Shiba Inu


A small to medium sized Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)13-16in (33-41cm)
Weight20-30lbs (9-14kg)
Hair Colour(s)Red, white, black
Lifespan12-15 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size2-3
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftLow

The Shiba Inu is a small to medium sized sturdy wolf-like dog. The body is agile and muscular with moderately sprung ribs, a level topline, and a long and furry high-set tail. The head has a pointed fox-like muzzle, a dark nose, upright triangular shaped ears and small dark eyes. The coat is stiff and straight with a softer undercoat, and the colouring tends to be red with black overlay and white or cream markings to the undersides, or black with tan markings.


Shiba Inus are bold and adventurous dogs that seem far too small for their courageous natures. Possessing great speed and agility, these dogs require a fair amount of interaction and exercise from their owners but do not tend to become too demanding or clingy. Despite this, they can make for loving, loyal and entertaining pets and companions, but early socialisation is required in order to promote more stable temperaments. They are intelligent and hardworking but can also be stubborn, possessive and manipulative, and so are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. Shiba Inus get along well with children they have been raised with but are best suited to older, more considerate kids because they will not tolerate any rough handling or teasing. They can tend to be aggressive around same sex dogs, and they may chase smaller animals due to their high prey drive. Around strangers they are normally suspicious as they are highly territorial, which makes them effective watchdogs.

History & Skills

Shiba Inus originate from Japan, where they are one of the country's oldest native breeds having been introduced from China about 2000 years ago. Once used as hunting dogs for small birds and game, they were supposedly named after the brushwood where they typically hunted, whose leaves turn red in Autumn to match the shade of their coat; Shiba translates as small and brushwood, and Inu translates as dog. These dogs faced extinction in the middle of the 1900s following an outbreak of disease. However, these days they are popular as companions and family pets.

Breed Specific Ailments

Shiba Inus tend to live between 12-15 years and are a relatively healthy breed with few inherited diseases. However, some of the health problems that have been noted in the breed include hip dysplasia, luxating patella, thyroid problems, and allergies.


Shiba Inus are medium shedders that shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, and so may not be best suited to those suffering from allergies. However, their thick coat is easy to maintain. The coat should be brushed on a weekly basis to remove dead hair, and a little more during periods of heavier shedding. Bathing should be carried out only when necessary and using a mild shampoo so as not to strip the water-repellant oils from the hair.

Exercise & Environment

Although Shiba Inus weatherproof coats allow them to adapt to different temperature conditions, they still tend to live indoors because they like to be near their owners, and they can even be suited to smaller homes. These dogs can adapt to most lifestyles but will appreciate a good daily walk on the leash plus access to an outside area for play, which must be secure as these dogs like to dig, climb and chase.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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