Shiba Inu Puppies
History, Characteristics, Personality and More

Many dog owners are drawn to Shiba Inu puppies because of their convenient size, handsome looks and cleanliness.

However, this is a breed that can be a bit challenging to raise and does best with an experienced owner.

So, as with many other breeds, it is important to research this breed in depth before you decide if it's right for you and your family.

Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy or adopting an adult dog and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, I hope this article will help you find the answers to your questions.

History of Shiba Inu Dog Breed

Also known as the Japanese Shiba Inu, Japanese Small Size Dog and Shiba Ken, this is the smallest of the six original Japanese breeds. It's also one of the oldest -- it dates back to the 3rd century B.C.

There are several theories about how it got its name, and they are all tied to how the word "Shiba" is interpreted. One of the meanings of that word is "brushwood". According to one theory, the breed got its name after having been observed going freely through brushwood bushes when hunting. Another meaning of that word is "small". According to another theory, the breed got its name because of its small size. Oh, and the word "Inu" means "dog" in Japanese.

Similar to other breeds, the Shiba Inu was on the brink of extinction during World War II. Thankfully, it survived and was resurrected from the 3 remaining bloodlines -- the "San In Shiba", the "Mino Shiba" and the "Shin Shu Shiba".

The Shiba Inu breed was designated as a national monument and today is one of the most popular dog breeds in its native Japan.

The breed was introduced to the United States in 1954 and gained the American Kennel Club recognition in 1992, first in the Miscellaneous class and later, in 1993, in the non-Sporting Group.

In the past, the breed had been used primarily for hunting, tracking and flushing birds and rabbits but today it's used mainly for companionship.

Shiba Inu on Snow

Shiba Inu Characteristics

Although smaller in size, the Shiba Inu somewhat resembles the Akita. Its main characteristics include the wolf-like appearance, prick ears, curled tail and foxy face.

The Shiba Inu body is compact and muscular. The neck is moderately long and thick. The topline is level. The chest is deep, with moderately sprung ribs. The thick tail is kept over the back and carried in a curled or sickle position.

The shoulders are slightly angulated, with elbows kept close to the body. The forelegs are straight and the hind legs are powerful. The cat-like feet have thick pads.

The Shiba Inu's head boasts a broad and flat forehead. The slightly triangular eyes are set deep and are dark brown in color. The ears are triangular and the nose is black. The teeth must meet in a scissor bite.

The coat is double, with a stiff, straight outer coat and a soft undercoat. No trimming of the coat is allowed in the show ring. The undercoat is usually cream, buff or grey. While the red Shiba Inu coat color is the most popular, other accepted colors are black and tan and red sesame. The white Shiba Inu is not recognized, and the cream, white pinto or any other color is considered a serious fault. 

    Height Weight
  Male 13.5 to 16.5 inches 17 to 23 pounds
  Female 13.5 to 16.5 inches 17 to 23 pounds

Temperament and Behavior

When it comes to temperament, the Shiba Inu is a big dog trapped in a small body. Bold, independent and high-spirited, these dogs can pose several challenges.

Shiba Inu Dog

For a start, they are blessed with a strong prey drive and quick reflexes. They may go from 0 to 100 within a blink of an eye when they see something that catches their attention. These agile dogs are born to run and can easily jump over, climb or dig under a fence with little or no problems.

A hunter at heart, Shiba Inus should not be left with small animals unless you need some help in keeping the rodent population under control.

These dogs may also enjoy chasing the occasional cat, and if they do catch up, the encounter may not be too pretty. Yet, those who have raised and socialized Shiba Inu puppies with cats may succeed in raising them together.

The Shiba Inu may not do too well with dogs too, especially those of the same sex.

Because of this breed's tendency to be possessive over toys and food, and reluctance to be hugged or held tightly, this breed does best with older children who have learned how to approach dogs in a respectful manner and at the right times.

Characterized by an independent, confident and aloof personality, you really need to invest loads of time on socializing Shiba Inu puppies from an early age so to prevent suspicious behavior around strangers.

Successful Shiba Inu training requires a patient, consistent owner who knows how to keep this breed focused. The recall command may need to be polished over and over with this breed. As with other spitz-type dogs, house training Shiba Inu puppies may be quite a breeze due to their natural tendency for being clean.

When unhappy or excited, the Shiba Inu may produce a loud and high-pitched sound known as the "Shiba scream".

Best Owner and Living Conditions

Shiba Inu puppies and dogs do best with an owner that has the time to help this dog release pent-up energy while keeping its mind stimulated. Leaving this breed alone for prolonged periods of time and with nothing to do can be a recipe for disaster. If you do that, expect massive destructiveness.

A home with a strong and sturdy fence is a must with this breed. Skip the chain link fence, which can be effortlessly climbed, and anything under 6 to 8 feet tall. And consider installing an electronic fence or your dog may dig his way to China!

Alternatively, a covered run may be your next option. Keep in mind that should your Shiba Inu escape, he may be completely oblivious to your recall, especially if he spots an interesting sight or tracks an enticing smell.

Activity and Exercise

Get your running shoes ready: Shiba Inu dogs are an energetic breed that are far from being lap dogs. If you love the great outdoors, you will love to watch this breed move swiftly with its light-footed grace.

Make sure you have loads of interactive toys and plenty of time for romps in the park; the saying "an idle mind is a devil's workshop" certainly applies to Shiba Inu puppies! If you enjoy canine sports, consider that this breed's athleticism and nimble movements makes it a natural for the sport of dog agility.

Shiba Inu Dog


Be prepared: this breed is known for blowing its coat and shedding heavily for about 3 weeks during the spring and fall. Hair will be just about everywhere: clothes, carpet, and upholstery.

On a plus side, grooming Shiba Inu puppies and dogs requires minimal effort. Frequent brushing when this breed blows its coats will help collect stray hairs, which means fewer chances for finding them everywhere imaginable.

Because this is a very clean breed and because heavy shedding also removes most of the dirt, frequent bathing is not required.

Health Concerns

Though the Shiba is a healthy breed, some of the conditions it may be prone to are hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, entropion and luxated patellas.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

If Shiba Inu puppies sound like a good match for you, your next step is to start searching for a reputable breeder. Why? Because buying from a reputable breeder will reduce the chances for expensive vet bills and major behavioral problems. Look for Shiba Inu breeders who perform health tests on their breeding stock.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Shiba Inu puppies is between 12 and 15 years.

Three Shiba Inu Puppies

Final Thoughts...

So why do many dog owners choose Shiba Inu puppies? Because they are cute and cuddly, and once adult, they make loyal and devoted companions. If you feel you have what it takes to be a good Shiba Inu owner, then this breed may be the right match for you.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Shiba Inu rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this Shiba Inu Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.


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