Shiba Inu Dog: History, Temperament, Care, Training & more

Shiba Inu Dog Breed Information

Shiba Inu Puppy
Level of Energy    
Exercise Needs    
Level of Affection    
Climate Tolerance     
Good With Children    
Tolerance of Animals     
Suitable as Watch Dog  

Shiba Inu Dog – Just The Facts

  • AKC Popularity:  46
  • AKC Breed Group: Non-Sporting
  • Size of Male:  23 lbs., 14.5-16.5 in.
  • Size of Female:  17 lbs., 13.5-15.5 in.
  • Color:  Black, Tan, Red + an undercoat of Gray, Cream or Buff
  • Average Lifespan:  12-15 years
  • Breed Origin:  Japan
  • Purpose:  Small-game Hunting Dog

Do you own this Dog breed?

Please tell us about it in the form at the bottom of this page.

Need a good Puppy Name?

Visit our Puppy Names page for 1000s of top dog names.

General Description

Clever, quiet and clean are some of the most attractive traits of the Shiba Inu dog. Yet, the breed isn’t to be underestimated. You must be prepared to live with an energetic, strong-willed dog that will not back down on a chase. Lines of aggression and dominance are hard to erase. You may often find yourself being challenged by the pooch for some power play.

Origin and History

Of the 6 native Japanese breeds, the Shiba Inu dog is the oldest and the smallest. “Inu” means “dog” in Japanese while “shiba” has at least 3 meanings: the brushwood tree, its reddish color, or the literal translation of “small” in Nagano dialect.

Way back in 300 B.C., the early dogs spent most of their time flushing small game. They eventually proceeded to hunting larger game like boars.

The Second World War and a distemper epidemic in 1952 almost wiped this dog breed to extinction. Thanks to the interbreeding of the surviving Shiba varieties, the Shiba Inu dog lives on.

Shiba Inu Dog Temperament

Oozing with self-confidence, this hardy breed is daring, willful and independent. Its territorial nature and barking instincts are the perfect combination for a suitable watchdog. Indoors, the adequately exercised Shiba dog is well behaved and unintrusive. Outdoors, the dog is a formidable athlete and predator.

Care, Grooming, Diet & Exercise

Living Environment – Since the Shiba Inu requires daily exercise, access to a yard is ideal. Be sure your space is securely fenced and unscalable to block escape attempts from this clever and manipulative breed.

This dog breed can tolerate outdoor living but not the heat. Experts suggest that you divide the time that your Shiba dog spends in and out of your home. It’s a good idea to keep a Shiba only when there’s going to be someone home with the pooch.

Grooming – Shiba Inu dogs require weekly brushings. Their double coat may need to be groomed more frequently during shedding periods. Nail grooming is a more finicky matter since clipping the nails carelessly will result in bleeding. Some pet owners are now looking into grinding the nails and using various devices to make the procedure pain-free and convenient.

Diet & Exercise – There’s no one way to feed a Shiba Inu dog, so you may take your pick from raw diet, home-cooked dog meals, kibble and wet food. Of the 4, kibble and wet food appear to be the most convenient. You must see to it, however, that the food is free from soy, corn, gluten and wheat-based ingredients. Chicken is a popular protein source.

Exercise is crucial to downplay aggressive behavior, destructive chewing and irritable barking. The Shiba needs a daily workout consisting of vigorous yard games, a long jog or a leashed and lengthy walk. It’s definitely not the dog breed for busy or sedentary individuals.

Health – The breed is as robust as an ox. The time you should have spent worrying on health concerns is best channeled to learning to control this very strong small dog breed. Luxating patella, dog allergies and thyroid problems have been reported, but they are rare.

Shiba Inu Dog Trainability

Housebreaking is easy, but training your Shiba Inu dog is the complete opposite. The dog’s intelligence coupled with high energy levels and predatory instincts will require the leadership of a seasoned and firm handler. Caveat: The pooch will grab at any opportunity to dominate you. Be prepared to act like the pack leader at all times.