Japanese Shiba Inu | Information & Dog Breed Facts


The Japanese shiba inu is one of the most special dog breeds in existence today, mainly due to an origin that dates back thousands of years and takes place in Japan, where there are only six native dog breeds. It is a dog with a remarkable appearance that reminds Akita Inu, although in much smaller proportions. This small size allowed the animal to move quickly through the mountainous terrain, where it was used for hunting-related purposes.

It is a breed, in general, very affectionate with the owners and very adaptable to different environments and families. Some sources claim that it originates from Korea or southern China, although it is generally attributed to Japanese origin. He is currently one of the most popular pet dogs in Japan.

Japanese shiba inu
Japanese shiba inu

This dog resembles a cat in many features and habits. He is very clean, independent and difficult to train. For its owner, a shiba inu can become an excellent companion, a companion on hikes, a hunting assistant and just a cheerful, playful friend.

If you are thinking of adopting a shiba inu as a puppy or adult and want to find out everything about it, you have come to the right place. In this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breed file, we will present all the information you need to know about this small and beautiful Japanese dog. Including its character, size or necessary care.


The shiba inu is one of the most special dog breeds in existence today, mainly due to an origin that dates back thousands of years and takes place in Japan, where there are only six native dog breeds. It is a dog with a striking appearance reminiscent of Akita Inu, albeit in much smaller proportions. This small size allowed the animal to move quickly through the mountainous terrain, where it was used for hunting-related purposes.

This dog, like most of those bred in Japan, was used for hunting in the mountains of the center of the country. Hence animals with specific characteristics, small and agile, well proportioned to be able to move without problem and hunt animals such as birds and small mammals. For a while, the breed was on the verge of disappearing, at the end of the 19th century, because hunting became a sport and dogs imported from other parts of the world increased, in particular pointers and posers, which gave excellent results in the activity.

At that time, in addition, crosses between breeds proliferated, which made it very difficult to find a purebred shiba.

Fortunately for the breed, some people have decided to keep their characteristics through selective crossbreeding, keeping the lines as pure as possible. It also experienced another complicated period during World War II, but the Shiba Inu finally managed to save itself from extinction.

From these rescued specimens and their lines, the shiba inu would be defined over the years as it is now known. Despite his complicated journey, he managed to recover to become one of Japan’s favorite dog breeds, above many other breeds in this country and in other countries.

In 1920 it was when the breed was named Shiba inu, although it was not very clear what meaning they wanted to give it. It is thought that the meaning of the word shiba, small bush, could have part of the explanation of its name, since these dogs were used to hunt the animals which hid among the bushes, although it is a theory that could not be tested.

On the other hand, inu simply means dog in Japanese. Since then, the Shiba Inu has arrived in other regions of the world, such as the United States and Europe, and is now very well known and appreciated as a pet, so much so that it is extremely easy to find dogs of the breed almost everywhere.

Shiba Inu is the oldest Japanese breed of dogs living in the Land of the Rising Sun. Scientists date the origin of the Shiba Inu to the 3rd century BC.

Japanese shiba inu

Characteristics of the Shiba Inu

The shiba inu is a small, agile and very athletic dog. It has a thin and slender body, very well proportioned despite its small size, and a striking curly tail which was one of the attributes most sought after and admired by the Japanese when defining the characteristics of this breed.

Small but brave and skillful, the Shiba Inu is born with a hunting instinct and cannot be removed.

The head is reminiscent of a fox for its expressiveness and shape, its muzzle is very fine, and it has pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes, usually dark. His neck and chest are robust and wide, the back is solid and the legs are long and well formed, very slender. He keeps an alert expression and is full of energy despite his size.

It is striking to note that it is an animal with the appearance of a larger breed, but much more compact and prepared for speed races. The shiba inu is quick and easy to walk on any terrain and is slippery, so be careful when leaving it loose in some places.

Japanese shiba inu

Shiba Inu size

One of the distinguishing features of the breed is that there is almost no difference in size between males and females. The height at the withers in both cases tends to remain between 37 and 40 centimeters, and the weight between 9 and 15 kilos, the females always tending to be slightly less than the males. It is therefore a small breed, although not as small as those generally considered in this category.


The shiba inu fur is certainly very special. It comes in two layers, an internal and cottony, very soft, and an external hard and rough to the touch. The coat is very dense and reminds of Nordic dogs, although it has clear differences. As for color, there are many accepted shades, such as red, red and tan, cream, sesame or black.

The only unacceptable shade is pure white, and specimens should always retain the Urajiro characteristic, which turns out to be areas of white hair in areas such as the cheeks, muzzle, jaw, abdomen, tail and legs.

Japanese shiba inu

Temperament of The Japanese Shiba Inu

The character of shiba inu is generally cheerful and friendly, affectionate at times, although he is also independent and silent. He is a good watchdog because he likes to walk around the house to control everything that is going on, although he does not always participate in activities.

It generates a unique relationship with his family, to which he is still faithful, although he is not as affectionate as other breeds. He is somewhat wary and shy in front of strangers, so he needs a puppy to socialize properly. In addition, it is an easily excitable dog, although it is also playful and playful. Its nervous temperament makes necessary a concrete and effective education of a puppy, so that the adult is a balanced and stable animal.

Energetic, unusually loyal and loving, dexterous and quick-witted Shiba Inu, which is also called a domestic fox, fascinates at first sight.

It is not one of the most sociable breeds with other dogs or with children, although it all depends on the experience of each specimen and the socialization it has had. On the other hand, the shiba inu adapts well to any situation as long as there is calm and tranquility, so it is not difficult to enjoy a large pet. he is properly educated.

Japanese shiba inu


By nature, the Shiba Inu is endowed with strong immunity and good health. On average, these dogs can live 13-16 years. Diseases that occur most often in representatives of the breed are outlined in the list below:

  • Dislocations – lameness and pain.
  • Dysplasia – leads to lameness, in the last stage of the disease, immobilization of the joints can occur.
  • Allergy – In most cases, there is an allergic reaction to food.
  • Von Willebrand disease is a hereditary disease characterized by bleeding disorders, spontaneous bleeding.
  • A cataract is a clouding of the lens that is normally transparent.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – degeneration of the retinal optic cells – rods and cones – occurs.
  • Entropion – the twist of the eyelid is removed surgically.
  • Hypothyroidism is a pathological condition of the body that develops as a result of a long-term lack of thyroid hormones.

Many health problems can be avoided by timely vaccinations and treatment against internal and skin parasites. It is also important to visit a veterinary clinic with a pet for tests and preventive examinations with a doctor.

Japanese shiba inu puppy

Basic care of Shiba Inu dogs

Taking care of a Shiba Inu is not difficult at all. The best living conditions for such dogs are a private house with a fenced area. Thus, the dog will be able to walk freely. For this breed, physical activity is very necessary. Therefore, in case of apartment living, which is also permissible, you will need to walk with the dog every day in any weather. A bed is installed in the apartment for the Shiba Inu, the pet does not take up much space. The enclosure should have an insulated booth.

Particular attention is paid to walking. Shiba Inu are animals that lead an active lifestyle. Such a pet will gladly run next to the bike the owner is riding. Such walks are useful for both man and animal. If you plan to use your dog for hunting, from the age of six months, start taking it out into nature, into the forest, to water bodies. When walking in urban areas, you must not let go of the Shiba Inu from the leash. This dog is a born hunter, it can be considered prey to other, smaller animals and even be dangerous to people.

To maintain beauty and health of the Shiba Inu dog, the following hygiene procedures are required:

  • Brush out the coat 2-3 times in 7 days with a brush with coarse bristles. In the off-season, when moulting takes place, combing is carried out every day.
  • Bathe every six months. If the Shiba Inu is a show dog and participates in shows, bathing is carried out once a month.
  • Between the pads of the paws, the wool should be trimmed from time to time, controlling its length.
  • Twice a month we cut the claws of the dog with a nail clipper. If possible, it is better to contact a pet salon, as this procedure requires experience. In most cases, the Shiba Inu, being an active animal, wears off its claws on its own on the hard road surface during walks.
  • Twice a week, we clean our dog’s ears very gently with cotton pads. Ear cleaning spray can be purchased from your veterinarian to make the procedure more effective. It dissolves the wax in the ears. If there is too much discharge, see your veterinarian as it could be a symptom of an infection.
  • We wipe our dog’s eyes and examine them twice a week. If eye discharge accumulates regularly, this could be the onset of conjunctivitis or another medical condition.
  • Once every 7-10 days, we brush our Shiba Inu’s teeth with a special paste designed for dogs. Such a procedure will prevent dental diseases and remove unpleasant odor from the mouth.

A balanced Shiba Inu diet is the key to good health, excellent physical shape and excellent conformation performance.

Japanese shiba inu puppy

You can feed the Shiba Inu with both natural feed and ready-made industrial feed. Mixed feeding is not recommended for the breed. Dry food should be balanced, natural products should be of high quality and correctly selected, with the right amount of vitamins and minerals. A large percentage of proteins is important in the diet. It is forbidden to feed from the table, legumes, fatty, smoked foods, salt and sugar, small bones.

Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet to develop and grow as they should. As a guide, a Shiba Inu puppy can be 3 or 4 times a day.

Once a puppy is 11 months old, it can be fed with food for adult dogs.

The frequency of feeding depends, as is known, on age. From 2 months of age, when the puppy passes into the hands of the owner, it must be fed 5 times a day.


Despite its size, the shiba inu is a breed that has large amounts of energy, which the dog must eliminate in the form of exercise. The daily walks and games are more than necessary to keep the dog in perfect physical condition.

Affection, dedication and proper education are the keys to having a balanced and loving pet. Shiba inu requires about an hour of exercise a day. Given his strong hunting instinct, it is necessary to ensure that he appears on call before releasing the leash and should only exercise in secure and fenced places.

Japanese shiba inu

Training and education

The Shiba Inu dog breed is suitable only for experienced dog breeders who know how to behave with hunting, wayward dogs, how to educate and train them. Representatives of the breed are included in the list of the most difficult species to train. The main thing is to carry out the right early socialization. Then teach the Shiba Inu puppy to the rules of conduct in the house and in public places. The pet must master the simplest commands “lie down”, “sit”, “no”, “place”, etc.

In the process of education, the owner of the Shiba Inu shows perseverance and consistency. Some inexperienced owners mistakenly believe that you need to be extremely strict with a stubborn dog. Severity is necessary, but within the limits of permissible, harshness, screaming and physical punishment will lead to the fact that the shiba Inu will become aggressive. It is best to use rewards during training, establish a relationship of trust with the dog, be patient and calm.

It is recommended to use the services of an experienced dog handler for training courses. The instructor will teach the owner of the Shiba Inu how to cope with the stubbornness and willfulness of the pet. Training is necessary for the breed. You need to start with a general course, then choose a program, starting from what you are preparing the dog for (exhibitions, sports, hunting, security).

The socialization and education of the dog begins with the diaper to reduce the breed’s natural tendency to dominate and aggressive behavior towards strangers.

Japanese shiba inu

Shiba Inu Fun Facts

  • Shiba Inu in translation sounds like “little dog”. There is another version of the translation, “shiba” means “brushwood”, “inu” means “dog”. In general, the name means – “a dog from a place covered with bushes.” All due to the fact that the purpose of the breed was exclusively in hunting.
  • In Japan, the film “Bearbug” was shot, one of the main roles in it belongs to a Shiba Inu dog. He helped the owners in hunting and in daily life.
  • Shiba Inu is recognized as a natural monument in Japan.
  • Japan has the largest number of nurseries that breed purebred Shiba Inu.
  • In 2004, an earthquake struck Chueetsu. Shiba Inu at that terrible time became a hero dog who managed to find surviving people under the ruins.
  • In 1934, the breed standard was defined and a natural monument of Japan was named. This country has always shown an interest in caring for and protecting its indigenous breeds, the shiba inu being one of the most important.
  • One of the longest lived dogs in the world was a Shiba Inu who lived in Japan and lived 26 years, a record for the breed and the canine world in general.
  • Although it is not uncommon to find a white shiba inu, this shade is not accepted for exhibitions or beauty contests, which should be taken into account if you intend to compete with it.
  • It is one of the breeds of dogs that has more genetic kinship with the wolf because of its age and many characteristics it has inherited, which few breeds can say.
  • Although it is currently practically not used for hunting, the shiba inu retains part of its hunting instinct, so it will tend to hunt small animals when it has the opportunity.
  • In many ways, the Shiba Inu looks more like a cat than a dog. They are independent and can be difficult to train. They also spend a lot of time looking after themselves and tend to be extremely clean.
Japanese shiba inu

Japanese Shiba Inu Dog Breed Highlights

Shiba Inu is not like children and the elderly. Such a dog should feel the firm character and strength of the owner. If you have no experience with hunting dogs, you need to learn how to educate and maintain them. First of all, check out the list of the main pros and cons.

Positive points

  • The Japanese Shiba Inu is a faithful and affectionate dog by nature.
  • It is smart and in good hands, easy to train.
  • It is a very adaptable dog provided that it is sufficiently exercised.
  • The Japanese Shiba Inu is a good choice for new dog owners who have time to devote to their pets.
  • This dog breed is known for being very clean and having a feline behavior.
  • It’s a good size dog, neither too small nor too big.
  • The Japanese Shiba Inu is calm, but fun.
  • It does not bark, but it can make a noise called “Shiba Shout”
  • The Shiba Inu can get along with other animals if introduced soon enough.

Negative points

  • Shiba Inu loses abundant amounts of hair all year round, and even more so in the spring and fall.
  • It is an incredible artist of escape and the gardens must be ultra-secure.
  • Japanese Shiba Inu is very active and energetic.
  • It can be quite independent and distant when the mood takes it.
  • We should not trust them sometimes.
  • It is a food – motivated food breed.
  • Japanese Shiba Inu can be very possessive of people and things.

If you want to enjoy the company of a shiba inu in your life, go to a reputable breeder specializing in the breed. This way you can get all the breed information first hand and you will have all the health guarantees you need on the puppy. The shiba inu is a very special dog that requires specific care and attention. Understanding the needs of your pet, you can enjoy the best relationship with it for many years.