Shiba Inu

Also known as: Japanese Shiba Inu, Japanese Small Size Dog, Shiba, Shiba Ken
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shiba inu

General description

Shiba Inus are characterized by a dual aspect: well behaved in the house and inclined to exercise when outdoors. The Japanese Shiba Inu displays great intelligence and ability to engage in incredibly pleasant interaction. This breed is not scared of strangers and capable of becoming quite competitive towards other dogs, yet Shiba Inus are calm and peaceful in any environment.

Shiba Inu in short

Aspect and attributes

Characteristics accepts by FCI:

  • Colors: red, sesame, black, seal
  • Hair: straight, rough, short
  • Coats: close fitting

Due to its size, the Shiba Inu falls into the relatively small breeds however, some of the healthier individuals can easily reach a substantial weight. Usually capable to live with a limited amount of space although it is almost vital to provide some sort of space - regardless of it being indoors or outdoors - where it can exercise. The Shiba Inu can move gracefully in any type of environment.

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Costs and maintenance

A Shiba Inu won't cost more than any other dog breed. This breed requires two meals per day which should consist of half a cup of premium food in order to avoid unwanted health issues. Regular vaccines and vet checkups are also within average as per the vast majority of dogs. Particular care should be given to this breed's coat as it tends to get dirty when the Shiba Inu spends lot of time outdoors, giving the owner a little more to worry about in relation to cleanliness.

Within average as far as it concerns regular expenses and nutrition

Characteristics Summary


Suitability to apartment life

The Shiba Inu is a very unique dog breed. The Shiba Inu is not exactly an "outdoor breed" and, as a matter of fact, it beautifully adapts to living and interacting indoors. Nonetheless, Shiba Inus do require appropriate outdoor space in order to live well. Despite what many may assume, the Shiba Inu is a good hunter and may start chasing other animals, such as squirrels, just like a perfect pointer. This type of dog can easily adapt to apartment life but requires a certain living space.

The Shiba Inu is calm in all domestic environments, regardless of the kind of living space

Tolerance for solitude

Although, the Shiba Inu can display great socialization and interaction skills through thanks to its training, this breed is quite anti-social by nature. This particular trait can be tempered through appropriate training however it doesn't allow complete reliability in solitude. This breed may struggle to interact with strangers if not adequately managed by the owner however, it is also capable of displaying great responsibility and respect when left alone.

Perfectly responsible when properly trained

Suitable as first pet

The Shiba Inu has proven to be a good choice for first time owners. This breed is intuitive, intelligent and lovely in interactions. Even the less expert of owners can enjoy a Shiba Inu's great interactive skills especially during play and everyday life. A Shiba Inu can make life easier for the owner in many circumstances, most importantly when it is required to interact with other people outside of the familiar space of the house. A poised, calm and friendly pet. Three features that contribute to a pleasant daily routine with this breed.

Perfect choice even for inexperienced owners


Although the Shiba Inu tends to be quite independent by nature, this trait can be corrected at a young age through adequate training. The Japanese Shiba Inu tends to be fairly sensitive to an overly demanding master however it is an obedient breed that doesn't overreact in case of a stronger command. The Shiba Inu is very confident around expert owners who are able to manage its behavior without resourcing to "crazy yelling".

No overreactions in case of firmer reprimands

Tolerance for cold temperatures

The Shiba Inu is quite used to colder climates. The Shiba Inu's coat is quite thick and its disposition to prefer outdoor activities has helped strengthen it over the years giving this breed a broader coverage, even in unimaginable areas such as legs and stomach. Truth is that extreme climates aren't suitable for any type of dog. Despite a Shiba Inu' resistant coat, we shouldn't underestimate the effect that extremely low temperatures may have on this breed nor their ability to penetrate through a fur that appears efficient against cold weather.

A breed that tolerates fairly rigid climates

Tolerance for high temperatures

Generally, a Shiba Inu can withstand rather high temperatures although this breed is not known for the ability to deal with extremely hot weather. This trait is however pretty common amongst many dog breeds. The downside of the Shiba Inu's coat is in fact the thickness, if not regularly treated. A lack of care, especially in the back and neck areas can cause this breed a certain level of discomfort. Regular grooming is recommended, particularly moving towards summertime.

The Shiba Inu tolerates hot weather but not extreme temperatures

Friendliness and sociability

Affection towards family

The Japanese Shiba Inu is a typical pet dog that easily adapts to family life. Provided that your Shiba Inu's needs are taken into account, this breed can beautifully reciprocate through displays of affection and a special bond with the owner, specifically if this is responsible of training the dog. The Shiba Inu's tendency to be an independent breed is always connected to the type of training applied as a young puppy and it can be tailored so that your pet's attentions are directed to family members.

Perfect companion and suitable for family life

Friendly towards children

Shiba Inus are great companions with a sense of responsibility, especially when interacting with children. Although, as a general rule, an adult should always supervise a dog playing with kids, the Shiba Inu is a breed that's naturally good with them and capable of creating a friendly, loving bond with even when playing outdoors. A perfect companion in this regard.

Responsible and poised, the Shiba Inu is great friend for children

Relationship with strangers

This breed can also be good as guard dog. Although all of the these skills can be properly developed through early training, it is safe to state that Shiba Inus have a positive inclination to socialize, even within public environments through a calm and composed interaction with people that may fear animals and a more playful communication with dog lovers who can particularly appreciate this breed.

Great guard dog but friendly when in the right situations

Friendliness towards other dogs

Majority of dogs, including the Shiba Inu, have a tendency to be suspicious of other dogs. This trait can be affected by other factors such as training, the habit of interacting with other animals and the gender of these pets. Normally, all these factors can be managed through good training however, the Shiba Inu can become quite competitive with dogs of the same gender and may even consider displaying an aggressive behavior towards them. It is important to monitor your Shiba Inu's reaction around other dogs.

A wary breed but generally good natured, even with other dogs

Care and health

Coat care and shedding

The Shiba Inu's coat is very resistant and doesn't have a tendency to shed more than that of any other dog of similar size. The nature of this fur however, requires regular care to avoid developing diseases that may increase moulting or even the growth of parasites in sensitive and hardly approachable areas. Usually, the neck and thighs of your Shiba Inu will be the areas mostly affected by parasites during the typical seasons.

Average with regular care

Salivation and drooling restraint level

There are no reported cases of excessive drooling amongst this dog breed. The Shiba Inu is way below average as it regards salivation levels with no particular exception even in common situations that usually trigger this phenomenon. Usually not inclined to dribble excessively even in exciting situations. A very calm breed in these particular conditions however it shouldn't be over-stimulated to avoid getting your Shiba Inu used to wanting something more than required.

A very tame dog in any time of the day

Easiness to clean

The Shiba Inu's main feature is the very resistant coat however, when this is neglected and due to its particular structure it may easily accumulate dirt, or worse parasites which are usually less visible due to such long hair. This breed must be groomed on a regular basis and thoroughly inspected, especially in the more sensitive areas. Furthermore, due to its relatively light color a Shiba Inu's coat must be taken care of particularly around the tail and mouth area following meals.

The Shiba Inu's fur requires regular care

Health and diseases

Although the Shiba Inu is generally healthy, it may develop typical issues for breeds similar in size. Japanese Shiba Inus require particular attention in connection to allergies which may develop due to multiple factors such as diet, inhalation and coming in contact with foreign objects. In other cases, the Shiba Inu may develop inherited diseases such as dysplasia. Provided that it is taken care of and exercised, this breed tends to be a healthy one.

Strong and resistant with the appropriate care

Tendency to gain weight

A feature not so present in this breed. All dog breeds require a balanced lifestyle. No dog breed is able to keep fit when leading an inactive lifestyle. The Shiba Inu is no exception to this rule. It is advisable to motivate your dog and stimulate its intelligence through daily exercise in order to keep it fit. By doing all of the above you can manage to have a healthy pet.

Relatively low thanks to daily exercise

Learning skills

Intelligence and training

A breed characterized by a bright kind of intelligence. As long as training begins during puppyhood, the Shiba Inu is very easy to manage and highly receptive of its owner's commands. The Shiba Inu is definitely a breed that can satisfy and please the owner through interaction, provided that any activity is carried out in the appropriate environment.

An active and intelligent type of dog that is also relatively easy to train

Loyalty and inclination to escape

Lack of training can increase a dog's tendency to distance itself from the owner. The Shiba Inu is no exception and may follow its own needs, particularly in certain times of the year. A careful owner will never underestimate this inclination and will work on facilitating the creation of a bond between the pet and all family members. Generally not inclined to escaping from the owner nor being estranged for too long.

The Shiba Inu will easily get comfortable around the family and won't be inclined to run away

Inclination to bite

Shiba Inus require special care during training. A lack of appropriate training can cause this breed to develop socialization issues. If your pooch is unable to properly socialize with people and, most of all other animals it will develop unwanted behaviors in the interaction with them. A Shiba Inu could become aggressive towards other dogs, for example. Generally a docile breed that however requires the right level of attention.

A breed with a strong sense of responsibility and self-control

Hunt drive

When talking about this specific trait we must clearly define what we mean by "hunt". Shiba Inu were selected to aid during hunting trips. This is the training purpose in Japan, country of origin for the Shiba Inu. However, this breed's domestication has definitely helped tame its nature and made it the Shiba Inu more suitable for indoors living. Shiba Inus love to chase different preys during exercise or playtime so it is best to keep a close eye on them, especially when outdoors.

As it was created to hunt, the Shiba Inu uses this as recreational activity for this breed

Inclination to bark or howl

When inside the house, a Shiba Inu may be attracted by noises coming from the backyard or near the apartment. The nature of a Shiba Inu makes it a good guard dog that is able to get the owner's attention when required. However, thanks to the bounding presence of the owner a Shiba Inu won't be inclined to howl or bark every time it meets strangers.

Guarded and suspicious towards anyone wandering around the home

Exercise requirements

Energy level

The energy levels of the Shiba Inu are directly proportional to the quality and quantity of daily exercise performed with the owner. Generally, a fairly small breed such as the Shiba Inu will be inclined to interact quite vigorously especially within the home environment and unless it is tamed by people around it. The Shiba Inu is perfectly capable of limiting itself when interacting with children and not inclined to engage in crazy runs inside the house.

Dynamic within the average


The Shiba Inu is not too vigorous in its day-to-day activities. Not inclined to excessive behavior during the daily walk, for example a Shiba Inu on-lead won't force the owner to create resistance. On average, there may be a need for a firmer type of training when trying to teach your Shiba Inu all of the house rules. The Japanese Shiba Inu is perfectly capable of understanding what it can and cannot do, provided that this kind of training is well imprinted from the start.

Moderately vigorous in daily activities

Exercise requirements

As it regards exercise requirements, it is important to clarify that any dog needs a fair amount of opportunities in which it can release its energy and follow its predator or hunting drive. Shiba Inus are no exception and generally do this on a daily basis. The stimulating condition provided by exercise can become useful to train a pet's obedience level and ability to adapt to the owner's commands by properly responding to them. An outdoor space such as a backyard is recommendable.

Shiba Inus are inclined to practice daily exercise, especially outdoors

Tendency to play

A particular trait in this breed is the tendency to become possessive towards anything that is normally used as a toy. A Shiba Inu won't become aggressive in case someone tries to take its toy however it may misunderstand the action, especially if performed by the owner. However, thanks to the ability to apply its great intelligence to any kind of interaction, playing with a Shiba Inu can be a real pleasure especially for the owner and kids.

Shiba Inus are great in the interaction with adults and children

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