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13 Shiba Inu Pros & Cons You Should Know About

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

two shiba inu dog resting

13 Shiba Inu Pros & Cons You Should Know About

Shiba Inus are very distinctive dogs that intrigue many people. From their unique faces to their fuzzy tails, many people fall in love with the Shiba Inu at first glance. However, Shiba Inus can also be quirky and hard to handle. These dogs have a slew of personality traits that set them apart from other dogs. It is important to know the pros and the cons of these dogs before you get one so you can prepare for the experience properly. Every dog breed has its own set of pros and cons, and the Shiba Inu is no different.

These are 13 pros and cons you should know before adopting a Shiba Inu.


The 6 Shiba Inu Pros

1. Striking Beauty

One of the biggest reasons that people decide to adopt a Shiba Inu is because of their unique and striking appearance. Shiba Inus are beautiful. From their sharp markings to their rich color, these dogs are visually appealing. They also have a very distinctive face that is instantly recognizable and a fuzzy tail that can only be described as adorable. They also have very poignant eyes and a stocky frame that makes these dogs look bigger and sturdier than they actually are.

Shiba Inu lying on the floor
Image Credit: Akbudak Rimma, Shutterstock

2. Above Average Intelligence

Shiba Inus are very intelligent dogs. In fact, according to some, Shiba Inus are some of the smartest dogs that money can buy. Shiba Inus can learn a variety of tricks and commands. They can also display surprising amounts of emotional intelligence in which your Shiba Inu can tell when you are upset, happy, afraid, and more. This allows the Shiba Inu to seem perceptive and vocal, two traits that many people heavily value in a dog.

3. Loyalty

Shiba Inus are incredibly loyal. Once they bond with a person, they will be a steadfast companion for years. Shiba Inus will go almost anywhere with their owners. This is made especially apparent in contrast to other people and strangers. Shiba Inus can be protective and standoffish around other people, which only highlights how loyal they are to the people they care about the most. Shiba Inus can easily become a part of the family, and before long, they will treat you as one of their own, and that is something many people are looking for in a dog.

shiba inu dog introduced to children
Image Credit: MENG KONGSAK, Shutterstock

4. Excellent Health Profile

Some purebred dogs come with a plethora of potential health issues. Luckily, that is not the case for the Shiba Inu. These dogs are incredibly healthy and have very few intrinsic health problems that you have to worry about. The American Kennel Club says that the most common health problem found in Shibas is allergies. All things considered, that is a very mild condition. Shiba Inus can live between 13 and 16 years, giving them a good lifespan, especially compared to some other dogs. A healthy dog also saves you on veterinarian bills in the future, which can reduce the overall cost of owning this dog in the long run.

5. Fastidious Cleanliness

Shiba Inus have very thick and fuzzy coats. In other breeds, that can lead to a tangled mess. But that is typically not the case for this breed. Shiba Inus are very attentive to their own cleanliness. Some people describe this behavior as cat-like. This helps keep your Shiba Inu clean and cuts down on the amount of grooming and the number of baths that you need to administer. This allows you to own a fluffy dog without having to deal with as much headache as other dogs with a lot of fur.

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

6. Strong

Shiba Inus are healthy, compact, and sturdy. That can make them surprisingly strong. Not everyone wants their dog to be strong, but the strength of the Shiba makes them fun on walks and during playtime. A Shibu Inu’s strength also plays into its overall health. These are very hale and healthy dogs that rarely look scrawny, skinny, or sickly. The strength of the Shiba Inu dovetails nicely with their appearance and health.

divider-dog paw

The 7 Shiba Inu Cons

1. Shedding and Grooming

Despite being very clean dogs in general, Shiba Inus still need regular grooming to keep up their coats. Shibas can also shed quite a bit, especially during warm months. If you are someone who doesn’t like having dog fur in their house, you might be disappointed with the coat and shedding practices of the Shiba Inu. These dogs also need periodic grooming to keep them looking their best. This can require frequent brushing, baths, or trips to a professional groomer, which can cost additional time and money that not everyone wants to invest in a dog.

brushing shiba inu dog
Image Credit: Ultraskrip, Shutterstock

2. Stubborn Personality

Shiba Inus are extremely intelligent, and that can make them extremely stubborn. In many cases, Shiba Inus will simply refuse to do anything that they don’t want to. That can be very frustrating. In order to circumnavigate the stubborn attitude of many Shiba Inus, you will have to bribe them with food. Shiba Inus are very food motivated, which is good and bad. It is good because you can use strategic treats to get your dog to do what you want. However, it can also be tempting to overfeed your dog to get them to behave, which can lead to weight problems in older Shiba Inu dogs.

3. Obsessive Personality

One thing that goes hand in hand with a Shiba Inu’s stubbornness is the fact that some Shibas can become obsessive. If a Shiba Inu develops an obsessive personality, it can be incredibly hard to dissuade or break. Some Shiba Inu will develop a propensity to lick, bark, or dig. These habits can be incredibly annoying, and worst of all, they can be nearly impossible to break. Remember how Shiba Inus rarely do anything they don’t want to do? That can also apply to things like stopping licking or listening to commands that are designed to break these habits.

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

4. Aggressive Tendencies

Shiba Inus are not overly aggressive, but they can have some aggressive tendencies. Most Shiba Inu do not care for strangers or other dogs. These dogs do best in their own household with people and dogs they know and trust. When a Shiba Inu gets stressed, anxious, or protective, they can show signs of aggression. This can also translate to potentially dangerous situations like biting other people or dogs. Many Shiba Inus can be trained and socialized to avoid getting to the point where they are going to bite, but they can still be isolated and gruff around other people.

5. Loud and Vocal

Shiba Inus can be incredibly loud. Some Shibas bark, especially when strangers come by. Another thing that Shiba Inu are infamous for is the “Shiba Scream.” Shiba Inus can scream in a way that sounds eerily like a human. They do this when they are upset or when they really want something. Some find this scream to be unsettling or uncanny. It can also be incredibly loud and disruptive. So, in addition to being vocal, some Shiba Inus also scream in a way that can fill your house with wailing. That is unideal for some potential dog owners.

shiba inu dog standing in the grass
Image Credit: TOM KAROLA, Shutterstock

6. Not Snuggly

While Shiba Inus are emotionally intelligent and loyal, they are not necessarily snuggly. Many Shiba Inus do not like to be touched by humans as much as other dogs. This can be a big letdown for people hoping to squeeze and cuddle the Shiba Inu’s adorable form. Many Shiba Inus are more than happy to spend time near you or next to you but don’t expect them to jump into your lap or cozy up next to you in bed. That is not to say all Shibas aren’t snuggly, but most of them prefer a little more personal space than some people want to give to their dogs.

7. Escape Artists

Another thing to consider is the fact that Shiba Inus can be escape artists. Some Shibas show the desire to dart away at incredible speeds. This can make them hard to contain in a yard and on walks. Many Shiba Inus can slip their leash and dart off in a flash which can be a headache. The Shiba Inu’s intelligence and strength lend to this downside, and if you don’t have good control over your dog, you could end up chasing after them more than you would like.

shiba inu dog running
Image Credit: Trybex, Shutterstock


  • Beautiful
  • Very intelligent
  • Loyal companions
  • Extremely healthy
  • Very clean and attentive
  • Very strong
  • Part of a very strong community of loving dog owners
  • Shed a lot
  • Stubborn tendencies
  • Obsessive tendencies
  • Can be aggressive in the wrong situation
  • Loud and vocal
  • Not super snuggly
  • Can dart off if distracted



Shiba Inus have a variety of pros and cons that set them apart from other dogs. Shiba Inus are very unique, and they come with a unique set of ups and downs. There is plenty to love about the Shiba Inu, but they can also be quirky and hard to handle, especially for inexperienced dog owners. Before you rush off to get yourself a fuzzy Shiba of your own, it is good to know the pros and cons of the breed, so you know what you are getting into ahead of time.

Featured Image Credit: MitchyPQ, Shutterstock

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