Shiba Inu Personality -
Good, Bad, & Quirky

The Shiba Inu is a beautiful Spitz dog. You will get many compliments and turn many heads, while walking next to a Shiba.

A Shiba can get you a lot of attention, and open doors to many social encounters. Get used to hearing, “He looks just like a fox!”.

In fact, it is this foxy look that often gets Shibas into trouble.

Many people fall in love with the ‘Shiba look’, but are not equipped to handle his larger than life personality.

If you like the Spitz look, there are many other breeds that fall into this group, that may better suit your lifestyle.

The Good

1. A dog that is more like a cat

A Shiba Inu is independent and very clean.

My Shiba Sephy, spends a fair amount of time not just grooming himself, but also helping to groom my Siberian Husky.

Their inborn cleanliness make them generally easy to potty train.

Sephy only had potty mistakes on the first day that we brought him home (10 weeks old). After that, he has always let me know when he needs to go outside. In fact, he naturally dislikes soiling his living space, and even prefers not to go in our backyard.

Shiba Inus like having their humans around, in the general vicinity. However, they are aloof like cats, and do not need or want human affection, much of the time.

2. A good watch dog

A Shiba Inu is not a noisy dog. However, when there are strange people or strange noises around the house, Sephy will bark to alert me. Once I go and check things out, he stops barking.

Sephy also has a great memory, and will alert me if anything is out of place around the house, or in a familiar neighborhood. One day, he started barking at the fence, because somebody had put a piece of wood on top of it – amazing!

3. Graceful, agile, and high energy

A Shiba Inu is graceful and agile.

He can leap tall fences in a single bound, and can scale walls like Spiderman. If properly directed, his super powers can be used for good. However, when left on his own, the Shiba will likely turn towards the Dark Side.

Sephy is a great hiking buddy, and is always up for a new challenge. He can easily learn and conquer an agility course, but he will only do it, if I make it worth his while.

A Shiba running is a sight to behold, and a Shiba at play is poetry in motion.

4. A doggy Einstein

A Shiba Inu can learn many dog obedience commands, and he can learn them very quickly. He also thinks that he is much smarter than you, and will only obey you when it suits him.

Sephy can quickly solve complex interactive dog toys and puzzles. I am always trying out new ways to deploy his food in toys, because he figures things out so quickly.

A Shiba will challenge us and keep us sharp and on our toes!

5. A larger than life personality

No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.
~~[ Aristotle ]

A Shiba Inu may be small in body, but he has a ginormous personality. If a Shiba were a person, he would either be an extremely successful egomaniac or in prison!

Sephy always surprises me and makes me laugh; at least when he is not making me cry.

He has this one move, where he puts his head down on the ground, with his butt sticking up in the air – it is just too precious.

The Bad

1. Bold, strong willed, and stubborn

A Shiba Inu has a “Never give up, Never surrender” attitude.

He will not back down from a challenge, and will often fight back when he perceives a threat. Because of this, many Shiba owners face aggression issues with their dog, including food aggression, dog to dog aggression, and people aggression.

To successfully live with a Shiba, we must be extremely patient, and have a good sense of humor.


Turn a Shiba’s annoying habits against him.

For example, a Shiba gets bored easily. If we ignore him and give him nothing to react to, he will quickly lose interest, and move on to something else.

Sephy can also be very competitive. If he sees another dog getting praise and rewards, he will want to strut his stuff and show that he is better.

Work with a Shiba’s innate personality, and use it motivate him in the right direction. Passive resistance and reward obedience training, work best with my Shiba.

A Shiba will hand you many lemons, which is good if you like lemonade. Otherwise, just cut one up and squirt it on his muzzle.
~~[ just kidding! ShibaShake ]

2. A sly, rougish intelligence



A Shiba Inu is super intelligent. He will most often use his brain power to “push your buttons“, and get what he wants.

Sephy is always trying to figure out how he can outsmart me, and all the humans around him. A trainer once told me that Sephy was spending the weekends, “Devising new strategies to defeat her”.

In another life, my Shiba was probably a Catholic priest. He can guilt me into doing almost anything for him.

Beware the Shiba look – it is one of his most powerful weapons, and he will use it to great effect, if he senses any weakness in you. Before you know it, your Shiba will have gotten you trained to fetch, stay, and rub tummy.

  • Remember that a Shiba will do whatever he wants, if he can get away with it.
  • If he cannot get away with it, he will figure out another way to get what he wants.
  • When he gets caught with his nose in the cookie jar, he will give you the innocent, “What did I do?” look, and then come over to lick your hand.

As soon as you turn away, he is back in the cookie jar!

3. Like the evil, black Spiderman

A Shiba Inu is capable of great feats of agility. However, if left untrained, he will use his powers to destroy and cause great havoc in the household.

If bored and lonely, he will escape by jumping over or burrowing under your fence. He can squeeze through small holes, bite through leashes, and achieve amazing great escapes, that will make Houdini proud.

If not properly supervised, Sephy will pull down items from counters, and shred them to pieces. He may even eat some of those pieces. Once, I left him unsupervised for about 10 minutes. In that time, he pulled down a phone headset, dismantled it into little pieces, and arranged them in a strategic pattern all over the floor. Luckily, he did not swallow anything.

A young Shiba Inu has a lot of energy.

It takes a lot to keep him occupied, and away from trouble. Supervised play sessions with friendly dogs can help. Another alternative is to put him in dog daycare, or to employ the services of a dog walker.

4. A Drama Queen


My Shiba will whine, mope, and act like it is the end of the world, when he is unhappy about something (e.g. wearing a harness).

Woe be to you if your Shiba gets hurt, or even just thinks that he is hurt.

Sephy acts like he is close to death’s door, even for small things like getting grass stuck between his teeth.

Woe be to you, woe be to your vet, and woe be to anyone who tries to help.

Shibas are extremely touchy when in this state, and may snap or bite at anyone who comes near them.

In addition, Sephy is extremely sensitive to the energy of the people and dogs around him. If I am scared or stressed-out, he picks up on that immediately, and gets that way too – except with a thousand times more gusto!

5. An accomplished singer

A Shiba Inu does not bark much, but he has a wide range of vocal stylings.

The most well known is the Shiba-scream, which is a high pitched, loud scream, that will make your blood curdle. Your neighbors will think you are torturing your poor little ball of fur.

A Shiba will quickly learn to use his Shiba-scream against you, if you let him.

Do not get embarrassed, and do not give him a reaction during a Shiba-scream. I just ignore Sephy and go about my business. He quickly learned that screaming is not very effective at getting him what he wants, and he stopped doing it. Remember that a Shiba can see your outward appearance, as well as sense your inner energy.

6. Dog royalty

A Shiba Inu does not like being touched or handled.

Cutting nails, bathing, or a vet examination, is never fun for any breed of dog. However, with a Shiba, it can be total hell.

After a lot of desensitization work and management, Sephy still protests to some of these activities. He sometimes throws a fit when I pick him up, and he only likes human contact when the mood suits him.

A Shiba is like dog royalty. He wants his subjects close enough to serve him, but not too close as to sully his royal person.

7. Pretends not to understand ‘Obedience’

Obedience? What’s that?

Shibas Inus think that you should be obedient to them and not the other way around. If you want a Shiba to do something for you, you had better make him a good offer. Sometimes, Sephy bargains with me. He will sit there and wait until I have the acceptable number of dog treats in my hand, before going into his crate.

A Shiba can be a good citizen at home, but he must be properly managed.

Shibas are strong willed, independent, and bred to hunt. Aversive training does not work well on them. Shiba owners need to be creative and flexible when interacting with their dog.

A Shiba is not to be trusted off-leash, unless in a fully enclosed area.

8. Nasty, wicked teeth

For a small dog, a Shiba Inu has very large teeth, and he is not afraid to use them.

Shibas can be very mouthy; more so than many other dog breeds. When I first got Sephy at 10 weeks old, his mouth was all over me. Now, it is in control, but his instinct is still to bite.

Shibas are a primitive breed, and they lose control more easily than other more domesticated dog breeds.

The Quirky

A grass connoisseur

Sephy likes grazing, but he is picky about what grass he will eat. Dogs may sometimes graze when their stomachs are upset, to clear their digestive systems. However, my Shiba just enjoys eating grass, provided it is the right kind of grass.

I recently found an article suggesting that there might be something to this grass connoisseur business after all.

“We at Green Foods believe that dogs and many other carnivores, including cats and bears, eat cereal grasses because cereal grasses contain nutrients not found in meat that are essential for the animals’ good health.”
~~[ Green Foods web site ]

Thanks to all the posters at Shibatalk and ShibaInuInfo for their many humorous Shiba stories that inspired this article.

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Comments

  1. Robert says

    Definitely enjoyed the website we have a shiba that just turned a year old. He has many traits you mentioned one thing he does that was not expected but is appreciated is the fact he loves sitting on our laps.

    It is a very smart breed and he is learning things all the time and he gets along really well with our other two dogs we have.

    We are having a baby in March any suggestions when bringing the little one home?

  2. Whitney says

    I have a 3 year old Shiba (Colby Jack) that we got as a puppy. He’s such a great dog! I see so many similarities here, but differences as well. He’s really smart and remembers his surroundings quickly. I found that he was really easy to potty train and teach tricks (sit, down, shake, spin, roll over, still trying to teach him to balance on his tail for beg). He’s very much treat motivated. This dog has a full range of vocal stylings from a throaty “intruder” bark RUFF, a yap, yodels, rar-rar-rar, woo woo woo. Haha. You know I’ve found that he’s not super reactive to stuff that goes on outside since we’ve been living in apartments. Although, there was one funny time he started barking at and trying to get a fly that landed on the outside of the window. Cracks me up. We’ve found that Colby is very affectionate with us. This wasn’t so much as a puppy he was aloof! In the later years though he loves belly and neck massages.
    Now for some of the challenges… He is super difficult to put any drops in his ears or bathe. Bathing him is a two person job but it’s gotten better. Worse though is that we are starting to see his dog anxiety and territorial behavior. Since we had him as a puppy we did a good job socializing him outside the house so he’s great with meeting other dogs on the street. HOWEVER, bring that dog in the home and he barks at the other dog and lunges at him. Last week we hired a dog sitter to take him. He came in and met the first dog no problem but when the second dog came it went very much downhill. We don’t have another dog in the house and all this bad behavior seems to materialize when we are not around (with a sitter). This makes it really difficult to work with him to change his behavior. When we put him in day play care with groups of other dogs he does the opposite. Gets really nervous and bares teeth at the other dogs when they come to greet him. I’m getting to the point where I don’t know how to board him apparently he’s really high strung at the kennel. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • shibashake says

      Does Colby become reactive with another dog in the house when you are around? How familiar is he with the sitter? Was the plan to board him at the sitter’s house? How many dogs did the sitter have? Are these dogs that Colby has met before?

      Sephy does not do well in daycare either. There are several reasons for this, the most important one being that he likes having a fixed routine and consistency. At the daycare, it is all new people, new dogs, new environment, and his trusted people are not around, so it is too stressful and too high stimulus for him. We have tried boarding him with one of our Huskies who does well at daycare, but Sephy still didn’t like it. He prefers to stay at home, with the familiar.

      With Sephy, it takes a while to earn his trust and it also takes a special kind of temperament. He does best with calm and positive people, who take the time to get to know him. For example, he generally does not allow people to handle him at the vet, but there were two doctors who did well with him. They were both very calm, confident, patient, and positive.

      With a sitter there is greater flexibility, so I would have a sitter visit a few times at the house to get to know Sephy, with me around. Then I would go on some walks with the sitter and Sephy, and slowly foster trust. Then, I would keep up with occasional visits by the sitter, to maintain the relationship.

      I try to set Sephy up for success, so I introduce new things slowly and one at a time. If there is going to be an introduction of a new sitter, I try to keep everything else constant, e.g. same environment, routine, rules, and no new dogs.

  3. Elina says

    Hey Shiba Shake!
    I’m so glad I found this blog, it’s full of very helpful and insightful information.

    My family just got our very first Shiba puppy, two days ago. His name is Kuro, and he’s 8 weeks old.
    I have to mention that I am very much in love with the race, and wanted a Shiba for quite a few years. But, we live in Israel, and there are very few Shibas here. Can’t point my finger on how much, but I’d assume less than 20.

    So we finally got a puppy, chose him from the litter, and he was beautiful, and playful and very much full of life.

    He came to our home, and was quite apprehensive (which is understandable), and it was his first encounter with my 8 year old Pomeranian.
    She is very loving and gentle dog, but also didn’t have a proper socialization with other dogs, so she’s quite eager to play all the time, and it might came out a bit aggressive.

    Anyway, our new Shiba is adjusting, but we are having a few issues that we’d like to consult about, before we make any substantial mistakes.

    Firstly, he screamed bloody murder when we tried to put a dog collar on him.
    We calmed him down and eventually kind of tricked him into the collar.
    More problems started when I attached a tiny leash on him, he screamed again, dropped to the ground, and if you even try to walk him he screams and throws quite a tantrum.

    We talked to a trainer, she suggest to just attach the leash and monitor him, and gently progress and let him get used to it.

    Also, at first he was quite fazed by the Pom, as she wanted to play, but now the tables turned, and he is the one chasing her, and even kind of slapping her around and biting her. I am assuming this is puppy play, I saw him doing the same with his litter brothers, but she is very frightened and too scared to react. Right now they are the same size, but soon he’ll be bigger and I’m scared it might be a problem.

    Also, there’s biting. It’s very cute at this stage, but we want to nip it at the bud. The trainer suggested to close his mouth and firmly say NO! Until he relaxes and only then pet him. So far it just excites him more.

    My big fear is that since this breed is so rare here in Israel, I won’t be able to find someone who deeply understands the Shiba, and we are facing challenges that we didn’t have with my Pom.
    Would love to talk to you more, and hear more advice if you have the time.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your Shiba pup!

      1. Collar and leash
      Sephy was very sensitive to putting on a collar as well. What worked best is for me to slowly desensitize him to both collar and leash.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/train-your-puppy-to-walk-on-a-leash#collar-desensitize

      2. Other dogs
      I institute very clear interaction rules for all of my dogs. I supervise during play-time, meal-time, etc. and make sure that everyone is following the rules. My Shiba gets excited very easily, so I always manage his excitement level during play-time by throwing in many play-breaks. I make sure he does not overwhelm my other dogs.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/second-dog-introducing-a-second-dog#play-time

      3. Biting and mouthiness
      Sephy was very mouthy during puppyhood. Doing anything physical, e.g. closing his mouth, only made him want to bite me more. He thought a moving hand was great fun to play with. :D Three things were helpful in terms of controlling his biting – bite inhibition training, redirection, and teaching him self-control.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting

      Hope this helps. I love puppy pictures so share some links with us when you have the time. :D

  4. Rose says

    Hi. I was just curious how big these guys are? They are so cute and I am considering adopting one. I have a husky. He’s 9 months and weighs about 65 pounds right now. So will a Shiba get that big or are they much smaller? And are they as energetic as a husky? My husky really needs a playmate besides me and my son and the 2 tiny dogs I babysit.

    • shibashake says

      My male Shiba is over 30 pounds, but he is a really big Shiba. The breed standard is much less.

      Average weight at preferred size is approximately 23 pounds for males, 17 pounds for females.
      ~~[Natioinal Shiba Club of America]

      My Sibes are both females and they weigh about 45 pounds each. Because my Shiba is larger and my Sibes are females, their size difference is not as great. They play very well together. I am not sure how things will go with a larger male Sibe and a smaller Shiba. It would depend on your Sibe. What type of dogs does he like playing with? My Shiba has always preferred playing with larger dogs, who likes to wrestle. :)
      More on how I went about choosing a second dog.

      My Shiba is pretty energetic but not as energetic as my Huskies.
      More on Shibas vs. Siberians.

  5. MissMar says

    Two weeks ago I adopted a 9 month old Shiba from the SPCA. First owner had no time for him and second owner was only 2 weeks so it sounds like they
    couldn’t handle him. Quickly learned that ignoring him was the punishment that worked for him. Physical discipline made him more unmanageable. My problem with him is for absolutely no reason he just goes bonkers for a minute or two. Racing around the house at 100mph and barking. If you try to stop this behavior, out comes the nipping very hard. Can’t even get near him till it’s out of his system. It’s like he becomes possessed and then he goes back to being the perfect dog. Does anyone else have this issue or know what I can do to correct it?? Other than this quirk, he’s great. Demands a lot of attention and lovin but that’s fine since it’s only my husband and I.

    • shibashake says

      I am so glad that he has found a good home with you and your husband.

      As for the crazy running, it is affectionately called the Shiba 500. :D
      http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/discussion/5489/have-you-been-to-the-shiba-500/p1

      Sephy used to do this a lot when he was young. It was a good way to get the zoomies out of his system, and I make sure the area is safe for him to do it. He doesn’t do it as much anymore, because he gets his running craziness out while playing with my young Husky. I supervise and manage their excitement-level by throwing in many play-breaks.

      During the early training period, I also put a very light drag-lead on Sephy (only on a harness or regular flat collar, and only under supervision – no aversive collars ). In this way, if I need to slow things down, I can use the lead for control.

      Grabbing with hands is usually not a good idea, because it can lead to redirected biting, as you describe. With Sephy, all the excited, running energy is still there, and it usually gets redirected onto whatever is restraining him – which would be my hand.

      Big hugs to your Shiba. :D

  6. Deby says

    I have had my Shiba since she was 12 weeks old. My son went out and bought her without checking out the breed and, as usual, he left her with me to train. It took me a long time to figure her out. I have trained German Shepards, Wolf Hybreds, etc. and never had a dog challenge me like her. Her best trait was that she never had an accident in the house from day one. She is 6 years old now and we have a great relationship.
    The last 3 to 4 weeks she has been screaming almost all the time and will not stop when told. I have checked her over to make sure there was no injury or anything else that could be wrong. Does anyone have any idea what could have caused this and how to make her stop?

    • shibashake says

      What is her daily routine like? Has there been any change to her regular routine? Are there any other changes in behavior? Did anything out of the ordinary happen when the behavior started? Have there been any changes in the surrounding environment – noises, people, etc? Is she eating and drinking normally? Are there any other behavioral changes? Some physical issues are internal and may not be readily apparent.

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so it is difficult to even guess without any context. When in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer who can visit with my dog and observe his behavior within the context of his regular routine and environment.

  7. julia says

    I have a 15 year old red Shiba that is an absolute sweetheart and a gorgeous dog. In some ways she is the typical Shiba, but in other ways couldn’t be more different than what the breed sites say. For one, my dog is great off the leash, she has never tried to bolt and is happy to stay close by us in the front yard. She has always been good with children too, always gentle. The breed doesn’t seem to be a snuggly lap dog, but they do want to be near their people. Our dog is very loyal, she is always happy to see us.

    The Shiba is a funny dog, like someone here said they remember well. Mine went nuts one day barking and crowing because workers across the street left a saw-horse in the neighbors yard. My dog was mad as heck at this strange thing in the yard; maybe she thought it was a headless, skinny animal, lol. Even a piece of paper that blows into the yard she notices and alerts to. Squirrels and cats in her yard get her extra angry; she is stealth when going after a squirrel. The cats are another story, they realize she won’t back up her barking, and they have chased her back to her spot.

    The Shiba is a great little dog for those who will take the time to train it and make it part of the family. We love our dog very much, she is such a joy!

  8. Susan says

    Hi have a Shiba who is 5 now..we bought her from a breeder at 10 weeks old. I read all about the breed and knew this is a good fit for my family. My husband and I are very strict with our kids and an animal would not change this. The first two years were very hard. Shiba (so much easier for people to remember her name and her breed) I never once needed to potty train her from the night she came home I followed her cue to the door and she went…Amazed! I’d say that was the only positive thing about her for the first two years, honestly. This dog had me and my husband on our toes creatively and physically. We don’t back down nor give up either but I will tell you..she is a stubborn smart thinker. I don’t have enough room to explain all she has done but if you own one..you will realize. Shiba starting at 3 until now is one of the most loyal, sweet, comforting and easy dog I have had. She CAN go off leash and obey our commands. My 3 year old can walk her without a problem. Some things I can see where people don’t have the consistency of training might run into problems but if you can be consistent and firm with discipline… Shiba’s (dogs in general, and kids) will listen to better. My Shiba likes people (not love) is good around kids(with monitoring) will groom OK, can go off leash, is kinda independent (mine seems to need my attention quite bit though) but loves to hike, camp, play tug of was and if ding her treats (I hide them) she can roll.over, sit, lay down on command. She isn’t allowed upstairs and she has never broke that rule.

    • julia says

      Totally agree with you! The Shiba takes consistent training; that is the best advice ever. I believe this is where many new dog owners fail. Just like with children, what a person puts in to training and providing consistency pays off in the kind of pet they will have.

    • Ray says

      We have a 3 year old shiba (Kinji). We also have two Bichon-Shitzus and Kinji is a member of the pack. He has been very well behaved. We have feeders and water for them and they have doggie doors with a fenced in yard. Kinji is an absolute sweetheart. When the other two dogs are at the groomer, he mopes around, until I put his harness on and take him for a walk. At night when he howls it is because he sees a coyote at a distance. Otherwise they are quiet dogs.

  9. Eryka says

    Hello all, I’m coming to all of you Shiba devotees because I am having an issue with my 14 year old male shiba. At night, after we’ve all gone to bed, he starts to chirp. It’s not a bark, more a yodel, and we can’t figure out the reason. He was crate trained, but now that he’s a grand old man he has the run of the house all the time (even overnight). He usually starts the night in his crate, but the door has been removed, so he has full access to his food and water. He’s also been out to the bathroom, and when we make him go out when he starts chirping he doesn’t seem that he needs to go. He’ll chirp both in and out of his crate overnight. He does it several times a night and it only started 3-4 months ago and it has been increasing to several times a night.

    Any suggestions on what this might be? And what to do to make him be quiet overnight so we can sleep.

    Thanks

  10. Joey says

    Hello all,
    My 3 year old Sasha is better off leash than with. I have worked with her for a little over a year now.
    She does get protective whwn other dogs approach but never leaves my side.
    My brother left the front gate open and with the front yard without fencing my dog stayed on the porch, when i woke at 3 am she was sound asleep.
    This trait may not be common, I woild advise others against it, as my training differes from most i do trust my dog.
    I do not give Sasha treats for tricks, I use treats as a toy, break into little pieces and hit them with a
    Tennis racket.
    I live near a wash and my backyard is prone to mice, rats and possums. Sasha will catch it toss it into the air hen kill it, place it in the middle ofthe yard then will want to show it off.
    When we to to the local mountains I let her run free, she has just always came running back when I whistled, never trained her to do so.
    I never thought I would have so much fun with a animal.

  11. Chrissy says

    Not sure what happened there but think I just lost my comment but if you get half a one and then this….bear with me!! Lol

    Hi how are you all? Arthur and Ila are doing well.
    I wanted to air my theory on ‘why’ Shiba’s are so difficult to train. Firstly I’ve trained dogs my whole life, mostly rescued German Shepherds but also Leonbergers and trained them for water rescue and as ‘PAT’ dogs and of course ALL dogs are individuals and their level of intelligence does vary but my two Shiba’s but especially Arthur are the brightest/most intelligent dogs I’ve ever owned and Arthur has a bigger vocabulary than most humans I meet. When I tell people Arthur has cups for ‘obedience training’ they fall about laughing but it’s true. He absolutely hated it and worked out by lesson two that if he just ‘did it’ he could get out of there and do his own thing! He can literally do anything if shown a couple of times but!……
    I also ran a rescue for cats for twelve years and what I learned is that cats are certainly as capable as dogs of learning but they have no ‘work ethic’ and therefore ‘training’ was limited. I think Shiba’s are the same! They’re just sooo bright but just don’t have that work ethic. They know exactly what to do/what you want them to do but depending on their mood it’s whether they ‘choose’ to do it and that’s the issue. For the most part I just talk to Arthur like another human and he just does what I’m asking (as long as I’m polite lol) but if he’s distracted by something ‘he’ wants to do – he just goes deaf! People stop me in the street amazed at the conversational tone I use and how he responds, often remarking;”Wow, he understands every word you say!” But that’s the rub….he does!! It’s like negotiating every day with Einstein!! This said….I wouldn’t have him any other way :0)

  12. Thomas says

    I have a 11 wk old Shiba Inu male Black and Tan. Got him at 8 woks old. Read tons about this dog and got him only because I am retired due to a medical condition and knew I would be around him pretty much 24/7. I am amazed at how smart he is and how quick he learns and figures things out. Right know he loves meeting new people and new dogs which we try to do on a regular bases.. As for my cat, he could really care less about him which is good because the cat a 9yr old male wants nothing to do with him. He came pretty much house broken and has only had to mistakes since bring him home, both pretty much my fault by not responding quick enough to his request. I am curious as to how much time you spent with your shiba in the beginning. Mine is crate trained and sleeps in his crate in our room at night usually from 10 to 7. Then naps at different hrs through out the day. Looking forward Toni’s first bloom of his coat and have already bought a pretty good vacuum for it. Love reading your articles. Thank you for this site it has been a big help…..

    • shibashake says

      Thank you Thomas.

      Yeah, I pretty much spent all my time with my Shiba in the beginning. However, the problem was that I didn’t know much about dogs or dog training at that time, so I didn’t provide him with enough structure and consistency. Things got difficult for the both of us. I also made a bunch of mistakes which encouraged bad behaviors in Sephy, due to lack of information and knowledge.

      My Shiba is a difficult dog because he is extremely stubborn, but things would have gone a lot better if I had known more about dog behavior and had done more research into the Shiba temperament. Ah well, on the good side, I had a to learn quickly and Sephy taught me a lot about dogs and also about myself. Plus, he gave me lots of stories to tell. :D

      Looking forward Toni’s first bloom of his coat and have already bought a pretty good vacuum for it.

      Haha, yeah all three of my dogs blew their coat around the same time this summer. We are a very hairy household!

      Dogs really are very awesome – fur, naughtiness, begging looks, licks, and all. Congrats and big hugs to your Shiba pup. He is a lucky little guy. :D

    • chrissy says

      Hi Thomas
      I crate trained Arthur because when I first had him I was working full time. Ila came aged four after I’d retired having been a kennel dog so was also crate trained but this said its what you do with the time you have. I took Arthur everywhere with me when he was little and I was not at work because I wanted him to be able to go anywhere/meet anyone/ stay in hotels,/go abroad/sit in cafes etc and he does but really it quality rather than quantity. Having Ila aged four I can really see an enormous difference in their development. I talked and do talk to Arthur the whole time, just like he’s a person and have always spent quality time training/playing with him and teaching him new things. Ila bless her, really shows she was a kennel dog, one of sixteen who never got that one to one training/time and so can appear a bit dim compared to him but because she’s a Shiba, she’s come on in leaps and bounds since I’ve had her. My dogs get three hours exercise a day and one to one interaction always (I live alone so they are family) and as such they are calm, happy, well adjusted doglets. My advice is to obviously train your dog to be left so that you don’t create separation anxiety but when you’re with him, enjoy him! Play training type games with him all the time (he’ll let you know if he’s tired/bored/not interested) and above all ‘talk’ to him ALL the time to expand his vocabulary and understanding of how you want him to behave. :0)
      Just enjoy him!

    • Nancy says

      They are a lot of work and you must be consistent. I have had mine for 9 years and I am still training her everyday. She keeps me on my toes; but, I love her dearly.

      Also, get used to the alone time. She comes to me when she wants attention.

  13. Tom says

    My female shiba inu(simply named foxy) does exhibit a lot of these traits mentioned above. She is epically smart, manipulative, mischievous in her younger years, and often times cannot be trusted around small kids and other dogs. She enjoyed being touched and scratched a lot more when she was younger, but now she generally evades prolonged contact. Foxy has been a great dog over the years, but owners who prefer more loyal dogs who enjoy nothing more than cuddling up with you should seek a different breed of dog. I know my Foxy-lady loves us all to death, even if she doesn’t always show it, but personally I’ve never felt more loved by any type of dog quite like the love and affection that pitbulls have shown me. I never considered the possibility of owning a pitbull until I moved in with a friend who has one, and honestly in those 3 months I stayed there I felt more loyalty and love from that pitbull than the 13 years I’ve spent with Foxy.

  14. Mike says

    I just found your website tonight. I rescued my Shiba mix 6 years ago. The rescue group named him Alfred, then started calling him Alfie, and I kept that since they had been using it. He’s a mix, but with what I don’t know. He’s black with the white (now greying) muzzle. His ears aren’t as pointed as the purebred Shibas, they kind of flop on the ends. He’s also taller, and heavier (too heavy according to the vet yesterday). I’m not surprised, I have no kids and no family, so he’s my furry kid and easily indulged. My fault.
    And I know the Shiba stare. If I’m laying on the bed reading and he wants something, he sits in the doorway and stares at me. Doesn’t move a muscle, looks like a statue. Sometimes it’s just that he wants to show me he’s eaten his breakfast (I call all meals breakfast) and then wants a rawhide stick to chew on. I have to give him the smaller ones because he just hides the large ones. And he also does that rubbing his head on the floor thing, with his but in the air. I’ve never figured it out. I’ll scratch him right be the tail as well as his neck and he’s in heaven.
    But the “shiba-scream” oh man. He did it a lot when I first got him and one day we saw another guy & his dog walking across the street from us. He cut loose with that scream. Suddenly a guy in the house across the street came running outside, looking around. Alfie cut loose with the scream again, and the guy was dumbfounded. “I thought someone was beating a little kid or something. What the heck is he doing?” He quit doing it and would only bark at people outside the house, and a knock on the door sends him in a fury. Now he’s getting older, we think he’s 10, and the hot weather slows him down. We walk every morning at 5:00 a.m. for about 20 minutes. 0.75 miles. After work, about 1.25 miles. Unless it’s hot, then we don’t go as far and I bring water with us. Cooler or cold weather and snow are his element. he loves it.
    He doesn’t play with toys and only goes for the Kong if I put some peanut butter in it. which makes a mess, but all “kids” do. I’ll try some of your suggestions. But as far as chasing a ball, or squeeze toys, absolutely no interest. He’s tolerant of most other dogs, sometimes he acts like he doesn’t see them. He gets a little more excited now with others than he used too. But it’s other black dogs he’s always had a problem with, he goes nuts. I see the hair standup on his back. I’m guessing something may have happened before I got him.
    God how I love that little dog. It’s me & him. Always.

  15. John says

    I’ve had a Shiba for 13 years, and some of this is right on the money, some is way off in my experience. First off, the shiba scream is awesome. We first heard it when an ambulance was traveling down our street. The siren noise led to our dogs high pitched howl, and then we learned singing with an out of key, high pitched voice got him to do his Shiba scream. We love it. He also talks to us like he’s trying to be a person when he needs to go poop. It’s the oddest and cutest thing ever. Our Shiba craves it’s people. Our family takes turns having him sleep in their bed, and he’s a cuddle bug. He’s a great alarm system because if there is a noise outside, he goes ballistic. When we eat people food, he won’t approach without permission, but gives the most pitiful look you will ever see with those almond shaped eyes. He’s aggressive toward most other dogs but amazingly patient around cats if he sees you are friendly with the cat first. If he gets out without a leash, it’s all a big game to him, and he is near impossible to catch. He will do whatever he can to get out too. Dig, climb, slither, whatever he can do. Large crowds make ours incredibly nervous to where he lowers his head, ears fold forward, and he will bite in this situation. These dogs are super clean, and I was amazed to find out our dog never smells like dog. If he doesn’t get walked enough, he gets psychotic, so it’s not really even an option to have one of these dogs if you only want an indoor lap dog. Ours is a huge drama queen and still to this day shakes nervously and won’t calm down in the car, and completely flips out in a vets office. He’s super sneaky and the saying “When the cats away, the mice will play” appears to be made for him. He will jump on tables to steal food if he knows you aren’t looking, but would never dream of it while you are looking. He only fully goes pee or poop outside, but when we aren’t looking he will mark territory and we’ve replaced 4 carpets in his lifetime because of it. This is our fault for not knowing how to properly train it out of him. When you point out what he did, he is the most guilty looking dog on the face of the earth, and will look to hide behind whatever person isn’t talking to him for protection. At 13 he’s still got an amazing coat of fur and doesn’t look old, but the joints are aching and he’s slowing down. As much as I love my dog, I seriously wouldn’t raise another one if you handed me $20,000 to do it. It requires knowledge, patience, and persistence to train these doges, and while he gets all the attention in the world from us, we did him wrong on the training part of it by not doing any training.

    • Anonymous says

      I have a Shiba Inu rescue named Judy whom I love to death. I have always owned dogs, mostly terriers and am an experienced dog owner. But nothing prepared me for owning a Shiba Inu. She is easily the most stubborn, unmanageable dog I have owned, only with great patience and lots of time have I managed to train her to do the smallest things…given up on anything big. She is so fastidious and cat like and very independent – not for anyone looking for a lapdog for sure. She is a fabulous watchdog but is not friendly with people or other dogs. I do have cats and it’s always a balancing act with her…I have to be careful. As I said, I love her to pieces and I hope she lasts many more years, but I shall not be getting another Shiba…..it’s a very difficult breed to own and I think I shall opt for a mixed breed dog, definitely a rescue. Maureen

  16. Anonymous says

    Hello,

    I recently found a puppy on the side of the road malnourished, dehydrated and covered in fleas :(. My guess is she is she is a shiba and german shepherd mix. My boyfriend and I have decided to keep her, she is just so sweet. I already have a chihuahua rat terrier mix and they seem to be getting along well ( or as well as an older chihuahua can haha ) but with some jealousy, but the problem is she is acting so scared of my boyfriend! She slinks away and will not listen to him but follows me at my heels and listens me very well and we even live together so she sees him just as much as me. He did spank her twice before we talked and decided it’s best to go with just positive reinforcement instead of physical punishment for things like potty training. She is about 12 weeks old, do you have any suggestions to help her respond to him the same way she does to me?

    Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      To help my dog be more comfortable and less fearful of certain types of people, I do desensitization exercises.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/how-to-calm-a-fearful-reactive-dog#people

      I also stay away from using any kind of physical punishment.

      It’s crucial to avoid using punishment when trying to change your fearful dog’s behavior. When something frightens your dog, she experiences a great deal of stress, and any kind of verbal or physical punishment will distress her even more, making her more defensive and fearful in the future.
      ~~[ASPCA]

    • Shiba's Mom says

      Hi! I think it’s great you are going to keep this little lost puppy. Please make sure she gets a vet visit soon so that she can’t pass along any illness (worms, fleas, etc) to your current dogs. Plus she needs to be spayed and I would suggest a microchip. I am glad you and your BF talked and I assume you’ve agreed that no more spankings are acceptable! Puppies are PUPPIES and they will not enjoy a person’s presence if that person hits them. Teach them and love them — positive reinforcement only, as you’ve said — if the puppy is too much for you and your BF and your current dogs, then please surrender this puppy to a good no-kill animal shelter near you. They will vaccinate and get this pup into a good home. I adopted a shiba who was ignored and abused in her previous home where she lived as a puppy and she’ll never be fully loving because of it. Thanks again for taking care of this puppy!

    • Nancy says

      My little girl hates men from the abuse she suffered at the hands of a male. You will need to get a behaviorist dog trainer to help you with this particular problem. Or you can talk with your veterinarian. Mine have done wonders in helping me train her.

      My Shiba protects my Chihuahua and loves him with everything she has. Please remember the Shiba will get jealous of the little one because they love to be with you every second of the day, while she does not understand. She will come for your attention when she wants it. At that time I give my attention to my Shiba. Balance.

  17. Gillian Scully says

    my little Lucy is my best friend very protective and lives with a small dog and a cat. She is very patient with them, my cat is very old and the little dog is a nine month old chawawa cross. She is a Shiba cross with a llaso apso. She is a miniture sheba and gets called fox alot. I can take on a trail off lead but she has no road sence. Best dog ever and very well behaved. But loves me from affar… Love her to bits x

  18. Mina says

    My Louie is a Shiba Inu/Jack Russell mix. He’s got the built and the height of the Shiba, the face and folded down ears of a Jack but the color and markings of a Shiba. He’s also got a long tail that curls twice, with the white paint brush at the tip!

    He’s super cute, but drives us up the wall! We’re able to leave him alone now without causing too much trouble. When I take him out back he takes off every time, but once he’s tired I can call him back and he meets me at my front door. I definitely see more Shiba in him that Jack.

  19. Edith says

    I rescued my dog and had no idea what she was till I saw shiba inu pictures and read character descriptions. My Lily is very obedient, really quirky and frustratingly smart. She stays with me off leash, too and is very protective. She must be mixed with something because her tail is not as curly, but her coloring and markings otherwise (and teeth) are spot-on. Very strong, took me a while to get used to that.

  20. Nicole says

    My Peanut is a shiba and german shepherd mix and it’s really funny how the mix has changed his personality from either your typical gsd or shiba. He is so talkative and he’s ridiculously smart. I actually can take him to trails and parks off leash and he stays right by me, maybe that’s more gsd? He’s a rescue and we always knew he was gsd mix and just recently figured out that he is mixed with shiba. Now I’ve been doing all this reading on them and it makes so much sense.

    • shibashake says

      I actually can take him to trails and parks off leash and he stays right by me,

      He sounds wonderful. Guess he got the good stuff from both sides. :D

      Would love to see pictures of him. I love the look of GSDs as well. Big hugs to Peanut!

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