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Shiba Inu is a smart, courageous, alert, affectionate, and agile ancient Japanese dog breed that resembles a fox with an independent streak but makes an awesome family dog and companion. The breed has deep brown eyes that express confidence, a lavish coat, and a strong curly tail in distinct colors that makes it gorgeous.

The Shiba Inu’s popularity has risen in the last ten years due to its charm and sense of humor. But before you make up your mind that you want to buy or adopt this puppy and take him home, there are things that you should know. Owning a dog is a responsibility and you must know what you are getting into.

Even with a great personality, Shiba Inus are independent which makes them hard to train but this can be solved with a few techniques that we shall learn here today.

What is Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inu is a dog breed in the hunting category that was bred in Japan and is known for the fox-like appearance and looks like the Akita. This ancient Japanese dog breed is small but well-built and makes up the largest proportion of companion dogs in Japan.

This breed of dogs comes in a range of colors, including black & tan, red sesame, cream, red, black sesame, and sesame. It has a double coat that sheds a lot twice a year and is very easy to take care of. The white markings you see on Shiba Inus are a unique feature called Urajiro in Japanese and are found on all these pooches.

Read on for more info on this dog breed.

Other Names

Other names for Shiba Inu include Shiba Ken, Japanese Shiba Inu, Japanese Brushwood Dog, Japanese Turf Dog, and Japanese Small Size Dog.


With origins in Japan, the Shiba Inu was initially bred as a hunting dog whose task was to flush small game and birds out for hunters. This ancient Japanese dog breed came together with other large pooches such as the Akita, Hokkaido, Kishu, Shikoku, and Kai Dog.

Although the Shiba Inu dog breed came to the United States from Japan in 1954 via an American serving family, his documentation appears in the 1970s with the first litter birthed in 1979. The breed was accepted in 1993 by the American Kennel Club Miscellaneous Class. About four years later, the Shiba Inu obtained full status in 1997 with the Non-Sporting Group.

The Shiba Inu is the number one companion dog in Japan.


The Shiba Inu is a purebred dog breed with a fox-like appearance and the official organization currently has 16,822 pooches in its database as well as 954 listed users.


Shiba Inu is a purebred native Japanese dog breed that was originally bred to help hunters flush small game out of the bushes. As such, there are no parents to the breed but have been crossbreed with other dog breeds and that information is available as you read on.

Breed Characteristics

A Shiba Inu that has been bred properly tends to be alert, bold, and friendly. This dog breed is a confident and decisive character that makes him self-reliant and wants to do what he wants. On the other hand, he will be faithful and affectionate which is why many people love him as a family dog.

Unfortunately, the Shiba Inu is mean when it comes to his belongings such as toys, food, or even terrain and is not good with other dogs. Due to his innate hunting nature, he enjoys chasing small animals that look like prey to him. Shiba Inus are also a smart dog breed but training them is very hard due to their stubbornness and neutrality. As such, start training early and be patient.

If you want your Shiba Inu to have a cool temperament, visit their parents and socialize them from an early age. 

What do they look like?

The Shiba Inu dog breed looks like a fox with an orange-red classic color, black and tan, sesame, and cream. All the colors mentioned earlier have white patterns that the Japanese uniquely refer to as Urajiro and is commonly found on their legs, inner ears, chest, belly, and cheeks.

Shiba Inus have deep dark brown eyes that display their poised nature and there are very typical features that differentiate males from females both emotionally and physically. A female Shiba Inu has smoother facial features while males are branded by their broad face.

Regardless of the gender, Shiba Inus features a well-built stature and a confident posture with triangular ears and a furry curlicue tail. Check their weight, size, and height below.

Size, Height, and Weight

A male Shiba Inu stands 14.5 to 16.5 inches tall at the shoulders in height with a weight of approx. 23 lbs. while a female one stands 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall in height and a weight of approx. 17 lbs.


A healthy and well-fed Shiba Inu has a lifespan of 13 to 16 years. To help them thrive and live this life expectancy fully and happy, give them high-quality kibble.


Any dog’s temperament depends on a number of factors such as his how they are brought up and their ancestry and the Shiba Inu is no exemption. Shiba Inus are reputable for their enchanting temperament that attracts many dog enthusiasts.

If well-bred from puppyhood, a Shiba Inu will have a playful and curious temperament. So, pick the puppy that is temperate from the litter and not the bossy or fearful one. These dogs are smart which means that they will understand what you want them to do. Unluckily, they will do it when they want to which is why we say patience and endurance is a virtue when with Shiba Inus.

Shiba Inus are innately obedient and very loyal as well as interweaved sense of humor. As such, their mischievous nature is best suited for solid and tolerant individuals. 

Dietary Needs/Feeding

Shiba Inus thrive well on high-quality nutritious dry dog foods that are formulated for small dog breeds such as Pomsky. The dog food must include the correct ratios of protein, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. Since Shiba Inus are energetic and active with high exercise demands, they should eat more to make sure they get the daily required 660 calories a day.

Feed your Shiba Inu ½ cup to 1 ½ cups a day of high-quality dry dog foods and split it into two meals. And since activity levels, age, size, and digestion might be different, we recommend that you consult your vet. Make sure that your canine buddy does not overeat to prevent obesity.


Do they shed a lot?

Yes, Shiba Inus dog breeds shed a lot – twice a year – and lasts approx. 3 to 4 weeks which means there is a lot of grooming to do to keep your canine friend neat with a shiny coat. As you can tell, these dogs are not hypoallergenic.

The Shiba Inu boasts a double coat, a soft and dense undercoat plus a coarse and straight topcoat, which does not require trimming and has less grooming needs when not shedding. Brushing the coat weekly, a warm bath and blow-drying, trimming the nails weekly, and frequent brushing of the teeth is enough grooming for the Shiba Inu.

Check your Shiba Inu’s ears weekly for bad odor, redness, or dirt to prevent ear infections and clean them using a cotton ball that is humidified with a vet-recommended ear cleaner. All this grooming should be introduced from the pup stage to make sure your Shiba Inu loves it.

Companionship with Children

Although stubborn and self-reliant, Shiba Inus make great family dogs due to their loyalty and have excellent companionship with children. However, this only happens with those that are trained and socialized correctly which should be done from their puppyhood.

Because Shiba Inus are naturally-bred hunters, their prey drive still runs in their blood despite being domesticated. As such, they love chasing which means that they can chase your kids like prey during play and this may turn out to be nasty for your children.


We are not going to lie to you that training a Shiba Inu is an easy task. Although dogs might be hard to train, this dog’s stubbornness and independence make the process more challenging. As such, we shall share with you a number of different training techniques to help you out.

First, use the clicker training tactic to encourage desirable and positive behaviors in your Shiba Inu, for instance, to get to bed when you click. Second, play recall games with your dog in an open space to train him how to come to you when he is called and fast. For best results, use this tactic especially during walks.

Lastly, your Shiba Inu’s stubbornness makes him revolt when harnessing a leash on their neck. You can use the harness training technique by giving treats when they agree to wear it and in time they will associate it with positive outcomes making it fun.

As a rule of the thumb, however, training your Shiba Inu should be introduced from when they are puppies and so must socialization. Make sure that you begin with training your dog the basic commands such as ‘sit’ ‘go’ ‘come’ and more.


During their puppy stage, Shiba Inus should exercise for about 5 minutes two times a day depending on how many months old they are (4 months old x 5 = 15 minutes twice a day). When they are adults, Shiba Inus should exercise for an hour each day to avoid boredom which can lead to destructive behaviors.

Shiba Inus are very intelligent which means they require a lot of mental stimulation with dog games to make sure they remain engaged and busy. It will also help them sleep without being a pain in the butt to you.

Shiba Inu Price

How much does it cost to have one and to maintain it?

Like any other dog breed out there, the price of a Shiba Inu differs greatly. On average, you should be prepared to spend between $1,200 and $2,500 for a Shiba Inu. When it comes to the cost of maintenance, expect approx. $3,625 for the initial year then $90/month afterward.

If you want to know the total maintenance cost for a Shiba Inu throughout his lifetime, multiply $90/month with their expected lifetime.

Where to Buy or Adopt

You can get your Shiba Inu companion by buying or adopting. Whichever method you choose, there are things that you should consider and we are going to look at them right here.

A healthy and happy puppy starts in the breeding process which is why you should be careful when choosing your breeder. A responsible dog breeder will provide all your Shiba Inu’s health certifications that contain vet signatures from a licensed vet. They will tell all you need to know about their temperament, history, probable health issues, and how to prevent these conditions.

As such, seek a Shiba Inu dog breeder on a site such as the National Shiba Club of America and check that he does not sell his puppies via pet stores. Make sure that he provides documentation and dewormed before you go home.

For adoption, use the website, local professionals, or Shiba Inu breed rescue as they have pups or dogs that have basic training which gives you a good start when you take him home. When adopting a Shiba Inu, ask questions about his age, energy level, personality, companionship with children, and health issues.

All the best!

Shiba Inu Puppies

Shiba Inu puppies are cute which makes it hard for you to ignore them. Check out these images below:

Shiba Inu Adoption Process

If you have decided that a Shiba Inu is the perfect companion for you and plan to adopt him, there is an adoption process that you should follow. You must do the following:

  1. Ensure that the Shiba Inu is an ideal companion
  2. Fill in the adoption application form
  3. Wait for the contact from an adoption counselor
  4. Conclude a home visit with the rescue group’s representative
  5. Receive authorization and take your furry friend home
  6. Complete the adoption after making the decision for a lifetime commitment

The cost of adoption for a Shiba Inu is approx. $300 with all things included which is very cheap compared to buying your puppy from a dog breeder. The time taken to for the Shiba Inu adoption process depends on the site, ranging from some hours for humane societies to weeks for volunteer-operated rescue centers.

Shiba Inu Black

Shiba Inus are not available in a solid black color but the black and tan color which is one of the four coat colors recognized by the Federation Cynologique International (FCI) and the American Kennel Club (AKC). This dog breed has a white pattern that is termed Urajiro by the Japanese.

Check out the images below and you can see why you cannot ignore the attractiveness of this Japanese native dog breeds:

Shiba Inu Cross Breeds

The 7 Shiba Inu crossbreeds that are famously known include Shiba Inu Corgi mix, Shiba Inu Husky mix, Shiba Inu Chihuahua mix, Shiba Inu Border Collie mix, Shiba German Shepherd mix, Shiba Golden Retriever mix, and Shiba + Alaskan Malamute.

Shiba Inu Heat Cycle

The Shiba Inu have heat cycles that last for approx. 3 weeks which means it is possible for them to have a heat cycle each week. The heat cycle ends up in some blood or discharge at the end of every period.

We recommend that you keep your female Shiba Inu away from males until after her first heat cycle. 

Shiba Inu Sleeping Habits

Shiba Inu dog breed loves to sleep – so much! As such, you should not be troubled as long as your canine friend sleeps less than 16 hours per day. In fact, your Shiba Inu will substitute playtime with sleep as they enter their golden age.

Shiba Inu White

White Shiba Inus have a white coat that gives them an attractive appearance of intelligence and vigor as you can see in the images below:

On the one hand, a white Shiba Inu is considered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a major fault which makes it improper for beauty contests or dog shows. On the other hand, it is considered a standard breed by the British Kennel Club. Anyway, if you love a white Shiba Inu as a companion dog, none of this matters.

Fast Facts

Life Expectancy:12 to 16 years
Size:13.5 to 16.5 inches at the shoulder
Price:$1,000 to $3,000 (or more)
Trainability:Moderately trainable
Temperament:Loyal, Affectionate, Smart, Self-reliant, Courageous, Alert
Health Considerations:Hip Dysplasia, Eye Problems, Atopy, Allergies, Patellar luxation
Activity Level:Active and Energetic – Moderate exercise
Energy Requirements:660 calories (weight of 20 lbs.)1 cup to 1 ½ cups kibble daily

Table: Fast Facts about Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu Colors Red Sesame

Shiba Inu colors red sesame comes with a complete black saddle with a few dark hairs around their head. The black color, however, is not distributed throughout their body enough to fall under the black and tan color category or black and red to be sesame.

That name is common in the US for Shiba Inus that is not the precise sesame.

Shiba Inu – What can this dog cross breed with?

Shiba Inu can be crossbred with other dog breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Akita, Welsh  Corgi, Chihuahua, Border Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Alaskan Malamute, Poodle, Pug, American Eskimo dog, Pomeranian, Schnauzer, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Dachshund, Boston Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, and a Beagle.


Are Shiba Inu good pets?

Yes, Shiba Inus are good pets due to their loyalty and companionship with kids despite being hard to train due to their self-reliance personality. 

Why are Shiba Inus so aggressive?

Shiba Inus are so aggressive because of their innate hunting nature that the breed possesses. If you let them off-leash, they begin to chase other pets and animals due to this prey drive.

Are Shiba Inus high maintenance?

No, Shiba Inus have moderate maintenance when it comes to grooming as they only shed heavily twice-yearly. In terms of the maintenance cost, you need to calculate dog food costs, vaccination, chipping, and more.

Do Shiba Inus like to cuddle?

No, Shiba Inus do not like to cuddle but they can be very friendly. Their self-reliant disposition, however, makes them do that when they are interested, not as you want to.

Why does my Shiba Inu shake?

Your Shiba Inu might be shaking due to pain or anxiety especially if you notice symptoms such as aggression, attempted hiding, urination, and such. If you comfort him and the signs continue, you must see a veterinarian right away.

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