An Answer To The Much Asked Question: “What The Heck Is A Shiba Inu?”

The Shiba Inu remains relatively uncommon here in the US. A bit of a mystery, if you will. So what are they like? Are they good with kids? Do they shed? If so, how much? How big will they get? Are they easy to train?

Owning a dog is a responsibility not to be taken lightly as well as a long term commitment. If you are researching the possibility of adopting a Shiba Inu or are just curious, here is the information you have been looking for. Read on to find out all about this complex and charismatic canine.

Contents at a Glance:

How About Some Shiba History?

Where Do Shiba Inus Come From?

Shiba Inu’s come to us from Japan. They are the oldest known dog breed in Japan and are kissing cousins to the larger Akita, another favorite Japanese dog breed. Shiba’s are wildly popular in Japan, the most widely owned dog breed there.

They were originally bred to hunt, specifically to flush wild game out of the brush. Their name actually translates to Shiba: brush colored, and Inu: dog. Their breeding leads to some of their characteristics of being very agile, independent and their small compact build.

At the close of WWII, mostly due to disease, the breed was actually close to becoming extinct. Joining the three primary blood lines successfully preserved the breed.

The first Shiba to be documented in the United States was in 1954 and the first official Shiba litter born here was in 1973. It wasn’t until 1993 that the American Kennel Club recognized the Shiba Inu.

Is That A Fox?

A Shiba Inu Is Sly Like A Fox But Still A Dog

As a Shiba Inu owner I can say I hear this question quite often:

“Is that a fox?

No! She is NOT a fox!

However, the Shiba Inu with it’s pointy snout, upright pointy ears and bushy tail, combined with the most common color of red, resembles a fox to many people. Many Shiba owners will jokingly complain that they get tired of constantly hearing the fox comparison. Ironically, the Shiba Inu breed has many fox-like qualities since they can be very cunning and sly.

Looks Like A Fox, But Acts Like A Cat

The Head Scratching Complexity Of A Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu Personality

Shiba Inu Personality

The Shiba Inu is often referred to as the cat-like dog. Being very agile as well as graceful, they walk with a cat-like stance. Many Shiba’s seem aloof, stand offish and often arrogant, another common cat-like characteristic.

When relaxed and content, a Shiba Inu might seem to be squinting at you, so you might wonder if you are looking at a cat!

Another cat like quality, instead of wagging their tails, dog like, the Shiba usually has more of a cat like twitch or swish of the tail.

Don’t let these cat characteristics fool you though, the Shiba Inu is a very affectionate, loving and loyal pooch!

Here Are Some Shiba Stats

A female Shiba will typically range between 15 to 25 pounds when fully grown and the male Shiba weighs in a little heavier, ranging from 20 to 30 pounds.

The typical height of a Shiba Inu ranges between 13 – 19 inches.

Shiba Inu’s come to us in three yummy flavors, I mean colors. Red, the most common and the color that gets mistaken for a fox. The two other colors are solid white and a combination brown and black.

Is A Shiba Inu For Me?

Research and Choose Carefully Before Adopting a Dog

Before purchasing or adopting any breed of dog there are three things you must be sure to do: Research, research and then do some more research.

You will be in a relationship with your new canine companion for a good many years, it’s important to know going into this relationship if you are compatible with each other. There are far too many dogs turned into shelters year in and year out due to irresponsible dog owners not doing the research, acting on impulse and finding out they made the wrong choice of dog breed.

A Shiba Inu is typically not a dog for the first time or inexperienced dog owner, due to their independent nature and need to have things go their way. If they are allowed to “be in charge” they indeed will take over and you will soon feel that your Shiba owns you. I know this first had, because I have a Shiba Inu who once owned me. Sometimes I think she still does a little, but those first years were something, that’s for sure. It wasn’t until I got some help and really understood the complex Shiba Inu temperament that life settled down for us.

Whether you are considering a Shiba Inu and are in the research phase of pet ownership or, like me a few years ago, are struggling with your Shiba dog, you might want to take a peek at my favorite link below and learn all you can about Shiba Inu ownership.

All The Good Stuff About A Shiba Inu

The Positive Shiba Qualities

Shibas are so intelligent; combined with all their quirky habits, they are quite the character to add to your family.

The Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu

They are extremely affectionate and eager to be a member of the family. They are agile, active and love to go for long walks. Hiking is a huge love of the adventurous Shiba. Their small compact body makes them an easy dog to fit into even the smallest environment.

The Shiba makes a great watch dog, but at the same time are not chronic barkers like some other breeds. Due to their high intelligence, commands and routines are learned quickly (as long as it’s clear as to who is in charge)!

The Shiba Inu breed is very clean and other than brushing, do not require a high level of maintenance.

Like some other breeds, with proper care, there are little to no health risks with this sturdy breed. My Shiba is approaching sixteen years young, still runs the Shiba 500 like a two year old and shows no signs of slowing down. Sure, she has some senior moments, but so do I and I don’t consider myself old!

The Shiba Breed Is One Of A Kind

The Shiba 500? The Shiba Scream?

A Shiba Inu is so complex and so unique, some of their quirky habits have actually been named and are popular in the Shiba world.

The Shiba 500 is well known among Shiba owners and is quite a sight to behold. It is basically a pattern that a Shiba will repeatedly run either inside or outside. Your Shiba is intent on completing the 500 it his own time frame and at a pace he alone determines.

The Shiba Scream varies both in sound as well as what prompts it between Shiba’s. They are not big on barking anyway as they actually have more of a yodel. But when the temperamental Shiba doesn’t see things going their way, watch out. Some times it’s blood curdling and with others it’s more of a high pitched whine, either way it’s definitely a scream!

Then there is the Shiba Zone, the scenarios vary but when you enter the Shiba Zone you know it. Want to read more about it? Visit The Shiba Inu Temperament. You’ll see what I mean!

The Shiba 500

The Race Is On!

Links Of The Utmost Importance!

Help Out A Shiba Inu!

Before making the oh so important decision of adopting a dog, whether it’s a Shiba Inu or any other breed, please do your research. Here are some links that may help you on your way!

Important! Research Before Adopting!

Whether adopting a Shiba Inu or any dog breed, please, please, please do your research before bringing the wrong dog home. There are literally lives at stake here. There are far too many dogs in shelters euthanized or abandoned by those who didn’t research properly before adopting.

By researching before adopting the right dog for you, you become part of the solution instead of part of the problem with overpopulation of unwanted pets.

What About All That Hair?

Plan on Investing in A Brush for your Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu does require a fair amount of brushing, depending on the climate of where you live. They completely lose their coat twice per year and during these times will shed quite a bit. Even though they require brushing, their hair does not mat up like some other breeds.

Take a Look at these Shiba Inu Videos