The Shiba Inu Breed

He looks just like a fox!

You have probably seen this foxy little dog, walking his little walk around your neighborhood. Or perhaps you saw him at the dog park, strutting his stuff,… or maybe it was at the dog show.

These little foxes are striking. They act like they are on show all of the time, and they stand out wherever they go.

What are they?

Sounds like Sheba Inu, Shibu Inu, Shiba Enu … the one and only Shiba Inu.

The Shiba Inu – What’s That?!

The Shiba Inu is a Japanese dog breed. There are six original distinct breeds of dog from Japan, and the Shiba Inu is the smallest one.

The largest in the group is the Akita. There aren’t many red and white Akitas in the United States, but the few that I have seen, look just like larger versions of the red Shiba Inu. And not in the Schwarzenegger-DeVito sort of way.

Between the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu, are the medium sized Japanese dog breeds, including the Shikoku, Kai, Ainu, and Kishu. These six Japanese dog breeds have very similar appearance and temperaments. They all belong to the Spitz dog family.

Shiba Inu – What Does It Mean?

The Kanji or Japanese character for ‘dog‘, can be pronounced as ‘Inu‘ or ‘Ken‘.  Therefore, Shiba Inu simply means Shiba dog. Sometimes, you will also hear the Shiba dog being referred to as Shiba Ken.

The exact interpretation of ‘Shiba‘, is less clear. It could mean ‘red shrub‘, for the red bushes that grow in the region, where Shibas come from. Alternatively, it could also mean ‘small‘.

The Shiba Inu is certainly a cheeky little red shrub, so both interpretations work out well.

Shiba Inu – What Does It Truly Mean?

I know that discussions of red shrubs are truly riveting, but you probably want to move on to what it truly means to be Shiba, am I right?

Well, you know what they say about red-heads and their fiery temper.

The same is also true of the red-headed Shiba Inu. You may think that you can get around this thorny issue, by getting a Shiba of another color, such as the red-sesame, black and tan, or cream colored versions. However, the Shiba God is indeed one step ahead of you.

Shiba Inus of all colors, have the same fiery red personality.

That is why they are also known as –

  • The ‘devil dog’,
  • The ‘not for everyone dog’, and
  • The ‘honey, why the hell did you get this thing?! dog’.

Indeed, the Shiba Inu is not recommended for first time dog owners.

However, figuring I was smarter than everyone else, or mainly because of lack of research, I decided to get a Shiba as my first dog anyway. It was not an easy first dog experience, but after over a year, Shiba Inu Sephy and I reached a somewhat peaceful state of cohabitation.

My little red shrub still has some thorns, but he is growing some beautiful flowers as well.

Mame Shiba

Standard sized male Shiba Inus tend to range between 20-25 pounds, for an average weight of around 23 pounds. Female Shiba Inus are slightly smaller, and have an average weight of 17 pounds. There are always outliers though.

My male Shiba is a big boy, and comes in at around 30 pounds. He is not an overweight dog, just big-boned.

Recently, some breeders in Japan and the United States have started breeding Mame Shibas, which are essentially smaller sized Shibas. ‘Mame‘ means ‘bean‘ in Japanese, so these are bean-sized Shibas.

Mame Shibas are not recognized by any of the kennel clubs in Japan, or in the United States. As a result, the breeding of Mame Shibas is not regulated, and many of the breeders who sell them, do not breed for health or temperament.

Since the Shiba Inu is already a difficult dog breed to begin with, we want to try and get one that has a balanced temperament. Therefore, it is best to get a Shiba from an accredited club breeder, who has to follow strict breeding guidelines.

Jomon Shiba

The Jomon period is the time in Japanese history from around 14,000 B.C. to 400 B.C. The Jomon inhabitants reared hunting dogs that were a big part of their culture.

Archaeological sites have uncovered well-preserved skeletons of the Jomon dogs, which show that they have prick ears and a sickle tail. Scientists believe these dogs to be the ancient ancestors of the Shiba Inu, and the other five original Japanese dog breeds.

Some breeders in Japan have founded the Shibaho association, to breed dogs with physical characteristics that conform to the Jomon dogs of old.

The Jomon Shiba is a more feral looking Shiba, with a narrower head, and larger teeth. True to their even more primitive roots, Jomon Shibas are more stubborn and less obedient, than their domesticated Shiba Inu brothers.

Given the already high level of stubbornness and willfulness in a regular Shiba, it may be best to stay away from these Jomon dogs.

Shiba Inu – Why Not?

Truthfully, there are many easier and friendlier dog breeds than the Shiba Inu.

The Shiba Inu is independent and aloof. If we want a lap dog who likes to cuddle with us, then the Shiba is not for us.

The Shiba Inu is feisty and active. If we want a calm dog that just lies at the end of our bed, and warms our feet, then the Shiba is not for us.

The Shiba Inu is a dog rebel. If we want an obedient dog that follows our every command, and only lives to please us, then the Shiba is not for us.

Why Do People Get Shiba Inus?

Yeah, they are a bit nuts. Maybe more than a bit nuts. However, once we get beneath that fiery red temper, we will find a rich and deep Shiba soul.

The Shiba Inu is a trickster. He likes to play tricks, and he likes breaking rules. We will never be bored if we live with a Shiba, because he will always be up to something. Sometimes, it is even something good.

The Shiba Inu is a clown. He likes being the center of attention, and he will do much to get to that coveted spot. What he does, will be original, funny, and very entertaining. In fact, Shibas remind me of stand-up comedians. They can easily make others laugh with their crazy hi-jinks, but they have a very sensitive and fragile soul.

The Shiba Inu is a charmer. He can charm birds from the trees, if he wants to. Most of the time, he may not want to, but when he does, look out! It is simply not possible to resist those deep dark eyes, his infectious grin, or roguish charm.

The Shiba Inu is one of a kind. He is not like a regular dog. In fact, many people describe the Shiba as a dog that is more like a cat.

If we want a dog that is a bit different, a dog that will challenge us and grow with us, a dog that will surprise us in both delightful and sometimes non-delightful ways, a trickster, a prankster, and a rogue, but sensitive, deep, and surprising – then the Shiba Inu is the dog for us.

He is like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, except with more fur and without the hat!

Getting a Shiba Inu

Should we get a Shiba Inu puppy?

That would depend on our temperament, lifestyle, and the amount of time we can devote to a new puppy. The Shiba Inu is a challenging dog breed, because he is extremely stubborn, dominant, and smart.

Shiba Inu training is a must, and it can be a very time consuming and frustrating process, especially in the beginning.

Patience and time are two key ingredients, that we will need in abundance.

Shibas are inside dogs, that need the company of their people. A Shiba puppy that is constantly left in his own company, will become stressed, unhappy, destructive, and aggressive.

If you still want a Shiba Inu after all this – then get a puppy from an accredited breeder, or from a Shiba Inu rescue.

Related Articles

If you enjoyed this article, please help support our site.


  1. Pamela says

    I have had my shiba since she was ten weeks old and shes 8 months now. Potty trained really easy and has been a great joy to me. I have an illness and on bad days she stays right with me and comforts me. She silly and very entertaining. Loves to cuddle and be where ever we are either inside or out. I can leave her out of her kennel when I go places for up to an hour and she has behaved the whole time. Yes, she does have her stubborn moments that only make me laugh because it is funny to me that these dogs which are not that big have these huge personalities!! She is also great with kids. I love my bailey girl.

    • shibashake says

      Always great to hear a happy dog story. Thanks for sharing it with us and and big hugs to Bailey!

  2. Anonymous says

    “Mame” means bean, right. But the Japanese put on everything smaller than regular size e.g. sleeve sized dictionaries, tankettles, midget subs etc. So in this case “mame” only means “small”.

  3. DogHappy says

    I have two dogs, one a Border Collie mix and the other my Shiba. Both are 4 years old, I’ve had the BC since he was a pup and the Shiba only for two years (her original owners could not handle her!) She is much calmer with my BC as a buddy than alone. She would be miserable as an only dog. These two are polar opposites when it comes to behavior and obedience. My BC lives to please me. :) He does not like being scolded and he responds very well to praise. Shiba doesn’t really notice much either way. Both are food-oriented and I’ve managed way more progress training my BC than Shiba. Shiba learns quickly and takes a lot of time to unlearn bad habits (like not going potty while on leash… that took us months to overcome.) I have to outsmart her in order to get what I want. She does take a lot more of my attention and I enjoy learning how to be a better dog trainer. That being said, I would not recommend a Shiba for anyone who doesn’t have a ton of patience — that and a very flexible, creative approach will be necessary to thrive with this dog. I can never let Shiba off leash. She is crafty and sneaky. Example — she will eat the cat’s food in a heartbeat whereas BC knows this is wrong and will sit with a worried look on his face as he watches Shiba sneak cat food behind my back, knowing I’m going to be upset as soon as I realize it. HAHA! The BC is a great companion and partner, he can read my mind almost, and I prefer that in a dog. Shiba is super cute, no doubt, but in my opinion, requires advanced level understanding of animals and endless patience. There are too many Shibas without homes and in danger of being euthanized in a shelter — because owners fall for their cuteness and then cannot handle them. Mine was dumped after her owners bought her as a puppy for almost $1,000!!! Can you imagine? Two years later they dump her because she’s the “worst dog” according to them. On the contrary, she is a wonderful creature but takes a lot of attention. If you want one, please get a rescued Shiba or an adoption rather than pay money to support any type of puppy breeder!

  4. dan says

    my shiba inu Yusha is an angle! i didn’t exprience any problems… you need to train her as soon as you can. they are very smart breed and she knows very well what not to do.

    she is my first dog (but i worked at a zoo for 2 years..)

    • shibashake says

      Are you considering buying or adopting a puppy? What age is the puppy? What kind of training has the puppy had? What is the puppy’s background? What will be the puppy’s daily routine?

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so the daily routine, temperament, past experiences, environment, and more of the dog will all play a role.

      Puppies cannot hold their pee for very long periods of time, so they will need a lot of supervision during the potty training period. A Shiba puppy is going to need extra training, rules, and structured activity. When my Shiba was young, I got him used to alone time slowly. I start with very short periods of alone time (seconds) and *slowly* build up from there. This ensures that he doesn’t develop separation anxiety.

  5. Magdalena says

    I apologize in advance for any mistakes I might make, since I’m not a native speaker 😉 I am thinking about getting a dog in two or three years, and since I am really looking forward to it, I have been searching the Internet for suiting races. My boyfriend wanted a husky at first, but since we won’t be able to take them to work with us (like a friend who has one, he is a forestkeeper), or go hiking for several hours a day, and I am more into agility and obedience than into sheer running with the dog, a huskey probably isn’t the right choice.
    Since we both like the naturally looking dogs and spitz types, I stumbled upon the japanese races. I first thought about getting a shikoku, but apparently they are bred nearly nowhere in Europe. The Shiba is.

    I have some experience with a dog, a mix of a spaniel and a kooiker. She loves agility and running, especially chasing gamessince she loves agility more than sheer speed. But she is not really the dominant type, rather the opposite! So I am worried about getting a shiba, I have not much experience with really dominant dogs. How hard is it? Do they become rebellious against the owner if dominated? Or do they respect commands when they have accepted you as a competent leader? And: can you keep them in an apartment, if you go outside with them sufficiently?

    Do you know about the other japanese races? Are others maybe better suited for our conditions?

    I really love your page btw, one can see how much you love your cuties :)

    • shibashake says

      Do they become rebellious against the owner if dominated?

      What do you mean by dominated?

      My Shiba is very stubborn and he knows his own mind. He does best with a fixed routine, structure, and a consistent set of rules. I also need to be very consistent with his training, and with not letting him get away with stuff.

      However, forceful physical techniques did not work well with Shiba Sephy. Instead, I observe him very closely, identify the things that matter to him most, and then use those things to motivate and redirect him. I don’t physically force him to do anything because that will only make things worse and make him be more stubborn. Rather, I structure things so that he decides to do what I want him to do. 😀

      More on training my Shiba.

      I had a very difficult time with Sephy in beginning. Most of that was my own fault. I did not have any experience with dogs, did very little research into the Shiba breed, and really had no clue what I was doing. As a result, I made many mistakes in the beginning, including using aversive and dominance techniques. Things would have gone a lot more smoothly if I had done my homework before getting Sephy, as you are doing yours now.

      I have a much better relationship with Sephy now, and he is quite a wonderful guy to have around. However, he is still *not* a Yes-Sir,No-Sir kind of dog. For example, he is loyal and will generally stay close to his people. However, his recall is pretty terrible, and he will only come when it suits him. He likes following other dogs though, so if I recall the other dog, he will come along too. With Sephy, I need to be flexible and think outside the box. 😀

      More on why Shiba’s are difficult to train.
      My early experiences with Shiba Sephy.

      In terms of apartment living, I think Shibas can do quite well with that. Here is a comment from C about her Shiba and living in an apartment.

      I have not lived with any of the other Japanese breeds so I don’t have much to say there.

      The Shiba Inu Forum is also a good place to visit to get thoughts on the breed and the Nihon Ken has discussion on all six of the Japanese breeds.

      Hope this helps. 😀

    • Magdalena says

      oh yes, it does help a lot! :-)

      by dominance, i didn’t mean leash jerking or something like that, I never could do that anyway! our dog hates things like that, too (my little sister sometimes does it, sadly), and though our dog reacts by shrinking away and submitting rather than defiance, it’s obvious it’s not the right way to get a happy and trusting dog. I rather meant: our dog, especially when she’s not sure what to do in a situation, looks to us for advice, and follows it gladly; she likes us being the ones in control, because she trusts us; her trust was very quickly earned, even after a week with us she already hid behind me in puppy class because she was afraid of one big pup 😀
      how about a shiba? does he accept you as more competent in some situations, or does he simply follow your orders because he was trained to do so, and would much rather like to have his own will? does he see you as a leader or a competent partner, or just someone who has more ressources (leash control, control of food and goodies) and therefore gets to decide (sometimes)?
      it’s not so much that i want an overly obedient dog, but the feeling that our dog trusts me and relies on me has always brought me the greatest joy. she is quite easily frightened when on her own, but when i do something with her she was initially frightened of, like going near big dogs, she immediately forgets her fear, and that is a beautiful bond between us :-)
      can you get something like that with a shiba, if you do it right? or is he too independent of humans to bond like that?

      the forums will be of great help,too, I bet :-) I read some books and thoroughly searched the internet in the meantime, and found a breeder I’d like to visit, so the wish of getting a shiba is getting more concrete!

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba knows his own mind and he will only do things that make sense to him. He follows commands when it makes sense to him, for example when the rewards are deemed worthy of the task. He is very stubborn, so forceful techniques and head-on challenges do not work well with him. When challenged, he will dig in more and hold his position. Sephy has a very strong will, he is bold, and he makes his own decisions. He is definitely *not* a follower.

      Sephy also does not trust easily. It took a good long while to earn his trust, and even now he only trusts to a certain level. He is a lot more aloof compared to my other dogs. He will sometimes ask for affection, but much less so than my Huskies.

      Shibas are often characterized as a dog that is more like a cat. They are independent, clean, and aloof like cats.

  6. J says

    Hi… My shiba Khloe passed in June at the age of 2 1/2. To say I / we are devasted is an understatement. She was diagnosed with idiopathic chyle thorax with no hope. We tried everything and somehow I still feel like we failed her. I miss her so very very much. I used to follow your site while she was with us. Shiba’s are truly amazing.
    I’m sorry to bum your page out… I feel so alone in this… While researching shiba’s, I never stumbled upon chyle thorax. I was wondering if anyone has suffered through this with their shiba.? It makes me afraid to get another. Did I do something wrong… Could I have prevented it… Is it really common … Will my family and I go through this again…

    My husband isn’t ready anyway… But my home and heart feels so empty without her presences. I’m not trying to replace her by no means… But more times than not, I feel like another friend would do so much good for us.

    Sorry again, just sharing. Enjoy your shibas! Once you go shiba… You no go back!

    • shibashake says

      I am so sorry for your loss. You will always have her with you though, in your heart. There is this quote from the movie Phenomenon, that I really love –

      George Malley: “Will you love me for the rest of my life?”
      Lace Pennamin: “No, I will love you for the rest of mine …”

      I feel that way with all of my dogs.

      While researching shiba’s, I never stumbled upon chyle thorax.

      Yeah, I haven’t heard of it either and had to look it up. You could try posting in the Shiba Inu Forum. There are many Shiba owners who visit there, and there may be some who know more about it. What did your vet say about it?

      Once you go shiba… You no go back!

      Haha, that is very true. They really do grow on us, and before we know it, we are hooked for life.

      One thing that helps me is to write about those that I have loved and lost. Sometimes I keep the writings private and sometimes I put them out there. I write poems, stories, memories, how I feel, etc. I also make art with photographs and such. It is a good outlet for when I am feeling sad, and helps me feel close to them.

      Big hugs to you.

    • Marilyn says

      If you fall in love with a Shiba, there is no other breed for you. My sympathy. My beautiful Shiba girl is 12+ years old and the sweetest dog in the world—none of the bad behaviors other than being a little stubborn and difficult to train. Other than that—an angel. I don’t know what I will do when her “time” comes.

    • Barbara Suyehiro says

      I am so sorry. I cannot imagine how sad you felt, and are still feeling. My Hana is 11 years old now, and despite her Shiba attitude, I still feel like adopting another when I see dogs waiting for a forever home. However, I know Hana will not accept another princess in her home.

      Yours came to you knowing you would fall in love with Shibas. She brought you that happiness.

  7. Taylor Wilson says

    First of all, this website is fantastic! Secondly, I just thought I’d leave a comment that may help some people interested in a Shiba.

    I got my male shiba (who I named Mirza) when he was 8 weeks old from a breeder in Ontario, Canada. He is amazing! He has never once went to the bathroom inside the house or in his crate – it’s as if he was potty trained since we got him (we were told he actually wasn’t yet). It’s true that Shibas are somewhat independent at times and like their own space, but 90% of the time Mirza is very affectionate and follows me and my girlfriend around everywhere.

    Being just over 3 months old now he began teething and we found he would bite on shoes and other non-ideal surfaces. To counter this, we provided many toys for Mirza and these chew sticks (the name escapes me but they are similar to rawhide – apparently healthier and safer too) and he absolutely loves them. We can give him one of these sticks and he’ll sit there for hours biting on it. They are very solid initially but become more squishy as he chews which we can tell feels good on his teeth. We often watch him chew on it with all of his teeth, from the front to the back – he really makes sure they’re all getting hit! Since we found these at a local pet store, Mirza VERY rarely chews on anything aside from the chew sticks. We give it to him every day for a few hours before bed, then take it away later on – and they need to be replaced about every week as they become stringy and worn.

    Mirza lives with two other older dogs and he is very good with them (he likes to play a bit more than they would like though, haha !). When in public, he is very friendly and timid with other dogs.

    We are now at the stage of making Mirza more comfortable with walking with a collar/harness. When he was between 8-12 weeks he would cry when we put the harness on him and walks were a chore as he would constantly stop every 2 seconds – or not walk at all.

    Recently he has become much better. He doesn’t cry when putting the harness on anymore and his stops are much less frequent.

    All in all, I’m more than happy with my choice of breed for a puppy. Mirza has been fantastic and turns heads wherever he goes – especially here in Canada where Shibas are very, very rare.

    Sorry for the life story, haha !

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for sharing Mirza’s wonderful story with us. Are the chew sticks called bully sticks?

      Mirza sounds like a fantastic boy. Big hugs to him. Feel free to share more of his adventures with us here. Also, I love Shiba puppy pictures, so please post us some links when you have the time. Thanks! 😀

  8. Lohi says

    thanks a lot!..this article been real useful!..and m serious of adopting a shiba inu.. i am frm india and i hav been looking out for some shiba inu pure breeders..but cud find none in india. Cud u please help me out to find a shiba inu breeder in india?..please!

  9. Nicole says

    Hi I have a 3 and a half month old shiba (male) named Rolo. My biggest problem is potty training. I take him out hourly, after naps, after meals, and last thing before bed/first thing in the morning. The problem is that he is so easily distracted when he is outside. Instead of going to the bathroom, he will obsess over anything and everything. Grass, leaves, rocks, etc. He doesn’t focus on going to the bathroom at all. He will even plop down and gnaw at bugs/the ground and just stay there. It’s not that he doesn’t have to go, because his bladder and bowels will be full. He will go without pooping for days. And he will pee on the carpet/in his crate. And soon as I see him trying to pee inside, I pick him up and rush him out the door. I treat him when he does go outside and praise him like crazy. I talked to the vet and she said that when he’s outside, I shouldn’t play with him, but I don’t. I stand back and watch. I give tugs on his collar when he’s gets caught up in wildlife, which will cause him to stop, but then he will just find the next thing to obsess over. How do I get him to focus on going to the bathroom? It’s to the point where he will poop twice during the night/pee multiple times during the night and then sleep in it. He has a space just big enough for him to turn around in, so his crate is the right size. And he has a bed and a blanket and I guess would still rather go on them than on the grass. I wash his bedding after each accident and when it comes to the carpet, I soak up as much as I can and then use Resolve. Can you suggest how to teach him to go to the bathroom outside and only outside? Another thing I should highlight is that when he goes go outside, it’s not right away. It’s after he’s mouthed every single little thing. I just think it’s odd that he holds it instead of going first thing when he’s outside when I know he has to go. And it can’t be healthy for him to hold everything in all the time. Also, can you tell me the best way to clean the carpet after accidents? I want to make sure I’m doing the best method possible.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH, I really hope to hear back from you. I am desperate!!

    • shibashake says

      What is his daily routine like? Do you take him outside to an enclosed backyard or to some more public area? Has he been fully vaccinated yet? Has he always peed and pooped in his crate? Did he come from a breeder, pet-store, rescue, or someplace else? What was his previous environment like? How long have you had him? What food is he on? What type of training is he used to? Does he make noise inside his crate when he needs to go? Is his crate in the bedroom or somewhere else? How much time does he spend inside his crate?

      When my Shiba was young, I take him outside on-leash, if I am under time constraints, e.g. at night. We go to a spot where he likes to potty and I wait for about 10 minutes. I do not let him wander off to do other things. I do not establish eye-contact either. Eye contact can be intimidating or it can be taken as an invitation to interact. I stay calm, and I just let him do his thing with no distractions (no eye-contact, no talking, no touching, no wandering around). If he doesn’t want to go, then after 10 minutes we come back inside.

      If he does go, then I make sure to reward him *very very* well with his favorite game, very high priority treats that he only gets for potty success, freedom to roam, and more. My Shiba is not very motivated by praise, but he really loves exploring and playing chase, so those are the things that I use to motivate him. I make it extremely rewarding, especially in the beginning, so that he quickly learns that going outside successfully is like winning the lottery. 😀

      Consistency is very important in potty training so I make sure to supervise closely, maximize successes and minimize mistakes.

      If a dog is consistently soiling his crate, and the crate is properly sized, then the crate is no longer an effective method for potty training. The key is to minimize mistakes. In such a situation, I would consider using a safe enclosure, when I am unable to supervise, with puppy pads and bedding. In this way, my dog would start learning not to sleep in his own stuff and not to pee anywhere else in the house.

      However, I would still try to supervise as much as possible and maximize outside potty success.

      More on how I potty trained my dog.

    • Anonymous says

      Just I want to say. I have two Shiba inus one is 5 the other is.1&5month. very fussy when they go to the bathroom. if the wind is not blowing the right way they won’t.
      but have patience will come around. sometimes one will go in the morning some one will go in the afternoon.
      I found one of my problems was the youngest of that night would drink water just before bed and then pee on the bed.
      so sometimes when we feed him is important. all I can say is that awesome dogs

  10. Maria says

    When we move to a house with a big yard, I’m getting a dog:D! I’m so happy but my dad wants a lab and I want a shiba inu. Which one should I get? Labs are very nice and easy to care for which would make things easier for us but I love shibas and I could read your super awesome website for info. Plus I like a challenge. Shiba inu or lab?

  11. Heather says

    I’ve heard that Shibas are supposed to be aloof. It’s more accurate to say that they are aloof when they want to be. Our 2 dogs sleep in the bed with us most of the time, sit in our laps, and almost always have to be in the room with us. They occasionally lay under the bed or couch, they seem to like the security.

    Yes, they can be devilish at certain times. They are most challenging as a puppy, when they are incredibly active and love to get into things and CHEW. Just like all pups. Mine are 2 and 3 years old now though, and they spend a lot of time laying on or near me. They are about as active as a house cat. And not nearly as aloof.

    I’ve never had a breed that is as amusing and full of personality. I wouldn’t recommend this breed to anyone who doesn’t have the time to spend with them. They are family dogs, and shouldn’t be left alone all day. That’s probably when the trouble comes in. Mine are with me all day, and they are fabulous companions.

    NOTE: You can never go on walks off leash with this breed. They will RUN and they are FAST. Make sure you have a secure fenced in yard, or are committed to going out at least twice a day for bathroom breaks.

  12. Katelyn O says

    We have a red shiba inu named Riley who is 1 year & 4 months old. I just want the record to show from the time she was a very small puppy to (especially now that I am expecting a baby) as I write this – she is an extremely affectionate lap dog. She follows my husband from room to room, sleeps at the foot of our bed, curls up with us any time we are on the couch & offers constant kisses. I think shibas get a rep for being aloof, but like any dog breed each animal is different. She is our first dog, and we have had a great experience with her. She is great at the vet (calm &accepting), great with other dogs at the dog park and with my friends kIds. As a small puppy she went through a chewing stage, but it is out grown now. She was extremely easy to house train, our only struggle is getting her to come when called off she is off leash at the dog park around the other dogs. Admittedly, we are a high energy couple who walks/runs her daily which may help curb destructive energy BUT I hope people aren’t afraid to give a shiba a forever home due to the shiba rep because we adore ours ♡

  13. Sue Norman says

    I believe my shiba Jasmine (Jazz or Jazzy for short) mayb the oldest in the UK. She is 18 yrs old and has the many lives they say cats have. She’s invincible, she’s always gettin in2 sum disaster. She’s been stomped by a horse, decides she’s had enough of the walk were on, so turns tail and runs completely ignoring my pleas to come back or stop. Then runs clear accross an extremely busy road and acts as if this is normal. There’s me an absolute quivering wreck about ready to have a nervous breakdown. Now though she’s always on an extendable lead, as she will now go to the toilet anywhere, she’s so fussy about things like were she’ll go wees an poss, but as she’s got older its a bit easier. She seems on the verge of giving up the ghost one day then the next is full of the joys of spring. So i take life with her a day at a time, i listen to her an her needs, how she feels etc. Anyway they are a truly wonderful breed. My Shiba was a rescue and has never really got over that so is very nervous an has very funny ways. This nervousness is not normal for the breed there bread for there courage. However she will out stare any cat in the neighborhood, so her courage comes in diffrent forms. She saved me from myself after my dear husband Gregg passed away 5yrs ago an Made me have to go out an face life. So i fear her passing away will bring up my grief for him also. But she will never b allowed to suffer as soon as her quality of life is no longer there i will do the right thing by her. I love my shiba inu an would say to anyone thinkin of getting one, “dont if uv no experience of dogs, or hav alot of commitment in other areas of urs life. As Shiba expect to b our lives, we are expected to dedicate our whole being to them. So think very long an hard before getting a Shiba Inu”

  14. maribeth says

    I just found Shiba Shake. My Shiba male ( Miku ) at 4 years looks just like Sephy and is large boned at 30# also. I purchased Miku from Jane Chapin who is considered an excellent breeder. Mik was a challenge! after many training sessions He decided He would live with me. I have to laugh at some of the comments because they are so true. We now have a great relationship. Several people have thought that Mik was to big for a Shiba but His lineage is Japanese.
    Thanks for posting the information.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I actually like it that Sephy is on the larger side. His play-style is much more suited to larger dogs, so being a bit larger makes it easier for him to play with the big boys. He also has longer legs which I like. 😀

  15. Nathan Adams says

    Hi guys, just got a 2 month old male shiba inu named Ichiro. I couldnt find a great place to write this so this will have to do. I just want to thank you for the time you spent putting together these articles because they have been very useful to me, first time raising a puppy. Thanks!

  16. Shiying says

    Hello! Chanced upon your website while researching about Shiba Inus and really thank you for sharing so much of your experience and knowledge that dog lovers need =) I just want to ask if Shiba Inus can be left alone in the house (as sometimes my family and I will go out for certain occasions e.g. weddings for the evening) and not be all barky & disturbing to neighbours? Or does this depend on the temperament of my dog? Or do I need to train my Shiba (as I’m planning to get one but still in midst of deciding)?

  17. says

    Our Shiba Inu x Staffie (a rescue dog so no real confirmation) fits so many of the Shiba characteristics! Sometimes she’s like a cat – climbs fences, loves affection, etc, and indoors she is so very obedient! She’ll sit, lie down (even if she’s standing up inside!), go to bed when I just point to the kitchen etc. But when she gets outside, she’s another story altogether. As recommended by many, many websites, we NEVER let her off the lead! Did that once and she was gone for hours! She’s admired by everybody because she’s a lovely looking dog. She doesn’t jump all over visitors, which we all appreciate, but once a visitor starts giving out treats, that characteristic aloofness dissipates very quickly!! She’s had a few adventures ( but i wouldn’t want any other dog! I’ve gleaned a lot of info from your posts which have helped us understand this beautiful creature. Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      I love the mix of Shiba and Staffie features in Bella! Great athletic build, curly tail, and awesome coat coloring.

      Thanks for the link to Bella’s blog. I am having a lot of fun reading about her latest exploits and adventures. They have a very familiar ring to them 😀

      Big hugs to Bella!

  18. kat says

    Hi Shibashake,
    We are excited parents-to-be of a Shiba to be born soon. But, I am starting to have jitters as i read certain things. I get conflicting reports about Shiba shedding. I have read they shed about 3 times/year and have a friend with a Shiba that has confirmed this. But then I just saw a youtube video that says they shed a ton. We were about to purchase a Samoyed when I decided the fur was just too much – so we went with the Shiba. As a Shiba owner, can you comment on “the truth about shiba fur”? I realize it’s a dog and there will be fur – I am just wondering: why all the conflicting reports? Is climate a factor? Food? Hormones? Thanks if you can remark!

  19. Heather says

    Hi Shiba Shake!
    I tried to find an email or some way of contacting you, but this seems to be the only way! I just stumbled across this breed while bored on Facebook and I have to say I have fallen in love! Unfortunately, I can’t get a dog for a couple of years because I travel 50-75% of the year for my job, but I am trying to figure out if this dog is right for me. I have only had one family dog growing up, but I have had many cats. I actually prefer cats because they are so independent, but lovable and cuddly (when they want to be) at the same time. I’ve always wanted a dog because you can do more with them, such as walk them, running, playing with them (without having to fear for your poor fingers). You have talked a lot about staying home and working so your Shiba Inu is fine. Have you heard of any dog owners who have to work an 8-5/9-6 hour day and their dog is fine?

  20. says

    Hi, Siva es a female shiba that came to Renzo’s place, because we want them to have little shibas, but Siva thinks she is the male, I mean she does strange movements with Renzo’s bed, do you know why she is acting like that? thanks

  21. Aikidoka Bob says

    Despite your (and others) fair warnings I have decided to pursuit raising a Shiba Inu as a first dog. I want to thank you for showing me that raising a Shiba isn’t particulairly difficult but mostly requires conviction and determination. One reason of Shiba being the perfect companion for me. I am gonna visit a good kennel soon to meet a couple of Shibas and test if we get along. If I find a puppy I can ‘relate’ too and bring it home I’l send a picture

  22. elizabeth says

    Hi Shiba Shake-
    I read your post on seperation anxiety. We can’t afford dog daycare or sitters which is what I think she needs most. Also, I work from home so she is happiest when someone is home with her but I sometimes need to go out and those times are not scheduled. They can’t be, they depend largely on when work happens. I don’t trust her left out of it in our absence. If she destroyed her toys & tray (in kennel) I believe she will destroy my furniture. Could a larger kennel with more interesting puzzle toys work? She used to love the antlers we got her but I think her anxiety level has increased since she doesn’t care one bit about the fact that she now has a new one to work on when we have to step out.

    • elizabeth says

      Also…how large in general should the kennel be. Ours is large enough for her to walk into, turn around and laydown or sit but not much else. A dog trainer recommended against a larger one. He said anything larger would allow the dog to choose a side to defecate/urinate while ‘living’ in the other side. When left out of her kennel she lets us know when she needs or wants to go out but now since the anxiety started she always excessively drools and pees in the kennel. She even licks up the pee! I taped her for an hour during recently when we stepped out. Out of the hour she rested for only 15 minutes and spent the rest of the time struggling to get out and shiba crying the rest. Tongue hanging out and peeing 2x.

    • shibashake says

      With Sephy, what worked best is to do desensitization exercises to slowly raise his tolerance for alone time. I do the exercises many many times during the day. I talk more about this in the separation anxiety article.

      The ASPCA article also talks more about this in the section titled “Treatment for Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety”.

      Now, Sephy is fine with being alone for several hours at a time during the day. However, I made *very sure* during retraining that he did not have any anxiety attacks. If that happened, it would undo much of the retraining.

      If it is separation anxiety, changing the size of the crate will not help much. Changing to a different containment area *may* help slightly, since she has already developed such a negative association with the crate. However, it *will not* solve the problem because separation anxiety comes from being separated from their people.

      The best way I know of to help a dog with separation anxiety is through desensitization and counter conditioning exercises.

  23. elizabeth says

    We have a 7 month old Shiba. When we first got her from the breeder she used to go in to the kennel voluntarily when ever she felt like it. Nowadays she hates it. I came home the other day and she had destroyed the tray that is the floor of the crate and she often urinates in it too. She is not kept in it long. We put her in at night with no issues but if we have to step out in the middle of the day for a few hours and put her in it we usually come home to a wet kennel even if we walk her and make sure she does her business before we put her in it. We also put her in with a few toys but its no good. How can we get her to love her kennel again?

    • shibashake says

      It sounds like it could be separation anxiety. When dogs are left alone unexpectedly, they may become stressed and anxious. This often causes them to chew, pee, etc. These behaviors are caused by the stress, and some of them are done to help relieve their anxiety, similar to how people pace or bite their nails.

      With my dogs, I set a very fixed routine so that they know what to expect. This helps to reduce uncertainty and stress. I also *very slowly* build up alone time.

      More on separation anxiety-

    • Ann says

      Seems like everyone is making this all a bigger deal than it really is. missy sheba just hangs out with me like a dog does. sits on my lap like a nice lap dog. hangs out @ home while I work. goes for walks. protects her food the same way any dog does. sleeps with my cat and grooms him same way my mixed breed dog does. etc etc Sibas are dogs. and act like dogs. Eat, sleep. play like dogs. All have different personalities from other Shebas or different breeds. Just treat em well.

  24. Vicki says

    My roommate has a Shiba Inu and he is the devil in disguise. He is territorrial and has urinated in various spots in my part of the house, including my bed. He paces in the backyard to the point he has worn a path in the the backyard, killing the grass. We have built indoor barricades or fences and piled them hi with pillows and such to keep him barracaded in his space. He manages to escape. He’s not a loving, cuddly dog. This dog may ruin an otherwise good roommate relationship because the dog is unfriendly and neurotic. I normally love dogs … but not this one. When they first moved in about 4 months ago, I thought the dog was beautiful … but now I can’t stand him.

    • Kristen says

      Hi Vicki,
      I’m sorry your doggy roommate is causing you distress. Does your human roommate excercise the dog, not just let him out in the backyard? If it is nasty outside and Raiden doesn’t get his walks, he can be a handful/ little terror. On the flip side, when he gets his four long walks a day, when we get home, he sleeps for hours. Shibas get bored very easily and he could simply need a change of scenery. Unfortunately, barricading these beautiful beasts is next to impossible. I hope the three of you can get through this!

    • Sean says

      It’s not the breed, it’s the dog (or the owner). I have a Shiba and know 5 others. Mine is as sweet as you can get and hasn’t peed inside since he was 10 weeks old (almost 4 years ago). One of the others (his grandpa) is a bit moody but all the others are like my Moshi – overgrown puppies…

  25. linda says

    i have a shiba and love him to death….hes so smart listes like no other dog ever did…not crazy over other dogs but does have his friends….sleeps in my bed with me he has to touch me with his paw all nite…never barks or bites…at any thing just if some dog gets to close to us then he gives the growel with the toothy look hahahah…he does what ever i ask him to do except play ball…..he is very clean always cleaning his self….his best friend is a pug and a very large cat….he is not aguard dog he is a watch dog never misses a thing………

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.