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Black & Tan Shiba Inu: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

black and tan shiba inu standing

Black & Tan Shiba Inu: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

The black and tan Shiba Inu might not be the most well-known dog breed out there, but they’re not among the rarest either. But where does this adorable dog come from, and what unique features do they bring to the table?

The truth is that they’re an extremely unique breed, and while they might be among the most adorable dogs on the planet, they’re not always the easiest to handle, so you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you bring one home.

Breed Overview


13.5–16.5 inches


17–23 pounds


13–16 years


Black & tan, cream, red, and sesame

Suitable for:

Those looking for a watchdog, experienced dog owners


Extremely loving, stubborn, and very protective

The Shiba Inu comes from three different breeds, but today, they all come together to form the Shiba Inu, which is an extremely loving and stubborn dog breed. They’re extremely sweet and want as much attention as you have to give, but if you don’t stay consistent, their stubborn streak will push you to the limit!

Black & Tan Shiba Inu Breed Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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The Earliest Records of Black & Tan Shiba Inu in History

The Shiba Inu is an ancient breed with a history that stretches back almost 2,000 years. However, while there were likely black and tan Shiba Inus then, it took quite a while longer for breeders to start selectively breeding specifically for these colors.

It wasn’t until the 1920s that breeders specifically started targeting the black and tan coats, but that means the black and tan Shiba Inu still has a history of over 100 years! It’s not quite the 2,000-year history that other Shiba Inus have, but it’s still a pretty impressive history.

black and tan shiba inu puppy
Image Credit: e-Kis, Shutterstock

How Black & Tan Shiba Inu Gained Popularity

The Shiba Inu has been a popular dog for years, but it wasn’t until the early 20th century that the black and tan Shiba Inu started to gain popularity. A breeder named Sanzo Yamaoto specifically started breeding for black and tan Shiba Inus, and people quickly started fawning over the color pattern.

They still retain their hunting instincts that other Shiba Inus used to remain popular throughout the years, but with a soon-to-be signature black and tan coat, the Shiba Inu looked great and was a highly functional dog leading to a renewed surge in popularity.

Today, people don’t use the Shiba Inu to hunt small game all that often, but with an adorable appearance, they’re still a highly sought-after pup.

Formal Recognition of Black & Tan Shiba Inu

While the Shiba Inu has a history of over 2,000 years, and even the black and tan Shiba Inu has a history of over 100 years, it took a bit longer for them to gain formal recognition. In fact, while the American Kennel Club (AKC) was formed in 1884, they didn’t recognize the Shiba Inu until 1992.

However, when they formally recognized the Shiba Inu, the black and tan variety was one they accepted as an official color variation right away.

Even the Nihon Ken Hozonkai (Nippo), which is the Japanese registry for Japanese-specific breeds, didn’t formally recognize the breed until 1964.

black and tan shiba inu in the snow
Image Credit: PAUL ATKINSON, Shutterstock

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Top 3 Unique Facts About Black & Tan Shiba Inu

With a rich and long history, there’s no shortage of unique and interesting facts to pick from with the Shiba Inu. While there are dozens to pick from, we’ve highlighted three of our favorites for you here:

1. They Were Originally Hunting Dogs

While you might not think of the Shiba Inu might not stand out as a “prototypical hunting dog,” they come from a rich hunting history. Not only did they help hunt small game, but they also have a history of helping to track down larger game!

2. World War II Almost Drove the Shiba Inu Extinct

While the Shiba Inu was far from the only dog breed almost driven to extinction during World War II, it was bombing raids and distemper that almost drove the Shiba Inu to extinction during the war. It wasn’t until after the war ended that breeding programs helped save the Shiba Inu from extinction.

3.  No One Knows Where the Name Comes From

While “Inu” means “dog” in Japanese, no one knows where the “Shiba” in the name comes from. It directly translates to “brushwood.” While there are several theories, no one knows for sure, leaving it up to your imagination to try and piece it together!

black and tan shiba inu in the grass
Image Credit: Grisha Bruev, Shutterstock

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Does the Black & Tan Shiba Inu Make a Good Pet?

Yes! However, a Black and Tan Shiba Inu is probably best left for experienced pet owners because of their stubborn streak and tendency to not get along great with children and other pets without proper socialization.

Still, if you take the time to train them and stay consistent, there’s no reason these pups can’t make great pets. They love any attention you’re willing to give them, and because of their smaller size, they make outstanding lap dogs.

They’re not the easiest dogs to raise, but if you take the time to train them properly, they’re among the most rewarding.

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Final Thoughts

With a rich history and an adorable appearance, it’s no wonder that the black and tan Shiba Inu has such a devoted following and a long history. They’re a bit stubborn, but with an adorable appearance and a loving nature, they know just how to get away with it!

Just ensure you stay consistent with their training, and if you’ve never owned a dog before, you might want to start with an easier breed.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: TOM KAROLA, Shutterstock

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