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Shiba Inu

shibainu

A Confident Dog

Adventurous, Bold, Independent

Shiba Inus are extraordinary pets. While it is interesting to learn about the breeding purpose of Shiba Inus, their genetics actually influence health, outward appearance and behavior. Some behaviors make the Shiba Inu and some can be quite irritating! 

Understanding their unique needs will help you keep them healthy and will create a stronger bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about where Shiba Inu came from, which health conditions are a risk to them and how to keep them feeling their best.

Breed Details

Height:13-17" Weight:17-23 lbs Lifespan:12-15 years

Size
2

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
3

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
2

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
3

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Shiba Inus are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. They have a high prey drive, so they should be leash walked and a sturdy fence is a must. Shiba Inus are not recommended for homes with small children or small pets.

Grooming: They need a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year they blow their coat and lose crazy amounts of hair; daily brushing is recommended during this time.

Dental: Shiba Inus generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week.

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

Shiba Inus are willful, bold, and clever. With a calm-assertive and consistent leader, they make a gentle and affectionate family companion.

Positive Traits:

• Confident and self-reliant

• Loyal to those she trusts

• Energetic, active, and athletic

• Protective of family; good watch dog

• Lovable, playful companion

• Bold, steady, and fearless

Negative Traits:

• Early obedience training and socialization is recommended

• Can be snappy when nervous

• Can be possessive of toys and food, tending to show dominance

• Territorial with larger dogs, especially of the same sex

• Suspicious of strangers

• Prone to boredom and separation anxiety, with associated chewing and howling behaviors

Whether you are considering adding a new Shiba Inu to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Shiba Inu will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Shiba Inu you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They're counting on you to be their health expert. 

Some health issues a Shiba Inu could encounter:

Eye Problems

Glaucoma

Cataracts

Distichiasis

Eye Disease

Persistent Pupillary membrane

The Shiba Inu is an ancient breed that originated in Japan. They are the smallest of the Japanese dog breeds and were used for small game hunting in the dense brush of the mountains. Shibas are often described as cat-like due to their fastidiously clean and independent nature. They are notoriously easy to housebreak and are often busy grooming themselves and other members of their pack. The Shiba Inu is agile and lively and can be an excellent escape artist. Shibas tend not to alert-bark, but do have a highly diverse vocabulary that includes yodeling and the “Shiba scream.”

Consult with a veterinarian if your Shiba Inu shows signs of the following:

• Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

• Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye

• Cloudiness to eye lens

• Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

• General reluctance to run or play

• Stiffness or reluctance to rise/sit/use stairs

• Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

• Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

• Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

• Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

• Redness to the eyes, loss of pigment to the nose and other skin areas

  • Care

    Routine Care: Shiba Inus are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. They have a high prey drive, so they should be leash walked and a sturdy fence is a must. Shiba Inus are not recommended for homes with small children or small pets.

    Grooming: They need a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year they blow their coat and lose crazy amounts of hair; daily brushing is recommended during this time.

    Dental: Shiba Inus generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week.

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

  • Characteristics

    Shiba Inus are willful, bold, and clever. With a calm-assertive and consistent leader, they make a gentle and affectionate family companion.

    Positive Traits:

    • Confident and self-reliant

    • Loyal to those she trusts

    • Energetic, active, and athletic

    • Protective of family; good watch dog

    • Lovable, playful companion

    • Bold, steady, and fearless

    Negative Traits:

    • Early obedience training and socialization is recommended

    • Can be snappy when nervous

    • Can be possessive of toys and food, tending to show dominance

    • Territorial with larger dogs, especially of the same sex

    • Suspicious of strangers

    • Prone to boredom and separation anxiety, with associated chewing and howling behaviors

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Shiba Inu to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Shiba Inu will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Shiba Inu you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They're counting on you to be their health expert. 

    Some health issues a Shiba Inu could encounter:

    Eye Problems

    Glaucoma

    Cataracts

    Distichiasis

    Eye Disease

    Persistent Pupillary membrane

  • History

    The Shiba Inu is an ancient breed that originated in Japan. They are the smallest of the Japanese dog breeds and were used for small game hunting in the dense brush of the mountains. Shibas are often described as cat-like due to their fastidiously clean and independent nature. They are notoriously easy to housebreak and are often busy grooming themselves and other members of their pack. The Shiba Inu is agile and lively and can be an excellent escape artist. Shibas tend not to alert-bark, but do have a highly diverse vocabulary that includes yodeling and the “Shiba scream.”

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Shiba Inu shows signs of the following:

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Stiffness or reluctance to rise/sit/use stairs

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Redness to the eyes, loss of pigment to the nose and other skin areas

Shiba Inu Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Shiba Inu breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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