Shiba Inu Overview

Origin & History

The Shiba Inu dog is a breed of hunting dog originated in Japan. It is the smallest of the six original and distinct Spitz breeds of dog native to Japan.

Despite its smaller size, it was bred to hunt small wild game, bear, boar and to flush birds.

The name Shiba means, both “small” and “brushwood” in Japanese and the word Inu means “dog”

The Shiba is one of the most popular breeds in Japan today and is gaining numbers all over the world.

It looks similar and often mistaken for other Japanese dog breeds such as the Akita Inu or Hokkaido.

Although the breed faced extinction during World War II, its numbers have dramatically rebounded.

The Shiba Inu was recognized by the ACK in 1992 and is its 136th breed, and added to the Non-Sporting group in 1993.

Shiba Inu dogs


  • You won’t find a more loyal dog than a Shiba Inu.
  • This breed has a high emotional IQ level.
  • The Shiba Inu dog moves swiftly with light-footed grace.
  • This breed offers a lot of strength in a small package.
  • Shiba Inus are exceptionally healthy dogs.
  • They are energetic and bold (not a lapdog).
  • They are smart, and clever.
  • These dogs hate to stay dirty.
  • Large supportive global Shiba Inu owner community


  • You will discover high levels of stubbornness with this breed.
  • An unhappy Shiba Inu can replicate a human scream.
  • Shiba Inus can be as vocal as the average husky, especially a Shiba with a complaint.
  • These dogs can tend to be aggressive toward other Shibas.
  • Massive destructiveness when bored or left alone too much.
  • This breed can shed a lot.
  • He has a strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge.

Interesting facts

  • According to National Geographic, Shibas are the breed that’s most genetically similar to wolves.
  • Japan has six national dog breeds, and the Shiba is the smallest and oldest of all these breeds.
  • The Shiba has been considered a Natural Monument of Japan in the cultural properties Act since 1936.
  • They can often be found grooming themselves and licking their paws like cats.
  • The oldest known Shiba Inu named “Pusuke” lived until the age of 26 and died in December 2011. He was not only the oldest known Shiba, but he was also the oldest living dog of his time.
  • Some of the Shiba’s talents include hunting, tracking, watchdog, guarding, agility and performing tricks.
  • A Shiba Inu dog called Kabuso has been turned into a meme known as ‘doge’.
  • They have dense undercoats, which allow them to withstand cold temperatures.
  • “Maru” the Shiba Inu has over 2 million followers on Instagram. In fact, Maru is the sixth most followed dog on the social media platform.
  • Mari is a Shiba Inu dog who saved her pups and her owner in 2004, when an earthquake struck the village of Yamakoshi in Japan.
Shiba Inu dog
Shiba Inu dog

Appearance of a Shiba Inu dog

A Shiba Inu has a wolf-like (Spitz) appearance, with prick ears, foxy face, thick coat, and curled tail.

A Shiba has a double coat of short hair, which is silky to the touch. The density of the coat is similar to that of a Husky and generally does not mat but sheds.

They come in several colors, namely cream, red, black & tan, and red sesame.

Males grow 35 to 43 cm tall, weighing between 8 and 11 kilograms. Females grow 33 to 41 cm tall, weighing between 6.5 and 9 kilograms.

Shiba Inu dogs have a fairly decent lifespan of about 13 – 16 years.

Temperament of a Shiba

The Shiba Inu is a good watchdog, companion and family dog, the Shiba Inu is versatile.

He is alert and bold, this feisty little guy will bring spirit into anyone’s home.

They are loyal and affectionate with those whom he knows and trusts, the Shiba has a good-natured disposition. With his family, he will be affectionate, playful, and social.

The breed can have an aggressive tendency in certain situations. However, with proper upbringing and socialization, this does not occur.


A Shiba’s grooming needs are not that high.

Its coat needs to be brushed occasionally so that the loose hairs are brushed out. Their nails should be clipped as needed.

Do Shiba Inu dogs shed hair a lot?

Shibas shed a lot and throughout the year.

The amount and frequency of shedding increases further during the shedding period that occurs once or twice a year.

Brushing the coat is necessary to control the shedding process to some extent.

Shiba Inu dogs

Cost of a Shiba Inu dog

On average, a Shiba puppy costs between 1350 and 2000 euros.

The price depends on the location of the breeder, the dog’s bloodline, color and age, among other factors.

Exercise & trainability

Shibas have moderate exercise requirements, but they can be a bit stubborn and are independent by nature.

They must have daily exercise. This can be done by taking walks or letting them run free in a yard or park. Light games and fun activities are also very beneficial for Shibas.

It is important to begin their obedience training at an early age so that they listen better to their owner’s commands.

This dog’s feelings can easily be hurt if the owner decides to use training methods that are too harsh.

A Shiba is a fairly smart dog that possesses considerable thinking and decision-making skills. According to “The Intelligence of Dogs” by Stanley Coren, the Shiba Inu is ranked 49.

Most Shibas are not known for liking to swim or get wet, but there are a few exceptions. If your Shiba is comfortable around water and enjoys swimming, be sure to take that dog to a pool or beach.

Do Shibas bark a lot?

Some Shiba Inu dogs bark a lot, but with proper training this habit can be easily controlled.

These canines mostly bark when they want the attention of their loved ones or when they are guarding or looking after their home

What climate is best for the Shiba Inu?

Shibas have a great tolerance to low temperature and cold. These canines are happy to reside in chilly and snowy areas. These pooches are a great option for those people who want to raise a pet in a cold and wintry region.

Shibas have an average tolerance to heat. These canines can comfortably live in moderately warm areas. But, these pooches shouldn’t be kept under the direct heat of the sun, especially during the summer months.

Shiba Inu dog


A properly trained and well socialized shiba is friendly and kind to kids. These pooches are happy to spend their time with a playful and fun-loving child. It is considered to be a suitable breed for those families that have a young child present in their house.

Generally, Shibas have been known to chase other small pets, including cats. But with proper training and socialization, they can become quite warm and affectionate with cats.

Untrained Shibas can be a bit aggressive toward other dogs they find strange, especially if they are of the same sex. It is important to properly introduce these dogs to many different dogs at an early age. So that they become a little more social and friendly with other dogs as they grow up.

Normally, Shibas are quite reserved and quiet around strangers. These dogs take their time before they start to trust a new person. They also remain quite alert and aware when they are around a new person.

Their adaptability

A Shiba is a great apartment dog. This canine adjusts well to the apartment lifestyle and mostly remains fairly relaxed and contented inside its home.

Shibas need proper guidance to become social with others. These dogs are also not always easy to train.

Well-trained Shibas can stay alone in the house for quite a long time. These dogs usually relax in their beds when their owners are not home. But it is important to meet all their needs and give them plenty of food and water before leaving them alone. It’s also a good idea to leave their favorite toy nearby, so they don’t get bored or annoyed.

Is a Shiba Inu a good guard dog?

Their guarding abilities are fairly average, but Shiba Inu dogs make pretty awesome watchdogs.

They can alert their owners through their bark in case of an intruder, trespasser or a burglar.

Does a Shiba drool much?

They don’t drool or slobber all that much. Shibas mostly drool when they have eaten their food or after drinking their water.

Shiba Inu dog

Health issues

The most common health problems are skin allergies, hip dysplasia, glaucoma, cataracts, entropion, and patellar luxation.