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Shiba Inu  Information



Description of a Shiba Inu

 A northern looking dog the Shiba Inu is small and compact yet gives the definite impression of power and athletic ability. They have a very thick and dense coat that is comprised of a harsher outer coat and soft and wooly inner coat, ideal for colder weather. Usually the coat is red or red with black overlay markings. Black with tan markings is also sometimes seen, but all will have cream or white colour markings on the head, throat and chest. Some many have white or cream on the feet and the tip of the tail. The tail is carried curled tightly over the back, and the head is held very high, giving a well balanced appearance. The head is very triangular in shape with erect ears and black eyes and nose. The body is sold yet lithe looking, and there is a sense of energy about their movements.

Temperament of a Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a great companion dog for families. They love to be with children and other pets, although some socialization is required. They are very easy to train and will naturally housetrain themselves if given the opportunity to go outside. Although their coat protects them from the heat and cold they prefer to be inside with people rather than be an outside dog. They are good watchdogs but only bark when necessary and are not "yappy" dogs. They will generally warm up to new people but may be somewhat aloof with people that they don't know. The Shiba Inu tends to bond very closely with their family and often does not adjust well to going to a new home. While they may be somewhat timid in new situations socialization can help them overcome any hesitancy or uncertainty. They are excellent dogs to travel with and they really love going in the car.

Grooming & Shedding of the Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is an average shedder and requires regular grooming three to four times a week. They do shed heavily at least twice a year and will need more frequent grooming at this time. Almost like a cat, the Shiba Inu, like the Akita, will lick and groom itself and will always appear to be very clean. The breed should only be bathed when absolutely necessary as even infrequent bathing can strip the hair of natural oils leading to skin irritation and poor coat quality.

History of the Shiba Inu

The smallest of the six original Japanese spitz type dogs the Shiba Inu was originally brought from China to Japan some two thousand years ago. The name "shiba" means both brushwood and red in Japanese, so it is likely these dogs earned their name from hunting small game in the brush, or due to their coats often being red like the fall colors during the hunt. While declared a product of Japan in 1936, the breed almost became extinct by the 1950's due to distemper. Breeders in Japan and around the world worked to develop strong and healthy breeding stock and today the breed is enjoying a comeback in popularity.

Shiba Inu Health Issues

  • Major Concerns: none
  • Minor Concerns: patellar luxation
  • Occasionally seen: progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia
  • Suggested tests: knee

Characteristics of the Shiba Inu


Dogs 14-16 inches (36-41 cm)

Bitches 13-15 inches (33-38 cm)


Dogs 20-30 pounds (9-14 kg)

Bitches 18-28 pounds (8-13 kg)


12-15 years




Yes –with long, frequent walks



Young Children


Need exercise space

Yes – ideally a small yard



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