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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  1. annie pell says

    thank you ! were into our 2nd month with our Shiba and i was soooo happy and relieved to find your site . i seriously thought we made a mistake in agreeing to take in my new daughter in laws Shiba , not knowing his quirky traits , the cat like stand offish behavior , the shaking , the constant rumbling like talking, the eating grass : ) , the yelping in pain were there was none seen . thinking maybe he had rabies when we visited the vet and he lunged and howled , and yelped in unforeseen pain , what a night mare ! we hung in there , and I’m so very glad. this little 20 lb wonder has become so much a part of our family in just 6 weeks . now that i know what to expect from him , and can read his body language , every day is a new learning experience , i wouldn’t trade for anything. hes loving and affectionate , when hes ready , hes calm and sweet , and so very smart , and i swear he has a sense of humor . your site has taught me so much , and i thank you !

    • shibashake says

      Haha, I am so glad to hear this. Sounds like things are working out very nicely. Yeah, I definitely love a Shiba’s sense of humor. Sephy does way out things that my Sibes would never do. He is a big clown and always has something new up his sleeve. Big hugs to your boy. 😀 If you have online photos, please share some links with us.

  2. Anonymous says

    My parent friend give to us when she was 2 years old and she is 7 year old now. Her full name is Queen Sheeba but she is queen of the house. We name her Shiba or either Sheeba almost sound same. We love her. She is smart and playful and run a lot too in my backyard.

  3. Chris says

    Last time I was in Tokyo I saw a Shiba sitting outside a little ways away from grocery store, without a leash. It struck me as the most obedient dog imaginable, like it would sooner die than move one single INCH away from where it’s owner told it to stay.

    I’m almost startled to read your description regarding their lack of obedience, it sounds almost opposite of what I saw.

    • irvene says

      I’m also surprised at things in reading! Pretty is sweet,loves her kids and takes plenty from them; yes when baby new she was protective and felt she should watch! But she plays,interacts with no aggression at all! She loves to be loved! Pet,kissed her walks! She is an escape artist though and must have secure yard, and careful about not letting her sneak out, she’s always come back though.even though we went nuts looking for her.doesnt bark a lot, but alerts us to door.she is clean, not major shedding except in season.she loves to play with her toys,tug of war and confused baby stuffies for hers; biggest problem is she’s handst, and her nails scratch, no matter how clipped they are.its her trait, haven’t been able to stop that behavior.she brings toys and shakes goes to bring her toys to u and reaches.all in all, a lovely,sweet breed for our perspective!

  4. Anonymous says

    We bought a Shiba 6 yrs. ago from a breeder. She was two at the time. I just love her but she is not typical of the Shiba breed….she LOOKS like the one pictured but does not act like any other Shiba I’ve read about. It fools people into thinking that the breed is very mellow & gentle. Kids come up to her in the store & pet her, people comment on her gentle nature, & she looks absolutely stunning…BUT I always tell them she is the exception. She is very laid back–I have to get her up & moving otherwise she would spend the day napping!! She is great w/ cats & other dogs, & just wants to snuggle w/ her humans. The breeder said this dog needed a special home because she was very sensitive. She is easily upset by noises which results in quivering & burrowing under my arms so I will hold her. I love her personality but know that there would probably not be another one like her.

    • Diane says

      Wow! You just described my shiba! We received our shiba when he was 9wks old. He’s now 5yrs.

      He also looks exactly like all shibas and has the very independent & stubborn personality. He is mellow but I did ask the breeder to select the non-alpha shiba from the litter. I joke that I’ve overly domesticated him or it’s just part of his personality. He won’t jump our 3ft gate to escape from our backyard. Which he easily could do and did jump when younger. He doesn’t chase rabbits, lizards, birds but occasional snaps at flies. He still does his daily shiba inu crazies and runs through out the house at random times.

      We have a doggie door he begrudgingly uses. Prior to that, he trained us to open the back door when he tapped on it to go outside.

      Our shiba loves to snuggle and get petted by us. He will paw us when he wants attention which is often. He is raised in a household with two young children so he is also great with kids. I made sure to always touch is ears so other kids could pet him. People who know shiba’s say ours is the friendliest one they’ve ever meet. I walk him in very public places and he loves loves attention from people and usually ignores other dogs. I take him to doggie day camp to “play” and socialize with other dogs. He does great with smaller dogs or very mellow larger dogs. I stopped taking him to dog parks because he started marking some dogs and elderly dog owners – yikes!

    • Tom Witteman says

      Our puppy must also be an exception and likes being pet, picked up and sits on our lap when he gets tired. “Tiki” is 7 months old, dangerously intelligent and very well behaved. It is a wonderful bread for those who want not just a pet, but a friend who appears to truly understand what your saying when you talk to him, but independent and not requiring contact attention.

      An amazing breed.

    • Anonymous says

      My brother and sister-in-law have this same personality Shiba and he also fools unsuspecting people into thinking they are and easy breed to have. He has fits of nervous shaking that can only be handled by cuddling and snuggling too.

    • irvene says

      We have another sweet, mellow,loving shiba! Yes, escape artist if not watched, smart,loves her kids, her toys, and to be walked played with and loved! Have never seen any aggression at all! Sleeps with the kids! So, I’m thinking there may be many sweetly bred shiba out there! Spend time with one you’re choosing to adopt!

  5. James says

    We have had a sheba for nearly 14 years. We have a runtish female (SHEBA). They are independent dogs and don’t require a lot of attention. She loves to lay out on the back deck and “keep watch”. I’m also the only one who can pick her up but, I do it carefully. She grew up along side a poodle/jack russel terrier mix(Chester). …that dog has since passed on…and sheba waited a good 3 months on the deck waiting for Chester to come home. Kinda sad. Those 2 dogs got along pretty well….and Sheba also gets along with our current 4 year old poodle named Charlie. Those 2 like to play together…and Sheba also gets along great with our cat MEOW-MEOW. We got meow meow as a stray kitten and her and Sheba were instant buds…..Sheba would act like her mother and the 2 would curl up together….my sheeba does pretty well with other animals. She also knows from early on that we would not tolerate aggressive behavior for no reason…..and the dog caught on quick. The older these dogs get…the better they get…..and to you’re surprise the most excited when picked up from the kennel. The do love their owners but are shy about showing it…..sometimes I have to go over and rub her belly…to let her know. Shebas are great dogs and I hope mine stays around for as long as possible…I love my SHEEEEEB!

  6. Kelly says

    Thank you for the excellent advice about Shiba Inus! Your advice about putting a Shiba in time out has been very important and helpful in training our female Shiba puppy. They CANNOT be dominated/made submissive like other dogs, including my Airedale Terriers who are clearly way more domesticated! Your advice about making it worth her while to go outside has helped- she’s fully housetrained, but meh, it’s easier to do it in the room farthest from where she sleeps. My great big Airedale is an excellent alpha- gentle, ultra playful and ready to snap her back in line when needed. The airedale found an injured bird and sniffed it- the Shiba charged in and killed it immediately. These are not lightweights.

  7. Carol says

    Hmmm…I found this website because I searched “shiba inu aggression.” In my neighbourhood, there are at least 4 of these dogs. One is sort of okay, for now–but she’s young and might change. Another would’ve killed my Havanese at the dog park, if I hadn’t interceded. A third wanted to attack my previous dog, when she was dying. This dog’s owner was embarrassed by her dog’s violence. A fourth didn’t like me walking on the road in front of his house. His owner made excuses (I had my walking poles, which I don’t use around any dog, and which I hold down so they don’t look like weapons).

    This blog does show me why an owner might want to keep her shibu inu rather than euthanize it. But for me to write this–and I’m a dog lover–shows to what extent I’ve become leery of these animals.

    I urge any owner to keep her dog muzzled if necessary, and always on a leash. This dog doesn’t belong in a dog park with smaller dogs. Nor does this dog belong unchained in its front yard.

    Cuteness doesn’t count in a court case.

    • Kelly says

      I think Shibas can really surprise people- so very cute, so very intense. Most people are prepared to understand that a Pittie requires excellent training to be the sweetheart they can be- its a big, tough looking dog. Many people who would get a Shiba would never get a Pittie- so as you say, they are surprised when their untrained little ball of fluff has a serious aggressive streak.

    • James says

      Correct Carol. These dogs must be leashed at all times…..unless you have a very tall fence….and not the chainlink type. I show my Sheeba affection everyday and always have. My Sheeba is also a VERY good walker and loves to go for walks with her brother Charlie (poodle). Charlie is the trouble maker on the walks and barks at most other dogs…..Sheeba seems to sophisticated to do any of that. Sheeba has 1 toy that she plays with…a small moose head…Charlie has 10 toys he plays with. Sheeba is the mellow one…lol Charlie sleeps under the covers with us….and Sheeba is alond side the bed on the floor……Charlie is actually the better watchdog……and barks way more. sheebas only bark when necessary.

    • Richele says

      I do agree with your comment only, don’t let those other Shibas scare you away from the breed. Shibas need to be trained right and most owners are lazy and don’t take enough time to train them. A Shiba is a great dog after it is properly trained. (By the way I do own a Shiba so I’m not just randomly writing this)

    • gunya says

      You must of meet bad owners cause my shiba loves other dogs, if a dog acts aggressive she’ll put them in thier place, or protect another dog,.. before you judge on shibas you should know your information or rather yet every dog can act that way regardless, I’m assuming you think pits are aggressive too.. no matter what breed it is it can be aggressive or passive, I believe it’s all on the trainer.

    • Anonymous says

      That’s completely the owners fault and not the shiba. Her dogs have not been trained well or socialized. Mine lives with 3 other non shibas and gets along with strange dogs as long as they too are polite. This breed can have a really amazing and loving personality if they are raised and trained correctly.

    • Stacey says


      I have to disagree with you in all your points. We have had our shiba Inu for 8 years. We have 2 children and let her run in our yard unchain all the time (supervised). Our neighbors are not afraid of her nor anyone!! She had never been aggressive with anyone. I believe it is how they are raised.

    • Carol says

      If you read and understand; Shiba’s are protective, and do not shrink from anyone, or any dog. They closest genetically to a wolf, along with the Akita, (largest Shiba)….think about it…don’t blame the dog for its genetics…get over it. What cat do you know will come play with a strange cat walking the neighborhood? They run them off their territory. These are cats in dog’s clothing… Shiba’s aren’t for everyone. Jasmine would take on the biggest dog, she kills everything that moves, including mice. She is fearless.
      She has never snapped, and loves people and attention. The best dog
      I have ever had.

    • Raj says


      They say that if you don’t train your dog, it will train you. This is especially true of Shibas. I’ve had my Shiba for 7+ years and got him when he was just 8 weeks old. A lot of people don’t realize that Shibas are a handful. If you put in the time from the start, are consistent with them, and ensure they get enough exercise, then you’ll most likely have a great experience.

      As you mentioned, Shibas shouldn’t be off leash, and they can be aggressive towards other dogs. Most Shiba owners should know this.

    • TREE says

      I agree, I’ve just inherited my parents Shiba she is 7yrs old now. She’s been at my home since December and I am so ready to take her to the pound. I didn’t want to take her as I know how she is with other pets..and I was right. I have a stray cat that hangs out on my back deck and every time I go to feed the cat Reba goes aggressively crazy to the point of snipping at me. I’ve been wanting a puppy of my own for years just hasn’t been the right time…but I know if I was to get a puppy now it would not go well if she’s acting this way towards a cat only makes me think what she would do to a puppy. I do know that she gets very aggressive with other dogs but loves strangers. She’s very stubborn, and does not listen well…and good luck trying to clean her paws after a muddy walk. As cute as they are I don’t recommend this breed.

  8. RainyRamone says

    ShibaShake, thank you for such an entertaining and informative post! When you mentioned that your dog enjoys grass as a snack, it made me think of how my mom’s Shiba used to mirthfully eat an amazing variety of non-food items (miraculously, never making him sick!). At five years old, he’s doing it less frequently. But it makes me wonder, are Shibas prone to pica disorder? Thanks!

    • Anonymous says

      Thank you for the informative article, ShibaShake. It says that boredom can contribute to pica. Exactly… My mom plays with her dog, but I can see that he should ideally be getting more exercise than he does. I think she should hire a walker (or a runner, lol). Hana, I agree that cucumber leaves are a weird choice to munch on; they’re like sandpaper – blech! Maybe edible, but not very palatable.

  9. JMK says

    I have a 16 year old shiba that acts like a puppy. She was given to me when she was four yrs. old. I didn’t know she was not socialize until I got her home. She was wild and wanted nothing to do with people. I put her in a 60′ x 160′ pen and she loved it. Also she made a good watch dog. After ten yrs. she will let me pet her some, but only on her terms. I would never recommend this breed for a family pet.

    • Hana says

      Actually, my parents raised two shibas from puppies and they made excellent companions for kids. I’d come home from college for the winter holidays missing the family shiba and be like, “hey , where’s Kuro?” only to find out that Kuro the shiba had been invited to a playdate with the seven year olds across the street. Or that my mom’s friends family had asked to borrow Kuro for the day.

      But I can’t stress enough the importance of early socialization with kids and dogs. A four year old shiba is hard to train.

  10. BECKY says

    I have always loved Shiba Inu’s and wanted to own one for years! because I work an 8 hour day + commute time I fear it would be grossly unfair to leave it alone in the house all day. I was thinking maybe I could pay for a dog walker ? and just spend all weekend with it but I worry it is just not fair if there is nobody at home with it unless of course I do use a dog minder?

    Advice welcome please

  11. Irene says

    I don’t understand the mentally of some people why adopting a dog if all his/her needs are not going to be taken care of it is inhuman and not acceptable if you are not going to treat your dog like a family member don’t get one especially rescued dogs they have been through a lot they need special treatment… it breaks my heart the some people are towards animals.

  12. Felicia says

    I own my little girl Shiba for 14 years. She was the mos sweet natured dog, very catlike but so funny. I own a Canaan Dog and she spent her time dominating him. She never bit him, but it was not unusual to see his foot or tail in her mouth. He would take it for so long, then he would stand over her with HER head in his mouth. She had a look that said, “Oh, I forgot you were bigger.” I loved her dearly and someday I will get another Shiba girl.

  13. Nicole says

    I’d like ao.e advice on my young Shibas behavior. He’s only agressive towards one of my dogs and just randomly goes up to him and attacks him
    We first thought the problem was because it was near his room. But he just attacked him outside as well.. I don’t know if it’s because before I let him outside he was barking at something andy other boy was there.. i have been bitten trying to get him off the other dog.. please help! Any advice would be helpful

    • shibashake says

      How many dogs do you have? What kind, what ages, and what temperament? How is the dog that gets attacked different? Is he older? Is he neutered? Is he nervous? How old is the Shiba? How long have you had him? When did this behavior start? What training has he had?

      Dog behavior is very context dependent so the temperaments, routine, past experiences, training, and more of the dogs will all play a role. When there are multiple dogs involved, things become even more complex. Therefore, especially in cases of aggression, it is best and safest to get help from a good professional trainer. When I was having troubles with my Shiba, I visited with several trainers, and I also read up a lot on dog behavior.

      With my dogs, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules, and I supervise them to make sure that everybody is following the rules. As soon as I notice the start of any undesirable behavior, I call and redirect my dog. For my in-training dog, I put a flat collar and light leash on her (only under supervision and absolutely no aversive collars). In this way, I can easily control my dog if need be, and I stop things before they escalate. Prevention is best.

      With rules, routine, and supervision, my dogs know exactly what to expect from each other, what to expect from me, and what I expect from them in return. This creates certainty, and certainty helps to reduce stress and conflicts.

      I try to manage my dog’s environment so that I always set her up for success. Calm, supervised, and successful experiences with each other, help my dogs to build confidence, trust, and positive associations. Similarly, negative experiences or reactive events will undermine that trust, set back my training, create negative associations, and result in more stress and conflicts down the road.

      More on how I help my dogs get along.

      I do not leave my dogs alone unsupervised until I am very very sure that there will be absolutely no issues. If I am unable to supervise, then I keep my in-training dog separated. I use leashes, gates, enclosures, and other equipment to keep everyone safe. Given what you describe, I would contact a good trainer as soon as possible.

    • Anonymous says

      My shiba does this to one of my pugs. It’s because they are a dominate dog and if they sense the other dog is passive they will attack. I have 4 dogs and the shiba only has issues with the pug. I use a spray bottle now and when she attacks the pug, I spray her. Stops her immediately and it’s cut down on the frequency. Just be careful not to spray in the face.

  14. LP says

    I agree with SQ that it is uncaring and harmful to care for a dog that you know needs surgery that you refuse to provide out of fear of some future costs related to aggression. I have a five year old Shiba female and while she always shows aggression on leash, and won’t back down from a fight, she is the smartest, most soulful and most loyal of all my dogs (others being Goldens and yellow labs). Please consider the bounty of joy this dog will bring to your life and be patient.

  15. Mariann says

    I rescued a 3 year-old Shiba and he attacks me and my other dog. I thought at first he was protecting his chew toys, but the other night I went to pet him and he started growling without a chew toy. I thought my other dog was walking into the room. Thankfully I pulled away in time before he got me. He needs both rear knees operated on (luxing) and I just don’t see putting that much money into the surgery if I’m going to get sued later on by someone else for his aggression or spending a lot of time in the Vet ER because he hurt my other dog. When he is good he is fantastic but this all of the sudden no reason of attacks has me freaked out.

    • shibashake says

      When he is good he is fantastic but this all of the sudden no reason of attacks has me freaked out.

      How long have you had him? What was his previous environment? When did the aggressive behavior start? When did his knees start having issues? Pain and physical issues can cause a dog to feel more vulnerable, and cause changes in behavior, including aggression.

      My Shiba is also very sensitive to the energy of the dogs and people around him. If I am stressed, frustrated, or fearful, he will pick up on my energy, get more stressed himself, and his behavior will worsen. I need to control my own energy first, before I can help my dog control his.

      With my dog, I always take care of physical issues first. After the physical issues are resolved, then I can focus on retraining. I have a three legged Husky, and when there are physical issues, I keep her separated from my other dogs. In this way, she can rest, my other dogs do not bother her, and she can feel safe. I also use leashes, gates, basket muzzle, and other management equipment, as necessary, to keep everyone safe and calm.

      For retraining my Shiba Inu, I consulted with several professional trainers to identify the source of his reactive behavior, and together, we developed an appropriate plan for rehabilitation.

    • SQ says

      why would you rescue a dog who needed surgery and then be unwilling to provide it? If you are not going to provide for the dog you need to give it back to a rescue. I have no experience with shibas but ANY animal becomes cranky and will start acting out when they are in pain. It’s often the first sign something is wrong!!

  16. jessie says

    i love all dogs and they do look like a huskey but people say that they don’t listen sometimes i took one for a walk today and we went into a fenced in park but they can still get out and we let it off leash and he would come back for me but not for his owners cause i did work with my moms friend at her dog training place and she is a dog trainer and she is good and i know how to train dogs and if you ever need to find a dog trainer search up animal crackers and look for danielle best and she does begginer classes and obedience classes and she is also on facebook and if you want if you find her phone number please call her and she also does private lessons. :) :)

  17. CamW says

    I just finished reading your article (which was great btw)… but I have one MAJOR question, how hard is it to train a 3 year old Shiba that was used for breeding? I just rescued her from an adoption center. I get to take her home on Thursday August 6, 2015. I have been visiting her everyday for 2 weeks and playing with her. The workers at the adoption center said that she is very shy and scared but seems to have taken a liking to me. I was worried that this could’ve just been a selling point but I knew I had to save her. I have been researching shibas for a few years now and am very excited to rescue her and raise her. But I have been having problems finding anything about training a 3 year old shiba. Any advice?? Please help!

  18. tatiana says

    I have a 7 month old shiba inu and she is scratching a lot and i checked for fleas but she had none and i give her a bath once a month. She is loosing hair around her eyes and she is scratching around her eyes and ears to the point she makes them bleed. I clean it up with wet paper towel and put small amount vegetable oil in her food. It kind of made her stop scratching but is it normal for her to lose hair around her eyes?

    • shibashake says

      I would take her to the vet ASAP to check for mites. Mites are too small to be seen by the naked eye, but the vet can take a skin scraping and view it under a microscope.

      Once I am very sure that my dog’s itching is not mites or fleas, then I can look at other causes.
      Common reasons for dog itching.

    • tatiana says

      Thank you so much for answering me. Im very worried about her. She also wont stop biting and we keep telling her not to bite or we smack her nose to stop but she keeps coming back for her and bites harder. How can we make her stop biting and ripping up the carpet because she likes to dig. She never use to dig when we lived at the old place since we moved into new place she been digging up the carpet and living holes. How can we make her stop digging?

    • shibashake says

      I deal with puppy biting by doing three things-
      1. Bite inhibition training.
      2. No-bite conditioning.
      3. Structure and puppy self-control.

      More on how I deal with puppy biting.
      More on structure and teaching self-control.

      Physically based aversive techniques did not work well with my Shiba, and significantly worsened his behavior.

      Finally, moving to a new place can be very stressful for a dog because it creates a lot of uncertainty. Stress and anxiety can further lead to displacement behaviors such as digging.

      What is your Shiba’s daily routine like? Does she only dig when she is alone or all the time? Are there certain things that cause her to start digging? Are there other changes in behavior after the move? What are her house rules? Is the new environment noisier or smaller than the old environment? How are the environments different? Is she crate trained?

    • tatiana says

      She is fine when we are home, she doesn’t dig and all she does is lay around or plays with her toys. We play with her but after she starts to get ruff we stop playing to let her calm down. When we leave she doesn’t like being alone so she find something to do like digging or chewing on stuff that isn’t hers. Where we lived before the place was small so she didn’t have much room to run around and she didn’t sleep on the bed with us since we moved she became more out going and now she sleeps on the bed with us. The house is big so she has a lot of room to run around. She doesn’t like the smell of a new carpet that we have so she digs at it. Where we lived before she only dig outside and it was dirt. When we moved down here she thought carpet is dirt since its brown and maybe that’s why she digs at it. She is going potty outside but when we are not home we leave her out and she goes on puppy pads. The place is quiet and its big house for her to run around.

  19. Tania says

    Shibas are not by any standard, an off-leash dog. It takes work to get the darn dog to walk beside you might as well off-leash in the city. I am a proud parent of one of those “well-behaved” Shibas. As charming as Clyde is, he is not well behaved because he was born with the well behaved genes. As well as off leash behaviour this applies to toilet training (they learn fast, but you have to help them learn) . I see a lot of definitions of Shibas as being good for “beginner dog owners”. This is true because they are intelligent and can be trained. But YOU have to train. People who are thinking of getting a Shiba need to realize that likely most of us with the “good” Shibas put in work, got to know our dogs, exercise our dogs regularly and exhibit patience. What exactly an individuals definition of “work” is will be relative to their dog experience, every day outlook on what work is, lifestyle, time commitments etc. I have a friend who complains about her border collie’s behaviour and anxiety. Then I find out she walks her dog once a day. A moderate and high energy dog cannot be entertained for merely 30 minutes a day. (Shibas are moderate to high). You will earn your rightful punishment. Working with dogs requires reflection and insight. You have to be willing to look at yourself for blame, before you point at your dog. If you can not commit time and energy for the basics, do not get a Shiba, and really you should be reconsidering any dog. A dog owes you no loyalty or respect until, in their eyes, you have earned it. And this can be harder to get with some breeds (a Shiba is one of those breeds). Respect and loyalty comes from boundaries, stimulation (basic training counts for this), dedication and love. Once all of these have been established then you can work towards off leash experiences. With every new environment, test/train your Shiba to ensure they will heel, sit, and come when called. And remember every Shiba lives in a different environment and every Shiba will have it’s own personality. People who live rurally are more apt to let their animals off leash, and an off leash animal will likely have more exercise (without having to depend on the person). A tired dog is often a very happy dog! Since I live in a suburb, I let my Shiba off leash on rural hiking trails (not city trails), dog parks, at the baseball diamonds, his own yard and the beach. It was around the 1.5 year mark that we started with trails and the beach. This was after we had confidence instilled in us that he would “come” with the distractions of a dog park. Even the dog park was work, as he would often ignore us and we would be the “stupid” people chasing him around the park. So, We worked on the “come” command at home in the yard, then in areas with one or two distractions etc. Different environments bring new excitement! I recall our first camping trip with Clyde and going for a walk and meeting a dog. The next morning my husband made the mistake of letting him off leash right out of the tent. Clyde couldn’t care a less about the word “come” or “stay”–he just heard play! Clyde sprinted through the camp sites all the way to the dogs home and barked for the dog to come out at 6am. By the time my husband got there the owner was outside. No one was happy. Luckily it was all in good play, but if cars were zipping in and out it could have been bad. Although Shibas are classified as “non-sporting”–Shibas by nature are bush hunters, they like a territory, so with out a fenced yard they will explore. They can have a prey-drive with small animals. They find a leaf blowing in the wind to be more entertaining then the 10$ toy you bought and will follow the leaf until they bite it. They are extremely focused once they zone in, but are always on the look-out for something better (e.g. bathroom behaviour can require quite the decision making : “there has to be softer grass to poop on down the road,” or “the wind is not blowing quite in the right direction on this street for my pee”. They remember everything. I cannot walk my dog easily within a block of our vet! He tries to get as far away as possible, and pulls on the leash, unfortunately the vet is across the street. So every walk starts with mad dash to make a left turn. Take advantage of their preferences, but do not reward their bad behaviour. For example Clyde prefers to run with me then smell another dog, so if I notice he seems easily distracted on a walk we run most of it. I find his preferences charming, because I feel I have the time to walk him until he gets the right texture of grass. If I was rushed this would be painful! Get a good feel for who you are before picking a dog; talk to people who have good experience with the breed. Know your dog before going against the general standards of the breed. Once you choose a Shiba and put time in your efforts will be well rewarded with licks, belly rubs and likely, a quiet, constant companion. Always within 30 feet, but doing their own thing!

    • Anonymous says

      What a good write about Shibas. Especially on the pee and poo place. Have to be the right length of grass, right colour and the wind has to be at the right direction. LOL Yes once you have gained their trust, their loyalty is no doubt. Quiet companion but always nearby.

  20. Siglerrn says

    Two days into having our baby boy Kuma, and what a personality he has!! We are in love with this little one, and have started training and discipline immediately–he’s done great! I see that he will be a handful bur we were prepared and willing to put in the work to make him into the best dog he can be!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations and big hugs to Kuma! Remember to take lots of puppy pictures! 😀

  21. Caio says

    I had been studying dog breeds behaviour for quite a while before deciding to get a Shiba. I had read that these guys were very difficult to train. I thought I was up for the challenge and got a 2 month old female Shiba, named Margot.

    Well, she’s been with us for 3 days and a just found out your blog.

    YOUR TEXTS AND THE READERS COMMENTS MADE ME REALLY DESPERATE! Did we make a mistake getting this breed?

    Really. I can’t sleep tonight with all the thing i’ve read tonight.

    God have mercy on my soul! LOL!

    • Amber Allen says

      I got my Shiba, currently 7, when I was 11, and raised him entirely on my own. The first year will be an adventure – definitely baby-proof your house. Mine ate through 3 vacuum cleaners.

      But everything after that first year was perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better dog and will get a Shiba again in the future. He is friendly towards me and my close friends, distrustful of bad people, but generally a very good dog. And he’s very quirky!

      HOWEVER – if you have kids, small kids in particular, they should not under ANY circumstances mess with the dog. Mine had bitten a few kids before – warning bites, at a young age – but if they slip up and pull your dog’s tail or make him anxious, he will bite.

      Remember that any dog can be trained. You just have to be patient.

      Good luck, keep us posted if you can!

    • shibashake says


      I had a lot of trouble with my Shiba, because I did very little research before getting him. As a result, his more aloof nature and strong will were not expected, and gave me a lot of problems. At the time, I also didn’t know much about dog training or dog behavior, so I made a lot of mistakes with him at the start. On the other hand, I learned a lot from Sephy in a very short amount of time, and he gave me lots of stories to tell. 😀

      I think Shibas are totally fine for people who have done their research into the breed, and who have more experience with dog training. Here is a super Shiba-

      Big hugs to your pup! How are things going?

    • Nicole says

      First, do NOT regret getting a shiba. They are wonderful dogs, but take a bit of effort at first.
      Second, get your shiba puppy into a training class ASAP. Our gorgeous 7 year old shiba Sierra was very willful, but with “puppy class” at ten weeks she had early socialization and learned obedience commands. Her strong intellect kept her interested in learning, and her natural leadership and dignity meant she did not want to be the only puppy sitting there and not participating. (OK, sometimes she was bored. “You want me to walk around this room for that treat?”) We kept her in classes once per week at our local Petsmart for her first year, and she is amazing! She does not nip at anyone, and will allow petting from strangers (kids I closely supervise so they don’t poke her eyes, and her tail is strictly off limits). She obeys commands, although “stay” is still a work in progress.
      Third, it’s very important that your shiba knows YOU are the “pack leader”. It’s in their nature to be dominant, and you have to show no fear and lovingly assert that you are the boss. Yes, this took time and patience, but I wouldn’t trade my shiba for any lap dog or less bright yapper!
      Fourth, let your shiba have privacy and independence when needed. Sierra has a special spots under a desk or a bed, which means she doesn’t want to be disturbed then. She still spends virtually all her time with us when we’re home, and she loves being talked to, played with, going on walks and being part of our family.
      Last, enjoy your beautiful shiba! This breed is sooo smart, so athletic, so alert. Talk to you shiba often, keep teaching them new things and words for objects. Take them for neighborhood walks or to a park to maintain socialization. Sierra brings joy to my husband, kids and neighbors. We’re busy people with jobs and kids, but we always find time for Sierra.
      You will have many years of joy with your shiba!

  22. paul moran says

    I have a beautiful 14 yo shiba named Jade. She is the greatest dog i have had the pleasure to care for. she has been a challenge but i am up for it. Socializing her from the start is key, the more people and other pet they meet,brings out their loving nature. the only real problem i have is her skin condition. it can get very bad very fast. she gets high quality food and supplements but still gets rashes and red spots. is this common with the breed?

    • shibashake says

      It could be a skin allergy. One of my Huskies is allergic to certain types of fish, and there are dogs who are allergic to beef or poultry, so quality of food doesn’t necessarily preclude a food allergy issue. However, skin allergies can also be caused by other factors.

      I would have a vet look at it first and see what they say.

  23. Sandy says

    Hi! I just found this site and it is very informative and amusing!. I did not grow up with dogs but my son wanted one so we got a puppy from a rescue shelter which is a mix of corgi (face & big ears) and shiba (from the neck back!) Pebbles is now 5 and still has enormous energy, which is great. She is not the cuddly dog, I think my son longed for and she has bonded more with my older son. She hates the cat so we make time for both but they live on separate levels of the house. She is a hunter and I think she feels the cat is fair game. She is extremely territorial about food and the kitchen in general and pretty much “her house”. My younger son who originally wanted the dog would love a new one, but I don’t think Pebs would react well. She has a couple of “friends” but she is not the social one you take to a dog park. Happy playing fetch in the backyard. Any thoughts or ideas anyone can share are appreciated for family harmony! Thanks.

  24. Rob Brown says

    I have owned dogs all of my life, and we ended up with a 4 month old Shiba Inu due to a lapse of reasoning during a visit to the vet for medicine for our other dog.
    Charlie is now 12 years old and while he certainly exhibits traits such as the shake, and talking, he was trained just like any other dog we’ve had, and responded the same way.
    He walks off the lead, heels as required, sits and waits as told and is completely under control 99% of the time. When we got him he was afraid of loud noises, bangs, thunder etc and never got over it, so 1 % of the time he can be a handful, but we manage that.
    I sometimes think that the “difficulty” of training a Shiba Inu is a myth spread by the owners to make their dogs appear special.
    Our Charlie is certainly special but he’s no more disobedient than we allowed him to be.

    • shibashake says

      I sometimes think that the “difficulty” of training a Shiba Inu is a myth spread by the owners to make their dogs appear special.

      I think that when provided with the right structure, training, and exercise, Shibas do quite well. However, in my experience, my Shiba is also a lot more stubborn and a lot more strong willed than my two Huskies. As a result, I have to supervise him more, and had to spend more time providing the right kind of structure, training, and socialization for him when he was young.

      I think their stubbornness and natural strong-will does make them harder to train, and also requires more supervision and management. Their more aloof nature and sensitivity to handling can also be difficult, especially for new owners who do not expect this type of behavior.

      I certainly had a lot more trouble training and managing my Shiba compared to my two Huskies, so I think the difficult personality traits of a Shiba are real. New owners should be made aware of these traits so that they do not end up with a dog that does not fit with their lifestyle and personality.

      All my dogs are special to me because they make me laugh, they teach me many things, and being with them is the most wonderful thing.

  25. Henry says

    Thank you all for posting their stories. I have a question related to a family decision as to whether or not to adopt a Shiba pup. We don’t have much information on her except that she was from a pet store and was returned by her initial owner due to Ventricle Septal Disorder. Now she is sitting at a vet’s office until they figure out what to do with her.

    Does anyone know anything about how having such a congenital disease would impact with her temperament? For example, would she be naturally more withdrawn and protective of herself? Would she have a heightened or aggressive survival instinct? Would she be less disposed to physical exertion? If so, would she channel that energy to more destructive endeavours?

    Any thoughts would be helpful!

  26. david says

    My daughter started wanting a Shiba Inu years ago as she Japan interested. Recently, without having ever owned dogs in my own life, not only the Shiba, but another dog a Chow Chow, was introduced into the house. The Chow also a pup, was introduced first and is a bit bigger. The chow behaves as directed but is learning from the shiba.
    Yumi has now been with us for a few months, and is driving me absolutely mad. It has been resistant to any form of training; urinates where it is, destroys huge amounts of property (apple devices especially – but leather lounge, vacuum cleaner, laptop chargers, large amounts of clothes especially Victoria secret underwear for my daughters … etc etc etc), bites all the time, licks incessantly almost feverishly, jumps up on everything and everyone, has had the gall to take food off my plate right in front of me, has a personality that you can tell it knows exactly what it is doing. Every single other undesirable trait you mention on your blog, this dog has. its becoming costly, and I’m becoming at loggerheads with it. I’m an animal lover – and the dog knows I care for it, but am starting to dislike its traits so much I’d rather see things change for it. Pretty soon it will be forced to be an outside dog, in an enclosed area. I’m not stupid and can see what you have done to resolve issues with your dog, but my daughter doesn’t seem to have the time, money or will to train it as you have.
    Catch 22 imho.

    • Michele says

      My best advice for you is to enroll your dog in an obedience class. This is the best route for any breed of dog to gain more control and obedience from your dog and to build better communication. Also most dogs with exception to a few breeds benefit from daily walks to release energy. If you place your dog in an enclosed area outside it will not relieve the problem because the dog will still not have any obedience and will not have any energy released. If you truly do not have time for your dog I would suggest you consider re-homing it and take the decision to adopt a dog more seriously in the future. It is a very big commitment and a dog requires nurturing just like any other living creature. Good luck with your furry family member.

    • Nicole says

      David, if your daughter won’t train her shiba, please find the time yourself to enroll this dog in puppy class ASAP. A lot of puppy breeds chew on leather and electronic items, snatch food, rummage through laundry, test the boundaries, etc. This shiba does know what it’s doing. It’s waiting for an owner to train it, teach it, love it. My previous dog was a sheltie collie, the super gentle, hyper intelligent, most obedient dog breed, so I needed help at first with my shiba. But the investment was so worth it! To put a shiba outside in an enclosed area is not fair to the dog. Please consider proper training, with patience and love, or give the dog to another home. Best of luck with this remarkable, rewarding, intelligent, athletic breed! I think you’ll be rewarded beyond belief if you give the puppy training and time.

  27. Asta says

    Hello Everyone,

    First I would like to say that this website is very helpful! I just got Shiba Inu for my husband’s birthday. He is almost 5 months. We named him Biggles (it’s British character). He was brought from Lithuania to England and he handled his first trip well, not happy but he handled like a man :)
    Reading everyone’s stories about their Shiba Inu’s prepares me and my family for all great and mischievous moment ahead of us.
    So far he is very good and I feel like it’s calm before big storm hits us! He adapted to his new house very quickly and we all were and still are surprised. He is hyper once we go outside and he is ready to run; therefore, letting hip off the leash as of now it’s not an option. Hopefully with training he’ll get better. He is very good with dogs and humans right now. We don’t have any other animals and I can see from most owners blogs that Shibas definitely need to be socialised with others or there will be trouble.
    I’ll be reading more blogs and no doubt I’ll be asking for help sooner or later. Shiba Inu is definitely an unique breed.

    P.S. I would love to share some pictures but I don’t see the option to attach attachments.

  28. Shiba neighbor says

    Maybe the Shiba owners love their dogs scream but it is not fun to hear for the neighbors. My neighbor ( they are rental tenants) has 2 Shibas that they keep penned up outside all of the time. The only interaction with the dogs I have seen in the year they have lived there is when they feed the dogs, that is it. No playing, petting, walking them, trying to train them, even no poop picking up. The dogs are NEVER inside the house. These dogs bark at just about anything at anytime of day or night and wake us up. They still bark at me when I am in the yard gardening. Sometimes the bark is a high shrill like they are fighting and one of them was hurt – It is very unnerving to hear. The neighbors are very upset about it and have recently contacted the landlord about it because the tenants don’t care. We ask ourselves, why in the world do they have these dogs in he first place if they pay no attention to them? Only this weekend we saw 3 puppies roaming around the yard, looking like Shiba puppies. These pups they keep in the house. The chances are that they are breeding the two Shibas left outside in order to make $$ selling the pups which can be sold for quite a bit of $$. That is probably the only reason they have the 2 Shibas outside. It is so sad and I don’t know what else to do. They look healthy physically so I don’t think that ASPCA could have a case unless they are breeding without a license – not sure if they need a license to breed dogs. Does anyone know the law on this??? This is south Florida, it gets very hot too and the dogs are out there also when it is pouring raining. Obviously the dogs are mentally not in good shape. They are neglected in that respect. Often they sit in one spot and stare at the door of the house just waiting for someone to come out and feed or pay attention to them. What else can I do? Can anyone give advice?

    • shibashake says

      If they only have one breeding female then they probably do not need a license. I believe dog breeding laws are different state to state and there may be different county restrictions as well, but usually for people who have several breeding females.

      I would share your story with all your friends and with your online network. Encourage them to spread the word as well. If it is no longer profitable, because there are fewer buyers, then there will be fewer sellers as well.
      Say no to pet store and online puppies.

    • Nicole says

      Dear FL shiba neighbor,
      This is animal abuse, pure and simple. Please be brave and call the ASPCA to report these people. Shibas should not be outside non-stop in the FL sun. Thanks so much for your kindness to the animals!

  29. Kris C says

    I have an almost 3 year old Shiba, Kit; she’s the baby and knows it Lol. She’s good for the most part except when it comes to other dogs or the outside yard. She does ok with my lab/border collie who I had when Kit got there, but she does not like any other dog. She will even walk up to them to investigate then growl and snarl at them. People and cats she’s fine with, but not other dogs. The worst was when my husky came home after having gone missing for 2 years. Kit would noy let her anywhere near me. Tasha- my husky, ended up going to live with my dad, which was fine bc he’s sick and she loves watching over him, but it broke my heart to finally have Tasha back and Kit be so mean to her. I also can’t leave her alone in the yard for even a minute, or if the person who is outside with her isn’t paying attention, she knows it and will find some way to escape. It’s ironic because I can walk her off leash no problem and she responds wonderfully to my voice commands (she doesn’t listen well to others though). But in the yard she will escape anytime she’s not being watched (and she even checks to see). Otherwise she’s incredible. I have some anxiety and PTSD issues and when I get worked up she will climb right in my lap n put her face in mine and start petting me with her paw (she does that when she wants attention too). It really is the sweetest thing though that she’s so in tune and doesn’t want me upset. I love my Shiba!

    • Anonymous says

      I have never heard or seen a shiba till my mom brought home this fuzzy fox. We’ve had her for about four years now and she’s ruin me for any other breed. Lucy, (my lil trouble maker) is one of the strangest animals I’ve ever seen lol. With her toys, she’ll chew out the eyes and wherever the squeaker part is till she rips it out. Or she’ll just sit and stare at me for twenty minutes. For all of her quackery, she’s my best friend and wouldn’t trade her for anything. While I’m here, quick question. Lucy has this weird thing, that if I say the word buddy she’ll go crazy. Not a bad crazy. Do any of you other shiba owners discovered a word that’ll set her/him off besides the obvious treat and outside?

  30. Heather says

    I don’t know why I haven’t stumbled upon your site before when I have been at my wits end and crying my head off looking for help and answers for my willful Shiba/Doxie mix. I rescued him, he had been with this no kill for 8 months because everyone was intimated by him. Your dog sounds so similar. I felt validated reading about him and your life together.

    I had the breed analysis done about a year after I got him to try to understand him better, almost 7 years later I am still working on that, but have learned a lot. It has taken so much patience and understand to realize he does not want me to shower him with love and affection like my Golden Retriever.

    There have been bites, both human, canine, and me. This never stops upsetting me and hurting me feelings. I try to defuse these situations ahead of time, but sometimes they come out of no where. Like you, my guy is very much influenced by my moods, anxiety level, etc., so I try hard to keep this in check as well as possible.

    I love, Harley, but this is the most challenging dog I have ever known or had (and he’s my 7th.) I work with two rescue groups and have seen lots of cases of dogs with problems, but it is worse when they are in your home. It can be exhausting and stressful. He is very lucky I adopted him or he may have been returned on day one!

    Harley is VERY cat like, and extremely vocal. I can tell the difference in a purr type happy noise, a playful growl, an alert, or an aggressive/dominant noise. He puts all others (humans and dogs) in their place, as this is HIS world, he’s just allowing them to live in it.

    Its good to know someone else out there understands.

    • shibashake says

      He puts all others (humans and dogs) in their place, as this is HIS world, he’s just allowing them to live in it.

      LOL! So true. I was really going nuts with Sephy in the beginning. He is such a stubborn guy, and still is, but at least now I know what to do.

      On the positive side, I learned a lot from him, in a very short time. I also learned to better control my own emotions, especially my temper. And he gave me lots of material to write about, which led to this site. You know what they say, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” 😀

    • Sarah says

      When I first got my shiba 1.5 years ago she was not an affectionate puppy so I would force her into cuddle time. (Haha) which I’m glad I did because she is so lovey!!! Anytime she sees me she’s in my lap, giving me kisses, loving on me, nothing like a cat…but I’m the only one she will do that with. She is a crazy dog but I love it. She is a great protector; she doesn’t like certain people and if we go to the park, if a stranger comes near me she right in front of me or in my lap.

      I’ve found that she likes baths…as long as I’m in the water with her, haha. We swim but I have to hold her or if we float in the pool she’ll lay on me.

      We have a chihuahua also, so she is great with all little dogs. She doesn’t care for bigger breads.

      Overall, something I read about other people’s dogs astound me. My shiba is different in some aspect! So don’t go thinking your shiba will be the same as another. They have big personalities! I think your shiba will reflect who you are on the inside, like a window to the best and worst parts of yourself lol. That’s been my experience!!

      Good Luck with your Shibas :)

  31. Sadie says

    I have a relatively young shiba (she’s about a year now) named Gabby that I rescued when she was just a little pup. To be honest, I didn’t do any prior research about the breed which is unlike me but I found her in a kill shelter and time was of the essence for my poor little Gabby. We already had 2 dogs ( a chi-wiener mix and German shepherd-husky mix ) and 3 cats who have turned a shy aloof shiba into an extremely social and happy dog. There’s only one issue. Gabby has begun to nab things off tables and dressers at night or when no one is home, taking them outside, and then proceeding to either hide or destroy them. Closing doors doesn’t deter the behavior as she just finds another place or object. I suspect that she’s not quite getting enough physical and/or mental stimulation. I’ve started walking her more, giving her more one on one play time, and will invest in some interactive toys next month when I go shopping. We live 3 hours (one way) from the nearest Wal-Mart, pet store, or training facility so getting professional help is next to impossible and I was wondering if you had any training tricks or advice to help back up us refocusing her energy? Or even just your thoughts on our predicament? Anything at all would be greatly appreciated! :)

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, counter/table surfing is a self-reinforcing behavior. Every time my dog jumps on a counter or table and finds something yummy to eat or fun to play with, he gets rewarded for the behavior with something new that he would never get otherwise. This will keep encouraging him to repeat the behavior.

      The only way that I know of to stop counter surfing, is to make sure that my dog never gets rewarded for it. When I am home, I supervise well, no-mark the behavior, and redirect my dog into doing something else (which he gets rewarded for). If he keeps trying to jump on the counter, then he is no longer allowed in the room or I put him briefly in a timeout. In this way, he learns that –
      Jumping on counter = Don’t get to be in the kitchen or lose freedom to roam in the house.

      When Sephy was young and still in training, I put him in his crate when I am not home. I am not away for long, so he just naps in his crate. I make sure to crate-train him beforehand, so that he enjoys crate time and is comfortable relaxing in there.

  32. jay says

    Im thinking about getting a Shiba innu but not sure. Gourgous dogs and I really want one. What do you think I should do???

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba Inu was a lot of work when I got him as a puppy. Shibas can be very stubborn and aloof which make them more difficult to train.
      More on why Shibas are difficult to train.

      I fell in love with the look of the breed and didn’t do enough research into their personality before I got Sephy. As a result, we had a really tough first 6 months and I had to put in a lot of time to learn to properly manage and handle him.
      More on my early experiences with Sephy.

      Now, when I am thinking about getting a new breed, I do a lot of research into the breed first. I want to make sure that the breed will fit well into my current environment, lifestyle, and level of training experience.

    • Steve says

      I have had a Sheba in my household for about 8 years. I adopted her when she was about 2 yrs. She is an extremely loyal dog and a very good companion. I would trust the so called good and bad of owning a Sheba Enu in that they are extremes but possible realities. The most important thing to consider is the patience and time you are willing to spend to have the type of personality in a dog that suits you. The Sheba is definitely and independent dog , but lovable to a fault :)

  33. sam says

    Im getting a Shiba puppy this weekend. Thank you for the info its really helpful
    trying to figure out what her size will be do you have any pics of sephy when he was 8 weeks old.. It would really help

    • samantha says

      Thank you so much. Well I picked up Inori on Saturday its been 2 days.

      She is amazing, guessing since she’s 8 weeks old she still sleeps quite a lot most of the time really :)
      But when awake wow she sure has the energy you were so right about the biting part.

      Its been snowing here so having a bit of an issue getting her too stay out long enough to potty. She’s not fond of the snow any suggestions??

      Thank you so much I keep reading all your blogs over to make sure I bring her up in a happy home.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new puppy!

      We don’t have snow here, but even with rain, Sephy does not like getting his paws wet. I think it is a ‘Shiba thing’. 😀 The only exception is when he is having fun playing with other dogs, then jumping in puddles is suddenly no problem.

      With Sephy, we stay out for a few minutes and if he does not need to go, we come back in. If it looks like he needs to go again, then I take him out again. Sephy was very good about going to the door when he needed to go, so usually he would go right away and then come back in if it is raining. The other alternative is to make it fun for him outside, so he will want to stay outside, but that can be difficult to do.

      Sephy doesn’t like wearing anything and it doesn’t get very cold here, so this is not something that we tried, but some people use dog shoes and a dog coat.

      Big hugs to Inori!

  34. Laura says

    Love the article, it was just you were describing my Bear, he is a six year old male. I love him like no other but this breed is definitely not for most people. Even after ALOT of training, he still lacks manners with strangers, I’ve gotten used to the look of horror when I tell strangers he doesn’t like to be pet (at least by you) or that he can be funny with some dogs (there are a few of his best buddies that he drag his ass going past their house hoping for a glimpse of them available for a good tussle, a lot of others that he will show his alpha). A lot of my friends and family don’t get it, they just think Bear is a bad dog. I see the good, cherish the awesome and avoid situations that bring out the bad. I fully embrace the responsibilities and rewards of having this little guy that I chose as my companion.

    • shibashake says

      I see the good, cherish the awesome and avoid situations that bring out the bad. I fully embrace the responsibilities and rewards of having this little guy that I chose as my companion.

      So very well said! Bear is a lucky guy. 😀

  35. Anonymous says

    Mark says,
    Feb. 2, 2015 at 11:415 P.M.
    I just lost Sadie, who I had for 16 yrs., last month. She was a shiba/chow mix of about 21 yrs. of age. She was a well behaved girl that loved certain types of grass to graze in, and was walked twice a day up until the last year and a half or so. As she matured, I was more able to walk her without a leash than earlier on. She had the kindest heart I have ever known, and I look forward to owning another shiba soon! I miss my girl very much!

  36. Phyllis says

    Well this sure has been an enjoyable blog! We have 2 crazy Shibas, a 7 year old super sized male, Kimo, and a 2 year old standard sized sesame female, Posey.
    Kimo was a handful for several years with all kinds of mischievous tales to his life, but has settled into a easy going mature good natured guy… Posey on the other hand has a long way to go! What a goof off! She is just starting to settle down but has tricks under her collar every day! She thinks she owns us all and is relentless towards our old gentleman Kimo. With her bright eyes, pushy ways and incredibly over done scream she grabs everyone’s attention in one way or the other. We can’t imagine our home without our two fur balls of fun! I have never known any set of dogs more excited to see us arrive home at the end of a day as these two! Good luck to all our fellow Shiba owners, or should I say companions to the dogs that own our house! Haha

  37. says

    I have absolutely loved all your blog articles! I wish to get a Shiba as they are such a character & a half! I’ve never seen one in person but I wish to soon. I hope on my bday (Apr 12) I get my shiba. Thank you for all the tips & opinions!

  38. Brandy says

    I have fallen in love with your blog! I was researching ways to help my little furball, Optimus Prime (Opie) – also a Shiba – be a little less…. dog aggressive when I stumbled upon your blog. It’s amazingly well written, and it’s so funny to see how similar your Sephy’s nature is to my Opie’s. Shibas are a very special breed, but they are definitely not for everyone. I love that you highlight all of the wonderful things that make them so wonderful, but also very candidly address the challenges that may make them not the best for everyone. My Opie is true to the breed – a brilliant, sly little mountain puppy (we climb the local Wasatch mountains together – have summitted many peaks, and every time we get to the top, people ask if she made it all the way – she can scale the rocks like no dog I’ve ever seen before!). Thanks for such a fun blog!!!

  39. Denise says

    We just got our Shiba about 2 weeks ago and he is a hyper one. In the past week he has started nipping at the feet and ankles of my 9 and 14 year olds. They can’t walk around the house without him trying to bite them. Any suggestions on how we can get him to stop? We aren’t sure if he thinks they are playing with him or if he feels threatened for some reason. Neither of them have done anything to him for him to react this at towards them. Any advice is appreciated.

    • shibashake says

      Dogs are very attuned to detecting motion. Usually motion, especially fast motion, is going to trigger a dog’s instinct to chase.

      Dogs are cursorial predators, meaning that they chase down their prey. The dog’s visual system is highly attuned to detecting movement. The slightest motion often triggers a dog to give chase. High-pitched squealing sounds, like those a prey animal makes when frightened or injured, can also trigger an attack.

      One time at the dog park, I started jogging to get to my dog, and this triggered a bunch of dogs to chase me. I stop jogging right away and make sure never to do that anymore. 😀

      With Sephy, I also had him on a light lead when he was young and still in-training. I only did this under supervision and only with a regular flat collar or harness (never aversive collars). In this way I can easily control him and quickly stop him from running or chasing when necessary. I always supervise him closely when he is around children, even today.

      Also, Shibas can be a very mouthy breed. When Sephy was young his mouth was all over me.
      More on how I train my puppy to control his bites.
      More on how I teach my puppy self-control.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and situation are different. Given that there are children in the house, it is probably a good idea to consult with a good professional trainer.

    • Lisa says

      Talk to your Vet first. My brother’s dog had an undetected bladder infection!! We wiped a wet spot with paper towels, then blotted it while damp to where we wanted our dogs to properly go potty. Same with poop! They have a doggy door to a dog run, so their “scent” was there & praised each time they chose wisely! Also watch for a pattern after eating or drinking. Take your dog every hour to the potty area & eventually you get them in a routine of using it!! One of our dogs wouldn’t go if we watched so we had to pretend we were busy doing something else for her “privacy”… Lol. Good Luck & don’t yell at your dog. Frustrating but yelling just makes them frighten YOU!!

    • shibashake says

      Has he been to the vet for a check-up? As Lisa says, the problem can sometimes be due to a physical issue.

      With potty training my puppy, supervision is key. I *do not* let my puppy roam about unsupervised until he is fully potty trained.
      How I potty trained my puppy.

  40. Lisa says

    Our white Shiba is almost 9. We bought her as a 2 month old puppy & a cockapoo at the same time. They are 6 days apart in age.
    I suggest lots of touching and holding while a puppy to get them used to it. Yes, she hated it at first, but would you give up on a child that refused you loving on them?? I started slowly with a collar taking it off quickly, praising, then longer each time. Invest in a good harness. Our dogs love them & it’s a joy for us. Our dogs eat out of the same bowl & are best friends. We have not had many anxiety issues-perhaps since they have each other. I have never heard the scream & if our Shiba barks I get up because it’s for a good reason! She is still very cat like & I respectfully give her space to be independent. Between her sister & the humans, she has learned it’s more fun to be social. She is very very sensitive to loud noises or voices. Remember this for training or if you have a loud family. When we turn the game on or have people over, she gets uncomfortable. In advance, I exercise her in the yard so she is ready to curl up on her bed.
    Simply love your incredible dog. My girl stretches out her rear leg & does this kick in the air a few times when she comes to greet me. My crazy dog! We spent over $6,000 two years ago for a tiny skin cancer bump on her upper leg. She is doing great & I would do anything for her-even if she shuns kisses when I want to give them to her! All dogs need respect, care and boundaries. I NEVER trust my dogs with babies or little children including my own. Sometimes even other adults. Shibas tails are very sensitive & it seems to be natural for some people to come up to my dog & try to feel it or straighten it!!
    I could go on & on about what worked for us, but the common theme is spend time getting to know your dog & vice versa. Ours was super quick to train & knows more than my previous dog breeds. I only use Newman’s treats & Merrick’s Texas Toothpicks because they are natural on my girls sensitive stomach. The toothpicks are great for biting issues & keep their teeth tarter free! Natural dog food keeps her coat nice & less itchy when shedding. Be patient & kill them with kindness-you will be rewarded with Shiba love!
    P.S.-they are very accepting of lots of affection when very,very sleepy

  41. Jennifer says

    Hello! I’ve wanted a Shiba for years and we are finally picking up a pup next week! He’ll be 6 weeks old. I admire their good looks as well as their personality. I like that they are independent. I’m anxious to get him but also want to make sure I can make him happy. I hope to understand his needs/wants and discipline him properly. Thanks for the blog and all of the comments. It’s nice to read through them. My conclusion is that although there are a few consistent traits, many people seem to offer a variety of characteristics (some only want attention when they’re ready while some like to be lap dogs, some must be on a leash while some are fine off of the leach, etc.). Any tips you can provide for us would be greatly appreciated. We don’t have any other dogs at this time, no kids yet, just my boyfriend and I. I like to run and we’re active so I’m sure he’ll get a lot of exercise and activity. I hope that we can introduce him regularly to friends and family where he can get used to them so he isn’t skittish around them. Many family members had dogs too – a Bassett, Lab, and Corgi to name a few. I hope our new pup can get along with them.
    I want to provide him with a regular schedule. I think that’s helpful when training and setting expectations. Timing meals, potty training, our work schedule, etc. Here are our thoughts – please provide any feedback you may have: We both work day jobs 9-5. We plan to take him out and feed him in the morning, again mid-day, and again when we get home form work. I’ve thought about doggie day care for 1-2 days per week (when he’s old enough) to socialize with other dogs and not be alone during the day, but after reading some comments, it may not be a good idea for him.
    Do you have any suggestions on food, too? Should we get him a typical puppy food and feed half a cup 3x a day? For how long until you increase the portion size?
    Eventually I’d love him to learn to walk off the leash, (all of the dogs I’ve grown up with were able to do that once no longer puppy age) but how do you even try that without chancing him running away at some point?
    Thank you so much for this blog and everyone’s contributions. Again, any help/suggestions are so much appreciated!! I’m sure we’ll have more questions int he upcoming months :)

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming Shiba puppy!

      I think that socialization is key, especially for a Shiba. I made a bunch of mistakes with Sephy when he was young, but we also tried our hardest to properly socialize him, and I think it did a lot with helping him to be more calm and relaxed in new situations, as well as with people and dogs.
      ASPCA article on puppy socialization.
      My experiences with dog socialization.

      For Lara (our youngest dog), we fed her Wellness puppy food when she was young. I did a lot of frozen Kongs with her, because it gives her something to do and helps to keep her engaged. A young puppy is always very active, energetic, and curious, so keeping a puppy engaged in positive, structured activities is always a challenge, at the start.
      More on how I pick food for my dogs.
      More on how I potty trained my puppy.

      This ASPCA article has some good information on recall training. However, I do not let Sephy off-leash in non-enclosed areas. He will usually stay close to his people, but he is also curious and stubborn. In an interesting environment, his recall becomes non-existent, and he will go up to other dogs and people, which is not really fair, especially to dogs who are on-leash and may not like a strange dog coming up and invading their space. Sephy thinks that everyone should be honored by his awesome Shiba presence. 😀

      Take lots of pictures and give your Shiba pup a big hug from me when you get him!

  42. 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?

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

      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.

      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. 😀 Three things were helpful in terms of controlling his biting – bite inhibition training, redirection, and teaching him self-control.

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

  45. 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.

  46. 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. 😀

      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. 😀

    • Anonymous says

      YES THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DO!!! I thought it would wear them out but trying to get them to stop is like playing. They crave attention so the trick is to allow them to see you acknowledge them but make it clear you are ignoring them. Because if they think yu are just flat out not paying attention they will do things they know agitate you and you’re not going to catch them lol. Give them a quick glance and walk away. The running will lessen but you have to stay calm. Because they will run so fast that they will trample over anything.

  47. 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.

  48. 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!

  49. 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 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.

  50. 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.


  51. 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.

  52. 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)

  53. 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. 😀

      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. 😀

    • 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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…’s a very difficult breed to own and I think I shall opt for a mixed breed dog, definitely a rescue. Maureen

  57. Anonymous says


    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.

      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.

    • 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.

  58. 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

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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. 😀

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

  62. claude says

    I own a Shibu for the last 4 years after having two Miniature Schnauzer. Outside of always (almost) loosing his coat he’s a very good dog. I take mine in the woods during winter times without leash and he never try to run away in fact as soon as he didm,T see me he’s coming back at the speed of sound!

    • Nhat Dang says

      We got our second Shiba named Kiba about three years ago after the tragic death of our first Shiba, Mochi, that made my daughter cried for hours. She had let this dog to play outside in the fenced backyard. Later she got a call from the vet hospital said that Mochi had died from the car accident. Actually this was not the first time this dog ran away. When we came to the vet hospital the people said the driver that hit Mochi carried him here. Since his collar had his name and our phone number so the hospital called my daughter. We presumed Mochi had climbed over the fence and crossed the busy street not too far from our home.
      Kiba is a handsome dog but also a good escape artist. But we watch him more closely. He likes to cruise with us in our car so when he ran away we followed him in the car and just opened the door and he just jumped right in. Now he has been with us for so long and know the rule so escaping is not a fun thing to do!

  63. Jef says

    In 2005 my wife gave me the best Father’s Day present: Miska, my red and white Siberian Husky. If I had know how much I love huskies, this is the only breed of dog I would have ever had. While Miska isn’t very sociable with strangers, she loves her family very much is always there to comfort any of us that are down.

  64. SammichesPsychMeds says

    We have two Shibas, a black and tan and a white sesame, and though I love them dearly, I’ll never get this breed again. The shedding and molting is too much to handle. They can lose what seems like pounds of fur even after a professional grooming. Also, mine pee in my house. Everywhere. Two seconds after I let them out, they pee. I have not noticed them caring too much about it, either. Drives me crazy. They are very cat-like, though, and keep to themselves, especially when they were younger. Now that they’re getting old (10 years), my male likes to come sit next to my bed or at my feet when I go to sleep and again in the morning. They are also extremely excited when we come home and occasionally love to play with their toys. They do have killer teeth, though, and while both are very gentle with us and our kids (took a bit for them to get used to the kids), they will rip apart toys labeled for big, aggressive breeds in days. They were bouncing and darting balls of energy when they were younger and would run around and around and around the house without abandon. Now they lay around most days. My female defies most norms of the breed when it comes to personality. She loves attention, especially from strangers, and “talks” and “sings” to us regularly. My male rarely makes a sound unless he hears a noise or sees someone outside. Very interesting pets indeed.

  65. Anonymous says

    I have been trying to persuade my parents to get a shiba inu for a while now. I have a younger brother and sister ( 6 and 4 respectively) and we own a very mellow four year old golden Labrador called jasper if I were to get a shiba would your recommend adopting a shiba or raising one from a puppy? I do realise how much of a handful these dogs can be but I am completely prepared to spend the time to properly train one if get one.

    • shibashake says

      I think it would depend on the adult Shiba, his temperament, past experiences, training, etc. An adult dog with a calm temperament, that is already trained, well socialized, confident, and balanced will be a lot easier to handle than a new puppy. However, finding such an adult dog will be a challenge.

      My Shiba puppy was extremely mouthy, stubborn, high energy, and the opposite of mellow. 😀 As a breed, I think Shibas are known for their mouthiness, which is why they may not be the best fit in a household with young children.

      Shibas are also known for their aloofness, and may not be very tolerant of being petted roughly on the head, getting their tails pulled or stepped on, etc. After much training, my Shiba is more affectionate and tolerant now, but he is still a lot less so when compared to my Huskies.

      More on Shibas and why they can be difficult dogs to train.

    • SammichesPsychMeds says

      If you’re going to get Shibas and plan on them coexisting with little kids, I’d be sure to tug at their ears and tails a lot when they’re puppies. This is what we did with ours because we knew we wanted kids some day and it really helped when our children came along. They weren’t as tolerant with our first son, but by the time our second son came around, they were fine.

  66. BruceB says

    I posted here last year, about my two Shibas, Sebastian and Copper, and my Siberians. I don’t have any photos online of the gang, but 8 Siberians ( I am in a Siberian Rescue—reason for having many), and 2 Shibas keep me busy.

    This is a great informative, and humorous website about the little Shiba alligators!

    Very interesting too, reading all the Shiba owners comments, I was very lucky, the family that had Sebastian and Copper socialized them well….but the “Real” Shiba Inu comes out in them from time to time! Haha

    Best to you and all the Shiba fans out there!

    • shibashake says

      Hey Bruce, Glad to hear that everything is going well with your furry gang! 😀

    • Paula says

      Thanks for posting. We have friends with a seven-year-old Shibu that they need to foster for a while due to a health emergency. We are considering taking Pele in, but not sure that our Maine coon and it will be a good mix. He’s always been a delightful pup at their house when we going to visit, but not sure what changing his environment will do to his personality. Not sure how he would tolerate being separated from his favorite owner, but it this point there isn’t another option.

      .Fun to read everyone else’s stories and get an idea of what we could be taking on.

  67. nick marak says

    My shiba inu mix is like living with a small devil in dog form. He bites everyone I have ever met. your better off with a hamster.

  68. nick marak says

    my shiba inu mix is awful. He scratches up every door i own. he always poops in the house and bites anyone one he doesnt know…dont get one

  69. Anavi says

    We love our puppy Nyko to death. He has the best personality with other dogs as well as humans. I walk him twice a day for about two hours and we often visit dog parks or go hiking. His high energy levels never got to me but I do think that people who are looking for a calm companion should either adopt older Shiba or look into other breeds.

  70. Snickitty says

    OMG are shibas as bad as all the above comments? I thought I wanted a shiba but now I’m not so sure. I located a 5 year old male retired breeder & fell in love with his picture. He’s black & tan and looks like a miniature husky.
    The breeder said he is a sweet boy who loves everyone. But he has been raised in a kennel and she says has a “strong prey drive”. I have a cat & she said she didn’t think he would be very nice to a cat. She said they are very independent, stubborn dogs. I have a 3 year old female rhodesian ridgeback that I wanted to find her a friend. She is very independent, strong willed & stubborn, but she doesn’t sound as bad as a shiba. She is very destructive, even at 3 years old. Has been to 2 obedience classes and the only thing she can do is “sit” if I have a treat to give her, So I’m very discouraged, maybe a shiba is not the breed for me. Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated. I haven’t met the shiba, he is about 800 miles away from me.
    Thank you.

    • shibashake says

      Sephy is very strong-willed and stubborn. He prefers playing and interacting with easy-going dogs who just like to play. He will not back down from a challenge, so he does not get along with dominant dogs. For a second dog, I was very careful to pick one that is more easy-going and submissive in nature.

      What kind of dogs does your Ridgeback enjoy playing with? What energy level? What type of temperament? What size?

      The Shiba Inu Forum is also a good place to visit for a look at what various people think of their Shiba.

    • Erika says

      No, really they’re not. As with any dog, shibas have general “breed trends” but are all their individual being as well. I was concerned when I got my Shiba, Sabrina, but I talked to the breeder previously about my concerns and she suggested the perfect dog for our family! Sabrina was 4 years old when we got her, which may have had something to do with it, and the breeder told us that her personality was calm and extremely mellow. We thought she was exaggerating, but that wasn’t the case at all! Sabrina is active, but if we don’t take her out on walks because we’re too busy, she just sleeps around the house. We don’t give her too many toys (just regular bones and balls) and she plays with them when she’s in the mood. She’s very cuddly – she likes being picked up and handled, and she’ll sit on our feet until we pet her. She’s very clean, and very independent when she sees that we’re too busy. She’ll occasionally show her attitude by sitting with her back turned towards us, but if you punish bad behavior by ignoring them, Shibas are such attention-loving dogs that they’ll learn very quickly. She trots perfectly by our side on walks after several times training her to do so. The cons are that 1) she’s VERY stubborn – it’s difficult to get her to do something she’s set against doing. But if you assert your dominance, she’ll listen. 2) she’s a very picky eater, and doesn’t eat a lot, so we’re constantly thinking of new things to mix in with the dog food to make her eat it. Mind you, this is for Sabrina in particular, but it should comfort you that I have experienced NONE of the horrors that shibashake has. All dogs are different, just like people, so you should state your needs to the breeder and enquire about your dog’s personality, and meet him/her prior to purchasing. Good luck!

  71. Alison Camon says

    I just rescued (at Christmas) a Shiba mix, and I love her to death. She is so agile I hope to teach her to catch a frisbee if this winter ever ends. She loves to walk on her hind legs so much, that she is almost a bi-ped. I am not sure what she is mixed with, but the quirks listed above, definitely fit her personality.

    Pula Kulay is a happy little girl !!

    • shibashake says

      I am glad you both found each other! It is always great to hear happy dog stories, and doubly so for rescue dogs. 😀 Big hugs to your Shiba girl!

  72. Phyllis says

    Just found your website. It’s wonderful. Great Articles. I’ve just taken on a Shiba inu mix(?) around 31/2. Her paperwork states shepard mix but I don’t see it. Two people have told me she is shiba inu so the jury is out on that. I knew she was stubborn and but very smart. Had her crate trained in 3 days. As I read your article on the good, bad and quirky I made so many connections. She is a cuddler but doesn’t like me grooming her. She really has been a delight. I also have a male german shepard and a male Rottweiler much older than her. Only problem I’ve encountered is she was an only dog in former home and now has to share me, so we’ve had a few instances of growling when the boys are getting attention from me, overall she appears to like the boys.

    • shibashake says

      Four paws up for helping out a dog in need! She sounds like a very interesting and lovely girl. I am glad she has found such a happy home. 😀

      In terms of sharing, what has helped with my dogs is to set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules. I supervise them during play, meals, and more, and make sure that everyone follows the rules. One important rule is “no stealing”, and that includes affection from people as well.

      My Husky will sometimes try to push Shiba aside to get more affection, and if she does that I no-mark and give her an alternate command, e.g. Down (in a specific location). If she does it, then I reward her by giving them both affection and some kibble. If she ignores me and continues to push others aside, then I body block her away from Shiba and she does not get anything. If she persists and keeps pushing, then I say “Timeout” and put her temporarily in a safe timeout area.

      In this way, she learns that she gets what she wants (affection) by following commands and *not* by pushing. If she pushes, she doesn’t get any affection and may also end up temporarily losing her freedom.

      I also try to reward them more and with better stuff when they are calm together. I find group obedience training to be useful with my dogs because they are together around me, and working together for food, affection, and more. I try to create as many positive together-experiences as I can, while at the same time minimizing conflicts.

      Here is more on what I do with my dogs.

      I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all my dogs. It is useful for my Shiba because it provides him with a certain amount of structure, and he learns that he has to work for the things that he wants.

      Big hugs to your furry gang!

  73. Lindsey Crummett says

    Hi there, I live in New Zealand and my fiance and I have a beautiful 2 year old shiba girl. She absolutely lights up our lives. We had her in puppy classes as early as we could, and have been consistent with training. She is such a good girl in almost every way- she never destroys anything in our house, never has accidents inside, and is even pretty darn good (for a shiba) at coming back when called at the beach where we let her off leash regularly.

    So her one major problem…. she is extremely anxious (verging on agressive if approached) with children. We don’t have children, but she’s been regularly exposed to my niece who was a baby when we first got her. She’s ok with my niece, but still not very tolerant. She is extremely (unusually for a shiba) affectionate and cuddly most of the time with my fiance and I. Sorry, I didn’t know where else to go, but I thought I might ask here and get advice from other shiba owners. I really want to help her become less anxious around children, especially since we might be having one of our own in the not too distant future.

    Thank you in advance for any and all advice. So far we’ve tried giving her treats and having children give her treats… she seems to forget quickly. I’m getting so worried! We would never in a million years give her away, so we have to find a solution! Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      With my Shiba, desensitization exercises helped him to be more calm around people. I start small, go very slowly, and make sure to always keep things positive and safe.

      Here is an article from the ASPCA on dogs and children-

      You may also want to post your question in the Shiba Inu Forum. There are many veteran Shiba Inu lovers there.

    • Chrissy says

      I also have a Shiba bitch who though fine with adults was terribly fearful of children but I worked on persistent and most importantly ‘regular’ desensitisation with children to good effect. My neighbour has three children aged four, seven and ten and having explained my situation enlisted their help. EVERY day after school they would come into the house and completely ignore Ila. After about fifteen minutes I’d put the dogs on leads and we’d go out around the block for a walk passing Ila’s lead to the eldest child as soon as she was relaxed. She didn’t even notice then we’d come home and the kids would all give a treat to Ila before leaving. After about three weeks, she would greet their arrival and though still wary of noisy children, she’s a million times better and now I deliberately sit opposite a school playground for over ten mins every day during playtime so she’s not so anxious about their noises. It’s the regularity that’s important. Hope this helps.

    • shibashake says

      Great story Chrissy. I am also a big fan of desensitization, and you are absolutely right, regularity is key.

    • shibashake says

      I think it will depend a lot on you, your sapiens, and the temperament of your new Shiba sister.

      Shibas can be very stubborn and strong willed, so you may have to be more tolerant and accommodating. 😉

      What is your play style? What types of dogs do you currently like playing with? Are you ok with sharing your toys, treats, bed? What is the personality of your current favorite dog friends?

      When we were thinking of adding to the family, here are some of the things that we considered-

  74. Sarah says

    At first, when I read your story before getting our pup, I was kind of nervous; we read a lot about shibas, we knew how stubborn they can be (even a guy on the street with his own shiba told me :”you know they’re really stubborn, right”?), difficult even, and I wasn’t quite sure of how I would handle his peculiar personality.

    Then we met Mikko. When we left the breeder, who’s been breeding shibas for a long time, she told us that we had “a nice little dog”. Even the dog trainer said we had no major issues with the puppy, besides being uncomfortable around other dogs (in dog parks, when you are not quite aware of other dog’s behavior), whining for attention in the middle of the night, or bitting me all the time over its first 4 months. He then lost his teeth and the situation got a little better. He got clean very soon, never broke anything (yet, fingers crossed, but he chewed a step of our stairs, nothing that a children safety gate can’t handle), is really sociable with other people (in his first months, we were told that a puppy needed to see at least 100 people to be comfortable around them; we did so with Mikko, bringing him to my family gatherings with more than 70 people; everyone loved him and was very surprise by how little he would bark). He is now in his teenager phase and challenges a bit more our authority (he is not accepting our commands very often, but when calm and submissive, everything is a bit easier)

    My point was, and the trainer told us, that yes there are a few characteristics that are mostly common with a specific breed, but never forget the personality of your own dog. In our case, knowing what shibas are known for, and their personality gave us additional tools on understanding our puppy, and eventually training him the right way. We don’t have a problematic dog, but we know that we should never loose our temper with him, and repeat everything until he understands that we are the ones in control, not him.

    Don’t get discouraged: shibas may be a handful, but nothing that time, patience (A LOT OF PATIENCE) and attention can’t cure! Make sure to ALWAYS keep your pup in check in his first months, letting him know what he can and cannot chew on, and setting strict boundaries. And before getting a shiba, know that he will never be as easygoing and soft as, let say, a Golden Retriever or a Labrador, and be ok with it. If not, shibas may not be the right dogs for you.

  75. says

    Hello Shiba Inu lovers, could you please help me find a home for this beautiful Shina Ibu/Wesh Corgi Cagney. He is very beautiful, playful in this video when the shelter first took him in. Now a month later, he is unhappy, not well treated, andhe is at defense. The shelter did not pass him on his temp test,saying he is aggressive. Please see this video, and this portrait when he first arrived, so beuautiful and happy, and then the most recent is the very sad eyes… they reach into your soul,.so nigh after night, I am looking for a good home for him…a forever home, where he will need to be kept in a separated area, for a while, until he was comfortable…in his enviorment. You can see his previous link here:
    He only has until next Monday, or he will be put to sleep. I am networking him on facebook, follow that link w his sad eyes, click on the photo, and you can see we raised $200.00 in pledges for this handsome boy…if you can adopt him, we will be looking for a rescue or if you know a rescue, a 105c rescue, they can pull from this shelter, if you are not in this area, this boy CAGNEY can fly across the country to find his forever family, person or persons..if you love animals and understand the countless hours, networking,,then you wont let him die…please pass the word, and network..lets not let him be killed.
    They will put him to sleep at the shelter, if he can not be rescued.

  76. Jerry says

    Hello and thank you for the very informative site and continued upkeep. I have grown up w/ dogs my entire life (probably had 7 different total from early childhood to high school graduation). For some reason also, animals seem naturally drawn to me and always seem to interact w/ me very well. Even my girlfriend’s dog hated every single male she was around and sometimes for weeks. When we first met, the dog wouldn’t come near me and barked nonstop until I left. The second time, about 5 minutes of barking, a couple treats, and I was teaching her how to give high fives. I have rarely seen a shiba but we both decided we wanted one. We have no animals except a fish which is easy to relocate ( : ) ) and we are a normal, work for a living couple. As a result, we will not be home many hours of the day during the week. I have thought about getting a 4×4 ft pen or maybe even bigger to keep the dog in when not home. How do they generally handle those?? I feel I could train this animal well as I’ve always had pretty good luck in doing this.

    I don’t feel like there’s much else I could ask as I’ve read a lot of these comments and they’ve pretty much answered all questions. Basically, what I can see is, when you get this dog, expect it to have the personality of a spoiled teenage girl and handle it accordingly LOL. Would that be accurate? These dogs just intrigued me. Probably b/c I enjoy challenges and this seems like it may be one. I see things about all dogs being this way or that way but I feel that training is absolutely crucial throughout a dog’s life, especially younger. If you train it well, then it shouldn’t be as much of a problem.

    Sorry for my rambling LOL. Any additional comments, info, etc would be appreciated.

    • Vic says

      We used to crate our shiba when she was a puppy. one day, my wife came home and found the puppy roaming around the living room. apparently she had climbed to the top of the crate, pushed the top open and climbed out. we still crated her after than but eventually we let her roam the house when we are at work and for the most part, she just sleeps and waits for us to get home before she starts up her antics. one long walk and some play time usually takes care of a her energy.

      just an fyi:
      did not have a dog growing up, my wife did, but i really love having our shiba around (eventho the dog probably views my wife as alpha, then herself as beta, then me as omega)

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jerry,

      Yeah, Shibas can be really wonderful dogs and they are very loyal.

      I have thought about getting a 4×4 ft pen or maybe even bigger to keep the dog in when not home. How do they generally handle those??

      When Sephy was a puppy, he had some separation anxiety. He had two siblings, and lived with his mother and uncle, so being alone in a new home, was somewhat stressful for him. In the beginning, what seemed to work best for Sephy was to *very slowly* get him used to alone time.

      I would start with very short periods of alone time (seconds) and practice that many times throughout the day. Then, I would slowly build up from there. Otherwise, there would be Shiba screaming and the neighbors would not be very happy. 😀

      I also slowly desensitized him to his crate and pen, so he would learn to view them as positive places where he could relax and rest.

      I have found that a new puppy needs *a lot* of attention, supervision, and training. My partner took time off work to help with puppy Sephy, and we also got help from trainers and a dog walker (after Sephy was fully vaccinated). As Sephy got older, he became more independent and together with training, is now ok with longer periods of alone time. However, he still likes having a very fixed routine and a consistent set of rules. Daily exercise and structured activity are also very important for him.

      Some Shiba breeders will also place adult dogs who are done with showing in homes. That sometimes can work out very well, and the puppy stage is already taken care of.

      Hope this helps and good luck with your upcoming puppy!

  77. Julia says

    As mentioned previously, shibas are cat-like. They like people, but they don’t want to be told what to do directly. To get a shiba to behave, its all about setting the routine and norm – and not challenging them directly all the time. Same thing with physical contact – it has to be mutually agreed to, you can’t just pick up a shibe & cuddle. Avoid the direct challenge.

    That said, my shibas love people – they watch people more than other dogs. Shibas like to hang out with their owners & do thing outdoors ( hiking is their ultimate dream activity). They are often dog aggresive – i think.more often than people aggressive.

    That said, they are dogs and not cats, so obedience training works. Find a trainer that likes primitive breeds. My shibas are much more responsive to verbal requests than the cats ever were.

    One quality that hasn’t been mentioned is that a shiba may have incredible prey drive. One of my two shibas has caught three small animals while on a six foot leash.- shrew, grey sqirrel, and a rat This dog is extremely fast going after a target.

    If you want a strictly obedient dog, a shiba is not the dog for you. If you want a baby, again not a shiba. But if you want a dog that fits into your routine, and your routine includes some walks and outdoor time, a shiba can be superb!

  78. Chrissy says

    If you google the words trendy shiba inu and click on images – that’s my boy!! The handsome little chap in a bow tie on my garden table is Arthur!!! :0)

    • shibashake says

      Haha – I love the bow-tie! Arthur looks very classy, proud, and distinguished! I really want to add in a monocle and a hat. 😀

  79. Poppa Bear says

    Love your insights, we got Kage at 17 months from a breeder that was hoping to show him. He could not as Kage had one ball fall to drop and can not be shown or bred. We had Kage fixed 5 weeks ago. We have seen marked improvement in his tendency to try and dominate everything and he will now accept being around other dogs although not too close. Kage loves people, all people, little people big people just kisses everyone. Just a happy little guy that has lots of energy. We are retired so we are home a lot but we do leave him every day for up to 2 to 4 hours, he has the run of the house and has never been bad. We have cameras watching him and he either plays with his toys or lays on the sofa waiting for us to come home. He was fully housebroken when we got him and he sleeps in the living room all night and never makes a sound. The only quirky thing we have seen is everyday about 4pm he starts with a fast pace around the house and starts to cry, we ignore him and he stops after about 2 to 5 minutes…… There is one other thing we see, we call it the berserk mode, a couple of times a week he will just start to run really fast up and down the hallway for about 5 minutes, then he just lays down and goes to sleep… He is a joy to have, much like our Akitas of past but different in some ways. He is every bit a BIG dog in a small package.

  80. Chrissy says

    Have you heard of the ‘Yellow Ribbon’ scheme for space dogs in the UK ie my dog needs a bit of space from your dog?
    It’s just about to go National and is a great idea. All you do is tie a yellow ribbon to your dogs collar and that tells other dog owners to control their dogs and give your dog a bit of space. See:

    • shibashake says

      That is interesting and a good idea. Over in my neighborhood though, it would be a great improvement if people would just keep unsupervised dogs and dogs with no-recall, on-leash or properly secured. There are leash laws, but some people feel that they are above such things.

      Today, we got charged by a Pit Bull. He was a very friendly dog, and luckily, a couple of people were out and came over to help and secure the dog. The owner, however, was nowhere in sight.

  81. Chrissy says

    I loved reading this as it made me laugh and rang soooo many bells! I live with two beautiful Shiba’s. Ila; a beautiful, sensitive, gentle little girl of four who doesn’t have a bad bone in her body but is a consummate thief of anything that is mine and Arthur, whose official title is “Arthur of Arrogant”(also four). He’s incredibly handsome and though soft as butter with me and loves people, he’s a little monster with other dogs, vets, groomers or anybody who thinks they can impose anything on him he hasn’t asked for! An open door is a personal invitation and getting his own way is in the contract. I’ve worked with rescue dogs all my life, mostly German Shepherds and Leonbergers so ‘know’ dogs but Arthur has been by far my most challenging housemate ever, not least because I have never met a dog as intelligent as him. He has an enormous vocabulary, which means he understands general conversation and can ‘read’ people/situations with ease, always one step ahead of everybody e.g. if I’m looking for my glasses, he runs and fetches them without my ever having said a word :0) Once he screamed the whole park down because he stepped in another dogs poo and he wouldn’t take another step until I’d cleaned his foot for him!
    I love both my Shiba’s to death but they certainly aren’t for the fainthearted or inexperienced dog owners. A woman once said of Arthur; “Good job he’s attached to you or I’d take him home” to which I replied, “That’s Ok, tomorrow you’d be looking for me to give him back!!” lol

    • shibashake says

      Once he screamed the whole park down because he stepped in another dogs poo and he wouldn’t take another step until I’d cleaned his foot for him!

      LOL! Gotta love Shibas! Sephy did the same thing when he stubbed his toe on a small hole in the park grounds. They have such a unique and special personality.

      A woman once said of Arthur; “Good job he’s attached to you or I’d take him home” to which I replied, “That’s Ok, tomorrow you’d be looking for me to give him back!!”

      Hahaha, we say the same thing about Sephy. In truth tho, most Shibas *demand* love and devotion from their owners, and they get it! 😀

      Big hugs to your furry pair.

  82. Shiba Clan says

    We have three Shiba’s two male one female. Best companions we have ever had. They do have there moments and are unbelievably smart.

    Great article about a wonderful breed.

  83. stephanie says

    Thank you so much this website and how much time it must have taken to do! We adopted our shiba at 6 months old after the original owner (who had purchased her from a breeder) decided she couldn’t handle the biting and the struggles that came with a shiba puppy. It’s been a LOT of work taking a puppy that bit with extreme aggression if she didn’t like you adjusting her leash or being touched at all, let alone handled. But with many hours with our trainer, and with the help of your site, I can say that now, six months later, she is a very good dog, and we enjoy having her very much. :) For any future owners- you get back what you put into it! Thank you!

  84. David says

    We have an 18 month old female and an 11 week old male. Most of this article is right on the money with my female. She is a princess. BUT, such a joy and a doll! She is not a cuddling dog, but since we got the new puppy, she has become more of a cuddling dog. They are easy to potty train. We went one step further and we have bell trained our dogs. They ring a bell hanging from our door handle when they need to go potty. Easier to hear and better than listening to them yap. They were also immediate best friends! She loves the little guy. He is really does exhibit food aggression at times, and he is getting better. Best dogs I have ever owned. We walk them A LOT! I dont believe in a fenced in yard and just letting them out. They will find a way to escape. And Sachi (female) is extremely smart and she knows it! She brings a lot of joy to our household and I am sure Niko (puppy) will do the same.

    • Jenn Gurney says

      Mine isn’t really, no. But this article is completely true that he is like dog royalty. In a good way. When he IS in a cuddling mood I feel like the gods are smiling down upon me. It is such a magical moment. They don’t love ANYONE like they love their owners. Not one person. They are the most wonderful dogs if you are extremely serious about training(i.e. consistent – don’t tell them the same command 50 times and then reward them otherwise that is how many times they will need to be told before they do what they’re told.) Otherwise, they will run your household into the ground. They have very smooshy fur on their heads, and mine doesn’t seem to mine too much when I hold his face and smoosh his fur for a bit before we go outside in the mornings :)

    • stephanie says

      You know, my shiba is very cuddly. At this second she is literally cuddled in my lap and very content. She started as a biter. You touched her and she would bite- so I believe it depends on an individual dogs temperament, and the training you put into them. My cousin has a shiba as well, and though he’s an extremely good dog, very calm and sweet- he is not a cuddler. So I believe it’s a combination of genetics and training.

    • Chrissy says

      They can be cuddly but really only with their own families. As a breed they tend to be quite aloof but are incredibly loyal and protective.

  85. Nathan says

    thanks for this. I ran across your page by accident and it is delightful. you have truly captured the “shiba” essence. and oh, that deadly stare.

  86. Bill Campbell says

    Back again, with more questions. We have been looking at Shiba adoption sites as well as breeders. My question is this: With two 6+ Poms, male and female would it be better to introduce a puppy, rather than an older Bhiba?


    • Jennifer says

      Hey Bill,
      I’d say you would be safe with an older shiba that is well domesticated. Shibas are very smart and learn quickly, they can become tolerant of other dogs or animals fairly easily. Puppies are always a lot of work, and can easily cause stress to older dogs. Especially of the smaller variety. My mom has a 5 year old pom chi who gets easily annoyed with my 5 month old Shiba. I know there are a lot of adoption and rescue agencies with avaliable adoptees! However, whichever way you chose to go, a shiba is a great addition to your family. Best wishes.

  87. Bill Campbell says

    We are looking at getting a Shiba Inu. We have done quite a bit of research on them. Seems like they have much the same behaviour at an Akita, as far as being independent and strong willed. We have had several dogs. An Akita, two Shetland Sheepdogs, a Finnish Spitz and now two Pomeranians. Of al the dogs, the Akita is the one that gave us the most trouble. Could not net him off his lead, or he would be gone, coming back only when he was ready.

    I’m not too concerned with most of what I read here, not to sound over-confident. My concern is this While our male is fairly reserved, our female thinks she runs the house. She is pushy and when she wants something will not let up until she gets it. For instance, if she wants outside, she will start by licking. If that doesn’t work, she will lay on the floor and start kicking and growling. That is followed by jumping and bouncing on either me or my wife until one of us gets up and lets her out.

    So, we have a little dog with a big personality. Would it be a bad idea to introduce a Shiba into the mix? It was suggested by a breeder we contacted that it might be better to get a female.

    One other thing. I’ve read that the Shibas do well in colder temperature. I live in the Yukon. It sometimes get very cold here. Our Poms can’t stay out for more than a few minutes, but they don’t need to get that much exercise. How would a Shiba fare when it gets too cold to take them out?

    So, thanks for giving me a place to ask these things.


    • shibashake says

      My Shiba (Sephy) has medium energy. He really needs his daily walks because he prefers to do his business outside (not in the backyard). He will try to hold all his pee in until walk time. I have talked to other Shiba owners who have observed similar behaviors in their dog.

      He was very energetic during puppyhood, but he calmed down some after over 1 year, and then some more after 3 years. Now he is 7 years old, and he really only needs 1 walk per day of about 1 hour in length. He also has a pretty intense play session with my Sibes in the mornings and sometimes again in the evenings. The rest of the time he is pretty Zen and happy to sun himself. He does like to wrestle and play pretty rough though, so small dogs don’t really like playing with him.

      Sephy also doesn’t like the cold very much – especially walking on cold surfaces.

      Of my three dogs, Sephy (male) is the most dominant, stubborn, and picky. Therefore, when getting a third dog, I picked a more submissive female. My other Husky (female) is also pretty submissive, so the two girls are pretty laid back and get along well.

      In terms of puppy vs. older Shiba, I think it would depend a lot on the older Shiba. A puppy is very energetic and needs a lot of management and training. An adult dog will have a more established personality, and will likely need less exercise compared to a puppy. However, an adult dog may have behavioral issues carried over from their past.

      Good luck in your Shiba search and Happy Holidays! 😀

    • Chrissy says

      I would think in all honesty that it would be a bad idea. For a start they often bully smaller dogs and have such a rough play system that other dogs, even big ones, misread the signals and get upset with them so that it kicks off. Also the Shiba is more like the Akita than any of your other dogs, though with a great deal more intelligence and personality so take the worst aspects and multiply by a hundred! Also they are a complete nightmare off a lead, disappearing for literally hours and only ever doing what they want to do. Brilliant in the house but outside is a different matter!

  88. Amy says

    My 20 year old son brought home an abandoned Shiba from a job site. He couldnt bare to see it go to a shelter. I am a widow and do my best to get by but didnt want a dog due to financial restraints. Once I saw my son with this dog I didnt have the heart to say no. Things went well for some time but now she has developed a skin irritation that she bites at and she has lost a lot of the hair on her backside and tail. I have put her on a grain free diet and add flea treatment to her food and add Vitamin C for immune system. Dont really have the money for vet visit but Im ready to skip Christmas if this means helping this sweet dog. Thoughts? Suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Hmmm, it could be fleas, which usually causes hair loss at the base of the tail. Fleas are usually visible to the eye, so I would check the area carefully and see if there is anything there.

      If I can’t identify the source, I usually take my dog to the vet to check for mites. There are many possible causes for skin irritation, so identifying the source can sometimes be a challenge.

      With fleas and mites, management of the environment may also be necessary, or the dog will keep getting reinfected. Here is more on my experiences with dog itchy skin.

    • Anonymous says

      Could be dry skin or a food allergy. Try switching the protein source. Fish instead of chicken or turkey.

    • eMac says

      Try eliminating any beef or beef flavored products. Shibas are known for specific food allergys. We are on our third. Shiba and we feed only grain free high protein dog food. Our second shiba had the same problem you described and my wife eliminated the beef and he healed quickly and became a bundle of energy & lovable self.

    • Holly says

      Very possible that your dog has yeast infection on its skin, Try diluting vinegar with water and dab on skin if this doesnt work a trip to vet maybe needed

  89. Lee says

    Appreciate all the comments on here. I too love the look of the Shibas but after reading the posts I should probably get a lab :-). I had dogs growing up but none that were solely my own. I would consider a Shiba in the future but not at this time. Thanks all for the great advice

  90. Christine says

    How can I tell if I have a Fnnish Spitz or a Shiba Inu? The people we got the dogs from say they are part Golden Retriever and Chow Chow but I don’t see any resemblance. I think my one dog is a Finnish Spitz but then looks like a Shiba Inu to. We have had Golden Retreivers and they are so much different than that

  91. Ali says

    We have sibes. One of which came from a home that also produced shibas. I thought they were amazing although I’m a very loyal husky girl. My niece has just bought a shiba though – win win!! Pointed her towards your blog!

  92. Tony says

    I’m looking into getting a 3/4 German Shepard and 1/4 shiba inu, do you think that he will be like the shiba inu because those seem like 2 very different breeds?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Tony,
      It is not possible to tell which traits a puppy will inherit from each of his parents. How old is he? Have you met his parents? If both parents are well temperamented, then their puppy will have a good start.

      As with us though, behavior is based on both genetics and learning/experience (e.g. training, socialization, environment, and more).

  93. Mike DeRose says

    New Shiba acquired at 8 weeks old. Now 12 weeks. Any tips on the biting? Not aggressive but he thinks he’s playing and with the razor sharp puppy teeth, my arms look like they went through a grinder. Every one wants to pet him and he likes it but he thinks he has to gnaw on them and this causes him to be a social turn off. Discipline does not work either.

  94. Beth says

    I’ve been owned by Ciaran nOg for 9.5 years now. My first shiba – I’ve always had Malamutes. (Yes, a big, or rather ‘small’ change. I got him after researching the breed. I wanted the same type of personality that my Mals had, but in a smaller package. I got those traits and then some!!! Holy Moly has he kept me on my toes. Every yard we’ve lived in has had to have landscape cloth (small square wire) taked to the bottom of the fence and buried in the ground. He is definitely NOT an off leash dog, ever. My cat is MUCH more demonstrative, but I love Ciaran dearly and am a complete fan of the breed. However – Ciaran has developed an auto immune disease which is not unknown to spitz type dogs – and I’m wondering if any here have had to deal with it? Pemphigus F is the name. Any feedback is appreciated. After chemo almost killed him, we’ve been treating him with traditional Chinese herbs and prednisone for the past 10 months.

    • Chrissy says

      I’m so sorry for you both. I had a German Shepherd with the same condition and lost him at six. Whilst I cannot suggest any alternative treatments except combining vet care with homeopathy (which ‘helped’ but did not cure or ultimately save Deisel), I can at least say that the disease is not breed specific and not usually associated with Shiba Inu.

  95. BruceB says

    Just returning , and catching up on your website, I posted here a couple of years ago when I adopted Sebastian and Copper, father and son , from a local family, we bonded very quickly, and words cannot describe my respect, devotion and love for them.
    They go with me everywhere, and I enjoy their company , there has never been any serious issues with them , other than encounters with other people’s dogs, when the owners didn’t respect my dogs space, to be honest their aloofness is one of the traits I like, we mutually understand each other. I don’t need them smothering me to know they care about me. Believe me, when they want attention they will come around.
    Do walk your Shibas each and every day, they pout if you miss a walk. I am lucky, I live on a farm, with plenty of open fields with briar patches , which is Shiba heaven!
    Thanks for keeping the website going, I also have 8 Sibes! (I am a volunteer in a Siberian rescue.)

    • shibashake says

      2 Shibas and 8 Sibes – You must drink a lot of Red Bull! 😀

      Would love to see your gang. Do you have any pictures online?

  96. Lee says

    I have a shiba inu myself he’s called Reo!

    reading through the shiba shake, I cant believe how alike they are!! I would class ourselves as blessed because he has been an angel, he rarely gets aggressive brilliant off lead (unless there is cattle in the are) we tend to keep him on the lead then, he decided to start playing with sheep and it took me a good hour to get him back on lead!!

    One thing Reo tends to do when playing with other dogs is the as we call it “shiba bum bash”! he will literally throw himself 360 degrees and use his bum as a weapon whilst playing!! is this common play for a Shiba?

    • shibashake says

      we call it “shiba bum bash”!

      LOL! I like that.

      Shania (Husky) loves doing the ‘butt-check’. My Shiba does not do it as much. Maybe it is because he is smaller, so he is just bumping at their legs. 😀

      It is very interesting to watch them play. Sometimes, Shiba and Sibe will just stare at each other, like in those Kung-Fu movies where they are playing out the entire battle in their minds. It is hilarious. Sometimes, I do the voice-over for them.

  97. says

    My shiba, Akai, is 10 months old and exactly everything you said. I was quite aware of a lot of the shiba qualities before searching for him, but some took me surprise…he cleans our mastiff’s mouth. He just licks all the water out of her jowls while she lies there sleeping. He also hates grass. Of all types. Will not walk on it unless forced. ;-/ And the shiba scream got animal control called on us, more than once…but he is the greatest, most loving dog. He is not aggressive or shy. He has to be touching myself or my fiancée at all times while he is lying down or he doesn’t feel safe. He will follow me and do anything I say, unless it involves stepping on grass or getting wet. He is the most loving, ponderous dog/cat/fox ever.

  98. Stacie says

    It’s been so long since I’ve visited your page. Salem is now 8 and absolutely awesome (and it took some serious training and patience to get there!) He’s my first dog-yes, I ignored the advice and had a shiba for my first dog Through some serious trials..lots of tears and sweat and yes, blood too, he’s now training to be an Emotional Service Dog for me. We have a bond that’s impossible to describe. If I’m having an off day, he’s there to make it better. If I’m about to have a panic attack, he’s alerting me that it’s coming and soothing me as it happens. It’s amazing to have such a companion.

    I noticed a lot of people say your article is negative. I disagree. Had I known what I was getting myself into, I would have taken him home again. I adore my dog through the bad years and the good. It’s better to be realistic and let potential owners know what they’re getting into than to say “they’re grrrreat!” They’re not for the faint of heart. They need a companion that can direct them in a positive way with patience. Keep up the good work!

  99. Shibaowner says

    Our Shiba is 14 years old (we have her since she was 12 weeks) and she exhibits all the good and bad traits mentioned in your article. Her Shiba scream involved in the bathing process however is really something to behold. The first time we tried to give her a bath our downstairs neighbors came up, pounded on our door and inquired “What the F___ are you doing to your dog”. Subsequently, we tried a very popular dog washing facility in NYC. Our little sweetie is banned except for certain days and hours. The owners provide grooming and have a doggy day care services and did not want passerbys thinking they were hurting the dogs.
    Also, our Shiba is more loyal to me than my wife. I can do things with and to her that she never lets my wife do.

  100. Shiba Lover says

    I LOVE this article–I have a rescue pup that is def a terrier mix, but we were trying to determine Shiba or Canaan dog as primary. We’ve now determined Shiba. He’s getting private training soon–but this describes my baby in a nutshell!

  101. Nina says

    I got a shiba from a foster dad and he didn’t know much about her. I think she was abused cause she is very scared of men, even my husband. She Also seems very bored. I try playing with her but she doesn’t like to play that much. Only for about ten mins at night time does she want to fetch or play with her kong. I have tried everything to get her to have some fun What are some tips?

    • shibashake says

      How long have you had her?

      Shibas tend to be aloof dogs. They are loyal but they do not trust very easily. It took time, training, consistency, and patience to gain my Shiba’s trust.

      What I do to help my Shiba stay calm and more relaxed with people.

      In addition, changing homes and being with a new family is a very stressful situation for a dog, so it will take some time to adjust. With Sephy, I set up a fixed schedule and a consistent set of house rules so that he knows what to expect from me, and what I expect from him in return. This creates certainty, which helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

      As for games, Sephy likes playing chasing games most. He is not really into Fetch. I observe each of my dogs carefully, try out a bunch of things, and see which ones appeal to them most. They each have their own favorite activities. 😀 Here are some games that I play with my dogs.

      Here is more on bonding with my dogs.

  102. Anonymous says

    My neighbor’s shiba inu has attacked two of our cats, completely unprovoked, resulting in the death of one cat and serious injury to the other. Please consider carefully when choosing this breed. They require a great deal of supervision, frequent and rigorous exercise and an environment where they can be adequately maintained.

    • Anon says

      This is true for most dog breeds; the problem may be attributed to your neighbor’s most probably lack of socializing and training his shiba with other animals.

    • says

      My shiba abhors cats. He has never chased, attacked, or not listened…ever. He has never run…until a cat comes around and then it is all bets off…

    • Anonymous says

      NBC in Columbus, Ohio is reporting two Shibas just killed a baby! Sorry to report this, but people need to know (who in the world would put an infant around ANY unmatched dogs?).
      Dog Lover

    • Chrissy says

      Sadly many dogs, if not brought up and socialised with cats specifically, will chase/attack/kill cats so its certainly NOT a breed specific trait. My Shiba’s live with cats as did all my dogs (German Shepherds/Jack russel/Leonberger/Greyhound/lurcher). Though I feel desperately for the cats and the owner when anything like this happens, its about the owners NOT the dogs!!!

  103. Erika says

    I’ve never owned a dog before that was mine and not the whole family’s. We still have our dog, she is now getting old and has always been pretty laid back and well behaved. I’m wanting another dog to be my own. Although it’s quite unlikely that I’ll get one, I’ve been looking at breeds.
    I’m definitely a victim of having fallen in love with the Shiba look. On top of that, a dog that is more independent, clean, and cat-like does sound ideal for me. I’d be pretty excited to have a dog that I can play with and take on walks.
    I’m wondering if it would be a bad idea for me to get a young Shiba (probably not a puppy) since I don’t have experience with more intelligent independent, higher energy dogs. I’m wondering if I could do it if I did lots of learning first and took training classes when I got the dog.
    What do you think?

    • shibashake says

      Shibas can be difficult dogs because they are stubborn, strong-willed, aloof, and usually mouthy. If we put in enough time, effort, and patience, they can be trained to live well with us. However, the initial period will be difficult, especially if we are less experienced with independent and stubborn breeds. In addition, Shibas can be quite aloof, so if we are looking for an affectionate dog or lapdog, we will be disappointed.

      I was not very experienced with dogs when I got Sephy, and we had a very difficult beginning. His natural aloofness made things even more difficult.
      Here is more on my rocky beginning with Sephy.
      Here is more on why Shibas are difficult to train.

      Dealing every day with a mouthy dog that is aloof, doing zoomies around the house, and chewing on books, curtains, and cables, can be very tiring and stressful. I learned a lot from Sephy, but it took a lot of perseverance for the both of us to get to a good place. 😀

      Another thing that I learned from Sephy is that it is important to socialize him, and get everyone in the family to participate in his care and training. Shibas who are under-socialized or overly dependent on a single caretaker may develop aggression issues and other unhealthy guarding behavior.

      A balanced and socialized dog can go to many places with us, and when we are busy, we can easily find other trusted caretakers to step in. Sephy is a very loyal dog but he does not trust easily.

  104. Anonymous says

    Hi, I’ve never owned a dog before, and I’ve had a fear of dogs for the majority of my life, (granted I’m not THAT old lol, mid twenties) but a few of my close friends have gotten dogs over the last few years, large and small, and I feel like I’ve come to the point where I’m ok being around dogs now. Looking at the different breeds, I love the shiba for it’s looks, that it’s playful and loyal, and I’m interested in getting one, but I’ve been told its not wise to get a shiba for a first dog, would you agree? Considering my past too, part of me is concerned maybe it would be too much for me, but at the same time I feel like it would be a dog I would grow to bond well with and would be more like a best buddie than a dozzie dog lol if you get what I mean.
    Any thoughts welcome :)

  105. dandyboy says

    Shiba Inus are not easy dogs , they are hunters and chasers by instinct , and they won´t give up easily … they are dominant and stubborn . But they are cute and playful , if you adapt yourself to them . If you want one as your mascot he/she will give you a lot of work !

    • Anonymous says

      My shiba inu is adorable! I had German shepherds in the past. I thought I could never love a dog as much as my dog Xena. I have to say I love my shiba too! She is beautiful, smart, loving and just so adorable. She is happiest when included in everything. Training her involves positive reinforcement. Strong correction is not helpful with my shiba. She needs regular “good girls” and she loves attention! You have to win the love and approval of a shiba.

  106. Lisa luke says

    I have a one year old shiba named Yoshi….. He sure is a handful…. My problem is….
    do they ever stop digging hoes in the yard!!! It looks like a golf course… Funny thing is my mother in law dog sits for us when we are having a long work day and he doesn’t dig hoes in her yard. Any solutions? Or will he grow out of this bad habit!

    • shibashake says

      Both my Huskies love to dig. They dig to hunt for rodents and such that are in our backyard. Shania is almost 6 and Lara is almost 3, and they both still love to dig. It is part of their prey instinct. Some things that help with my Huskies –

      1. We have a non-landscaped area in the backyard that my dogs use for their digging pleasure. Some people create a sand-pit for their dog and hide toys in the sand. I also walk them in trails where they can dig. Giving them acceptable outlets for their digging behavior allows them to enjoy digging, but in a controlled and structured way.

      2. In the beginning, I supervise my dog very well. When she digs in the grass area, I no-mark, and lead her to the area where she is allowed to dig. This teaches her where it is ok to dig, and where it is not. Like potty training, it is important to be consistent and to catch my dog in the act, so that I can not only maximize and reward successes, but also minimize mistakes.

      3. Increasing their daily exercise also helps with my Huskies. They are more likely to dig when there is a lot of ground rodent activity and when they have a lot of extra energy.

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