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Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu Dog Breed Information

Size 14 -16 inches (37-40 cm)
Weight 18-22 lbs (8-10 kg)
Origin Japan
Color Red, black, white
Lifespan 12-15 years
Suitable as Companion dog, family dog
Personality Attentive, confident, curious, loyal, strong willed

Shiba Inu Photo: supercat/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

The Shiba Inu is a small, incredibly cute dog with an elegant, slim body and a lovely, warm-colored coat. It has a friendly and lively disposition but is always calm and even-tempered, so never hectic. They do well in apartments, don’t bark too often and don’t need as much constant attention from owners as other dog breeds. These advantages can also be disadvantages, as the Shiba Inu’s independent spirit means they’re not good at being lap dogs that are simply coddled all day long.

They are very confident and have a strong will. People often say jokingly that Shiba Inus don’t necessarily come when called, but when they want to. The Shiba Inu has a strong will and strong opinions about certain things. They’re not fond of sharing, and feel at their most comfortable in their own place with their own toys and food. But they’re always very friendly, peaceful and polite. Even to other pets and strangers.


Shiba Inu Photo: OlgaOvcharenko/

Discipline and Training

The Shiba Inu is extremely intelligent, but can also be very stubborn. They know what they want, you might say. This means that they need owners that earn the “title” of pack leader, so not somebody that always gives in, but someone that is always patient yet firm, clear and assertive. If all this is right, then the Shiba Inu is easy to train to be a sociable, obedient dog.

Top Activities

Puzzle Toys, Trick Training, Agility

Pros and Cons


  • Not a lot of grooming
  • Rarely barks
  • Doesn’t really drool


  • Not a “beginner” dog
  • Needs lots of exercise
  • Sheds a lot
  • Needs good training and socialization
  • Strong prey drive

Shiba Inu Photo: otsphoto/Shutterstock


Shiba Inus are agile, light yet muscular, strong dogs made for dashing through thick, low forests. Their curled tails are this breed’s special feature. Their short fur is straight and solid. Their soft, thick undercoat protects them from cold temperatures in their natural habitat.


Health and Care

The Shiba Inu is generally a healthy, robust dog. It’s important that they get a lot of exercise and regular brushing - at least once a week. Something to keep in mind: they shed an extreme amount twice a year: in spring and in fall.

Shiba Inu Photo: Foto: Ricant Images/

History and Origin

The Shiba Inu is a very old dog breed that existed as far back as 300 BC. They come from mountainous regions of Japan, where they were used to hunt wild animals and birds. They nearly died out completely. During the Second World War, many dogs were killed in bombings and many died from canine distemper (a virus). Thankfully, the breed was saved, mostly thanks to being crossed with other breeds. Along with the Akita, this breed is one of the most popular in Japan.

Where Does The Name Come From?

“Inu” means “dog” in Japanese. It’s not completely clear where the “shiba” came from. “Shiba” means “brushwood”, referring to their habitat, thick with bright red coppice trees. The term could mean “small”, an old meaning of the word “shiba”. Or maybe it comes from “shiba-aka” (a brown-red color), referring to the color of their coats.

Shiba Inu Photo: Africa Studio/

Fun Facts

Red Shiba Inus are often mistaken for foxes. Its coat color, face, ears and legs look very similar.

Comparable Breeds

Video: Is a Shiba Inu Dog the Right Dog Breed for Me?

Shiba Inu Dog Breed

(Video opens on YouTube)


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