Dog Breed Review

Shiba Inu



The Japanese heritage has given the world many great things. From elegantly scrumptious plates of Sushi, mixed martial arts, and the Shiba Inu. Speaking of elegance, whether it’s the impressive compact structure of a male Shiba Inu, or the foxy-feminine appeal of a Shiba Inu, this breed is a good looking lot.

Shiba Inu’s blend in nicely as they adapt well, and while they thrive in the roughest of mountainous terrain, you can easily bring one into your apartment. The Shiba Inu is similar but much smaller than the Akita Japanese breed. They’ve also been referred to as Japanese Shiba Inu and Shiba Ken.

While the Shiba Inu is relatively new to the United States, the breed has found its popularity surging. What makes this dog so popular among many dog lovers? Here’s everything you need to know about the Shiba Inu.


Active and alert, these are a few adjectives used to describe the Shiba Inu. They’re known to be quiet but fierce when it matters most. From Japan, this breed was naturally used as a hunting dog. The Shiba Inu very much thrived tracking and stalking down small pray. It loved its job and role scaring away birds, and was effective at rattling up the wild boar. Because of its spectacular vision and immaculate sense of tracking, the Shiba Inu prospered as Japan’s favorite hunting dog.

Since their inception into the United States, the Shiba Inu has been used for companion purposes and as a pet. This breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1992, securing the honors of being listed in the AKC’s non sporting group registry.

After word got out how great of a dog the Japanese Shiba Inu was, their popularity has household pets became prevalent in the U.S. and in Japan. They’ve established themselves as very trustworthy, loyal, and hardworking towards their master’s happiness.

The Shiba Inu is considered to be the smallest and oldest Japanese native breed.

In the 1950’s, the Shiba Inu first landed in the United States. True to form, it was an armed forces family that brought in the dog’s emergence. The first litter spawn reported was in 1979.

Afterwards, the breed continues to climb up the charts of preferred canine on AKC’s list, consistently hugging or dipping below the 50th rank.

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The average height of a Shiba Inu will depend on its sex. For males, the average height can range anywhere from 14.5 to 16.25 inches. For the females, an average height ranges from 13.5 to 15.25 inches. According to the American Kennel Club, the appropriate weight for the Shiba Inu is 23 pounds for the males and 17 pounds for the females.


Shiba Inu breed is known for being fearless and keen of their surroundings. They are always on alert, as it comes natural for them to take notice when something doesn’t seem right around their domain. As you can imagine, this makes the breed very protective of itself, its toys, its home, and their master. On top of all, this is why the dog is highly considered to be reliably faithful to their family owner.

Most Shiba Inu masters get a kick at how smug and confident their pets can be. For good reason, the Shiba Inu is a proud dog, with an abundance of confidence and charm.

Their spunk as earned them quite a reputation of being a “spark plug” type of dog. Like most well maintained dogs, however, your Shiba Inu will want to be quite active and readily involves in all of your family festivities. This makes the dog dedicated and loving to the cause. They provide an ample amount of affection,.

The Shiba Inu is quite literally the perfect dog for people, who go camping but also enjoying staying in for a family night. The Shiba Inu loves the indoor scene and thrives outside.

While the breed is loyal and loving, monitoring the dog around small children is a wise decision. They are better with older children, where the personal age understands how to treat another being’s property and space.

When it comes to other pets and dogs, the Shiba Inu can take some time getting acquainted and playing nice. That’s because they are very resilient and protective. They’ll certainly keep the squirrels and felines running up trees and scurrying about and from. If you have a cat, a Shiba Inu may not work that well around your feline.

Finally, the Shiba Inu loves its food. Another dog, or unassuming child tries to defy that Shiba Inu barrier, there will be a great chance of aggression through retaliation. The Shiba Inu will protect its toys, food, master and home without a thought of hesitation.

It’s always best to be firm with the Shiba Inu from its days of being a puppy, so that the dog knowns who is in charge. It’ll take some time, as they can be stubborn, but they will come around and be the pet you’ve been looking for.


The average life expectancy for a Shiba Inu is anywhere from 12-15 years of age. They do produce a smaller sized litter per birth at 3 puppies.

They are considered by many veterinarians to be one of the more healthier dogs, but of course, like any animal or human, are still susceptible to health risks. Their healthy projections are thanks to their great genetic inheritance and very active ancestry past.

Some common issues, your Shiba Inu may experience includes cataracts, hip dysplasia, entropia, and luxating patellas.

Inhalant allergies can be a problem with this breed at times. However, the symptoms and signs of Inhalant allergies are rather clear. If you notice your dog is excessively scratching, has a lot of redness around its skin and is suffering hair loss—then going to a vet is the best bet.

They have been known to be prone to a string of Glaucoma issues. This can affect the dog’s sight, as Glaucoma destroys the nerve in the eye. If you get the dog treated rather quickly, many forms of Glaucoma can be dealt with rather easily sparing your dog from losing partial or complete vision. A sign or hint to look for is a liquid buildup around the eye. It’s always wise to look for a Veterinarian who specializes in Ophthalmology, as this dog has been linked to a string of eye complications.


While the dog is fine with training, the Shiba Inu is more stubborn than inept in learning. That said, to keep this kind of dog happy, you will definitely want to get out and keep the dog on a daily regimen. Whether that be going for a long walk, or tuckering the Shiba Inu out at the park.

If you keep the dog boxed up in an apartment, take it for a stroll that day. These breeds are known for getting jealous and also prone to suffering from separation anxiety. This can result in the dog nervously chewing on your couch, other toys, itself, and parts of the house.

Shiba Inu does like to keep their jaws busy, which is why you’ll want to get the dog a toy.

Keep in mind, this kind of dog has a history of tracking down small game, and keeping alert for its hunting master. Going in the park or up in the hills is where this dog will feel natural.

It’s always a good idea to keep your Shiba Inu secured onto a leash. Enclosing the dog away from other dogs in a closed area is also a good move because they are very protective and jealous, while serving as the aggressor in a dog fight.

They may be slightly reserved to small children at first, as well as reserved to strangers. That’s why you’ll need to spend time acquainting the dog with people you can trust. Smaller children tend to invade a pet’s space without even knowing it. With the Shiba Inu, that’s not a good idea. They don’t take kindly of someone trying to take their property or invade their space. That makes them very fiesty when it comes to their toys and food.

From the get-go, early obedience training is absolutely vital to break the dog from their historical aggressive behaviors. Patience is required, because this breed will try to challenge you and is defiant. They are very confident and are sure of themselves. They won’t seek your approval at first.

But if you know how to treat a dog, this is a great breed to have around the family once everyone becomes acquainted. They are easy to break in and easy to potty train as well. They do get upset when left for long periods of time, and have been known to utilize their high pitch “Shiba scream” on occasion. Show them plenty of love and attention, and this dog will be the perfect watchdog companion.



As a medium-sized dog, you can reason with feed your Shiba Inu twice a day of top-rated dry food. A suggested amount and proportion size for the Japanese Shiba Inu is a half cup to 1.5 cups.

A lot of Shiba Inu enthusiasts have noticed their dog is a “picker” in the morning during breakfast. The Shiba Club of America recommends feeding your dog dry food with 30 percent protein value and no more than 15-18 % fat.

As far as Kibble is concerned, it should have a sufficient amount of meat for the protein source. You’ll want to avoid feeding the Shiba Inu soy, wheat and corn. Too much fiber is also a no go, and avoid feeding the Shiba Inu anything with artificial coloring in it.

As far as human food, a small portion of bacon bits is fine, small amounts of vienna sausage and cheese are acceptable. Just be aware, the American Veterinary Medical Association advises against feeding your Shiba Inu table scraps.


The Shiba Inu has a dynamic coat to them. It is double coated as their exterior coat possesses more of a straight and stiff texture to it. Uniquely, the undercoat is more soft to the feel while being thick in texture. The facial fur on this breed tends to be evenly layered as well as around their eyes and legs.

The fur on the tail of the Shiba Inu will actually require modest brushing as it tends to be longer in length.

The preferred coat on this breed should be long in nature, but a little trim is fine if your dog is just a companion dog and not competing. This breed has several coat colors, but the most prominent options are a combination of orange and red, urajiro (cream and white), and sesame.

They do have white markings inside their legs and at times their tails.

This breed isn’t a lot of work as far as grooming and maintenance is concerned. They will shed at a moderate level, but do have times in the year where they shed slightly heavier. The Shiba Inu is a clean freak, so grooming will not be that big of a deal.

For a puppy, you’ll want to stay on top him or her. Brush the puppies once a week, so that the oil levels can be evenly distributed promoting better skin health and hair growth.

Shiba Inu Fun Facts

  • In 1936, Japan declared the Shiba Inu as a natural product to their country.
  • The Shiba Inu was nearly extinct during World War 2 and saw a resurgence in numbers once the dog became acquainted in the United States.
  • Shiba Inu mean is thought to mean “Bushwood Dog” in Japan. However, according to some, Shiba Inu may mean, “small dog.” If you consider the history of this dog being a tracker and hunter, with the dog’s characteristics, the “Bushwood Dog” better suits them.
  • The oldest reported Shiba Inu was 26 years old when it died. It’s name was Pusuke.

Closing Thoughts

The Shiba Inu is worth the effort and patience it takes to allow the dog getting used to its surrounding. A growing number of people are seeing the beauty and true talent this dog possesses, which is companionship, loyalty, alertness, fearless, proud and determined.

While being on the quiet side, there is plenty of personality this dog can exude, that will add much joy and security to your family for years to come.

Shiba Inu Resources

National Shiba Club of America (NSCA)

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