Shiba Inu

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Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a small-to-medium breed, originated in ancient Japan, used for hunting. It is alert and agile, and adaptable to mountainous terrain and hiking trails, considered as an official Japanese national treasure. The Shiba Inu is a popular companion dog in Japan and all over the world as their lively and good-natured personalities.

Other Names Japanese Shiba Inu, Japanese Small-Sized Dog, Shiba, Shiba Ken, Shiba, Shiba Ken
Color Black & Tan, Cream, Red, Red Sesame
Height Males: 14-17 inches. Females: 13-16 inches.
Weight Males: 19-24 pounds. Females: 16-20 pounds.
Life Span 13-16 years
Personality Alert, Active, Attentive
Exercise Regular Exercise
Popularity #45
Groom Needs Weekly
Kids Friendly No
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog
Family Dog
Litter Size 3

Shiba Inu Pictures

Shiba Inu Video


This dog originates from Japan, a relatively small dog compared with other dogs from the same family. But he is known to have the look and heart of a lion! In Japan, they are recognized, officially, as a precious natural product. They were bred as hunting dogs in the mountainous regions of Japan, and today, they still are used for navigating through tough terrain. As a pet, he is an alert watchdog. It is bold and high-spirited in nature. He has reddish-brown fur, sometimes being mistaken for a fox. His relatives in Japan are the Akita Inu, Shikoku, Hokkaido, Kishu Ken, and Kai Ken. They weigh around 26 pounds and are about 16 inches at the shoulders. They don’t really like getting dirty so they clean themselves when they get the chance to do it. They are unusual. They have what other dogs don’t really have – it’s called the “Shiba scream”. They produce a high pitched noise when being mistreated or unhappy. Sometimes you hear it when they are very happy. They don’t like being left alone, whether inside or outside. They aren’t noisy dogs.

Living with Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu has a double coat, the undercoat is soft and thick, the outer coat stiff and straight. Sometimes, the shedding of Shiba may be a problem for the pet owners. The Shiba shed heavily in two seasons – spring and fall and shed moderately during the rest of the year. Weekly brushing with a slicker brush to remove dead hair around the house and frequently brushing during seasonal sheds is ideal. Occasional baths may be necessary, they can keep themselves clean. 

Brush your Shiba’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. The daily brush is better to keep a fresh breath and prevent gum disease. 

Check their ears once a week for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. And you can clean your dog’s ears with a soft cleanser and cotton ball. 

Additionally, trim nails regularly to prevent painful splitting, cracking, or a broken nail if the dog does not wear down the toenails naturally.

Shiba Inu requires at least an hour of exercise each day, more is better. If they don’t get daily exercise, they may be destructive. Most Shibas are fairly energetic and love to go for walks, going for a leash walk at least once a day is a good choice, or you can choose to play in the backyard or take your dog to the dog park. Generally, once Shibas reach maturity, they are not massive destructive when left alone, but some maybe not. 

Shibas are happy to chase balls and search out hidden toys in the backyard for hours, the agility course is ideal for a well-behaved Shiba, as their minds are just as active as their little bodies, and boredom can set in quickly. If you don’t want your dog to be destructive, let him be occupied that can save your furniture and shoes.

Generally, it is recommended to feed a Shiba with one to one and a half cups of dry dog food per day. The amount of food for Shibas should depend on their weight and activity levels, and some dogs are easy to get overweight, so you need to watch their calorie consumption and weight level all the time. There should be clean fresh water at all times.

It can help provide the mental stimulation necessary for a happy dog by making Shiba Inu work for her food. Before treats and meals, require she perform a behavior. 

Treats may be an important aid in training, but excessive intake can lead to obesity. Also, owners need to distinguish which human food is safe for dogs and which are not. If you have any problems with your dog’s weight or diet, just consult from your veterinarian.

Shiba Inu may be prone to the following conditions: hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, heart disease, allergies, hypothyroidism, obesity

Major concerns: patellar luxation

Minor concerns: cataract, allergies

Occasionally seen: PPM, distichiasis, PRA, CHD

Suggested tests:

Patella Evaluation

Hip Evaluation

Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Total Annual Cost: $2889

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

Shiba Inu is not as eager to please as other breeds may be due to their tenacious nature. The smart Shiba Inu can learn basic obedience easily, but this breed can be finicky and headstrong. It is important to start early training with consistent methods to encourage good behaviors. Besides, teaching polite behavior is also important, begin training Shiba to allow grooming and discourage early food or resource guarding behaviors. 

Socialization should start early with your Shiba Inu so that he does not grow up to be distrustful of strangers. Shiba Inu has a strong temperament which gives a bad reputation in some circles, but they can be well-mannered dogs when a commitment is made to properly train, socialize and exercise a Shiba Inu.


The modern Shiba Inu of today is a result of centuries of very selective breeding. His history began probably around 9000 years ago. 

He is the national dog of Japan. Organizations like The Association for the Preservation of the Japanese Dog (NIPPO), made sure that this breed was preserved in a standard they deemed fit over the years. 

They were originally used to hunt small game and being small, made them very successful hunters in the thick bushes. 

The dog had a difficult time in his history from 1912-1926.  During the great Meiji Restoration which started in 1868, a lot of western dog breeds were imported to Japan, mixing with the native dogs until no pureblood Shiba Inus’ remained.

During World War II, the Shiba Inu nearly became extinct, but fortunately, three Shiba strains remained. They were merged into one and so the first Shiba Inu Standard was written in 1934 by the NIPPO association.

In 1936 the breed was recognized as the Natural Monument of Japan through the Cultural Properties Act, achieved mostly by NIPPO’s efforts.

In 1959 the first Shiba was brought to the USA.  The first-ever litter of the Shiba Inu was born in 1979.

Helpful Information


Breed Club Link:

Breed Club Rescue: Shiba Inu Rescue Resources of America

Breed Club Rescue Link: