some dogs will wear down their nails naturally, so you won’t need to bother with this. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, that means they are too long!

Grooming is not the only thing to do to keep your dog happy. There are a few other things you should know about the health of the Shiba Inu.

The Health and Fitness of the Shiba Inu

In general, Shiba Inus are healthy dogs. They can be prone to certain health conditions, but no more than other breeds. Still, you should be aware of some conditions. 

As with most other dog breeds, the most common health condition in Shiba Inus are allergies. They will appear as skin irritation, and your dog will start itching. Allergies typically occur in dogs when they are at least six months old.

There are three main types of allergies a Shiba Inu can suffer from. These are food allergies, contact allergies, and inhalant allergies. The treatment is different depending on the cause, and it can include medications and dietary restrictions.

There are a few other conditions that may appear in Shiba Inu dogs. These include glaucoma, epilepsy, cancer, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism.

Glaucoma is increased pressure in the eye, and it is a condition that affects humans too. Canine cancer has several symptoms, including abnormal swelling, bleeding from body openings, and breathing problems. 

Epilepsy can be inherited and can cause seizures of varying intensity, while hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland disorder. It can cause various other conditions such as obesity and hair loss.

If you notice any issues connected to your dog’s eyesight, bleeding of any kind, or any sudden changes in their behavior, make sure to contact your veterinarian immediately to rule out these conditions.

Where does the Shiba Inu come from?

The Shiba Inu originated in Japan where it was primarily used as a hunting dog for small game.

The breed almost perished during World War II. Many dogs were killed in bombing raids or succumbed to canine distemper. Once the war was finished, Shiba Inus were brought from the countryside. 

It was done to establish breeding programs in Japan. The surviving specimens were interbred, and we got the Shibas we know today! The Shiba Inu breed standard was adopted by the Japanese Kennel Club and the Federation Cynologique Internationale in the late 1940s.

The first Shiba Inu dogs were imported to the United States in 1954, and the first U.S. litter was born in 1979.

Shiba Inu Mixes you would like to know about*

Dog crossbreeds or mixes are sometimes called designer dogs. The name fits since you are “designing” a new dog by mating two purebred dogs. It has become popular in recent times, and more and more breeds have several noteworthy crosses we could write about.

The thing with mixed puppies is that it is hard to know which characteristics they will inherit from their parents. You should research as much info as possible on the parent breeds to understand what you can expect. This way, you will find a mix that has all of the characteristics you want and love.

Read on to see the most popular Shiba mixes:

*Not all breed mixes are equal in quality! neither condones nor endorses any example of unethical and unhealthy crossbreeding. We encourage everyone to research in detail before they choose to get a crossbreed.

Questions people often ask about Shiba Inu Puppies

  • +Are Shiba Inus good for first-time owners?

  • +Why are Shiba Inus so aggressive?

  • +Do Shiba Inus like to cuddle?

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