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Japanese Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is treasured as a National Monument in Japan. Originally bred for hunting, this breed has quickly become popular worldwide. They’re one of the most ancient dog breeds still around today!

Shiba Inu Breed Standards:

Kennel Club Member?: Yes

Shiba Inu Lifespan: Approximately 12-15 years

Shiba Inu Exercise: 1 hour per day

Height: 13-17 inches

Weight: 8-10 kilograms

Hypoallergenic: No


Shiba Inus have a ‘good nature’ and ‘spirited boldness’ as described by the Japanese breed standards. Unlike most dogs, the Shiba Inu is fairly cat-like, often licking themselves to keep clean. Thankfully, this helps to reduce an owner’s time spent on grooming!

Independence is a strong trait of the Shiba Inu which often leads to stubbornness. Sometimes they just like their own space which is why they can be left alone for up to 8 hours. Strong-willed is a great term to describe this canine!

Shiba Inus can make great family dogs but are more suitable for homes with older children. The constant attention from under 6s can be overwhelming for a dog that likes its own space.

Strangers won’t be welcomed with open arms. Typically a Shiba Inu will be suspicious of strangers. Although the breed isn’t an effective guard dog, their alertness makes them a great watchdog. 

Dominance can be an issue for the Shiba Inu, especially when socializing with dogs of the same sex. They can live with other canines and cats provided they are the top dog and were reared together. Avoid smaller animals as these will be viewed as prey.


Learn about the positive and negative characteristics of the Shiba Inu


  • Maintains its cleanliness
  • Easy to housebreak and high intelligence
  • Independent and can be left alone
  • Their alertness makes them great watchdogs
  • Doesn’t drool much


  • Will shed fur all year round
  • High wanderlust potential so shouldn’t be off-leash
  • They may look like a teddy but aren’t overly cuddly or affectionate
  • Produces a noise called the ‘Shiba scream’ when unhappy
  • Doesn’t like water

The Shiba Inu dog is a medium-sized Spitz breed. They have a thick short double coat with a fox-like appearance. Shiba Inus also feature a curly tail that has slightly longer fur. Apart from the typical Red Sesame, Shiba Inus can also be found in Black and Tan, Black Sesame Sesame, Red, and Cream.


The Shiba Inu is a Spitz breed hailing from Japan. They’re one of the oldest dog breeds dating back to the 3rd century BC and were originally bred for hunting purposes. Their typical prey consisted of small game such as birds and rabbits.  

Different regions in Japan had their own versions of the Shiba Inu. The three main breeds were known as the Shinshu Shiba, Sanin Shiba, and Minu Shiba. The Shiba Inu is Japan’s smallest native breed.

They are deeply treasured in their homeland and were listed as a National Monument of Japan in December 1936. This happened shortly after the Japanese breed standard was released in 1934. Unlike the Kennel Club, the Japanese standards see the Cream colour as a major fault. 

World War II almost marked the end of the Shiba Inu. Thankfully breeding programmes were established to help improve the Shiba Inu breed numbers. Today they are popular across the world. 

The Shiba Inu was first introduced into the UK in 1985 by Gerald and Kath Mitchell. Roy Mulligan and Ann Shimwells shortly followed suit. They became the main founders of the Shiba Inu breed in the UK. 

Exercise & Care

A Shiba Inu needs up to one hour of exercise each day. Some may be suitable to live in apartments although a small garden is recommended. Shiba Inu puppies will benefit from longer exercise time split into multiple walks. 

To prevent boredom play some interactive games with your pets. These are great forms of mental stimulation. Never trust this pooch off-leash. They may wander off trying to explore the world! They’re also great escape artists so ensure gardens are completely secure.

Thanks to the breed’s cat-like qualities you have a helping hand on the grooming side! But they do shed all year round, particularly in the Summer and Autumn months so regular brushing is a must! 

Baths can be given every 1-6 weeks. You will need to wash through the coat thoroughly to ensure you reach the skin. A blow dryer will be needed for the best coat results. Air drying will take too long. 

Introduce your Shiba Inu puppy to grooming as soon as possible. This helps them feel more comfortable with the process. Ear cleaning and nail trimming will be needed every week.

Health Issues

Some breeds are commonly affected by specific health conditions more than others. Below are the health issues seen in the Japanese Shiba Inu dog. 

  • Allergies: The most common health issue affecting Japanese Shiba Inus are allergies. Symptoms include skin irritation, redness, itching, and chewing. It’s impossible to predict which Japanese Shiba Inu puppy will have allergies, but those that do should not be bred. 
  • Luxating Patella: This condition will cause the kneecap to temporarily move out of place. It will then relocate back into position just as fast. 
  • Hip Dysplasia: It’s important breeders undertake a hip evaluation for their canines. Hip Dysplasia is a common orthopaedic condition that causes laxity of the joint. 
  • Ear Infections: The Shiba Inu has a narrow ear canal which makes them more prone to ear infections.
  • Glaucoma: A painful eye condition that also affects humans! If left untreated the increase of pressure within the eye will rapidly lead to a loss of vision.
  • Cataracts: A change in the lens of a dogs eye will cause a cloud. This is known as cataracts and is seen in the later part of a Shiba Inus life. If the opacity is big enough to block light from the retina, it will cause a loss of vision.  

Shiba Inu Training

One trait that describes this breed is stubbornness. Unfortunately, this can hinder training. Training lessons should be ten minutes each, multiple times a day. Rewards are a great way to grab this canines attention! Ensure you have some food or their favourite toy to hand!

Clicker training is a great form of positive training. To begin you will use the click at the exact moment your dog gets their command right. Give them a food treat to show them the click is positive. Eventually, over time the click will turn into a reward and no food will be needed.

Whilst the Shiba Inu dog breed is intelligent, owners will need lots of patience to tackle their stubborn side. They’re free-spirited which is why first time owners aren’t recommended. Shiba Inu puppies should be trained as early as possible. 

Some owners find recalling their Shiba Inu puppy is best done in a high pitched voice. The difference in tone makes it easier for your dog to understand. Shiba Inus love to vocally communicate with their owners so they may even respond!

shiba inu price

Shiba Inu Breed Facts

  • Remains of the Shiba Inu have been found in known locations where the Jomon-jin people lived. They inhabited Japan during 14,500BC-300AD. This gives us a rough timescale to show just how ancient the breed really is!  
  • If you’ve been around a Shiba Inu you may have heard the infamous Shiba Scream. Whether anxious, sad, uncomfortable or just excited the Shiba Inu will let out a loud scream to let you know exactly how they feel!
  • Yamakoshi, Japan was hit by an earthquake in 2004. Mari, a Shiba Inu got to work instantly to remove her puppies from danger. She then alerted her elderly owner, who had his life saved as a result. The owner was airlifted to safety and upon his return two weeks later, Mari and her puppies were safe and well. The Japanese movie ‘A Tale of Mari and Her Three Puppies’ documents this story.
  • The Shiba Inu price ranges from £1,200-£4,000 depending on a variety of factors. The average cost of a Shiba Inu is roughly found within the middle of these figures. KC registered Shiba Inu puppies will be on the higher end of this scale. 

1 thought on “Japanese Shiba Inu

  1. […] Finnish Spitz is often confused with the Japanese Shiba Inu due to their similar looks. Both are Spitz-type breeds but the Shiba Inu is smaller, has a shorter […]

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