Shiba Inu Dogs

Shiba Inu are bold and independent dogs with a sensitive side. Alert, energetic and full of life, Shibas follow their instincts and do their own thing. But they form strong bonds with their masters and their families, wanting plenty of attention and face-time without seeming needy or dependent. They can be a little standoffish with strangers, but have a playful openness with children. Shibas have loads of energy. Take them on hikes or jogs around the neighborhood and they will stay right at your side.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu Pictures

  • Shiba Inu dog named Wolf
  • Shiba Inu dog named Sienna
  • Shiba Inu dog named Mooki
  • Shiba Inu dog named Solo
  • Shiba Inu dog named Tekka Maki
  • Shiba Inu dog named Smudge
see Shiba Inu pictures »

Quick Facts

  • 17 - 23 pounds
  • 13.5 to 16.5 inches

Ideal Human Companions

    • Singles
    • Active, sporty types
    • Experienced dog handlers
    • Families with older children

Shiba Inus on Dogster

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Trademark Traits

    • Fearless
    • Independent
    • Pleasant
    • Dignified
    • Strong

What They Are Like to Live With

Shiba Inu are easy to housebreak, not to mention painstakingly clean. They often lick their paws to groom themselves and go out of their way to avoid mud puddles and dirt. Shibas are also fairly quiet, not prone to unnecessary barking. But they have been known to let out a unique, high-pitched scream when something is awry.

Things You Should Know

Being an ancient breed, Shiba Inu can be somewhat set-in-their-ways. A strong-willed owner is needed to show them who’s the boss. Properly trained and socialized from an early age, Shiba Inu will obey; however, they have powerful hunting instincts that make a leash necessary in public.

A healthy Shiba Inu can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia and dislocated kneecaps. Shibas are seasonal shedders and need only occasional brushing. Try not to bathe them too often—soap can strip the natural waterproofing on their coats.

Shiba Inu History

The Shiba Inu is an ancient Asian dog breed. They probably derived from a Chow Chow mix brought to Japan from China several thousand years ago. No one is exactly sure how they got their name. Some say Shiba Inu means “Little Brushwood Dog,” while others say it simply means “Little Dog.” The breed reached near-extinction levels during World War II. But, after the war, Shiba Inu from the Japanese countryside helped restore the population. Today, it ranks as Japan’s most popular dog.

The Look of a Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu have compact, muscular frames covered in short, dense coats—like a smaller version of the Akita. They have broad heads with pointed muzzles, dark noses and pointed ears. Their dark, triangular eyes have an intelligent and observing gaze. They have thick necks, well-developed chests and strong backs. Their tails curl up and over the back. Their thick coats are usually red or black & tan, with or without off-white markings.

Talk About Shiba Inus 

Americans have the name wrong

I lived in Japan for most of my life. It is true that the common word for dog is "inu," but it is also common to change the pronunciation of some words when adjoined to other words. The proper name for Shiba is Shiba KEN.
They are lively, dynamic dogs that tend to roam and even be a bit fierce at times when not properly trained and disciplined. When trained, however, they are a great little dog for the adventurous outdoors type!

~Angel W., owner of Australian Shepherd

Shibas need a firm hand to train

Having a Shiba, I know they're a great breed, but people don't do their research and buy a puppy from a pet store thinking that, since Shibas are small, they'll be a lap dog. They are most definitely not.

Shibas think they are Akitas and are quite independent, needing a firm hand to train. Get your puppy enrolled in puppy kindergarten classes to get them socialized, because, if not, they have a tendency to be aggressive with other dogs. They also have a huge energy requirement, which can be a lot of fun for the right person.

My dog can play fetch for hours even after a three-mile run. Her is double coated and supersoft. When they shed, it goes everywhere. My girl hates water, and it can be difficult giving her a bath, but all dogs are different. All in all, the Shiba Inu is an awesome dog for the right person.

~Taylor W., owner of a Shiba Inu