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Why Is My Shiba Inu Dancing? 4 Likely Reasons

Written by: Greg Iacono

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team


Why Is My Shiba Inu Dancing? 4 Likely Reasons

Point your computer browser or smartphone over to YouTube, and you’ll find dozens of videos of Shiba Inus doing something similar to dancing. Now, while some might say these dogs aren’t genuinely dancing, the fact is that Shiba Inus seem to get “happy feet” more often than any other breed.

The question is, why? What makes a Shiba Inu dance, and is it a good thing? Do they dance because they feel the rhythm, or is it something more mundane? Read on to find out and discover other fun facts about this funky dog and why they like to get down!

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Can the Shiba Inu Dance?

While this might be depressing news for the millions of people delighted when they see videos of Shiba Inus (and other dogs and animals) dancing, the truth is that very few mammals besides humans engage in this social behavior. Yes, they seem to be dancing, but when you consider what dancing entails, the movements made by the Shiba Inus are different.

Dancing is a response to a musical beat and a spontaneous act that requires no tutoring or training. You won’t be able to dance like Fred Astaire without years of lessons and practice, but the average person can dance to a beat without a lesson.

While triggered by sound, dancing comes from deep down in the dancer’s brain, and very few other animals have the brain capacity to engage in this (almost) uniquely human behavior. Parrots and elephants are the only two other mammals proven to be able to dance. In short, dogs, including Shiba Inus, can’t dance because they can’t understand what dancing is and don’t have the inner spark needed to make it happen.

The 4 Reasons Shiba Inus “Dance”

Although we know they can’t actually dance, at least according to the true definition of dancing, the movements your Shiba Inu makes that look like dancing can be caused by several factors. We’ll take a closer look at them below.

1. Shiba Inus Are Confident and Lively

Watching a Shiba Inu bounce around on its feet is truly a treat, but as we know, it’s not dancing. So, what is it then? Shiba Inus are unique dogs that are temperamental, vocal, and confident. They have no problem being the center of attention and will do what they can to be exactly that. Moving around in a funky fashion that looks like dancing is one of the ways this special dog proves that it’s happy and confident.

2. You Shiba Inu Wants Your Attention and Praise

Shiba Inus form bonds with their pet parents, which are some of the strongest in the canine world. They also seek out attention from their parents and will do all sorts of things to get it, including hopping up and down on their feet. This is especially true if your Shiba has “danced” before and you’ve given them praise or treats for doing so. Knowing that you liked it before, these intelligent dogs will again engage in the same dance-like movements to earn your praise.

Shiba Inu plays on the dog playground in the park
Image By: Don Huan, Shutterstock

3. Your Shiba Is Happy or Excited

Happy dogs will do fun and silly things to show their happiness, and the Shiba Inu just happens to bounce around. The same can be said when your Shiba is excited.

For example, if you’ve told them you’re going for a walk, the excitement might cause your Shiba Inu to perform their little happy moves. This might also happen when you arrive home after being away. Indeed, happiness and excitement are two primary reasons Shiba Inus engage in what looks like dancing.

4. Your Shiba Has an Itch

This isn’t as interesting as some other reasons a Shiba Inu will “dance.” When they have an itch, hopping up and down is a great way to scratch it. This might look like dancing, but it is your dog’s way of solving an itchy problem.

shiba inu dog scratches its ear
Image By: MitchyPQ, Shutterstock

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Can Dancing Be a Sign Something Is Wrong with Your Shiba Inu?

Although their movements are often mistaken for dancing, there’s usually no reason for concern when your Shiba is engaging in them. However, if your pet is twitching or bobbing its head up and down, it may signify something far less fun and happy.

Twitching, for example, can be a sign that your Shiba Inu is severely dehydrated and needs water desperately. In some cases, twitching can also indicate your pet has brain damage, has had some physical injury, or has low blood sugar.

If your Shiba Inu is bobbing its head up and down, it could be a sign of acute poisoning, a head injury, low calcium levels, and even brain swelling. If you see your Shiba Inu engaging in these two types of movements and they haven’t shown them before, take them to your veterinarian for a checkup. While it might be nothing, a vet visit might save your Shiba’s life if it’s one of the health issues listed above.

Can Dancing Too Often Harm Your Shiba?

Whether it’s actual dancing or not, watching your Shiba Inu bob around to a musical beat is a fun time for everyone. However, if they do it too often and dancing becomes an obsession for your dog, be aware that it could affect the pads of their feet.

Usually, dogs don’t stand on their hind legs, if at all. Also, most dogs don’t bounce around on all fours. If your Shiba is dancing all the time, there’s a good chance it will affect the pads on the bottom of their feet, which can be painful and lead to sores, infection, and other health issues.

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

Final Thoughts

While watching a Shiba Inu engage in what looks like dancing might be a fun treat for all involved, the truth is that dogs, including the Shiba, can’t truly dance. It’s far more likely that your pet is happy, excited, or “dancing” because they got a reward for it before and are seeking it again.

Some dance-like movements your Shiba might make have nothing to do with dancing but instead indicate they’re suffering from a health issue. If that’s the case, taking your doting dog to the vet for a checkup is essential. As long as they don’t dance too often and there’s no underlying health issue, it’s okay to let your Shiba Inu “dance” to their heart’s content.

Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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