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Red Shiba Inu: History & Facts (With Pictures)

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Red Shiba Inu: History & Facts (With Pictures)

The Red Shiba Inu is a loyal, intelligent dog that makes an excellent pet. However, if you’re going to give one of these dogs a forever home, you need to know everything you can about the breed before you make a final decision. In this article, we’ll discuss the Red Shiba Inu and all the facts and history you need to know, so join us.

Breed Overview


14–17 inches


18–22 pounds


12-15 years


Red, Red sesame, Tan, and Black

Suitable for:

Active families, apartment living, and those looking for independent but friendly dogs.


Loyal, intelligent, curious, friendly,  independent, and brave

The Red Shiba Inu’s red coloration comes from their melanin gene production. If it produces too little, the dog has a cream color; if it produces too much, the dog is black. It’s important to know that Red Shiba Inus are not completely red and have white and tan markings, especially around their chest; some may even have sesame or brindle mixed in. If you’re considering getting a Red Shiba Inu, finding a reputable breeder is vital to ensure you get a healthy pup.

Red Shiba Inu 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 Red Shiba Inu in History

The Shiba Inu traces its history back to the Ainu People in 7000 B.C. The Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan, were the first to settle the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The Ainu had a breed known as the Ainu Dog, which they used for hunting, and they are the earliest known ancestor of the modern Shiba Inu.

When the Shiba Inu officially came into existence isn’t known, but dogs resembling it can be seen in cave art as far back as 2300 years ago. However, there are records of the Shiba Inus being used as hunting dogs by samurai during the Kamakura Shogunate, which lasted from 1190 to 1603.

shiba inu lying on grey carpet
Image Credit: M Stocker, Shutterstock

How the Red Shiba Inu Gained Popularity

By the early 19th century, the public perception of the Shiba Inu had changed quite a bit in Japan. The Shiba went from a hunting dog to a companion and eventually a national icon. The Shiba Inu is one of the six breeds native to Japan. All six were recognized by the Japanese government as national treasures by the 1930s, and today, the Shiba Inu is the official national dog of Japan.

In the 1990s, many Shibas were imported to the United States, where they gained popularity at lightning speed. Today they’re the most popular Japanese dog breed in North America and live primarily as companions. The Shiba Inu has come a long way from its hunting origins, but the same brave and loyal personality remains, even if it comes from a dog lounging on the couch.

Formal Recognition of the Red Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu has been recognized by all major kennel clubs and canine registries worldwide. The Earliest to recognize the breed was the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1964 and later in 1992 by both the United Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club. The New Zealand Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club have also recognized the breed.

The breed recognition by the AKC in 1992 is a testament to how fast they grew in popularity; they began to be regularly imported less than two years before their official recognition.

Shiba Inu on beach
Image Credit: Thorsten Schulze, Pixabay

Top 3 Unique Facts About the Red Shiba Inu

1. Judges at Dog Shows Judge Red Shiba Inus on How Red Their Coat Is

A deep red coat is viewed as a sign of a strong lineage. Red Shiba Inus with a light-colored coat are viewed as having “weak genetics.”

2. A Shiba Inu Is the Star of One of the Most Well-Known Internet Memes Ever

On February 13th, 2010, an image of a Shiba Inu was uploaded to a blog. The owner of the dog was a Japanese kindergarten teacher named Atsuko Sato, and the dog was named Kabosu. One image, in particular, had Kabosu lying on a couch, with her head facing diagonally from the camera and her eyebrows raised.  A caption in the Comic Sans font typically accompanied the image.

3. A Shiba Inu Is the Face of a Crypto Currency

In 2013, software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer launched DogeCoin as a satire on the craze around cryptocurrencies. DogeCoin had the previously mentioned Kabosu on its logo and was designed to mock cryptos like Bitcoin. The coin is worthless financially, and each coin is worth less than a penny. However, the coin reached a market value of over 50 billion USD simply due to how much of it was in circulation.

Shiba Inu Dog
Image Credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay

Does the Red Shiba Inu Make a Good Pet?

The Red Shiba Inu makes a great pet for a variety of families. Its medium size means that apartment living won’t be a problem, and its friendly yet independent nature makes it a fine choice for families and single owners. On top of that, the Shiba can serve as a great guard dog due to their natural alertness from their origin as hunting dogs.

The Red Shiba Inu is also a low-maintenance dog. They shed moderately and only need an hour of exercise a day. As long as they’re socialized properly at a young age, they shouldn’t have any problems with aggression.

All these traits make the Red Shiba Inu seem like the perfect dog, but there is one problem; Shibas are not easy to train. As mentioned before, Shibas are independent dogs, and because of that, they don’t have much love for training. However, this obstacle can be overcome with determination, consistency, and a reward-based training method.

shiba inu sitting in the grass with his owner
Image By: MENG-KONGSAK, Shutterstock

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The Red Shiba Inu is an intelligent breed with a fascinating history. They make good pets, and you would be lucky if you gave one a forever home. However, they are independent dogs and aren’t the best choice for first-time pet owners. They need to be socialized and trained at an early age, but if you can do that, you’ll have a loyal, loving pet in return.


Featured Image Credit: Sergiy Palamarchuk, Shutterstock

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