Almost everyone who’s been online in the past decade likely already knows the internet-famous Shiba Inu. These fastidious, fox-like dogs are the most popular Japanese dog breed and are found almost anywhere around the world.
The breed has been declared a Japanese national treasure and is a common companion for Japan’s city dwellers. The Shiba’s engaging personality and adaptability to different climates and living situations make it a good fit for dog lovers who are ready to handle a smart, sassy companion.
TemperamentShiba Inu lovers in Japan say that there are three words that most accurately describe the Shiba’s personality: “Kan-i, Ryosei & Soboku”. These roughly translate to spirited bravery, good-naturedness, and alertness. These three traits are all on display in almost all modern Shibas, with many being intelligent, independent, and loyal companions. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re eager to please their owners or trainers – on the contrary, they are notorious for their strong-willed nature and will do things as they see fit. Extensive training and socialization is necessary to get good results with most Shibas. Despite this independent streak, Shibas are great with families and children when properly trained and socialized. They tend to be gentle and calm so long as they’re approached with respect. They’re not the most playful dogs, and they don’t always crave human attention. While the Shiba Inu may seem aloof at times, it’s this very calm nature and dignity that’s made it so attractive to dog lovers in the first place.
The Ultimate Guide to Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence today. As a member of the Spitz family, It’s theorized that it shares common ancestors with the Siberian Husky. These types of dogs are more closely related to wolves than most other breeds, and it shows in the Shiba’s independent streak. The Shiba Inu was originally used to flush out small animals from the brush in Japan’s mountain regions. Today it’s become a companion animal instead of an actual working dog. The first Shibas seen in America were probably brought home by returning soldiers after World War II. The breed’s popularity has grown steadily since then, until an unlikely event caused it to come to the forefront of people’s attention: it became a meme. In 2013, a series of pictures of the Shiba Inu named Kabosu caught the internet by storm. These pictures were posted and reposted with different captions illustrating different comedic thoughts, and so the Shiba Inu became the face of the “doge” meme. There’s even a cryptocurrency based on this meme, with Kabosu’s signature picture as the icon. Almost a decade later, the popularity of the Shiba Inu still hasn’t waned, and it’s clear that this small but feisty breed is here to stay.
Key Characteristics of Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu lovers in Japan say that there are three words that most accurately describe the Shiba’s personality: “Kan-i, Ryosei & Soboku”. These roughly translate to spirited bravery, good-naturedness, and alertness.
These three traits are all on display in almost all modern Shibas, with many being intelligent, independent, and loyal companions.
However, that doesn’t mean that they’re eager to please their owners or trainers – on the contrary, they are notorious for their strong-willed nature and will do things as they see fit. Extensive training and socialization is necessary to get good results with most Shibas.
Despite this independent streak, Shibas are great with families and children when properly trained and socialized. They tend to be gentle and calm so long as they’re approached with respect.
They’re not the most playful dogs, and they don’t always crave human attention. While the Shiba Inu may seem aloof at times, it’s this very calm nature and dignity that’s made it so attractive to dog lovers in the first place.
Due to their history as working dogs, Shibas have relatively high energy levels that can manifest in short bursts of running – even indoors. They’ll need significant amounts of exercise to work off all this energy.
An hour per day of walking is enough for most Shibas, split into 20 to 30 minute segments. These walks, in combination with indoor or outdoor play sessions and training, should tire out all but the most energetic of Shibas.
Shibas make great jogging companions, but make sure that they’re on a leash or else their prey drive may be triggered by a far-off squirrel or rabbit. A Shiba won’t hesitate to give chase, no matter how well-trained.
Other options include fenced-in yards or dog parks, so long as your Shiba Inu has shown that they can get along with other dogs.
|Shiba Inu grooming||
There are comparisons made between teddy bears and the Shiba Inu, and the main reason for that is their short, thick double coat. The top coat layer is stiff, while the undercoat is soft and fluffy.
Like most dogs with a double coat, the Shiba will shed only moderately throughout most of the year, and will blow coat twice a year, typically in spring and fall. This can resemble a storm of fur that covers almost everything in your home, so it’s advisable to have a vacuum cleaner on hand for these occasions.
Brushing your Shiba Inu a couple of times a week will help control the moderate shedding throughout the year, and daily brushing will keep the shedding from getting out of control when they blow coat.
Their undercoat helps to protect them from water and dirt, so most Shibas don’t need to be bathed very often. Once every two to three months is generally enough, so long as your Shiba hasn’t rolled around in a mud puddle.
Shibas can be prone to skin allergies, so overbathing isn’t recommended as it can strip them of the natural oils that keep the skin moist.
Nail trimming and tooth brushing need to be done starting at an early age, as older Shibas may resist being handled. Set a regular schedule for these important maintenance tasks so it becomes easier as your Shiba gets used to the routine.
|Shiba Inu training||
Training a Shiba is one of the main challenges for most first-time Shiba owners, and some veterans as well. Shibas aren’t always interested in making their humans happy, and tend to do things their own way when they do choose to do something.
Most Shibas will respond best to training that uses lots of positive reinforcement so that they are incentivized to follow your commands.
Due to their intelligence, Shibas can get bored easily with training sessions. Shorter, more focused training will work better than trying to teach things with long sessions of repetition.
Because they’re fastidious about cleanliness, potty training is relatively easy for Shibas – they naturally dislike having to go potty in their living area. Even Shibas as young as 5 weeks old will already try to go potty as far as possible from where they sleep and eat.
|Shiba Inu lifespan and health issues||
Shiba Inus have an average lifespan for medium-sized dogs, and can live for 12 to 16 years. Shiba Inus may be prone to:
|Shiba Inu size and space requirements||
Shibas are classified as a medium-sized dog breed. Most of them will weigh between 15 to 25 pounds and stand between 13 to 17 inches at the shoulder.
The calm and relaxed nature of the Shiba Inu makes them adaptable to most living environments, whether it be an urban apartment or a rural homestead.
As an active dog breed, Shibas do best when they have outdoor space to explore and play. These spaces should be fenced in as all Shibas will run off at the sight of small prey animals, no matter how well-trained.
- Shiba Inus may be possessive of their toys and food, so early training should be done to teach them that they will always get something in return so long as they are willing to share.
- The Shiba Inu is exceptionally good at escaping even closed spaces, and may require reinforcement of exits and fences to avoid them getting loose.
- Shibas have a distinctive “Shiba scream” that they may let out when they get stressed or upset.
How can I take good care of my Shiba Inu or Puppy?
A properly socialized Shiba Inu puppy will tend to end up being a calm, gentle, and friendly adult dog. Once you bring home your Shiba puppy, it’s a good idea to begin socialization as soon as possible. Doing this early will help your Shiba get along with other dogs as well as humans, and can make grooming and training easier in the long run.
Shiba Inus need premium-quality dog food for their nutritional needs. Some Shibas may be picky eaters, so finding a dog food that your Shiba will tolerate and sticking to it is crucial. Reputable dog breeders may recommend a specific brand of dog food once they release the puppy to you. Your veterinarian may have specific nutritional advice for your dog based on their expected adult weight and energy levels.
Shiba Inu puppies, like all other dogs, will have to undergo multiple vet visits once they are brought home at 8 weeks. It is advisable to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for your puppy’s vaccination schedule to protect them from common transmissible diseases and bacteria.
Most Asked Shiba Inu Questions
+How Much do Shiba Inu Puppies Cost
Shiba Inu puppies for sale from registered breeders can cost anywhere from $1200 to $3000. While this may be a significant amount, keep in mind that there are numerous health checks that both the mother and the puppies will have to pass before any puppies are sold. Ethical breeders will make sure that any puppies sold are free from health issues and have a good temperament.