Shiba Inu

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20-30 lbs
Brushwood Dog, Japanese Small-size Dog

The Shiba Inu is a relatively small dog compared with other dogs in the same family, but he is a dog with the heart of a lion. He is officially recognized in Japan as a precious natural product. Originally bred as a hunting dog in Japan’s mountainous regions, today’s Shiba Inu is still renowned for navigating tough terrain, as an alert watchdog, and for his bold, high-spirited nature. The Shiba Inu is one of the oldest types of dogs native to Japan. He is the most popular companion dog in Japan. The reddish brown fur of the Shiba Inu often prompts many to mistake him for a fox.

hunting and flushing small game
Date of Origin
ancient times

Shiba Inu Health

Average Size
Height: 14-16 inches Weight: 20-30 lbs
Height: 13-15 inches Weight: 20-30 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Allergies
Occasional Tests
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination
  • Allergy Tests

Shiba Inu Breed History

The Shiba Inu is an ancient dog; however, it was not given the name “Shiba Inu” until some time in the 1920s. The Shiba Inu of old was a hardy dog, able to traverse hills and mountainous terrain that men could not travel. He had excellent senses and became a proficient hunter. He was used to flush out birds and small game, but he was also used to hunt wild boar. The Shiba Inu was declared a natural product of Japan by the nation in 1936 under the Cultural Properties Act. During and after World War II, the breed diminished almost to extinction. Distemper was a major cause of this decline in the dog’s population. Three variations of the Shiba Inu were interbred in order to give a comeback to the breed: the Shinshu Shiba, the Mino Shiba, and the Sanin Shiba. In 1954, United States service members brought the dog to America. The first litter of Shiba Inu was born in the United States in 1979. The AKC finally recognized the breed in 1993. The Shiba Inu’s name is descriptive of the dog itself; the word shiba means small (although some argue that it means brushwood also). The word inu means “dog.”

Shiba Inu Breed Appearance

The Shiba Inu is a compact dog. His head is proportional to his body. He has a round muzzle which tapers slightly at the nose. His lips and nose are black. The teeth are in a scissors bite. His deep-set eyes are small in proportion to the rest of the body. The front legs are straight, and he normally has dewclaws, which can be removed at the discretion of the owner. He has a high-set tail which is thick at the base and curled and carried over the back. He has a double coat with a soft undercoat and a stiff, straight outer coat. The Shiba Inu is usually red, red with a little black overlay, black with tan markings, sesame with red markings, and the undercoat is usually cream, buff, or gray. Markings, if any, appear on the cheeks and sides of the muzzle, throat, underside, and chest. Occasionally, there is white on the legs, tip of the tail, and above the eyes. 

Appearance of shiba-inu
Eye Color Possibilities
Nose Color Possibilities
Coat Color Possibilities
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Shiba Inu Breed Maintenance

The Shiba Inu has a coarse, stiff, shorthaired coat that requires only minimal grooming. Use a firm brush to remove dead hair and skin weekly. Bathe him only when it is necessary; the coat is naturally waterproof – if you bathe him often, he will lose the natural waterproofing. The Shiba Inu can be a heavy shedder. He requires only a daily walk where exercise is concerned. He is an active dog, so regular exercise is good for him. He can live well in an apartment; however, he needs moderate exercise. In fact, the Shiba Inu needs an average-sized yard in order to receive adequate exercise. He can live outdoors due to his waterproof coat; however, you will need a fenced-in yard with sufficient shelter from extreme elements for him. He does not like being left alone, whether in your home or outside. He does best with his loving family.

Brushes for Shiba Inu
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Shiba Inu Temperament

The Shiba Inu is an alert, brave, and bold little dog. He is also loving, kind, and highly trainable. The Shiba Inu is very clean – surprisingly, he will avoid getting dirty if possible – and he is also easily housebroken. They are not noisy dogs, barking very little. They are very playful and get along well with other dogs and children (even without early socialization). The Shiba Inu can be fairly shy around strangers. Training from an early age will benefit the Shiba Inu. He will take the “pack leader position” if he does not feel that his handler is firm and confident. Unfortunately, the Shiba Inu is primarily a hunter, and he should not be trusted around small animals – even other family pets. Caution should be taken when letting this canine off his leash; he will chase cars and small animals. Also, handlers should always present themselves as firm, making sure the Shiba Inu views him as the pack leader. If not, the Shiba Inu will attempt to become the alpha and many behavioral problems will ensue.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Shiba Inu Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2 cups
Daily Cost
$1.2 - $1.4
Monthly Cost
$34 - $45

Shiba Inu Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 8 inches Weight: 12 lbs
Height: 8 inches Weight: 12 lbs
12 Months
Height: 13 inches Weight: 16 lbs
Height: 13 inches Weight: 16 lbs
18 Months
Height: 15 inches Weight: 25 lbs
Height: 14 inches Weight: 25 lbs

Top Shiba Inu Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Shiba Inu breeders of 2017.
Marma Farms
Fruithurst, Alabama
Anderson's Shiba Inus
Miami, Oklahoma
Icewind Shibas
Phillipsburg, New Jersey
Des Mar Shibas
Redding, California
Shiba Inu
Louisville, Kentucky
Pendragon Shibas
Dodge City, Kansas
Innisfree Kennel
Welcome, Maryland
Tintown Shibas
Dover, Ohio

Shiba Inu Owner Experiences

3 Months
2 People
My Shiba basically house trained himself there was barely any effort there. He gets in a playfull mood but can also be very calm. He is very loving and great woth other dogs and kids. Everyone that meets him loves him. Grooming is minimal just brush every so often. He doesnt like the leasg but he's getting better with it.
1 month ago
2 Years
1 People
House & Yard
My best friend and he makes every day a little brighter.
3 weeks, 3 days ago
Book me a walkiee?