Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu looking forward

Quick Facts


23 pounds (male)

17 pounds (female)


14.5 to 16.5 inches (male)

13.5 to 15.5 inches (female)

Average Lifespan:

13-16 years

Known For:

An ancient Japanese breed, little but muscle dogs, very sturdy with bold and confident character.


The Shiba Inu, often simply referred to as ‘Shiba’, is an embodiment of grace and agility wrapped in a compact, fluffy frame. With its fox-like appearance and alert expression, the Shiba Inu is one of the most iconic and beloved breeds originating from Japan.Β 


Heralded for its independent spirit, this breed is a testament to the beauty of evolution and the perfect blend of nature and nurture. Throughout history, its popularity has soared, making it not just a national treasure of Japan but also a favorite among dog lovers worldwide.

History and Origin

Stepping back in time, the Shiba Inu is the oldest and smallest native Japanese dog breed. The word ‘Shiba’ means “brushwood” in Japanese, possibly referring to the brushwood bushes in the mountains where they were originally used for hunting small game. Another theory suggests the name might be derived from its fiery red coat, likened to autumn brushwood leaves.


The Shiba Inu’s origin can be traced back to 300 B.C., making its lineage as ancient as the history of the archipelago itself. Historically used for hunting, particularly birds and small game, this breed’s agility and keen senses made it a perfect companion for hunters in the dense undergrowth of Japan’s mountainous regions.


World War II almost spelled doom for the Shiba, as many perished during bombing raids and an outbreak of distemper following the war. Thankfully, breeding programs and dedicated enthusiasts worked to revive the breed. By combining the remaining three Shiba bloodlines: the San’in, Mino, and Shinshu, the modern-day Shiba Inu was born.


Culturally, the Shiba Inu has not just been a beloved pet but has also made appearances in many Japanese tales and legends. Their loyal and brave nature made them a symbol of good fortune. While many dogs gain fame in pop culture, one Shiba named “Doge” became an internet sensation in the 2010s, leading to the creation of the popular “Doge” meme and even inspiring a cryptocurrency named Dogecoin!

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Shiba Inu is often characterized by its well-proportioned, muscular body and agile movements. Standing at an average height of 13.5 to 16.5 inches for males and 13.5 to 15.5 inches for females, they typically weigh between 17 to 23 pounds.


One of the most captivating features of the Shiba is its thick double coat that comes in a variety of colors. The most common colors are red, black and tan, sesame (mixed black, white, and red hairs), and cream. The coat is especially dense around the neck, giving the illusion of a lion-like mane, particularly in males.

Their facial features are distinctly fox-like, with erect ears, deep-set eyes, and a curled tail. Their eyes, often a deep brown, carry an intense and almost human-like expression, making them incredibly photogenic and a favorite for many dog enthusiasts.

Personality and Temperament

The Shiba Inu is often described as a complex character wrapped in a cute, furry package. Known for their spirited independence, Shiba Inus are intelligent and possess a strong hunting instinct. They are typically good-natured, alert, and bold, making them excellent watchdogs.

One quirky trait of the Shiba Inu is the so-called “Shiba scream” – a high-pitched noise they make when they are happy, upset, or just seeking attention.Β 


This vocalization is unique to the breed and is a charming yet surprising characteristic for new owners. Additionally, Shiba Inus are known for their cleanliness and often groom themselves much like cats do, making them relatively low-odor companions.


While they may be reserved around strangers, Shiba Inus form strong bonds with their families. They value their independence but are also capable of showing immense loyalty and affection to those they trust. This duality of independence and loyalty makes the Shiba Inu a fascinating and rewarding companion.

Health and Lifespan

Shiba Inus are generally robust and healthy dogs with a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. Being informed about these conditions can help Shiba Inu owners take the best care of their furry friends.


Some of the health issues that may affect Shiba Inus include allergies, hip dysplasia, eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, and patellar luxation. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to detect any potential issues early and ensure the overall well-being of your Shiba Inu.


Feeding them a balanced and nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular exercise can contribute significantly to their overall health and longevity. It’s also recommended to be aware of their vaccination schedules and keep them up to date on preventatives for parasites like ticks and fleas.


Despite these health considerations, Shiba Inus are known for their resilience and vigor. With proper care and attention, these charming canines can lead a full, happy, and healthy life, bringing joy and companionship to their families for many years.

Care and Maintenance

Shiba Inu grooming

Taking care of a Shiba Inu can be a delightful journey, filled with learning and bonding. Due to their independent nature, they don’t demand constant attention, but regular interaction and playtime are essential for a happy Shiba.


Exercise is crucial for this energetic breed. Daily walks, play sessions, and safe off-leash time in a secure area are excellent ways to keep a Shiba Inu physically and mentally stimulated. They enjoy activities that engage their keen senses and intelligence, such as puzzle toys and agility training.


Grooming a Shiba Inu is relatively straightforward due to their self-cleaning habits. However, they do shed, particularly during the shedding seasons in spring and fall, so regular brushing will help manage loose fur. Bathing is only necessary occasionally, as overbathing can strip their coat of natural oils.


Diet is another important aspect of Shiba Inu care. Feeding them high-quality dog food, appropriate to their age, weight, and activity level, will support their overall health. Fresh water should always be available, and treats should be given in moderation to maintain a healthy weight.

Training and Behavior

Training a Shiba Inu is an adventure filled with rewards and challenges. Known for their independence and strong-willed nature, Shiba Inus require a patient and consistent hand during training. Early socialization and exposure to various environments, people, and other animals are crucial in shaping a well-behaved and adaptable Shiba.


Despite their independent streak, Shiba Inus are intelligent and can learn commands and tricks quickly. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work well with this breed. However, it’s essential to establish yourself as the leader of the pack to prevent any stubbornness or selective hearing.


Shiba Inus have a high prey drive, which can make them prone to chasing after smaller animals. Therefore, a secure yard and leash training are essential. Additionally, they can be reserved around strangers and may exhibit territorial behavior, making socialization even more vital.

Shiba Inu and Families

Shiba Inu with people

With their alert and good-natured personalities, Shiba Inus make delightful family pets. They form strong bonds with their family members and can be particularly loyal and affectionate towards them. While they may be aloof with strangers, a well-socialized Shiba Inu can learn to be polite and accepting of new people.


Shiba Inus are best suited to families with older children who can understand and respect their independence and personal space. They may not tolerate rough handling or teasing, so it’s important for interactions to be supervised and for children to be taught how to approach and handle dogs.


When it comes to other pets, Shiba Inus can be selective about their companions. Their strong prey drive means they may not be suited to homes with small pets like rodents or birds. However, with proper introductions and supervision, they can coexist peacefully with other dogs.

Adopting a Shiba Inu

Bringing a Shiba Inu into your home can be a joyful and enriching experience. If you’re considering adoption, several Shiba Inu rescue organizations and shelters have loving dogs looking for their forever homes. Adopting from a shelter or rescue can be a rewarding way to find your new family member while also providing a home for a dog in need.


Before adopting, it’s important to consider whether your lifestyle and household are a good match for a Shiba Inu’s personality and needs. Researching the breed, meeting with Shiba Inus, and talking to current owners or breed enthusiasts can provide valuable insights.


Once you’ve made the decision to adopt, preparing your home, scheduling veterinary check-ups, and considering training and socialization are key steps in welcoming your new Shiba Inu. With love, patience, and understanding, adopting a Shiba Inu can be a truly rewarding experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the temperament of a Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inus are independent, confident, and bold. They are known for their spirited personality, loyalty, and cat-like agility and cleanliness.

How much grooming does a Shiba Inu require?

Their thick double coat requires regular brushing, especially during shedding seasons when they blow their coat. Otherwise, they are relatively low maintenance.

Are Shiba Inus good with children?

They can be good with respectful children but may not tolerate rough play. Early socialization and training are key to fostering good behavior.

What health issues can affect Shiba Inus?

They are generally healthy but can be prone to allergies, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation. Regular veterinary check-ups are important for their well-being.

Consecte libero id faucibus nisl tincidu. Magna etiam tempor orci lobor faculs lorem ipsum.