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Shiba Inu - SaveARescue.org

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu

  • Breed Group : Non-Sporting
  • Origin : JAPAN
  • Average Height : 13" - 17"
  • Average Weight : 17 - 23 lbs.
  • Life Span : 12 - 16 years

Photo Courtesy info : Tri-State Shiba Inu Rescue Inc.

  • Size

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  • Energy

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  • Intelligence

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  • Ease of Training

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  • Hypo-Allergenic

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  • Shedding

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  • Good with Kids

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  • Good with Other Pets

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  • Guard Dog

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Shiba Inu Rescue Organizations

  • The Shiba have a long and interesting history. Shibas were originally bred to flush birds and small game. The breed was brought to Japan from China nearly two thousand year ago.

    While they were first used for hunting, they are now primarily kept as pets, both in Japan and the United States. It is interesting to note that there are more Shibas in Japan than any other breed.

    The Shiba is the smallest of the six distinct breeds that were bred from the original dogs that were probably Chow Chow. It is interesting to note that some of the original six are now extinct.

    Our Shiba is the smallest of the Japanese native breeds, which include the Kai Inu, Hokkaido Inu, Kishu Inu, Shikoku Inu, Tosa Inu and the Akita Inu.

    Despite its smaller size it was bred to hunt small wild game, bear, boar and to flush birds. The name Shiba means, both "small" and "brushwood" in Japanese. It may have been named after the terrain the dogs hunted in or the color of the Shiba's coat, or perhaps the dog's size.

    The word "Inu" means "dog." As with many breeds, the second world war nearly did the breed in. After the war was over, several breeding programs worked to bring the breed back to safe numbers.

    Some of the Shiba's talents include: hunting, tracking, watchdog, guarding, agility and performing tricks.

    While they were first used for hunting, they are now primarily kept as pets, both in Japan and the United States. It is interesting to note that there are more Shibas in Japan than any other breed.

    In the 7th century AD, the Yamato Court established a dog keeper's office that was charged with maintaining the Japanese native breeds as an integral part of Japanese culture. This was a good idea that did not work. Even though the country was closed to foreigners from the 17th through 18th centuries, some European dogs were imported and bred with native dogs living in the more populated areas. Dogs in the countryside, however, remained relatively pure.

    There were originally three main varieties of Shiba and each was named for its region of origin. It is because of these regional differences that we have the various breeds known today.
  • • A natural hunter, so while good and other dogs & cats ~ should not be left alone with cats or other small animals.
    • Because of their hunting instincts, off leash they are prone to chase other animals.
    • OK in apartment lifestyle.
    • Moderate exercise is needed with this breed.
    • Alert, confident, courageous and bold.
    • Loving, kind and very trainable.
    • Low barker.
    • Bond closely with their owners.
    • Not much of a water lover.
    • Active, lively, agile and fast.
    • Can be reserved with strangers.
    • Can become stubborn if they feel they can get away with ignoring you.
    • A natural hunter.
    • Shiba's have a waterproof, all-weather coat ~ Clean, coarse stiff, shorthaired coat that is easy to groom.
    • I believe all dogs should live indoors with their owners, and they prefer this ~ as they are a 'pack' animal, not loners. However the Shiba can live outdoors better than most breeds.
    • A seasonal shedder.


    The Shiba are usually very alert and very intelligent dogs. They can be very independent when they wish to be and this may cause the owner some grief, especially during training periods.

    The Shiba can also be aloof with strangers and with other animals that may be a part of the family. One of the best ways to increase the socialization of this breed is to train early. But even with training, this breed can be a handful.

    It should be noted that this animal can be very spirited when it wants to be. Owners should know and understand that dog aggression is a part of this animal's personality. This fiery aspect of the Shiba nature should not be taken lightly.

    When treated properly the dog is independent but affectionate and loving. It is also brave and clean. The Shiba is agile, fast and playful.

    For the most part they bark very little and bond closely with their owner. They are often good with children in the home and make good companions for the whole family.

    When they are socialized early (as a puppy) they do well with other dogs and cats. However, owners should not trust this breed around other small pets such as rabbits and birds.


    The Shiba Inu has a clean, coarse, coat that is usually stiff and short. The coat is very easy to groom. It is a good idea to brush the coat with a firm bristle brush to remove any dead hair.

    This breed should only be bathed when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. Owners should know that this breed is a seasonally heavy shedder and be prepared for it.

    Owners should also tend to the other needs of the animal. Some of these include:

    The teeth need to be kept clean as well. If the owner is not able to perform this grooming task, a pet salon should be used. Proper dental care is extremely important as it helps your pet to keep its teeth for as long as possible.

    For general cleaning of the ears, you can use baby oil and a cotton ball. Take special care to not go too far into the ear as you could damage the ear drum. It is best to gently wipe around the outer ear and remove any debris that you may find.

    Should you notice your dog is scratching its ears more often than usual or shaking its head vigorously, you should take the dog to the vet as this may be an indication of ear infection.

    You should trim the nails once a week or so to prevent overgrowth. This is very easy to do. You will need a pair of animal nail clippers that can be found in most pet stores. Only trim the top portion of the nail and do not over cut into the nail.

    The hair between the pads of the feet should be trimmed when it becomes long.


    The Shiba Inu is a low to medium level breed for exercise. What this means is that it is very undemanding and will adapt to your circumstances. The animal is an active dog and will often find ways to exercise itself, which can be very beneficial to older owners who may not be able to walk the dog as often as they would like.

    When allowed to walk, it should be on a leash. This breed will take off on you at times. It should also be noted that this dog can walk for miles without complaining. The Shiba has a very high endurance level.


    The Shiba is a trainable breed but it should be kept in mind that they are also a very independent type of dog. They are best trained when the training begins early. This is important especially if the home has children or other animals in the house.

    One of the issues that owner's need to train the dog on concerns the Shiba's instinct to be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Neutering the dog will go a long way in taming this instinct but it will not completely remove it. For those Shiba's that are no neutered, owners must be on alert when the Shiba is in close proximity to other dogs.

    Because the breed is very alert and very intelligent they are easy to train and easy to learn new things. This does not mean that they will be eager to obey at all time, but many owners find that independence to one of the charms of the breed.

    This breed will do well in families with children if obedience training is conducted early on. Once they are trained, the Shiba can become very loyal and dedicated to the owner and the family.

    Most of the training can be performed by the owner if desired. Professionals are also available for training. Because these dogs are very clean by nature, housebreaking them is easy.

    Health Problems

    Like all breeds of this size, the Shiba can have Health issues. Most of these problems can be avoided with proper nutrition, hygiene, and regular visits to the vet.

    The Shibas can have some hereditary defects, for which all reputable breeders screen their Breeding stock. patellar luxation will sometimes appear in Shibas. This ailment causes loose kneecaps and is usually not severe enough to be detrimental to a pet. An experienced veterinarian can detect this condition early on.

    Moderate to severe patellar luxation can easily be corrected by surgery and the dog will lead a normal, healthy life.

    Another health issue is hip dysplasia. It is not as serious in the Shiba as it is in large breeds of dogs but it can occur.

    Something that many new owners do not know is that the Shiba can be prone to Allergies. If you suspect Allergies, you should take the animal to the vet as soon as possible as the symptoms can range from mild to very severe.

    The Shiba may also suffer from Glaucoma. This can be detected early on through regular visits to the vet. As with many dogs, eye problems can present problems and owners are encouraged to have their dogs eyes checked regularly. These eye test are now easy to conduct and are worth the small added costs.

    Another eye issue that all dog owners need to be aware of is PRA, Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is an genetic disorder which makes prevention of the disease something of an issue. Research is being done on this issue ever now.

    For those interested, much more information on the possible ailments that can be present in this size of animal can be found online or through your vet.

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