20-30 lbs
United States
American Eskimo
Shiba Inu
The Imo-Inu is a combination of two very smart and loyal breeds: the American Eskimo and Shiba Inu.  These pets are people-oriented and love to stay active. Their lifespan is average for medium breeds at 12 to 15 years and they generally weigh between 20 and 35 pounds. When full grown, this breed can be between 14 and 19 inches tall. Imo-Inus generally looks like a small Akitas with American Eskimo features mixed in. The most notable feature of this hybrid is its lush and dense coat that comes in solid or combinations of black, cream, tan, red, and biscuit with white markings. This breed is relatively new, but its date of origin is unknown and Imo-Inus are also not yet fully stabilized in form or personality. They are not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) roster of purebred dogs.
purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
American Eskimo, Shiba Inu

Imo-Inu Health

Average Size
Male Imo-Inu size stats
Height: 17-19 inches Weight: 25-35 lbs
Female Imo-Inu size stats
Height: 14-17 inches Weight: 20-30 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Addison's Disease
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
Occasional Tests
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Blood And Urine Analysis
  • Orthopedic Exam
  • Ocular Exam

Imo-Inu Breed History

The name Imo-Ino is a combination of the two parent breeds: the Shiba Inu and American Eskimo. The Shiba Inu hails from ancient Asia and its name means “small dog”. The breed was originally bred in Japan for hunting birds and small game. It has been highly prized in Japan for centuries and was proclaimed a natural product of the country in 1936 under the Cultural Properties Act. Unfortunately, Shiba Inus nearly became extinct during World War II due to disease. To revive the population, three variations of the Shiba Inus were interbred: the Shinshu Shiba, the Mino Shiba, and the Sanin Shiba. In the 1950s, the first Shiba Inus were brought to the United States where they gradually grew in popularity. Eventually, the AKC recognized the breed in 1993. The Imo-Inu’s other parent dog, the American Eskimo, is also an ancient breed and is known for its long soft coat. It descended from the “Deutsche Spitz” which was bred in Germany as a farm dog. When German immigrants came to the United States, they brought their “German Spitzes” with them. Many settled in Texas, where the breed became quite popular. In the early 20th century, anti-German sentiment led to changing the dog’s name to the American Eskimo. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1994 as a non-sporting dog. The Shiba Inu and American Eskimo are a natural pair given their similar size and appearances. As such, they are a relatively common and established hybrid. Even so, Imo-Inus are not recognized by the AKC and breeders should be thoroughly researched if you are considering purchasing a puppy from them.

Imo-Inu Breed Appearance

An Imo-Inu is a compact, medium-sized dog with a firm stance, deep chest, and keen expression. They have small, slightly triangular eyes, and a tapered muzzle with a scissor bite. Imo-Inus also have a high-set tail that is occasionally curled if it takes after the its Spitz heritage. The breed has a double coat, which is dense, straight and medium in length. It comes in solid varieties or multi-color combinations of black, cream, tan, red, and biscuit with the possibility of white markings on the tail and legs. The ears are erect, set high, and slightly blunted on the tips. Imo-Inus also have oval, compact feet with arched toes and deeply cushioned pads.
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Imo-Inu eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Imo-Inu nose
Coat Color Possibilities
white Imo-Inu coat
black Imo-Inu coat
cream Imo-Inu coat
red Imo-Inu coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Imo-Inu straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Imo-Inu Breed Maintenance

The Imo-Inu is a relatively low maintenance pet. This breed does, however, shed frequently. Shedding is particularly heavy during seasonal changes twice a year. Owners can control shedding to some extent, as well as maintain neatness and avoid tangles with weekly brushing. Imo-Inus only need occasional baths (once every two to three months). They do, however, need daily teeth cleaning and once or twice monthly nail clippings. Owners should clean their Imo-Inu’s ears regularly with a damp cloth to avoid wax build up. Note that this dog is not hypoallergenic and is not suitable for dog owners with allergies.
Brushes for Imo-Inu
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Imo-Inu requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Imo-Inu Temperament

Imo-Inus are loving, alert, and intelligent dogs. They have the gentle personalities of their American Eskimo parent and the spunkiness of their Shiba-Inu parent. These dogs become very attached to their families and are known to be obedient pets. In fact, they are considered a highly trainable dog that is easily housebroken. Imo-Inus are also quite social. They love to engage in play with their owners and perform tricks for audiences. This breed also gets along well with other dogs, though it might chase after smaller animals if given the chance. Because Imo-Inus are so social, they are prone to separation anxiety and not suited for busy families or owners that travel frequently. At the same time, the Imo-Inus can be hesitant around strangers. Early socialization can help to mold an open and friendly pet. Overall, the Imo-Inu is an adoring pet that will thrive in a loving and stable household.

Imo-Inu Activity Requirements

Imo-Inus have above average energy levels and love to exercise with their owners. They are quite athletic and should have between 45 to 60 minutes of activity a day. Because they require a fair amount of exercise, they are best suited for suburban and rural environments with a yard. They can, however, live in urban environments if there is access to grassy areas or off leash parks. Imo-Inus also have a high impulse to hunt, so they should always be monitored whenever they are outside. Note that because of this breed’s heavy coat, it does not do well in hot temperatures. In addition to exercise, Imo-Inus need a lot of attention, so snuggling at the end of the day is an important part of their routine!
Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Imo-Inu Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Imo-Inu Owner Experiences

7 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Spa day
Stubborned little one. Very smart. Knows what he wants and will get it all the time. Definitely a very good companion at home. He is also very alert. The Imo Inu definitely needs to be more popular.
2 years, 4 months ago
3 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Such a wonderful loyal and smart companion. Really is this mans best friend.
6 years, 3 months ago
11 Months
1 People
People watching
critter watching
brewery hopping
Meeting new people
Dog Parks
Car rides
Willow was shy at first around people. I have a second dog and she got along with other dogs instantly. Since the day I got her I socialized her and brought her to breweries, parks, car rides etc. Now, I would consider her super outgoing and demanding the spotlight when she sees people. She gives lots of kisses. Brings her toys for you to throw. She LOVES car rides and just sits there with her head out the window. She loves watching the squirrels from the window and does this silently. She went on her first plane ride with me this weekend and was perfect. They like to pull on their leash. I bought the gentle leader size small and it was a game changer. She was soooo obedient and well behaved the minute I put it on. She learned sit, lay and rollover at 12 weeks old in 5 minutes. She is super stubborn but loving. She has a sparkle. Ive always been nervous about doing off leash since she rarely comes when called unless there are treats (super food motivated) but she surprised me all weekend and was a little velcro dog when she wasnt playing with the other dogs. She loves me a lot and I never knew how much until we traveled together. I love little willow. Shes an XL in small dog clothes, small in collars and leashes, 21.8 lbs. Looks exactly 50/50 of the two breeds.
3 years, 11 months ago
3 Years
2 People
Hide & Seek
He is such a loving dog. He gets so excited to see me after work and always brings me a toy. He'll cuddle with me at night before bed and stays with me during sleep. He was very easy to house train and is still super good about not going indoors. I love him so much!
3 years, 6 months ago
4 Years
5 People
Great dog, very friendly and excitable.
3 years, 1 month ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - New pet

Hi- I'm considering getting an Imo-Inu and having read some facts on your site, I don't see anything about small house or apartment. Is it possible to own this type of dog with a small house and smaller backyard? I live in a semi-suburban area with many parks so walking him will not be a problem. Thank you, Winn Tom

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