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.

  107. Kaji says

    It seems your page “inspired” another blogger to make a Shiba temperament page. And it looks like they took your page and just slightly altered it so it’s not direct plagiarism.

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no? 😛

    Either way, your blog is wonderful and gives a first hand account of how a Shiba really can be, and how to handle them. I love it! Anyone interested in being owned by a Shiba should see this site in its entirety before bringing one home. Keep up the great work!

    • shibashake says

      “inspired” – I like that. 😀

      Yeah, unfortunately, this type of thing happens very frequently for most online content. Even copied content gets copied. Thanks for letting me know.

  108. Lynsey says

    Scream help! We just adopted a 10 week old Shiba! He is kenneled during the day while we are at work. I have only got a small taste of what the shiba scream is all about (middle of the night, short scream) but after reading article I am nervous that he will be screaming all day and I live in an apartment. What things can I do to eliminate that?

    I have him in a kennel with blankets and chew toys. I thought about putting him in the kitchen on tile flooring with his kennel but keeping the kennel open and letting him roam just the kitchen area? Any thoughts?

    • Brandi says

      Putting your little Shiba in the kitchen all by himself wont work at first, trust me I tried it with our female Shiba. If you just got your puppy and he is still adjusting to his new home try to spend as much as your free time with him as possible, and even place his kennel in your bedroom when you are sleeping, it might be hard to sleep for a week or two with the screaming but eventually they will learn that it is bed time and go to sleep to. Our Shiba tended to do better when she had more room to roam so if your kitchen area is small it might not work so much. There isn’t really a way to eliminate a Shiba from screaming unless you get a no bark collar and puppies are too small for most of them. Make sure you close doors to rooms you don’t want your puppy to go into and pick up any wires that your puppy could chew on. Try leaving your puppy a few hours at a time and work up if at all possible, I realize that can be tough also, so if you have anyone that can watch your puppy while you work or even come check on him it might help (just make sure your puppy knows the person first otherwise there will be screaming). Our female now whines when we first leave or get back but seems to be fine while we are gone. She is now about 15 weeks. Since she does better now we have placed her in a second bedroom with pee pads, her kennels, toys, her food and water, and a gate when we are gone and also leave the radio on for her. She has mainly saved her screaming now for things like unknown people, new things to her, and occasionally other dogs; and in rare instances for my fiance and I if we wont wake up to let her out of her kennel. If you have to work long hours consider getting your Shiba a puppy playmate if you can. But remember not to leave them unsupervised together until you know how they will get along, sometimes harmless playing can turn too rough unintentionally with all puppies. Goodluck with your new little Shiba, just remember patience is a virtue when it comes to Shiba’s. Hope this helps. We went through the same worries when we got our Yuzuki since we work graveyard.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, my experience is similar to Brandi’s.

      In the beginning, Sephy really needed to have people around – for company, structured activities, and training. I slept with Sephy the first few days. Then, I slowly crate-trained him, so that he would be relaxed and happy in his crate. Once he was good with being in his crate, I got one for the bedroom, and put it close to our bed so that he could smell and see me during sleep time.

      With Sephy, he was Shiba screaming at night because he got stressed from being alone. After we moved his crate into our bedroom, he stopped the behavior. Because the behavior is a result of stress from being alone, it would *not* be effective to use aversive techniques such as bark collars. Pain or other aversive stimuli may cause a puppy to become even more stressed, worsen the anxiety symptoms, and cause other behavioral issues. In general, aversive conditioning is *not* appropriate for young puppies.

      In addition to crate training, I also very slowly desensitized him to being alone. I start with a very short period of alone-time (few seconds), and slowly build it up over time. An important thing to training my puppy, I found, is to start small and take small steps. In this way, I set my puppy up for success, he builds confidence, and also learns to trust me.

      As Sephy matured and gained confidence through training, socialization, and desensitization exercises, he learned to relax on his own, and to face new challenges with greater certainty.

      I also make sure to exercise Sephy well before leaving him alone for any period of time. In the beginning I played structured games with him, socialized him to other puppies in puppy class, and organized play sessions with friendly, healthy, and vaccinated neighborhood dogs that are around his size. After Sephy got fully vaccinated, I also started leash training him, and walking him multiple times daily. Exercise gives him a positive outlet for his stressful and excited puppy energy. Once he drains some energy, he is more able to focus on training, as well as relax and sleep during rest time.

  109. Titania Krimpas says

    Hi there, love your website.

    I have a question. Do you know what the flat, mid-length ribbon-like leads are called that some people use with Shibas, and where I could get one? I’d like to work on my 5 year old Shiba’s recall in a safe way, and she just stops with a training or normal lead on, because of the weight.


    • shibashake says

      Hello Titania,
      Nylon leashes are usually more lightweight. However, the collar fastenings for these leashes may not be the most secure, so I would look out for that.

      I sometimes use a nylon leash as a drag-lead for my dog, because they are light. I got a bunch from Amazon. However, they can come-off, especially during heavy activity.

  110. Dot says

    Hey ShibaShake, I had a few shiba questions, love all the articals you have on them, by the way.

    I used to have a basenji pitbull cross (buddy), he was an epic dog about the size of the shiba you have. Buddy was not a lap dog by any means, he’d follow me around, but was more then content to lay on the floor and watch me or play with toys. i have a horse and do quite a bit of trail riding, buddy would faithfully run with my horse and go on a lot of 8-15 mile rides with us.

    I know Shibas were originally bred for hunting and some folks hike with them, but in your opinion, would they make a good horse dog? I’ve been without buddy for about six months and I think it’s time I started looking for another dog. I like the aloof temperament of Shibas are said to have, I have friends with overly friendly dogs like Australian shepards and I really can’t stand all the licking.


  111. Anonymous says

    Hey ShibaShake,
    I’m 18 and i’ve had my shiba inu, Kenji for a little over 3 years. I love him to death and I try to do my best to keep as him happy and healthy as possible. I’ve always had dogs ever since I was a baby and I still do to this day but Kenji was the first dog I got that was actually mine and not just the families. I take care of him myself as best I can and my family has been there to help me along the way, but as I said before i’m 18 and have been home schooled since my second year of middle school, and now i’m trying to think about my future. You know collage, a job, my own place to live etc. But I don’t know how to fit Kenji into all my plans. I try to entertain him and play with him when ever I can but there are times when he wants my attention and I just can’t give it to him because I have other things to do. It’s not like he doesn’t have enough things to entertain himself, he has plenty of toys and we have 2 other dogs and a family who are more than happy to play with him but sometimes it seems all he wants is me. I hate ignoring him and it’s not like I have a full schedule but there are times when I just want to sit down and read or study and he just won’t let me. Maybe i’m just being lazy or over exaggerating the whole thing but if you have any tips or such you can give me i’d really appreciate it. – guardianlue

    • shibashake says

      What helps with my dogs is to make sure they have several caretakers whom they trust and have a strong bond with. In this way, if I am sick or have to travel, there will be people around who can take over Sephy’s care temporarily.

      Shibas especially are very loyal dogs, but they do not trust easily. I make sure to properly socialize Sephy, and have others around the house that feed, interact, and play with him on a daily basis so that he learns to trust them as well. Building trust takes time, so I make sure I am there to help with the process, and we go slowly. For example, I feed him one meal, and others feed him his other meals, we share who takes him out for walks, he gets play time with others, etc.

  112. Val says

    I believe anyone who ever owns a Shiba Inu will not regret it, they are very high energy, but extremely smart, and jealous. My Shadow was a Shiba Inu and German Shepherd. Unfortunately about 10 days ago I had to put her down, she was having multiple seizures, which is part of the german shepherd health issues. She was given to me as a gift when she was about 8 wks old, she put the fear of god into me over a rawhide chew. Once she learned that I was the lead dog so to speak, the boundary was set. It took firmness with her in voice commands. She trained relatively easy, and she trained me as well. She taught me every day everything was hers, and every day meant play until the last few months and she still tried. She rarely barked, but would howl at a passing train, and later would howl at the telephone if I was upstairs and it was ringing. She learned to trade objects, rocks for goose eggs. She proved to me an old dog can learn new tricks, we brought African goslings, Shadow thought they were for her to eat, and maimed one to where I had to kill it. It resulted in finally catching her, putting her on a chain, left with food and water and shelter, the only thing she was lacking was me touching her and talking to her, after 2 weeks

  113. Anonymous says

    I would like to honor our Shiba Inu, Simba. We got him when he was 8 months old and that was almost 15 years ago. No one could ask for a better dog, he slept through the night, we were able to train him (somewhat), never got sick and was always there for me. He would rarely bark, only when our doorbell rang or if he wanted to go outside. Most of the time, he would come up to me and just stare at me and that was his way of telling me it was time to go outside. He would chase his tail, lay on his back to scratch it and then get this look on his face as if to say ‘yes, can I help you?’ He was definitely cat like in the sense that he would come by me when he wanted to get petted. He would eat grass, get into the trash and take things down from the counter. He also got away a few times and I had to go after him. Once he got tired enough, he would just give up and then I’d have to carry him home. As he got older, he slept a lot, but was still fairly active. I’m sorry to say that last night we had to say goodbye to him and had him put to sleep. It turns out that he had a tumor in his brain that caused him to lose all motor function. He couldn’t even stand up, was dizzy and wasn’t eating or drinking. That by far was the hardest thing I had to do and I didn’t want him to go that way. But I look at it this way, at least he’s not suffering anymore. I loved that dog more than anything and I know that he loved me too. Rest in peace Simba, you made my life so much better and I will never forget you.

    • Wayne Reeves says

      Beautiful tribute to your dear Simba. My shiba is seven, and I try to
      push aside the thoughts of giving him up someday. Do they know
      how hard it us for us humans to say good-bye. I can imagine you
      have already seen this link, but it is comforting.
      best wishes,

  114. Anonymous says

    My shiba is now 10 years old and is the greatest dog ever. He gets along with everyone and is particularly good with young kids. He was very hyper up until around age 6 or 7. He is very quiet, and we have never bathed him. He smells very good and is amazing considering hes never bathed. I love my shiba and advise anyone looking for a dog to get one. You just have to very strict with them at a young age.

  115. kelsey says

    I have a 7 year old Shiba Inu/Lab mix named Chloe. She’s a tough cookie! haha. She’s in-between the size of a lab and shiba inu, and she has the coloring of a shiba, but the tail and coat of a lab. Her ears are half-up and half-down so they’re a little floppy and perky. Even though she has a lab tail, she holds her tail up high as if it should be curled. She and her siblings were found as puppies, in a field, living in a cave with their lab mommy.

    My parents assumed she was half Jack Russel, but at the time my little sister had the Nintendogs game, and she had a Shiba and I thought Chloe looked too similar. I’m absolutely certain she is. She acts just like one! She’s sweet and loyal and caring like a lab, but she’s very picky with her food (she’ll stare at me like I’m stupid as if she’s saying “do you really think I want to eat THIS? Please!”), she growls at me when I move my feet too close to her and she’ll move away lol (she despises feet), her bark sounds similar to a Shiba Scream but not as high-pitched, she gives me hilarious nasty looks (as if she’s thinking “Was that supposed to be funny?”), she potty-trained herself and NEVER goes inside the house, she is always clean and she lovessss to lick her paws. She’s also very territorial with people/animals she does not know who come to our house. She’s bark away at them and get in their faces, she never bites though, but she’s very protective of her family and does NOT like outsiders. She also tends to fight with our Golden sometimes if he touches her food or a toy of hers. She’s EXTREMELY intelligent. She taught herself to open doors, open crates, she knows the difference between left and right, and she absolutely knows what you’re talking about, especially when you’re talking about her. She’s also pretty independent. I love my Clu-Clu!! 🙂

  116. amber says

    hi there i was wondering, i got my dog (bentley) 2 weeks ago and was told he was german shepard/akita cross, but i do know akitas and he is too small, i was told that he is probably shiba inu/ german shepard, now he is a year old already and has some training issues, he always pulls the leash, trys to take the leash and walk me, always barks and howls when i am not home, he has great agility loves to jump and he can jump high, just wondering if anyone here has had any type of these problems with a shiba, any tips would help as well

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, Sephy used to leash bite in a very bad way. He would get so crazy he would sometimes jump on me, grab my jacket sleeve, and start shaking his head. It was pretty scary.

      Here is more on my leash biting experiences with Sephy. What works best for Sephy is to no-mark, then immediately march him home and end the walk. In this way, he learns that –
      Any kind of leash biting = fun walk ends,
      Walk nicely on leash = get more freedom to explore and fun walk continues

      I trained Sephy not to pull by using the red-light-green-light technique and the 180 turn around technique.

  117. Anonymous says

    We have a one year old Shiba, and we’ve noticed that her breath smells like a metallic, blood smell. Is this anything we should be concerned about? Thanks.

  118. Fiona says

    Thank you! We’ve had a few days together and he’s calmed down a lot around me… he’s a sweet little thing, very cheeky but he seems to really want to please us. I have been observing him, and have found out he’s very reward oriented, so have been following the NILIF tips on your site which seem to be getting great results. Let’s see how it goes!

  119. Fiona says

    Hi there,

    On the weekend my husband and I bought a two year old male Shiba Inu. He is a darling around other people, dogs and my husband… everyone apart from me! He has growled at me a few times and stands around staring at me. I figure it’s just him working out the pecking order in a new pack and doesn’t fully trust me yet, and I am going to start taking him to dog school so we can learn some new things together, but I was wondering if you have tips? Is it the sort of thing he will grow out of if I keep up consistent behaviour? I have been alternating between holding my ground when he gets bolshy (we had a stand-off earlier today when he tried to eat a tissue on the ground when walking – I made him sit and drop it before we walked on, and gave him a treat as a reward when it was finally dropped) , ignoring the bad behaviour (I left the room when he growled at me last night) and rewarding good behaviour with treats.

    It’s a bit saddening for me that he doesn’t seem to love me the way he does everyone else, but I am doing my best to stay calm and work through it!

    • shibashake says

      I had a similar experience with my Shiba (Sephy) when he was young. He would be calmer and much better behaved with other people, but he would go crazy with me.

      The key reason for this, was my energy. I was uncertain when interacting with him, and would get frustrated, angry or disappointed, and ultimately also somewhat fearful of his behavior. Sephy would pick up on my non-calm energy, get uncertain and stressed himself, and act out even more. The truth is, Sephy did not love me less. He was simply reacting to my own emotions and feelings. Since I was uncertain and frustrated, he got uncertain and frustrated as well, and used aggression to deal with his stress.

      Here are some things that I did with Sephy. Here is a bit more on my experiences with Sephy.

      I also set up a very consistent set of rules and a very consistent routine. Consistency is very important with Sephy, and I make sure to always respond in a very consistent way to his behaviors, so that he learns what are desirable behaviors and what are undesirable behaviors. Here is more on how I train a new dog.

      Dog training is also very context dependent. Ignoring may work well in certain circumstances, and may have the opposite effect in others. For example, my dog may try jumping on counters to get whatever is on top. I could walk away and ignore him, but he would still keep jumping on counters. Every time he jumps, he may get rewarded with something fun from the counter, e.g. paper, food, etc, which would encourage him to jump even more. Similarly, “holding our ground” is the same way.

      What helped most for me is to observe Sephy carefully, and try to understand things from his point of view. Once I understand what motivates a certain behavior, I can redirect it or reorganize the surrounding motivators to get a different behavior. Here is a bit more on how dogs learn.

      With Sephy, group classes were mostly useful for socialization purposes. However, they are not as helpful for dealing with specific behavioral issues. For those, private lessons were much better.

  120. Jessica says

    Need Help!!! I am dog sitting my friend’s female shiba. She is 5 years old. I had a problem on the first day walking. While we were in the parking walking and accidentally she slipped out from her harness to chase after a small dog. I was able to grab and hold her on my arm. When I tried to put the harness back on, she growled and showed teeth at me. I tried different methods, being nice, being mean (having a rod on my hand! She got scared actually) But when I put the harness closer to her every time, she just growled again. Now I don’t know what to do. I live in an apartment so I need to take her out. I was told that no one could put the harness on her except her owner who is on a cursie and the owner won’t be back in a week. She is fine with me but I when tried to put the harness on, she got angry again. I used to have a penkingnese and a Sheltie. They are not like that. Any suggestion??

    • shibashake says

      Sephy (my Shiba) is also very sensitive about wearing anything on his body. I had to spend a lot of time getting him comfortable with putting on and wearing a collar. I did this *slowly* by associating the collar with positive events (e.g. fun games) and food rewards. Here is a bit more on the collar desensitization process that I used with Sephy.

      Shiba Inus are loyal, and they do not give their trust easily. It was something that I had to earn over time through consistency, repetition, and positive experiences. My energy is also very important when interacting with Sephy. If I am fearful, frustrated, angry, or otherwise not-calm, Sephy would pick up on my energy, get stressed himself, and his behavior would worsen.

      Do you have a way of contacting her owner? She knows her dog best and would know the best way to deal with this. Is the Shiba ok with wearing a collar for the short term?

  121. Rannie says

    Hi there. Thanks for all the fantastic pics and great info. I recently lost my beloved Akita, Toshi, to cancer. I have approximately 20 years’ experience with the breed. I am thinking that it might be time to explore smaller breeds. My Akitas were all rescues and health-wise proved sad and expensive, to a one. I am shy to get another, especially one that originates in No. CA due to the overwhelming health problems they seem to have. Can anyone point me to reputable breeders of the Shiba Inu? I am up for a breather regarding serious and costly health problems. The oldest Akita I was blessed with died, also from cancer, three months shy of her 9th birthday. Very sad. I’d appreciate any help anyone can offer. Thanks so much. P.S. I love, love, love the Akita personality and know the Shiba shares many of the same attributes, hence my interest. Thanks again. Rannie

  122. JadeCorkus says

    Hey, it’s me again… I wanted to ask about a problem… I have my dog (the all mighty Cork, lol) but i also have 2 cats… the cats hide from Cork, and Cork chases the cats… do you have any pointers on how to get them to get along?

  123. Bja says

    HI , would it be hard to keep a Shiba in an apartment ? I really like this dog but since i dont live in a house i have my doubts

  124. Anonymous says

    Should I get a boy shiba inu puppy or a girl shiba inu puppy? Which one has the best qualities?

    • JadeCorkus says

      I belive that both have great qualities. but if i was to pick one i’d say a male would be better… or that could just be because my Shiba, Cork, is a male and he’s just the best dog ever!!!! JadeCorkus OUT!!!! Peace

  125. Angeni says

    Hi! I really want a shiba inu but I feel like they are too mean and stubborn. Are they really mean all their life or are they loving and playful?

    • Pete says

      I’ve honestly never met a “mean” Shiba. However, all of the Shibas that I met were socialized very thoroughly. If you take the time to do your research and socialize your puppy as appropriate I doubt you’ll run into any issues.

    • Anonymous says

      Shibas aren’t mean, it is just the ancient breed trait coming out. My shiba growls at people or other dogs and its her way of saying back off but even after growls you can pet her or comb her and even a stranger can let her sniff. She loves her people and usually doesn’t want to be far from me and she loves to cuddle

  126. Angeni says

    Hey! I am hoping to get a shiba inu puppy in a few months but I am really worried that they are mean and stubborn and hate affection from humans! Are they this way and are they good dogs to have?

    • shibashake says

      What makes a good dog depends on our lifestyle and what we want in a dog.

      I got Sephy mostly for his looks, and because of that, we both had a very difficult beginning. Shibas are usually independent and stubborn, and I had to put in a lot of effort, time, and patience to properly train Sephy. Shibas also tend to be aloof, and like having their own space. Sephy is a lot less affectionate than my other dogs. A Shiba is definitely *NOT* a lap-dog.

      Here is an article where several Shiba owners weigh in on why a Shiba is difficult to train.

      The Shiba Inu forum can also be a good source of information on Shibas-

    • Anonymous says

      They are awesome dogs! Mine is 7 and I got her when she was 5 weeks old, she potty trained the first day! She is stubborn but does well with other dogs and cats but is very food aggressive. To me that is minor and I’d get another Shiba in a heartbeat, great with kids as well.

  127. JadeCorkus says

    I have a red Shiba named Cork (and he looks just like Sephy!) and he loves to eat grass and run around (thanks for the infi on the “shiba-Scream”)

  128. dani says

    I want this dog, i have a good space for him, time and love, but i have a cat, my cat is 14 years old, he is active and very intelligent but he is kind of spoiled so he doesnt accept to have other cats in my house and he has always been scared of dogs. Is there a chance that a shiba can get along with a cat?

  129. Charleen says

    Hi! I am getting an 8 week old shiba inu puppy. I was wondering if they are all agressive? Mainly because I was bit by a big dog 2 years back, and since then I’ve been a little afraid of being bit again. I have always been facinated by the Shiba Breed 🙂 I’m just very nervous! Thanks!

  130. Charlie says

    I have a 6 year old female shiba Inu named Starbrite. My daughter picked her out and getting passed the dogs infant year and a half growing years I can’t imagine never having this dog. We love. She shows her affection as well. She is very loyal and will show she wants only to be with us as well. Smart they are but in a very good way as they get older. I feel the older they get the better.

    • shibashake says

      I feel the older they get the better.

      Yeah, that has certainly been my experience with Sephy. We definitely had difficulties at the start, but it got better and keeps getting better with time – like cheese. 😀

  131. Meg says

    Hello Shiba Shake,

    It has been a long time since I have posted!! I am the owner of a 4 year old black and tan shiba named Moksha. I must say that I was not sure if I would survive Moksha’s puppyhood, but I must say that after all the chewing, stealing, and shiba crazy runs that constantly knocked over my lamp, Moksha has become the most wonderful dog in the whole world. He comes with me everywhere and about once every 6 months he spends the a whole day acting as if he has never had any training at all. On that day, I know that I can’t leave anything of value out where he can chew or steal it:) Then the next day he goes right back to being a very well mannered shiba. Of course, as we all know, a well-mannered shiba and a well-mannered dog are two very different things…LOL. All of his little idiosyncrasies are absolutely amazing and to be honest, I wouldn’t know what to do with a dog that did what I told him to without complaining. Anyway, sorry for rambling but I wanted to give an update on Moksha. Let me know how to and I will send some pics…he has grown into a very dapper dog.

    • shibashake says

      Hey Meg,

      It is great to hear from you and to get an update on Moksha! I think the last picture I got was when he went river rafting with you. 😀

      Is Moksha on Facebook? Would love to see more of his pictures.

    • Anonymous says

      No unfortunately moksha and I don’t have much experience with social media, but I can give you an email address! I don’t want to put it on the main forum, so how would I get it to you? If I put my email in the comment section does it show up on the main forum? I am so glad to reconnect your sephy looks like he’s doing well and keeping you on your toes 🙂 and your huskies are absolutely gorgeous! I have to admit I am jealous. If I had more room I would have had a Siberian years ago, but I just felt it would be cruel to have one since I don’t have a fenced in yard. Anyway! Let me know how to get my email to you because Moksha has grown and has, believe it or not, been able to make friends!!! One is another shiba that moved into our area and the other is a Rottweiler!! The two of them together are hilarious! I hope to hear from you soon!

    • shibashake says

      One is another shiba that moved into our area and the other is a Rottweiler!!

      Haha, Moksha is such a lucky boy! I am definitely looking forward to seeing his pictures.

      The email information is private so it *won’t* show up on the page. You can also send me a message from here.

  132. Nicole says


    I have two wonderful Shiba Inu’s. One is a 6 yr old Black and Tan female named Kiko and the other is my 10 month old red male named Kenji. The problem recently is that Kenji all of a sudden (like this last week) has developed an obession with the wood chips we have out in their potty area. He grabs them, wants to play with it and chew it. Our other female will play for hours with the ball and he used to until now with this wood obsession. How can I break him of this? I’m so affraid he will chew it, get a spinter or choak on a piece. Please, any help will be appreicated. My male Akita (Kosan) passed away August 17, 2012 and I was so heartbroken (he was 14 yrs old), so the breeder of Kiko called us and said he just had a litter, so yeah, Kenji was an inpulse buy. He has a super sweet personality and we play with all his toys inside the house, but he has now lost interest with his outside toys. Should I buy him new outside toys??

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, Sephy also had a wood-chip phase. I tried stopping him, but that only made him want to play with wood-chips even more, because it became a fun game where he gets a lot of attention.

      What works best with Sephy is to engage him in some other game that he likes when we are outside. For example, he likes playing the flirt pole game and the water hose game, so I can use those to distract him. I play those with him as soon as we go outside, and *not* in response to wood-chip chewing. Otherwise, he will learn to associate wood-chips to the games, and perform the behavior even more. Instead, I stop playing and interacting with him if he decides to go after wood chips.

      I also enhanced his chew toys with food. New toys don’t really help with Sephy because they become “old toys” very quickly and he would lose interest in them. I also tried cycling through his toys, but that stopped having an effect after a short time.

      Another method I considered is to bring Sephy inside whenever he starts to play with wood chips, but unless I already had him on-leash, it would quickly turn into a catch-me-if-you-can game. I could have walked him outside on-lead, but that seemed overly constraining.

      Happily, he got bored of wood chips after a short time because the other games were more interesting. Different dogs are motivated by different things though, so it would also depend a lot on Kenji and what gets him excited. 😀

      Big hugs to Kiko and Kenji! They are very lucky Shibas.

      Let us know how things go with Kenji, and what works best with him.

  133. Billy Charleston says

    In the future, I would like to own 2 dogs. One definitely a shiba inu, and the other, maybe a basset hound. Do you know how these breeds would get along? Would they, due to their stubbornness?
    Do shiba’s “initiate” playtime? The basset hounds I’ve had enjoyed playing, but only if a person or dog would approach and show that they would like to play.
    I can assume that a shiba would give a basset personal space, because a basset likes to be left be as well.

    • shibashake says

      Do shiba’s “initiate” playtime?

      Yeah, Sephy will sometimes initiate play. However, Huskies are very high energy, so my Sibes are usually the ones who do the play-invites. I also give my Huskies longer daily walks, and I play various chasing games with them, so that they get engaged doing alternative activities. A Shiba will probably be higher energy than a Basset, and will need more exercise.

      As for getting along, I think a big part of that depends on supervision and setting up consistent interaction rules. I supervise my dogs a lot when I bring in a new puppy, and I also set up clear rules (especially for meal-time and play-time). In this way, my dogs know exactly what to expect from the new dog and vice versa. Here are some of the things that I do to help my dogs get along.

      The other part of getting along will depend on the individual dog’s temperament. I waited for about 1 year before getting a second dog. In this way, I had time to observe Sephy, understand his personality, and pick a second dog that is compatible with him, would play well with him, and would do well with our current routine/lifestyle.

    • Anonymous says

      My shiba always initiates play with our pom esk cross. Shiba is sometimes too rough and can be a bully at play time though. Often she is ignored until she settles down

  134. Anonymous says

    Hi, your site is interesting and the comments are even more helpful! Anyway, I was wondering if a shiba is suitable to live with Siberian husky? I have a beautiful playful Siberian husky and a cute pomeranian, will they be getting along fine? If we have a house with tall fense, will the shiba be ok living within the fense outside the house? Of course we will have a house for them out in the garden area. Also will shiba be fine with a warm weather ?

    • shibashake says

      I have a beautiful playful Siberian husky and a cute pomeranian, will they be getting along fine?

      I think that would depend on the temperament of the dogs, their training and routine, amount of supervision and structured exercise, the environment, etc. I currently have two Huskies and a Shiba. With supervision, rules, and daily walks, they get along quite well.

      If we have a house with tall fense, will the shiba be ok living within the fense outside the house?

      My Shiba, Sephy prefers to be inside the house most of the time. He will go out from time to time, especially when it is sunny, but generally he likes being in the house. My Sibes like being outside a lot more. I make sure that my fence-line is not only secure on the upper parts, but also below ground. Dogs can dig under the fence and get out that way.

      It is also important whether there is grass in the backyard or whether it is fully concrete. Staying on a concrete floor for prolonged periods of time, can have negative effects on joints, feet pads, etc, especially when it is very cold or hot outside.

      Also will shiba be fine with a warm weather ?

      My Shiba, Sephy does better in warm weather compared to my Siberians. My Huskies have much thicker coats. During hot summer days, they spend most of their time inside the house, on the tile floor, and under a fan.

  135. Victoria L. Davis says

    My son Nick bought our Shiba (Rocky) at age 11 months. He had prior owners who moved out of the country and could not take him, so they returned him to the Kennel he was purchased from. Nick bought him 11/11/2012. We learned early on that he would run if given the slightest opportunity. Nick had him neutered on 12/03/2012 and on 12/04 he ran and was gone for three hours. We live in a sub-division which is surrounded by wood and Rocky wouldn’t let me or anyone else close to him, so I just left the front door opened and Rocky sauntered in exhausted. A few days later Rocky was very sick and we found out he had whipworm and had it for a while which caused bacteria to grow in his intestinal track along with an ear infection. He was treated and seemed well after that. I was always worried about his skittishness around others and his lack of affection toward me, but your article has helped with those concerns. Just yesterday, 3/31/2013 my husband left the door cracked and Rocky was out again but this time only for 30 minutes. While out there he rubbed his neck in another dog’s poop which was something he did when we first got him that’s why Nick had him neutered because he was told that would stop him from wanting to sniff so much and from rubbing in it. The poop was all in his fur so I gave him a bath. I am a bit ashamed to say, but I only had Head and Shoulders and used that to bath him and get the entire poop out his fur. Today, I have noticed that he is not walking around with his tail curled but he’s not scratching more than usual and he is eating, drinking and playing as he normally does. So what does it mean when he is not curling his tail, does it have anything to do with the shampoo I used? Just one more thing, Rocky likes to eat deer pellets if given the chance and I am sure he ate some yesterday, deer roam in our sub-division every night so there are a lot of deer pellets piles around. I am having his pooped checked in a few days to make sure he didn’t pick anything up. Why do you think he is not curling his tail and what do you think I should do if this continues? Thank You, Victoria L. Davis (new owner)

    • shibashake says

      So what does it mean when he is not curling his tail, does it have anything to do with the shampoo I used?

      Based on what I have read, using adult human shampoo on a dog can cause skin irritation for the dog. This is because human shampoo may contain chemicals that are not appropriate for a dog’s skin.

      As for the tail curling, I have noticed that Sephy leaves his tail uncurled and droopy when he is not feeling himself. In particular, he does this after he gets his teeth cleaned, while he is still groggy from the anesthesia. However, in addition to the uncurled tail, there are also clear changes in his behavior, and he does not eat until he feels better.

      Is Rocky’s tail drooping down as well, or is it just uncurled? Given that Rocky was outside eating poop, it could be something from that, it may be irritation from the shampoo, or something else. Probably safest to check with his vet.

  136. Lindsay says

    I loved reading all about Shiba’s here. You hit the nail right on the head. We have a 7 year old white/cream shiba named Alex. We just found out he has torn his ACL and has a luxating patella in the same leg. My heart hurts, we will do what we have to do to fix him back up but the stresses of the financial aspect of this all is taking a toll on me. I love my little guy, I can’t wait til he’s back to himself! I love Shiba’s!

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I know what you mean about the stress – both financial and emotional. Shania hurt one of her back legs a few weeks ago, and it was very stressful keeping her level of activity down, and worrying about her recovery.

      When we really love someone, it is difficult not to worry.

      Big hugs to Alex! Shania also sends some super Husky kisses.

  137. Elaine says

    Our shiba inu is 13 years old and since we came back from vacation he is howling usually for no reason that we are aware of. He was left alone most days for 10-12 hours while we were gone. Our son would stop by to feed him and let me out on the run. We purchased a device that is supposed to stop barking, but so far it hasn’t seemed to help. We brought him to the vet and she said he is in perfect health. I am thinking that his hearing, sight and senses are dimished due to his age. And possibly he is afraid that he will be left alone again. When I walk out of the room for any exteneded time he starts howling. We are at are wits end. Love the little guy, but he is driving us crazy. Any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      It sounds like it could be separation anxiety. I know my Shiba gets stressed when there are changes to his routine, even though they may seem like small changes to me. When we moved, I quickly set up a fixed routine for Sephy in the new place. It helped to recreate routine and certainty for him again, and he was able to relax soon after. I also gave him more structured exercise after we moved, so that he had an outlet for his stress.

      Here is more on dog anxiety and stress.

      A dog who has separation anxiety might bark or howl when left alone or when separated from his guardian. This kind of barking or howling is persistent and doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone.

      We purchased a device that is supposed to stop barking, but so far it hasn’t seemed to help.

      Hmmm, what device are you using to stop the barking? There is very little regulation in the dog equipment field. Often times, the risks of certain devices, such as bark collars, are swept under the rug, in order to promote more sales. If a dog is vocalizing because of stress, shock collars or other types of bark collars can further increase anxiety, and worsen the dog’s stress symptoms and behaviors.

      Here is more on how to deal with separation anxiety from the RSPCA.

  138. james says

    well, it’s beem decided! I’m going to acquire a Shiba Inu of my own! (Finding a breeder in SoCal/Arizona is proving to be beyond impossoble though). I have read many of your amazing articles, the discussions, two cesar milan books, one housetraining book, one trick book for dummies, and one specifically about the shiba inu. This leaves me just a few questions id like to ask! A) is it extremely rare that shiba inus are cuddly? I dont need to smother the dog with affection, but someone to chill on the couch and watch a movie with would be nice, and B) are there any extra books or websites you may recommend? It will be my first personal dog (had family dogs growing up) AND itll be a Shiba, so im preparing ;). Thanks!


    • shibashake says

      Congratulations James! Sounds like you are more than prepared to be owned by a Shiba!

      A) is it extremely rare that shiba inus are cuddly?

      Sephy will often chill out with us when we are watching t.v. He likes being around us, just not too much of the touchy-feely stuff. 😀

      B) are there any extra books or websites you may recommend?

      In terms of dog training information, there is a lot of conflicting advice out there in net-town, so I try to stick to-
      1. Scientific studies.
      2. Behavioral articles from top veterinary schools, especially the ones with good animal behavior programs, e.g. UPenn, UCDavis.
      3. Well established dog advocate sites, such as the RSPCA and ASPCA.

      When I first started with Sephy, I really enjoyed Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier. It is not a dog training book though – but more of a dog relationship book. Instead of blaming everything on Sephy or on dominance, I started to listen to him, see where he is coming from, and try to be a better pack leader. It made me view things in a different way and turned things around for Sephy and me. However, the book’s message may not appeal to everyone.

      She has a bunch of great articles on her site. Definitely have a look at her articles first to see if you like her style of writing.

      Dr Sophia Yin (from UCDavis) also has a lot of useful information on her blog.

  139. Liz McCauley says

    Truly enjoying your “Shiba Shake” and you are 100% accurate! Also enjoying all of the comments. You forgot one warning, though–you forgot to tell everyone how ADDICTING Shibas are! I started with a puppy mill rescue in 2007 and now have three–one rescued at 10 years of age from a high kill shelter and my girl came along two years ago when the local shelter called to tell me they had a Shiba who had been adopted out twice and kept escaping. I can’t imagine having any other breed of dog. Even with all the “quirks” (and there are many!), my Shibas are the most loving, sensitive, funny, and fun-loving dogs ever! They have never been and never will be off leash, and my Sammy (puppy mill dog) nipped my best friend and my aunt when I first had him. Honestly, he was a handful until I adopted Saki, the 10 year old, who proceeded to calm Sammy down. Of course, that all changed when Abbey joined the pack, because she is completely in charge of the boys. There were PLENTY of fights at first, still can be over food, but, for the most part, Sammy is in love with Abbey and Abbey is in love with Saki. Quite the love triangle! Thanks for all the info and your love of the breed!

  140. Kristen says

    I cannot believe Raiden is going to be 6 months next week time flys when you have a Shiba puppy!

    I’ve noticed a couple more people asking about whether a Shiba is a good apartment dog. We live in a one bedroom apartment with no yard and it was a big concern of mine. Raiden is doing just fine in the apartment. We make sure he is well excercised and my Mom puppy sits while I am at work. He gets to play with a Collie all day and is well socialized with other dogs.

    Raiden wanted nothing to do with his crate. He would scream, wine and carry on. Since I am in an apartment, with thin walls, that wasnt going to work. Needless to say, we slept on the couch together. We had many a cold nights in November and December running outside every two hours to pee pee. I certainly dont miss that. Note: Always get a puppy in the Spring or Summer! After about two weeks Raiden understood where to relieve himself. That isn’t to say he hasn’t had a couple accidents. Mostly my fault though, getting all bundled up with boots and scarves and gloves sometimes takes too long for his liking! He did, however, jump up in bed two nights ago and precede to pee in the bed. Not fun!

    One of my favorite parts of being a Shiba mom is hearing his cute yawns waking me up in the morning. I swear sometimes the noises he makes are unreal! Raiden is definitely not a big barker, but a screamer he is. All the Vets call him the biggest baby. Heaven forbid they need to check his temperature, if you know what I mean.

    Good luck everyone!

  141. Peta says

    My neighbor knows some people who lost their home, and needed someone to keep their dog until they are on their feet again. I had been considering getting a dog for a long time (about 10 years, actually), so I agreed to take him. I enjoy dogs, and a dog is a dog, right? Wrong !! He turns out to be a 18 month old Sheba, and is the stubbornest bunch of fur that I have ever encountered. We had a couple of “fights” where I wanted to go to bed, but he did not agree to come in from the garden area until about 2am. I moved his crate/bed into the washroom where there is a dog door, and he has agreed that sleeping in there is acceptable, also he is not allowed out in the big back garden after about 5:30 pm. His hair started falling out in handfulls this week and I thought maybe he was sick but from what I have seen online, it seems as if this is normal for Shebas. Our walks consist of a mad dash from one good smell to the next, and I think my arm is 6 inches longer now than it was a few weeks ago. I made the mistake of letting the neighbor’s dog into my yard to play, and that turned into a fight – also I tried getting rid of some of his energy at a local dog park, which worked for a while but then also ended in a fight.
    He has gotten out of the yard a couple of times, and darted off to investigate the neighbor’s chickens.

    • shibashake says

      I enjoy dogs, and a dog is a dog, right?

      I thought exactly the same thing when I got Sephy. I mean, how bad could a dog be, right? 😀

      Shiba says, “Silly human.”

  142. Kay says

    Hello hello!

    I got my first Shiba Inu back in September 2012. My fiance and I were just browsing a pet store admiring all the cute puppies. We’d duscussed getting a dog but decided to wait until after our wedding. Then we saw Kira while in the pet store. It was the first time I’d ever seen or even heard of a Shiba Inu and I thought “We have to have her!!!”

    Being smart, I asked the pet store for books on the breed while we played with her in their little playpins. The first three words we read about Shiba’s were “Smart, energetic, and stubborn”. My fiance looked right at me and said “Hey Kay! That sounds like you!” It was a done deal after that.

    After bringing her home I continued my research on the breed. I wanted to ensure she was getting the best upbringing to help her personality thrive. This website has helped out so much and has been a great resource.

    We’ve had Kira for 6 months now and she has turned into quite the mommy’s girl. Having read (more specifically from this site) that bad side of the shiba personality, I was truely prepared for the worst. I’ll be honest that raising Kira so far has been a blast though. She is extremely comical, and you’re right, you need to have a sense of humor with them.

    • shibashake says

      “Hey Kay! That sounds like you!” It was a done deal after that.

      LOL! I really love this part.

      Kira sounds like a very happy and very lucky girl! Thanks for sharing her story with us. Is she going to be the flower girl at your wedding? 😉

      Big hugs!

  143. Shawna says

    Hi, We got a shiba inu/american eskimo mix her name is Hermione and she is 1 1/2, she has all the traits most shibas have like, very energenic, tempermental with our other dogs, ect. My question is we have a pretty good size yard, take her for walks and she went thru puppy training. She seems to remember some of the training but refuses to come when called. when she gets out of the yard by sneaking past someone coming in the gate the chase is on, we had to chase her down for over an hour and finally caught her when someone else was walking there dog,
    Also she is very people shy when she is out in public, but when she is at home and someone comes to visit she barks the whole time they are there and she will run up to them like she is going to bite them, but never does. We have tried a spray bottle and pet corrector, but nothing seems to stop her.

    Any help would be great. Love this sight.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Shawna,

      In terms of training, I find that practice is very important with my dogs. Even though we are no longer doing classes, we still do commands every day to keep the lessons fresh. I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program, so it just happens naturally in the course of the day.

      This article from the ASPCA has a very good list of recall training techniques (training a dog to come when called).

      Recall training can be more challenging for some dogs, especially the more stubborn and aloof breeds. For example, my Huskies are a lot better with recall than my Shiba. 😀

      In term of sneaking out of doorways, what helps with my dogs is teaching them door manners.

      To get my Shiba more comfortable around people, I did people desensitization training. With Sephy, it was really important to start from a far distance away and to get the person to totally ignore him (no talking, no touching, and no eye-contact). Eye-contact is often seen as a desire to interact and can sometimes also be seen as a threat.

      In this way, I start off with a very weak version of the problem stimulus. Then, I slowly help Sephy to associate positive experiences with being around new people, so that he is less uncertain or anxious about them. As he gains confidence, I slowly increase the challenge of the exercise.

      Big hugs to Hermione!

  144. Carmen says

    Hey there! Love your dog, seems like a sweet, little and funny devil! :p My family are thinking about getting a Shiba puppy (if I can convince them..). We already have a cat, he’s not used to be close to dogs, but I have seen him cuddling with one. Do you have any experience regarding cats and Shibas? I was planning on giving him/her about 40 minutes of exercise (walks) every day + some play time and probably some obedience training, would you think that that is enough for a Shiba? And are Shibas allergy friendly? This isn’t our main priority, but a few people in our family (none of whom are living in our house) are allergic to dogs. I have been thinking about the Japanese Spitz as well (really love the Spitz breeds), but I really fell in love with the Shiba! They seem like amazing dogs, you’re lucky! 😀 Thanks in advance!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Carmen,

      Do you have any experience regarding cats and Shibas?

      No, I don’t have any cats so I don’t have much experience in this area. Here are a couple of articles that I like on cat training-

      The first link is to the Shiba Inu Forum which is a great place to get input from other Shiba owners.

      would you think that that is enough for a Shiba?

      It would depend on the individual dog and on the surrounding context. Sephy needed a lot of activity, exercise, and training when he was young. After he was fully vaccinated, I took him out 4-5 times every day. A couple of the walks were about 40 mins or more, and the rest were about 20 mins. We didn’t have a backyard then, and he was an only dog, so we were more limited in our exercise options.

      Later on, I cleaned out one of the rooms in the house and made it into a play-room. Then I was able to invite friendly dogs over to play with Sephy (under supervision). He really liked playing with other dogs so it was a good way to direct his Shiba-energy. He also liked going for hikes so we would do that as well.

      I also made him work for all of his food, set up a consistent routine, and a fixed set of rules. Shibas are a lot of work, and a big time commitment, especially when they are young.

      Sephy is now over 6 years old, so he needs much less supervision and exercise. Currently, he is good with daily walks of about 1 hour. He also plays with my two Huskies, works for all of his food, and happily lays about in the sun. 😀

      And are Shibas allergy friendly?

      Shibas shed a lot so they are not very allergy friendly. They have a soft undercoat which they blow once or twice a year. During coat blow season, there will be a lot of hair and a lot of grooming.

      Good luck with your puppy search! Let us know what you decide. 😀

  145. Florencia says

    Hi All! We are from Argentina and we would really like to have a Shiba Inu 🙂 We are doing some reasearch about that since we live in an apartament and work the whole day. I know that it is an independant dog, but i´m afraid that the dog could be a bit deppresive or bored and destroy all the things around him…
    What do you think about that? It could be possible to have a Shiba in an apartment?
    Thanks a lot for your comments! LOL

    • Kieren says

      I have two Shiba’s. I don’t see a problem with them as apartment dogs but your working all day is a real problem. These little guys require a lot of exercise, training and attention. Unless you take them to daycare or have a dog walker I doubt you will be happy. Just as an FYI, most puppy’s do a lot of damage…

    • shibashake says

      Hello Florencia,

      I think Shibas can do fine in an apartment as long as they get enough exercise, structure and supervision.

      My Shiba, Sephy, needed a fair amount of structured activity, especially when he was young. He also needed a fair amount of training and supervision during puppyhood. As you say, Shibas are independent and also very stubborn. Sephy does best when he has a fixed routine and a consistent set of rules.

      Why are Shiba Inus difficult to train.

      Here is another comment about Shibas and apartment living.

      Here are some of my early experiences with Sephy.

  146. Ross says

    We adopted our Shiba ‘Yoshi’ at 12 weeks old, and she is a handful to say the least. A charmer, extremely intelligent and strong-willed. She has taken to our family quite well and has acquired some pretty interesting habits not all too common with Shiba’s – she sleeps in our bed at night (but eventually ends up in hers by the morning). I have been told they house train quickly – this has NOT been our experience and it’s getting pretty frustrating. We take her out constantly and most of the time she does her business, but many times will come right back in and relieve herself almost immediately, sometimes right in front of us. Anyone with any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • shibashake says

      Two things that work well while potty training my Sibes –
      1. I reward them very well for doing potty outside. I give them attention, special treats, and play their favorite game with them after a successful potty.

      2. When they potty inside, I no-mark the behavior, interrupt them, and take them outside. If they continue going outside, I reward them very well for it.

      This teaches them that –
      potty outside = lots of rewards, attention, and games
      potty inside = get interrupted and no rewards

      Here is more on what I did while potty training my puppies.

    • Krystle says

      I know this was posted a month ago, but I had a similar experience with my shiba Alice. When she was a baby puppy (what I call it) she would do the same thing, go out and pee then come in to pee! Or just randomly pee no matter how many times she’d allready been out. I took her to the vet, turns out she had a urinary infection. After some antibiotics, it cleared up within days and I never had that problem again. You might get her checked out. I was so frustrated because I thought she just wasn’t learning or I was a bad teacher! Silly human.

  147. Heather says

    I adopted my black and tan Shiba Inu when she was 6 years old through a local breeder surrender. She was born and bred in a puppy mill setting and the whole story is very sad. She was worked and had many litters of pups. When I first took her home her hind quarters were almost completely bald and her tail looked like it could belong on a hairless rat, not the beautiful Shiba plume that I had always seen. Her breath was bad enough to fill the car if the windows were up and she was extremely overweight. For one whole month I could not get her to eat anything more than a few bites of soft food. She would sit in the same room as me but didn’t like to be petted and when we went for a walk it was more of a drag and ended in me walking carrying my plump little Shiba a few blocks back home.
    We had a few incidents of her pulling herself out of her harness and going for a nice run… They can REALLY run. Overweight or not.
    She was extremely frightened of humans, men in particular. There were a lot of frustrating, crying evenings and a few points where I thought I’d made a big mistake. I’m glad I am as stubborn as she was and that I did not throw in the towel. After treating her for Hypothyroidism and having a whopping seven teeth removed she finally started to eat and that led to her finally starting to trust and to blossom.
    Sheena Easton (when I was told her breed I misunderstood Shiba Inu and made a joke that the breed was Sheena Easton and the name stuck) has been a part of my home and family for two years now and I cannot imagine life without her. I love this dog and understand the expression man’s best friend. She is extremely loving with me and friendly to friends that come over and even to their dogs (Best friend works with a chihuahua rescue group and brings new small dogs over all of the time) and I have even caught her trying to snuggle up to our cat Emma. She is a bit bashful. She is so beautiful now, her fur thick all over and even her tail is somewhat filled out and we are asked on our daily walks if she is a Husky puppy quite frequently. She greets me at the door and runs and jumps into my lap and a few close friends but no longer looks at everyone as a threat or as someone that will cause her harm. i have had no issues with her as a destructive force and she even plays with her squeaky toys gently and loves her bones but makes them last.

    There is one issue that we cannot seem to work though and I’m hoping there might be someone that can offer advice. Throughout the entire time I have had Sheena, she has been afraid of my boyfriend. He is tall and has a deep booming voice but is an animal lover and has been desperately trying to get Sheena to not be afraid of him. She becomes a totally different dog when he is around. We do not live together but he comes over about 3 nights of the week and she still paces and hides from him. If he enters a room, she will run around the room that is closest in almost a panic. If he makes a sudden movement or really just any movement she cowers and jumps and has even made an accident on the floor due to jumping so hard (we call those scare poos). She licks hot spots on her paws that swell when she is nervous and we have had to treat these infections frequently. Matt tries the sideways approach, he has tried bringing her real meat treats. He speaks to her like I do, and has even tried getting on all fours but that almost made things worse. When he comes over I put on her Thunder Shirt and that has helped enough that she can stay in the same room as him, as long as he sits still but that is not a real solution. Anyone ever seen this type of behavior in their Shiba Inu or any adopted dog really? I love her so much and I also love him so much so I really would like to find a middle ground. I want him to see her actual personality and not the flighty paranoid dog she becomes when he is around. I’m sure there is something more we can do and I’m sure I’m not doing something correctly. I should also mention this is my first dog ever.
    I appreciate any feedback, be it constructive criticism or anything.
    Cheers to the best little big dog around!
    Thank you,

    • shibashake says

      Wow, that is an amazing story. Four paws up to you, and a good helping of licks! 😀

      In terms of dealing with a dog’s “fear of men”, desensitization and counter conditioning methods may help. The idea is to first present the dog with a very weak version of the stimulus, and then slowly build up from there.

      With a fear of people, we can use distance to weaken the strength of the stimulus. It is also important that the person stays relatively still, does not talk, and does not initiate any kind of eye contact. When I do this, I usually get the other person to just read a book or work on his computer. In the beginning, it is important for the person to totally ignore the dog and not try to interact in any way.

      Here is more on what I do during people-desensitization training.

      During the training period, I make sure that my dog is *only* exposed to the “scary person” in a structured and controlled setting. We want to set the dog up for success and teach her to only associate the person with positive, or at worst, neutral experiences.

      I usually go very slowly with my dog, and slowly build up her confidence. I make sessions short, fun, and very very rewarding. As my dog gains confidence, I slowly increase the strength of the stimulus.

      Hope this helps and big hugs to Sheena! Love the name! 😀

    • Anonymous says

      She is only reacting to what she had to endure when she was a canine puppy making factory. She was probably feed and sheltered by a male and associates your boyfriend as the ass that had her. God bless you for taking her and giving her a better life. You have no idea what those poor dogs endure in that environment.
      As a vet tech I see some of this in my work place. All you can do is keep trying and give lots of encouragement when your boyfriend is around that he is ok. Try having her sit in your lap and he sit next to you and don’t touch her but be there. This will take awhile as they are a stubborn dog. She survived that mill, please give her time. Puppy mills and HSUSA are the shit!!!

  148. Nicole says

    Hi, I just stumbled over this while trying to do some research on my shiba inu, Nova. We adopted him from a friend when he was only a couple of months old because he did not get along with her other dogs. Since then we have noticed many of the things you have mentioned in this article. However, I am doing my research because Nova is beyond aggressive. Anyone who walks into my house who is a stranger to Nova, will be welcomed with aggressive barks. He will then calm down until the person is leaving our house and will proceed to chase after them and bite them.

    This evening, we found out that Nova actually escaped from our backyard when we innocently let him out (our backyard is securely enclosed), chased our neighbor and his dog down the block, gave the dog two puncture wounds and then came back home. We had no idea this even occurred until our neighbor texted my mom saying he was at the animal hospital. Nova must have been out for a total of 7 minutes maximum. We never let him out for too long unless he is supervised because we are afraid he may get out.

    Nova really is an amazing dog, with the people he knows and is familiar with. He is loving and cuddly, and is always willing to play. However, whenever he hears an unexpected noise or senses a neighborhood dog walking past, he freaks out and runs rampid.

    Do you have any advice on how we can go about further training Nova?? We do not want to lose him, we love him so much. We have had him for over two years now, and no matter what we try to do, it just does not seem to work!

    • shibashake says

      We have had him for over two years now, and no matter what we try to do, it just does not seem to work!

      Hmmm, what have you tried with Nova? How did he respond? How does Nova react to other people and other dogs during walks?

      Sephy used to be very reactive towards other dogs when he was young. With Sephy, I did a lot of dog-to-dog desensitization exercises. We practiced with friendly dogs at our nearby SPCA under the direction of a trainer there. It took time, but desensitization helped Sephy to be more comfortable around other dogs and taught him to use alternate behaviors to deal with his stress.

      Desensitization and counter-conditioning training can also help with reactivity towards people.

  149. BruceB says

    Always love reading ShibaShake. Posted last year, right after adopting father (Sebastian), son (Copper), from a local family , and how I have grown to love them. They are 7 and 6 years of age, and luckily the family socialized them very well. They go with me everywhere, and they are no more trouble than any other breed of dog, actually, I get along with them better because they are in their own world!

    All of the traits mentioned here are in my two Shibas, but probably the worse one is the issue with dog aggression. I take them walking in many various places, and have to have my dog antenna up looking out for loose or other dogs. They do well until some one let’s their dog run up to us, then it’s my Shibas protecting their space. But, I have never seen them go on the offensive, mostly their aggression is a defensive behavior.

    I have 8 Siberian Huskies also, Sebastian and Copper get along with some, and some they do not, however that applies to my Siberians only too. I believe Shibas are much smarter in many ways than Siberians. Shiba’s size the situation up before proceeding, where Siberians just rush in and then try to figure out what the heck to do now!

    Copper looks like Shephy, Sebastian is much smaller, more foxy. They do need to walk every day or they pout, but I love walking them, so that is not a problem. I could write a book, but in closing, I was very lucky for them to come into my life.

    • shibashake says

      Shiba’s size the situation up before proceeding, where Siberians just rush in and then try to figure out what the heck to do now!

      LOL! Very well said and very accurate. I must include this in my Shiba vs. Siberian article.

      Glad to hear that everyone is doing so well and Happy New Year!

    • shibashake says

      That is some extreme cuteness! I love it that the adult Shiba is eating the cabbage with such gusto and the puppy just wants to be like momma (or is it papa)! Too adorable. Thank you very much for posting it.

  150. Morgan says

    Hi again,
    I need some answers here! I adopted 2 Shiba brothers. one is white the other black.
    They are now 4months old.
    The white one is a bit bigger in size. He is now whining a lot, protecting food, ext. We are trying to split the brothers up a bit so they get more dependent on us humans. lol. We now have 2 cages and they sleep seperate but the cages are next to each other. Does anyone have ideas as to why the white dog (Mooschu) is whining more? the Black/tan (Scout) does not make these sounds. Should i keep trying to separate? We now walk them separately as well.

    • shibashake says

      Some dogs naturally vocalize more than others. For example, Shania is a very quiet dog. On the other hand, Lara (Shania’s niece) is very talkative. She vocalizes when she gets excited, when she gets afraid, when she is playing, etc.

      Sometimes, dogs will vocalize more if we inadvertently reward/reinforce the behavior. For example, we tend to pay more attention to loud noises. Therefore, when a dog vocalizes, it is our instinct to give him attention. This attention rewards the vocalizing behavior, which will encourage the dog to repeat it in the future.

      In terms of food guarding, I try to train my dogs not to guard their food or toys. Here is a bit more on my experiences on food and resource guarding. Here is a bit more on what I do to keep the peace at home between my dogs.

      Since they are so young, it may be a good idea to get help from a professional trainer. Best to nip aggression issues in the bud.

  151. Sharon says

    I had considered having a Shiba, but after much research, I decided that I had way too many children coming and going through our home. I would not be able to have enough structure and routine for the Shiba at this point in my life. I was pretty down about it when I discovered the Alaskan Klee Kai. They are kind of a Shiba light lol. They have a cry and are certainly drama queens when ill or even a little hurt, and they have huge separation anxiety. My baby Tank has never slept a night alone and until he was two was never left alone for more than 15 minutes, which was the amount of time it took him to eat my new couch *ouch*. Now he can tolerate being alone with the tv on for about 3 hours, but never over night. People have gotten used to me being the crazy dog lady and just expect him to be with me, so I am invited places at their own risk. Tank does ok in social settings as long as he is a barnacle on me and if he gets over whelmed he asked to be picked up and I calm him a bit and his anxiety level goes way down. We always visit a day before to acclimate. SO I guess I am recommending the Alaskan Klee Kai to all who would not be a good fit for a Shiba Inu.

  152. Delja says

    Shibas sound sooooo adorable! everything ive read about them makes me want one so bad, except for the prey drive. But sadly when im older i want to foster for my local shelter and a shiba inu has a good chance of being unhappy with such an arrangment. so at the moment im debating over whether to get my favorite breed and maybe foster when im older or foster ealier and get a shiba later. never getting one is such a sad unthinkable fate.
    Rightio. Question time:
    Do you think a shiba would do okay in an apartment? when i started seriously considering a shiba inu, i realized the way i am, i would currently not be able to provide enough exercise for most dogs, so i’m trying to work my way to being capable of providing a medium sized dog with enough mental and physical stimulation to be okay in an apartment,
    Would a. adult shiba inu be able to learn to live with kids? If socalized to them throughtout their life?
    I very much appreciate your site and will keep reading so i hope you keep going for a long time!! Have a happy new year!!!1

    • shibashake says

      Do you think a shiba would do okay in an apartment?

      When I first got Sephy, we were living in a house with no backyard. Sephy was able to do ok, as long as he got good daily exercise. We did frequent daily walks, a couple of hikes in the park per week, and we took him to play at a nearby SPCA. They had a nice enclosed yard, and we sometimes did training sessions with the friendly dogs there.

      From what I hear, Shibas can do well in an apartment as long as they get enough exercise. Here is a comment from someone with Shiba-apartment experience-

      Would a. adult shiba inu be able to learn to live with kids? If socalized to them throughtout their life?

      I don’t have much experience with this, but there are some good threads in the Shiba Inu forum about Shiba and kids-

      Sephy does pretty well with older, more calm kids during walks. I make sure to supervise him very well when he is with kids. I only let him meet with kids that I know, and who are good with dogs.

      Happy New Year!

  153. Phyllis says

    It’s been fun reading all the comments from other Shiba “owners” (I say this with a serious grain of salt since Kimo owns us!!). We did not choose our boy, but came to us through our daughter. She had gotten him thinking he would make a great condo dog. After choosing the “grunt” not runt of a litter from registered Shibas. So low and behold he became a Dogzilla!!! Imagine all that quirky Shiba personality in a 65 pound body!! Everything about him is Shiba ( the scream, the stubbornness, the tricky ness, the coat, the strange eating of certain plants and everything else you have mentioned above) and we have finally adjusted our lives to him now that he is 5. Even starting to look for a second one! He and our 14 year old cat are friends now and he is very good with other dogs even ones that come to our house. He goes nutty over the opossum and squirrels that come in the yard! Ultimately we are very happy to have our bright eyed, devoted when he wants to be and furry headed big buddy happily greeting us when we get home.

    Happy Shiba thoughts to you all! Phyllis

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for sharing Kimo’s story with us. He sounds absolutely adorable!

      Even starting to look for a second one!

      ACK! 😀

      Bigs hugs and Happy Holidays!

  154. Daenah says

    Hi, i would be a prospective shiba owner i guess, but not for a couple more years. I’d really love to take off the ‘prospective’ and add on a ‘definite future’, but i have some worries. I presently am the very happy owner of a shindiggy 1 year old kitty named Esper. She’s on the small side of the cat spectrum, and tends to take flight if you spook her, which is something i’m trying to help her with. She’s fine with our shih-tzu, who she’s grown up with, but i know a shiba inu is a lot different than a shih-tzu. Esper had also grown up with a cat and is not prone to hissy-pissy-ness, so i think she’ll be able to adjust to a puppy, but i’m worried about the puppy going after her. Especially if she flees.
    Another thing i’m worried about is i love our shih-tzu very much and would be exuberant if the shiba could be friends with said dog, but i wouldn’t want to have the puppy be a mean bean to him. If i socialize the puppy well, will these relationships work so they could at least live happy, if not stunningly harmoniously? And i’ve read that the breed can be agressive towards other dogs of their gender. Does this go for cats as well? Because getting a girl so she’ll get along with Poe(shih-tzu) would be a major backfire, as Esper is the one she has to live with.
    And if the puppy got along with said mow-mow, than would another cat be an okay idea? I know that animals tend to get along best with other creatures they’ve known their whole lives, but it doesn’t seem the wisest of ideas to bring home a puppy and kitten in the same few months. But will a shiba, in general, let another cat in if they were raised with a cat? Or another dog?
    Worry #4: Is it true that shiba’s with certain coat colorings, red for instance, are prone to aggression? I absolutely adore the shiba inu look, but i must say i am slightly partial to the red and cream colorings?
    Please reply, as i have been in love with this breed since i was six and my neighbors brought home of their own. He was the sweetest guy you could meet, and you could stick your hands through the fence(kinda of an idiot, i was) and he’d just sniff and lick them. Cutest chappy one could meet to boot. I’ve been researching them this past year, and they sound like great, though not for everyone, dogs. I just hope that i get to be in that wonderful correct minority.

    • shibashake says

      Esper sounds like a very good kitty. Love her name.

      Unfortunately, I do not have much experience in this area (I don’t have any cats). This thread in the Shiba Inu Forums has some good information on Shiba Inus and cats.

      Is it true that shiba’s with certain coat colorings, red for instance, are prone to aggression?

      Yeah, I have heard this mentioned as well, but have not seen anything that really supports the claim.

      Happy Holidays and big hugs to Esper and Poe.

    • Chrissy says

      I own a dog and a bitch, both four and my Shiba’s have always lived with cats without any issues. One of my friends owns three cats and a female Shiba, another, one cat and a feisty little male Shiba who hates all other dogs but literally adores the cat!
      It’s down to how YOU integrate/socialise them :0)

  155. sandy says

    we recently rescued two shiba’s. mother and son ,mama (sophie) is 3 and son (hatchi) is 18mo. I have always had dogs, but always got them from 8wks. We have been very lucky only a couple potty accidents and no chewing. they are very sweet and loving. My real concern comes with, prior to the very unplanned rescue, we had a deposit on the pick of the litter from a choc lab mom and golden retriever dad. we bring pup home in a couple weeks and I’m afraid because mama has shown some’ dog ‘ food aggression. i can put my hand right in there food dish and take treats away, they do however eat there food together from same bowl, but if they get treats and Hatchi goes anywhere near hers, she gets very aggressive. they actually hard a huge fight the other day that left Sophie limping and Hatchi bleeding!!! so i need some advice on how to introduce a puppy and keep it safe until he’s big enough to establish his place in the pack himself.?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Sandy,

      Four paws up for rescuing two Shibas in need!

      In terms of the new puppy, my general feeling is that it may be better to hold off on that for a while. Puppies are a lot of work and it will be very difficult to train all three dogs at once.

      Food aggression is serious business and it took me a lot of time, management, and consistent training to keep things safe; and to get Sephy to be relaxed around food and other dogs. Given that there was a serious fight, it may be most effective to get help from a professional trainer.

      At home, I keep the peace between my dogs by setting up clear and consistent dog-to-dog interaction rules. I teach each of them these rules, and I supervise closely, especially during meal-times and play-time. This is more on what I do with my dogs-

      However, each situation is different depending on the dogs, surrounding context, etc. A good professional trainer can read the dogs’ body language, evaluate their temperament, and identify aggression triggers. For aggression cases, it is safest, I think, to get help from a professional.

  156. Mary says

    Thank you for all your wonderful Shiba articles! I fell in love with the breed about a year ago when I played with one at a local pet store. As a former Husky momma, I saw the curly tail and spark of personality and couldn’t resist! A year later we now have Sherlock, a beautiful Shiba boy. 🙂 He just turned 12 weeks and has an amazing personality/temperament. We have been reading on your site for months.

    He is already trained in his bite inhibition, does extremely well in his crate and loves meeting new people. We are still having some issues with housetraining though. He started out being really great about no accidents but after getting a uti has slowly reverted to small little accidents right after being taken outside. I have started trying to train him to use a ‘doggie doorbell’ to tell us when he has to potty, but he hasn’t quite gotten it yet. I can’t quite figure out if he is marking or just confused about where to potty because the breeder trained him on a doggy door. Any advice? I wish we had a yard, but we live in an apartment. He gets lots of time outside though. 🙂

    I have also noticed that he really really wants to run! I am torn on letting him jog with me on the trail because I have heard that it can hurt a puppy’s development to run too soon. I know I couldn’t keep my huskies from jogging when they were little bundles, but he will hold back unless I let him (with a sad shiba stare, of course!)

    I can’t help but love him to bits, he is so incredibly sweet and affectionate despite being a strong-willed Shiba.

    • shibashake says

      Hmmm, does he raise his leg during the mini accidents? What is he doing when the mini accidents occur? Do they occur at a particular spot in the house?

      It could be lingering effects from the uti. When did he have his uti? How long did it go for?

      As for running, it is probably safest to check with the vet. With Sephy, he was doing Shiba 500s very soon after we got him. We made sure he didn’t overdo it and also he didn’t jump up and down furniture, especially at high speeds. However, supervised running around did not seem to have any bad effects on him.

      Hugs to Sherlock. He sounds like a really good boy and should be on Santa’s good list! 😀

    • Mary says

      He doesn’t lift his leg, so I am more inclined to think maybe he is just having standard housetraining issues except that he does it right after I take him out. Luckily I got a new carpet cleaner in yesterday and was able to clean the spots. No accidents yesterday and he did stick his nose to the bells once. 😀 I let him run Shiba 500s whenever he gets into it, though there is no predicting what sets it off! I am so in love with the quirky Shiba personality already. He loves to talk to us and protect me from dreadful things such as rice cookers, trash trucks, cable guys and Christmas lights! The most menacing is of course those Christmas blow-up lawn ornaments.

      Give Sephy a hug for us! Is his name short for Sephiroth? :p what a fitting name for a misunderstood devil dog.

    • shibashake says

      The most menacing is of course those Christmas blow-up lawn ornaments.

      LOL! That is too adorable! I love all the Christmas decorations.

      Is his name short for Sephiroth?

      Yes! I am a big fan of the Final Fantasy series. Ironically, I stopped playing soon after I got Sephy – no longer have much gaming time, only Shiba time. 😀

      I am thinking that he just needs to be very closely monitored and scheduled.

      Yeah, I think you are right.

      It doesn’t sound like marking to me either. It could be that he temporarily has less control due to the uti. One possibility is to wait a bit longer outside after he pees to give him another chance to go again if he has to.

      Big hugs to Sherlock and Happy Holidays. Do you watch the t.v. series Elementary? It is a fun show.

    • Mary says

      ..also, his Uti was about two weeks ago now. It wasn’t a definite positive but he was squatting about 15 times every outside trip and the vet found some white blood cells so he put him on antibiotics to be safe. It tends to be in the corners (now dubbed the pee pee corners) when he is not actively playing with a toy. I restarted his crate training to be strictly scheduled though it is hard to have him in the crate when I am home. I tried an inhouse tie down but he didn’t take a shine to that and he keeps biting on a drag lead. I am thinking that he just needs to be very closely monitored and scheduled. 🙂

  157. Andrea1976 says

    we have the pleasure (and pain) of being the proud owners of 1yr old Logan. We are in desperate need of some advice. Logan nips the back of our legs and will spend hours running round in circles. We Havre tried yelping leaving the room distraction techniques but with no success. he is walked on beach daily and has engaging and challenging toys to keep him occupied but again he chooses to run round in circles. Vet is at a loss and breeder recommendations have not worked.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • C says

      We learned this from our breeder. It is a good technique. When our Shiba was a puppy, we played a game called “get a toy”. You can play with your Shiba over meal times to start and for Shiba to learn the behaviour. What we did was say “get a toy!” and shake the toy around. Then when Shiba bites the toy, say “good dog!” and give Shiba some food. Repeat until “get a toy” becomes a command. The idea is that if your Shiba is biting a toy, then it stops any nipping (hands, legs, trousers, you name it) behaviour.

      When we come home, we tell Shiba to get a toy or we do not even look at the Shiba. We found that this is when most of the trouser-nipping occured. That way Shiba associates get a toy with good things – like food and love. And therefore associates nipping with being ignored. All Shibas HATE being ignored. 😛

      Then when my Shiba started doing annoying things, like nipping my trousers, I’d tell her “oops, get a toy!” and she would get it and I would give her lots of love. If she continued to nip, I would ignore her and give her no attention at all. (Even if it takes a full hour at first…)

      Hope it helps!!

      – C

    • shibashake says

      With Sephy, I have noticed that he loves to play chasing games. When he was young, many of his biting and running around behaviors came from him wanting to start a game of chase.

      Some things that helped with Sephy-

      1. Stay very calm.
      Sephy is very sensitive to the energy of the people around him. If I get angry, frustrated, or stressed, he picks up on that and gets even more crazy. To get Sephy to calm down, I have to stay very calm myself. I also find that it is best not to move around too much or too fast (either hands or legs) because fast motion gets him more excited.

      2. Do not reward bad behavior.
      Another Sephy favorite is that he would steal something (e.g. t.v. controller) and run around with it. Initially, I would chase him so that I could stop him. This was a mistake, because then I was rewarding his bad behavior with a chasing game, which is exactly what he wants.

      Instead, what worked well with Sephy is to stay calm, no-mark the behavior (Ack-ack), and just stop him using his drag-lead. Then I would give him an alternate command, e.g. Sit. If he does this, he gets rewarded, then we do some fun movement commands (e.g. Spin) and play a structured game together. This gives him a structured way to expend his Shiba energy.

      If he does not listen and escalates his behavior by jumping and biting, then I calmly say “Timeout” and put him in a timeout area for a very brief period of time. In this way, he learns that following commands = fun chasing game, but biting and jumping = loss of attention and freedom.

      3. Bite inhibition training.
      This helped to train Sephy to control the force of his bites.

    • Pat O'Connor says

      I have a 6 year old and he still occasionally runs in circles, but he’s pretty much outgrown it. They get better as they age 🙂 Mine was getting super aggressive and I traced it back to commercial MilkBone products. Don’t know what’s in it, but it made him nuts at time. now he gets cheese bits as a treat and all is well.

    • Kyli says

      We got Bamboo at 7 weeks and immediately began putting him on a Time Out program. When he nips we tell him “no” and ignore it. If it continues for more than 2 “no” commands we ask him if he wants to go to “Time Out”. He continues and he goes in Time Out (a special section of the kitchen gated off especially for this). He then is told to “sit” and is allowed out once he has sat for 15 seconds. He is almost 5 months old now and as soon as we ask him if he wants to go to “time out” he stops what he is doing and lays down. Hope this helps!

    • Chrissy says

      Arthur was a hand gripper/mouther and it is a Shiba trait but when he was little he learned very quickly not to do it to me by my replacing my hand with a toy and saying “put something in your mouth!” He continues to want to do it to all visitors but because Shiba’s are so bright and they love carrying things around, I only have to say; “Put something in your mouth Arthur” and he’ll rush off to get a toy before greeting people. This way because he’s got a toy in his mouth, he can’t mouthe hurt/frighten people and as soon as the doorbell goes, he rushes off to get a toy. Even if we’re out, I carry a ball in my pocket and if someone stops us, he comes and asks me for the ball before says ‘hello’. Problem solved!

  158. Jenny says

    Hi there,
    I have a Shiba Inu x Akita and his name is Sephy too! Full name Sephiroth! He is curretnly 8 months old and he does everything on what you described your Shiba does, biting and running off with things! We have his own area where he sleeps in the lounge/kitchen area. However he has developed this bad habit of needing someone to stay with him untill hes too tired and falls asleep. If we leave him he scratches our door and hits it with his paws and starts crying too. Sometimes he will even be sleeping but if I leave to get up he gets up too and will proceed to scratch, hit and cry if I leave. Do you have any advice to change this habit? Its driving me crazy sometimes!
    Thanks in advance!

    • Nick says

      SnugglePuppy and Pet Stages make dog toys that are heated and have heart beats, this might help. Young dogs are use to being close to their adult parents while sleeping. The warmth of their bodies and sound of their heartbeats are comforting. Hopefully this toy will replace that and releave your issue. Also get a metal gate (child gate) to put across the doorway instead of closing it. This gives him the comfort of seeing you if needed. Get a metal one for he will chew through a plastic one. Hope this helps and good luck…

    • Nick says

      Forgot one more thing… Place a ticking clock in his dog beg or wrap one up in his favorite blanket during sleeping hours to replace that heartbeat sound. It worked for our Shiba…

    • Caroline says

      In the beginning when I got my Shiba Inu (he is 1.5 years now) I had a lovely list of things I thought I should follow for example the dog should be sleeping in the crate during nights in his area in the living room. I cannot count weeks we spent fighting with this, this also included me sleeping on the floor next to the crate in the sleeping bag 😀 to get him use to sleeping in there. To keep the long story short eventually we put the crate to the bedroom and there was absolutely no problem at all any more with his sleeping. They just want to be close to their family. I think the metal gate Nick suggested is a great idea (I assume you don´t want him in the bedroom).

    • shibashake says

      I have a Shiba Inu x Akita and his name is Sephy too!

      That is awesome! Great minds think alike. 😀

      With my Shiba, he really likes keeping track of his family, so he becomes unhappy when he can’t check up on both the human and canine members of his pack. I think a big part of it is due to his guarding instinct. When he was young, I put up a see through baby-gate for the kitchen area. In this way, he can still see his people when in his enclosure.

      Another thing that helped is to set up a very consistent schedule and routine. Sephy is more relaxed when he knows exactly what to expect from me and what I expect from him. During puppy-hood I planned out our entire day, which turned out to be really good for Sephy and also very good for me. I was able to plan in some fixed sleeping periods, which gave me a bit of free time to rest and do other chores.

      During his rest time, he knows that he is supposed to settle down so I ignore whining and other undesirable behaviors (if puppy is not fully potty-trained, then we will have to take that into account). Shibas are very clever, so if they learn that they can get affection, attention, or freedom by whining, they will whine even more. When it is time to let puppy out, I always wait for a lull in the whining before doing so. If puppy starts to whine as I am going to let him out, I walk away and try again during the next lull.

      This helps to teach puppy that whining and making noise = drive people away, less attention, and less freedom but staying quiet = attention + get to come out and be with people.

      It can also be useful to teach puppy the “Quiet” command. This lets puppy know what we want him to do, and best of all, we can reward him well for following commands and doing work for us.

      At night, Sephy sleeps with us in the bedroom, in his crate.

      Hugs to Sephy!

    • Wendy says

      I have a Shiba Inu x Akita (Karlos) he is so amazing!!! He does have some problems sleeping too but it is getting better he is now 2… We got him from a rescue league… How is Ur dog in the car? Karlos gets sick every time we take him for a ride 🙁

    • Kelly says

      What everyone says about them sleeping in your bedroom is so true! When we crate trained Riley we kept it in our bedroom. It only took 3 nights for her to sleep through the night without whining. About a week of having her I got this great idea to put her in the living room just outside our bedroom door. I thought that since we liked keeping our bedroom door closed to keep her from mischief, but would allow her access to her home and at night she could see us perfectly from her crate.

      Ohh nooo!!! she was having none of it. She whined and whined, but we weren’t giving in. After about 15 minutes or so of constant whining we knew this wasn’t working. However, we didn’t want her to think she could whine to get out of her crate whenever she didn’t feel like being there. So, we decided to move her crate back to the bedroom, but we would leave her in it while we did this. I am not exagerating at all when I say that as the crate passed over the threshold from our room, Riley curled up and went to sleep.

      People thought we were insane when our daughter was born and we refused to move Riley out of our bedroom to make a space for a bassinet. We knew we would get minimal sleep with a baby, but we would get no sleep if Riley was moved outside the room.

  159. Gretchen says

    Thank you for posting such a wonderful site for this awesome breed. My husband owned a Shiba previously, so we where and are fully aware of the cautions of the breed. We adopted our 9 week old Shiba yesterday and are truly excited and ready for a long relationship with him and the bond our 4 year old son will have.
    As with any dog or pet purchase, researching and educating yourself should be a priority for the well being of all involved. Less heartache and more love and happiness. We are patient people and actually looking forward to discovering his personality and his energy. Glad we chose a breed that is independent and knows what he wants.
    Cheers to many years together.

  160. Larisa says

    I own a five year old Shiba named Frankie. I cannot imagine having a better dog. For all the people with negative comments, you need to choose a dog based on your personality and needs and IT DOES NOT mean anything is wrong with the breed. If you need non-stop attention and re-assurance, get a dog who will not leave your side. I don’t feel the need for that and even find it annoying. My Shiba is a perfect cuddle bunny but also doesn’t demand my attention every second. He is extremly loyal. Yes, he is smart and mischievous but I find it adorable and love having a smart dog. He is also not a needy yapper like some of the smaller dogs. We work long hours and I know my Shiba is just sleeping peacefully until I get home and not crying by the door which would be so heartbreaking. He also avoids confrontations with other dogs. He doesn’t have that distinct dog smell. He is great with animal. Timid with people until he gets to know them but I really don’t think that’s a big deal. Overall, I cannot imagine a more perfect dog. He is my first dog and I will never get another dog but a Shiba!

    • Larisa says

      Now that I got that out of my system. Some of Frankie’s mischiefs:
      1) Stealing socks, underwear, paper and (anything not bolted and relatively small). Running within my eyesight and watching for my reaction. If I make one more towards him, he bolts.
      2) He stole my husbands wallet. Pulled money out and shredded it.
      3) Chewed up my favorite shoes (he was a puppy at the time) and left the chewed up shoe on top of my sleeping husband. I think he was trying to frame him.
      4) Crazy Shiba dance – ears pulled back, eyes show complete insanity. Jumps/slides from corner to corner.
      5) Tries to steal food of my plate (and at times succeeds). He is so smart and always knows how to catch me off guard.

      With all the craziness, I adore him. He is affectionate. He is usually cuddled up next to me or my husband. Super affectionate in the morning. Covering his face with paws – the cutest thing.

  161. Kristen says

    I was wondering if anyone had success with raising a Shiba in an apartment. I recently moved out of my parents house,where I shared every single day of my life with a Collie, and I miss having a dog SO much. Although apartment raising is less than ideal, I believe I can still provide a great home for a dog.
    I will commit to at least two walks per day and if allowed tons of love and affection. My parents and I walked our Collies at least three times a day and they are some of the most well behaved dogs in the world. You can walk out of the room with a plate full of food on the coffee table and Reptar (their most recent Collie) could care less. That being said, I have high expectations.
    This will be my first non-Collie and I am a little nervous, but excited! I fell in love with this breed about 5 years ago and I have been doing my research and I’m ready to take the challenge. We are going tomorrow to pick the cutie pie up. Any recommendations for food for the puppy as well as into adulthood? I’m on a budget myself, but I dont want to skimp to the point of threatening the dog’s health with horrible food.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kristen,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      How are things going?

      In terms of food, I feed all my dogs Innova EVO. It is high protein and grain free. During puppyhood I use the Innova puppy formula. My Shiba is allergic to wheat, so I go for grain free kibble.

      Other well-regarded brands – Orijen, Blue Wilderness, Wellness CORE.

      Here is more on what to look out for while picking kibble-

    • Kristen says

      Thank you! We picked up Blue Wilderness puppy food and Raiden seems to be enjoying it.

      So far he has only had two accidents in the house. My parents saw him and fell in love immediately. They offered to watch him while we are at work which is amazing! In addition to them helping with house breaking, he gets to play with their collie all day. I don’t know who is sleepier when I go to pick him up, my mom, the collie or Raiden.

      Im so glad to have him. I love our morning walks together. He was immediately a pro with the leash and he met my niece and was sooo good. However, the Shiba Scream is no joke. It amazes me that something so small and cute can produce such a loud noise. The best way I can describe it is a cross between a parrott and a monkey.

    • shibashake says

      I don’t know who is sleepier when I go to pick him up, my mom, the collie or Raiden.

      LOL! Lucky Raiden. “Lord Raiden WINS!”

      Awesome name for a Shiba.

    • C says

      Hi Kristen,

      My 1 yr old Shiba does great in our apartment. I can leave her alone for up to 6 hours at a time and she’s totally fine. (In fact I come home and she’s normally sleeping) The key is to make sure that your Shiba is exercised regularly throughout the week. I find that at the 1 yr mark, two hikes a week is adequate, on top of regular walks. Also you can consider daycare for the “puppy-energy” at the early months. This is what we did.

      It is a little more expensive this way, but think of it like this – would you rather spend a few hundred dollars on daycare costs over the span of 6 months or a lot more on a new couch? 😉

      If you are buying a Shiba, try to see how the parents and grandparents are. Are they running around like crazy or just chilling out? When I went to pick up my little one, all of the breeder’s 14 dogs were sitting in a row at the window. Quietly staring, kind of freaky. But all quite calm.

      Have fun and don’t listen to what some people say! Just make sure you research the parents (if possible), start a good program with a reputable trainer, and try to get in some daycare days. (Daycare really helped with our Shiba being very socialable)

      – C

    • Kelly says

      We live in an 834 sq ft condo and have had a Shiba Inu since she was a puppy. Riley is now 1 1/2. She has done very well in this space. If your Shiba gets lots of excersice they will be fine. We take Riley to day care 2-3 days a week and that keeps her from getting into too much mischief.

  162. Ted says

    We bought a Shiba as a puppy from an out of state breeder. We fell in love with the pictures of him sent to us and he was absolutley adorable when we got him. We have had numerous dogs in our lifetime and assumed many of the challenging things we read about Shibas could be overcome with training. Boy were we wrong! This breed is trainable, but they will only do what you want if they want to and on their terms. An example of this would be when we took him out for a walk. Same times everyday. I would walk him and he would not go. As soon as I got back in the house and sat down he would be banging his paw on the door to go out. He was going to go when HE wanted to. We found this breed to be extrememly disobedient and controlling. They believe they are the king of the house and need to be bribed with treats not to be bad. Our trainer actually gave up. Forget about affection or mans best friend. They olny want it when they want it. Needless to say after 8 months we gave him away. Never felt this way about any other dog before – biggest mistake we ever made in choosing a dog.

    • Rannie says

      Ted – thanks for your candid comments. You really helped me! It seems like you’re the only one who doesn’t rave about these little, adorable “monsters”. 🙂 So sad to have to give a pet away. They seem to have similar characteristics to the Akita, magnified about 200+ times; and I absolutely love Akitas, tho they, too, are not for the faint of heart and must only go to experienced dog owners. Whew! What a handful! Thanks and take care. Good luck with your next dog.

    • bev says

      My first dog was a chocolate lab a lover who died at 14. I didn’t want another dog but my 2 boys convinced me, we picked a Shiba inu. Smart as can be, ran away every day. I would drive around the neighborhood looking for him coaxing him to my car. Very trying and each day I fell more and more in love with this dog. Tuffy has a large t on his chest as is very proud and prances around. This dog can be affectionate and follows me somedays, waits for my husband And boys to come home. I find this dog to be so amazing in so many ways, give them a chance they grow on you. They do love to be up high on things which caused a knee replacement. In both knees, but that has been the only Heath issue. I do have the black and white shiba and our vet says these tend to be a little sweeter than the red or Ginger Color. Who knows but for our family this dog is who is now 13 and very mellow and very enjoyable. Good luck!!

  163. Rannie Grosvald says

    Hi – I hope I’m typing in the right area in order to get a reply. I read a lot of your “article” and have a few quesions or maybe comments to which I’d really like a reply. I didn’t finish your post completely, and will do so but it’s 4AM and I must get to bed. I’ve been an Akita mom my whole adult life, having been the lucky “guardian” of four Akitas (not at the same time). I’ve decided to get a smaller dog this time and tho I’ve looked long and hard at “softer” breeds, I keep coming back to the spitz, and in specific the Japanese breeds. I know the Akita very well and had wonderful relationships with them. In reading your article I found myself asking why on earth would anyone want a dog such as you’ve described!!?? You really down sell them and make them sound like a cross between a Gremlin (remember Gizmo?)and some wild, unaffectionate, distasteful force that will destroy your home, body, and anything else it has a mind to. I really had settled on the Shiba because of my love for Akitas but it seems they take the Akita breed challenges to a new low or high, depending on how you look at it. Are you for real? Or perhaps trying to disuade the faint of heart? And if not, why pray tell would anyone want a troublesome animal lacking in affection. Another question: Health issues….What are they? A breeder of both Akitas and Shibas told me they share the same health issues as Akitas. Having paid out a total of approximately $30K for the 4 Akitas I’ve (and I adore them so… it was heart breaking to lose them, and at rather young ages) had concerns about this. OK those are my questions and thanks in advance for your reply. BTW Sephy is absolutely beautiful. I’m hoping they are like Akitas and that you are painting a grim picture to “scare Off” the unskilled and unprepared potential guardians. Please forgive any typos. It’s really late. Much thanks, Rannie in No. CA.

    • shibashake says

      And if not, why pray tell would anyone want a troublesome animal lacking in affection.


      – The article above is based on my experiences with Shiba Sephy, and also on stories from other Shiba owners at a couple of Shiba message boards that I used to be active in. Does this mean that all Shibas will exhibit these behaviors? No. Each dog is an individual and will have their own individual temperament. However, as a group, I believe that Shibas are generally much more stubborn than the average dog, and also a lot more aloof.
      – Does the aloofness mean that Shibas never want affection? No. But in my experience Shibas want a lot less attention than other dogs. Sephy will sometimes come over for affection and roll over for tummy rubs, but much less so than my Sibes who love being close to people most of the time.
      – I have never lived with Akitas so I do not know firsthand what the differences are when it comes to affection and other traits. One of my neighbors have both a Shiba and Akita and she says that her Akita is a lot more affectionate towards people. Her husband described their Shiba as “neurotic”.

      Why do people get Shibas?

      I think there are many reasons, probably chief of which is their looks. That was certainly one of the key reasons why I got Sephy, and we had a very difficult time in the beginning because I was not prepared for his Shiba behaviors; that were very contrary to what one may expect from other dog breeds. The aloofness in particular was difficult for me to understand and get used to. I think this is why many Shiba owners try to emphasize these differences, so that people do not get blindsided by these “Shiba quirks”.

      However, once I got to know Sephy, I realized that he has many good qualities-
      – He is very loyal.
      – He is very brave and has a never-give-up never-surrender attitude. He will protect everyone in the family even at great cost to himself. He is very good at protecting Shania (my 3 legged Siberian Husky).
      – He is a very good guard dog and alerts when there is unusual activity around the house.
      – He is very funny and very original. He always does things that surprise me, that is often funny, and that none of my other dogs would think to do.
      – He is clever, confident, and knows his own worth. He doesn’t let others bully him or make him into a second class citizen.

      I suppose in the end, it depends on how we look at things and what we want in a dog.

      As for health issues, the most common thing I hear of is hip dysplasia. We had Sephy checked for that after he turned 2. He was walking a bit funny, but it turned out to be just another of his special Shiba quirks. 😀

      Some people also mention that Shibas may be susceptible to glaucoma.

    • Debbie says

      I can’t believe all the negative things I have read about the Shiba. I am a proud owner of a 9 month old Shiba named Rocket. I have alwayys owned Shelties, and still do. Shelties are a wonderful breed and this is my first Shiba. Yes, it is true that that can be a hand full. They are very smart, want their way and will challenge you patience.But, they are very affectionate and loyal and love there humans. They are beautiful, funny, full of life and energy, love their toys and play time.

      Irt is also ture that they are cat like in many ways, but I also own 4 cats and I understand cats very well so this really helps me under stand my shiba. Shiba’s are not for the faint of heart so if you do not have time for them, patience, and if you are nit as string willed as they can be, yu might want to try another breed. Because they shiba’s are so intelligent they, they can obedience trained . However, you should find a trainer who knows the breed and how to train them. I really love my Rocket ( his name fits im well), and he loves us. I have read that they don’t like to be touched, etc., but I have not found that to be the true with my shiba. He loves his belly rubs, loves to lay beside me and sleep with his head on my lap and is always following me everywherre. I hope this helps some of you who are considering a Shiba Inu and remember to be patient and it just might be the best dog you have ever owned.

  164. Alicia says

    This was a fantastic article! I currently have two Siberian Huskies, but my husband and I are considering adding a Shiba Inu into our homes. We of course, are planning very far in to our future as we will most likely not bring a Shiba home for at least another year or two. From my understanding, you have a Siberian Husky and a Shiba? How similar and dissimilar are the two breeds? I’ve had huskies my whole life, so it’s a breed I know best and have the most experience with. Every summer we spend at least a month up in the mountains of Montana. I’ve worked very hard with my dogs to trust them off leash and even then, it’s not something I take lightly. They’re accustomed to just hanging around the cabin property and do not wander. People also always say “never trust a husky off leash,” and “huskies are very stubborn and only obey some of the time” but after many years of training, I feel I have (for the most part) conquered these traits. It seems however, that the Shiba is even more extreme in this manner? Between the two breeds do you feel this is true? And, with years of work, do you think it is possible to train a shiba off leash? I personally think with the proper diligence and training, anything is possible, but, then again, I’ve never had any personal experience with the Shiba. Anyway, thanks for your help and again, fantastic article!

    • shibashake says

      It seems however, that the Shiba is even more extreme in this manner? Between the two breeds do you feel this is true?

      Haha, yes, very much so. Sephy (our Shiba) is out of this world when it comes to level of stubbornness. He will never surrender, no matter what. Even when he knows it is a lost cause, and he can get more by just taking a few steps back, he will not do it. I have found that the best way to get Sephy to do something, is to convince him that it was his idea in the first place! 😀

      Sephy is also a lot more aloof and much less food-focused than my Sibes.

      In terms of being off-leash, Sephy is actually better than my Sibes because he has much lower prey drive. He is also a lot more loyal because of his guard dog instincts. As a result, he is less likely to run-off and more likely to stay around his family. However, he will only “come” at his own time and on his own terms.

      My Sibes are much better at coming when called. However, if they see a deer, they are gone.

  165. Connie says

    Hi SHibaShake:

    I just read most of your info on the site and the comments.
    We have had our Shiba Inu for 2 months now, she is 1yr old and my brother had her from a pup. Her name is Gemma. I like many am surprised at how much she is such a fit for our family. I have a 7yr and 10yr old girls, and an older cat. Gemma is so great with the girls playing ball and running with them is such a joy to see. I am left with the task of walks but have had luck getting her to stay at my side. We also occasionally run together she can do a solid 2 miles! We have had luck so far with leaving her in the yard while at work, so far no digging. Wondering if this might change as she get’s older. She does like to move things around the yard, water bowls and brooms. She also will naw on plastic a bit. She doesn’t eat that much either. I have been doing a cup in the am and pm and sometimes she doesn’t finish it all–should I be alarmed? She also has this great little arrr, arrr only when I get home after work—so cute. So far no high pitched scream, thankfully.

    Should I expect for changes as she get’s older or she as she will be?

    Thanks again

    • shibashake says

      Hello Connie,
      Congratulations on your new Shiba!

      In terms of food, Sephy doesn’t eat much either. This is very different from my two Sibes who love food more than anything else. I feed Sephy less than a cup per day (grain free, high protein kibble), plus some boiled chicken and chicken treats. Sephy is over 5 now so he has to watch his weight. 😀

      As a dog becomes more accustomed to her environment, she may become more confident and start trying out more behaviors. It really depends a lot on the temperament of the individual dog. I find that it works best to stop any undesirable behaviors as early as possible. In this way, it never gets repeated and doesn’t ever develop into a habit.

      I had a lot of problems with Sephy in the beginning because I didn’t really address his issues properly, and in some cases made his behavior worse. After I learned how to properly deal with all of his Shiba-maneuvers, things got a lot better. Now, Sephy is on a pretty fixed routine and is actually fairly low maintenance. I still keep an eye out and stop him from his occasional digging on carpets and brief paws on counters. The key with Sephy is to stop things early – before it becomes a bigger thing. 😀

      Big hugs to Gemma. It sounds like she is already very well trained and is confident with her environment and routine.

  166. Beth says

    I need your help Shiba dog owners. I have a friend who has a 1 1/2 hr old shiba, and has asked me if I would like to adopt him because he is moving and cannot take him. I am so torn between all the good and bad with these dogs. I grew up with a Golden Retriever and he was the sweetest dog ever! I don’t think I head any horror stories on Goldne’s. I have 2 children (10 & 5) and a cat. I am so nervous I will take on this dog and it will be a nightmare. He crates the dog during the day in which I am not a fan of. ANY advise regards to these dogs, or tips or thoughts on how to intorduce him to everyone and his new home would be VERY helpful. I am taking him for a few days for a “trial run” to see how I feel about him. Thanks!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Beth,

      How is it going with your new furball?

      Some things that helped me with Sephy-
      1. Routine and consistency – Sephy really likes having a very fixed routine and consistent rules. When things are uncertain, he gets stressed out and starts to act crazy.

      2. Rules, rules, rules – I establish a consistent set of house rules that Sephy has to follow. Otherwise, he will take over the house. Following the NILIF program is very helpful with all of my dogs.

      3. Exercise and games – I walk Sephy daily for over an hour. We also have play sessions, obedience sessions, grooming, etc. I also make him work for all of his food and everything else that he wants. This directs his energy into positive structured activity, and reduces the chances that he will bust out one of his crazy Shiba-moves. 😀

      4. Bite inhibition training – Shibas can sometimes get mouthy, especially when they are young. Bite inhibition training helps a dog to develop a soft mouth especially when interacting with people.

      Here are a few more things that I learned from Sephy-

      Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

    • heather says

      I had 3 shibas, but had to put one down this year. They were 14, 14, and 11. I have a 2 1/2 year old. They were all great with her. They just really need a lot of excersise when young. I never crated any of mine. They are just give toys during the day to occupy if you are not home.

    • Alan says


      I have a female Shiba (Emmie) who is 1 and 1/2 years old. She is one of the smartest dogs I have ever had. He may not get along with your cat. We have a 10 year old cat and they “hate” each other but when Emmie corners the cat she eventually gets bored and moves on. The cat has now learned to stop running and just stare back until Emmie moves on. Other than that the only issue we have with Emmie is we must walk her every day..not so much for exercise but for her to go potty. She like I guess most Shiba’s is very clean and will not (unless it is an emergency) go in our yard. We like to walk so this is not a problem (except when raining or really cold since neither seem to bother her and we still have to walk at least 10 minutes before she considers going??). We don’t have any young kids but we have 5 and 7 year old boys who live next door and they are best buddies with Emmie loves to chase balls and they love to throw them. So she is good with kids…bad with cats if that helps. But she was raised as a puppy with the boys and other kids so that makes a difference I am sure. Hope this helps and I hope your trial is going well.

  167. Charlotte says

    I’ve loved the article, I recognize my own dog in it! I have a Shiba Inu my own and his name is Kenny. He’s extremely stubborn but also really sweet. He can be alone at home without any problems and yes, he barks when we hears noises around the house. I really adore shiba inu’s they are not boring like some dogs are, but they are very joyful.

    • says

      I just wrote about a Shiba Inu on Facebook. My son rescued him and dropped him off at my house while we set about finding his human. I wanted a picture to go with my post and found your blog. Fabulous! Its all true. There are two things our Shiba Inu does that I guess that aren’t normal, but this dog seems to be tailor made for our family. He is certainly partial to females. He is the greatest joy to be around. He sleeps at my feet. Aloof? You call him anything but Mortimer, he won’t come, unless you bribe him with a treat. Everyone hates the name of Mortimer but the doggie digs it. I’d have preferred Oliver but Mortimer it is. I love everything you wrote and also the things everyone else wrote. I sure am lucky. This doggie stole my heart and our whole family is united around this dog. He has a home for as long as he wants it.

  168. Casey Lee says

    I have a black and tan shiba that I has been a challenge from the start. Before I had gotten him I had never even heard of the breed. He was this tiny little puppy in a pet store, I don’t buy from pet stores but after three months of him being stuck in a 1X2 crate I could stand to see m like that anymore. He has been a challenge but now two years later, I love him so much. It has all been worth it, I now live in the country with 60 acres for him to run u til he can’t run anymore and I feed him very healthy food, he is the happiest dog in the world and listens pretty well for the most part. He has become such a companion I take him everywhere I go, I throw the top down and he hangs out the door in my lap. By far one of the best companion pets I have ever had, especially in the summer, he loves the water. We go to the lakes and rivers and there is never a time when he is dry. Every but if this article is true to a T, the good and bad and quirky but they really are awesome dogs.

  169. Mike says

    I had a Shiba Inu that I dogsat for my sister while she was over seas. Her and my brother-in-law are in the army so me, mom and dad had they duty. She was hard to manage at first for me and walks were nightmares! hah. I still took her on long walks but she would always take the lead.

    I actually started watching that show “The Dog Whisperer” because of Akina my sisters Shiba. So happens I was able to fix everything bad that she would do… except the walks were still nightmares. Than my sister came back from over seas and the shiba was lost to my sister. I felt heart broken… We dog sat for 1 1/2 to 2 years, so I was pretty attached.

    My sister ended up having a baby a year and a half ago and everything was fine she said. Than I heard she was doing some behaviors which I took as ‘hearding’ the baby. Yes, at this time I was still watching ‘The Dog Whisper’ and even saw a shiba on the show. Well she ended up getting a little nippy towards the baby and I insisted that we should take the dog back. Supposedly the dog was being in their bed sometimes as well (jealously from the baby) ad pee’d a couple times which is weird.

    So I have my shiba Akina back! I picked the dog up and than before entering the house I walked her for 1 1/2 hrs just so she was tired. I never had any issues but I did buff up the house rules with the dog and rules with my parents and how the act with/towards Akina. Dogs and especially Shiba Inu’s are a group effort and everyone needs to go by the sae rules and such. She loves having her belly scratched. I had some tips on ‘mastering the walk’ with the dog and it worked! So I have the walk down pat, and now I run/walk with her each day and she follows right by my side. She does some tricks like sit, stop, heal, law down, jump, both paws, finding the toy when I hide it (I started with a dog toy with a treat inside), crawling and a couple other basic ones.

    She is still dog aggressive at times but Im hoping to get her and submissive lab down te street and she if I can get the other dog to help me correct her behavior with dog. Other than dog aggressiveness she comes over all the time for the tummy rub, she loves running, playing fetch.. than I usually have to walk over to get the toy (lol) and some rough housing.

    I would say that Shibas are for people with a good prior history with Shibas and to know how to show discipline and remain at the head of the pack. I love the girl.. I get compliments all the time. Shes such a sweety, shy towards new people but if they just ignore her she will get curious 🙂 Great dog. The dog is 5 years old now BTW so remember older dogs can learn new tricks.

  170. Anonymous says

    Hi. I just adopted a Shiba Inu. He is almost three. Is he going to warm up to me and my boyfriend? He slept in our bed last night but doesn’t seem to like us much?

    • shibashake says

      Shibas are a lot more aloof than many other dog breeds. This is one reason why Shibas are often likened to cats. Sephy is over 5 now and he has learned to trust us a lot more than he did during his puppyhood days. He will sometimes come over to be with us, turn over, and ask for tummy rubs. 😀

      However, it is not a frequently occurring thing, and greatly less so than my two other dogs (Siberian Huskies). Husky Lara likes following people around, she likes lying by our feet, she likes attention, playing, and a lot of people interaction.

      It is not a matter of liking, it is just a common Shiba trait. Many people like their alone time as well, and so it is with many Shibas.

    • says

      be patient and calm with your new shiba, it may take time for him to trust you, you don’t know what the poor guys past was like. good luck and enjoy him. they are wonderful dogs!

  171. Lexie says

    I just got a 3 month old shiba inu american Eskimo mix and I refer to this site so much because it is so helpful but I still having trou le with potty training and I’ve tried everything she even decides to mess on my bed which bothers me I’m stuck and don’t know what to do any suggestions?

  172. Pat says

    Hi, wonderful site. I keep on reading it and it helps a lot. Thanks!
    A have a question. I’m planning to buy a puppy this Fall but I can’t decide which breed HUSKY or SHIBA? I was almost sure that I want a shiba but the more I read the more hesitant I get. I read through all the opinions here and internet and it seems that shiba are difficult to train and communicate with. And that it takes a lot of time before human ans shiba can get on well together. Love for shiba and his good looks help of course but then comes everyday life with lots of challenges for both partners:) I like the quote from Kung Fu Panda II:) I was wondering if husky is not more communicative and easier to get along with. I was considering to buy a female husky. I spend a lot of time outdoors, I ride MTB bike, go for long walks in the mountains and love physical workout. This is why I wanted husky. But on the other hand like most of us I spend 8 hours at work any my husky would have to manage somehow home alone. And my flat is small. There is like 50:50 of advantages and disadvantages of husky and shiba and I really don’t know what decision to make. But can’t image living wihout one or another longer. Please advice. Thanks!

  173. Wayne Reeves says

    Really nice website! Thanks. We shiba owners are like grandparents:
    we are always ready to talk about our shibas. This reminds me of a joke I heard.
    Two older men were having coffee. One asked, “Have I shown you the latest
    pictures of my grandkids?” The other replied, “No you haven´t, and I really
    appreciate it.” I wonder if our friends say the same about our shiba tales.
    I live in Mexico and have a 6 year-old shiba named Paco. He is perfect in a
    almost every way. What can I say? He is the most devoted dog I have ever owned.
    He gets along beautifully with a huge, adopted cat. He obeys well and enjoys
    doing whatever I am doing. No one could have a better buddy than a shiba.

    • shibashake says

      “No you haven´t, and I really appreciate it.”

      LOL! Yeah, some of my friends probably feel that way!

      Luckily, there are many dog people in my neighborhood that enjoys “talking dog”. Shania loves people so during our walks she will take me to the houses that she likes most, and waits for her friends to come out with cookies.

      Hugs to Paco. I think Sephy needs some lessons from him. 😀

  174. missy says

    I have two female Shibas, one 9 and the other 10+. An old neighbour of mine had a couple litters(purebred)of them and I became their own private Shiba rescue. I’ve got a runt from one litter and a runt with an underbite from another. I might be blocking out the chewy puppy years but they are great! They are easily the best dogs I’ve ever had! The uderbite doesn’t make a difference in the one accept she can’t get a slice of american cheese off the floor. She also has higher up and not normal front pinky toes (hard to explain). Her knees are also starting to give her problems. I’m wondering how common this is and if there are any other anomolies that specifically Shiba owners may have delt with. She is on joint & hip pills, I massage her so she doesn’t get stiff and keep her active. The massages make my other Shiba sooooo jealous. She gets them too.

    • shibashake says

      Her knees are also starting to give her problems. I’m wondering how common this is and if there are any other anomolies that specifically Shiba owners may have delt with.

      Based on what I have read, luxating patella is a pretty common issue with Shibas.

  175. Lisa White says

    Great site! We have taken on the task of caring for my son’s Shiba for a few months. Her name is Bella and she is about six months old. She is such an adorable little girl but I do have some concerns. We have a six year old male Westipoo named Joe. Well, Joe did not take to Bella very good at all. When Bella first arrived she wanted to play with Joe. They got in a few fights, but I kept believing things would get better. Well, things have only gotten worse. Now Bella is the aggressor. She still would just love to be able to play with Joe, but whenever the mood strikes, she will go after him. I had to pull her off his back the other day, fur in mouth and all. I felt like Joe was ruining her sweet puppy personality, but after reading your site and others, I am finding this is may be normal behavior. I have shed many a tear thinking we are ruining her. I just don’t want to return her to my son a changed dog…and not for the better.

    Besides her aggression with Joe, she is starting to get very aggressive in her playing with me and my daughters. I know she means no harm, but those teeth are killer. When she is in that very playful, energetic mode she will go after your feet, legs, arms and even face. It is almost impossible to get her to let up.

    I am just needing some advice on how to curb some of this aggression. Is this a normal trait of the Shiba Inu? Please tell me coming into my home has not caused her to become the aggressor of which she will always be.

    We love little Bella Boo so much. She is such an awesome puppy and I know it will be a sad day when she does go back home.

    Thank you for your help!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Lisa,

      My Shiba was certainly a lot more mouthy than my other dogs. He is also a lot more stubborn and requires a lot more calm and patience. We had a difficult time of it initially, mostly because I was not doing the right things for Sephy.

      Some things that helped with Sephy-
      1. Having a fixed routine.
      2. Having very consistent house rules, dog interaction rules, walking rules, etc.
      3. I always try to be very calm with Sephy and have a plan for dealing with each of his undesirable behaviors. If I get angry, frustrated, or fearful, Sephy picks up on that right away and gets even more crazy.
      4. I follow the NILIF program.
      5. I observe Sephy closely and identify the things that motivate him, the things that scare him, what things trigger his mouthiness, and why. In this way I can slowly desensitize him to things that he views as threats.

      With Sephy, I find that it is best to stop things before they escalate, and retrain undesirable behaviors as soon as I spot them.

      Here is a bit more on my experiences with-
      Introducing Sephy to a second dog,
      Curbing his mouthiness, and
      Dealing with his early puppy craziness.

      Getting a good professional trainer with Shiba experience can also be very helpful.

      The Shiba Inu forum can also be a good resource. There are many experienced owners there who know their Shibas well.

  176. Kareem says

    Hello, loved your site it was really informative and sweet. I was just wondering what you meant by the whole leader of the pack, and show him who’s boss, I’ve been thinking about getting a baby shiba and am a bit apprehensive due to the many negative comments I’ve been hearing about them, personally I’m the kind of person that loves showing affection to my pets and wanted to ask is there any way of making a shiba like to show affection (I know it’s a dream :p) I love shibas, they’re some of the cutest puppies ever and would hate to get one that’s completely indifferent about me

    • shibashake says

      Heh, yeah I also fell in love with the Shiba-look. However, it took me a while to get used to Shiba Sephy’s aloof nature, which was really not like my childhood experiences with my family dogs. It is in Sephy’s nature to be more aloof, and although he will sometimes ask for tummy rubs, he is usually off by himself. In contrast, both my Sibes are *a lot* more affectionate.

      On the other hand, the Sibes are also a lot more energetic, requires a lot more exercise, and requires a lot more people time and attention.

      I think I would have done better with a more affectionate breed as a first dog. As it was, Sephy and I had a difficult and rough start of things, mainly because I wanted him to be something that he was not. There is this great quote from Kung Fu Panda that I love-

      Ah, yes. But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.
      ~~ [ Oogway from Kung Fu Panda ]

      Dog Training and Kung Fu Panda

      I was just wondering what you meant by the whole leader of the pack, and show him who’s boss

      Sephy needed house rules, consistency, and a fixed routine. He is most happy when knows what to expect from the people around him, and knows what is expected of him in return.

      One very effective way of being leader with Sephy was by following the Nothing in Life is Free program (NILIF). Here us more on my Shiba training experiences-

    • Anonymous says

      I got my Shiba, Shuntaro, when he was about one year old. The first few nights he snapped at me when I tried to pet him and he barked and fussed all night long. After a year and a half now, he is as affectionate as any pet I’ve known. He plays well with our two cats and is always welcoming to visitors. It took a while to gain some normalcy but the challenge was worth it. Shun is a great member of our family. Sometimes he sleeps right by my side. Other nights he’ll be in another room or on the couch. He does what ever he wants.

  177. Diane says

    We have a shiba mix in our family. I have to laugh, though, because she is more like a shiba than anything else, and many of the comments here apply to her. I think the shiba genes are very dominant in a mix.

    Moose as a puppy introduced us to the shiba scream – which made my hair stand on end. She is very smart; one of the first things I did for her when little was to rent a movie called Dogs and Cats because she watched television and showed great interest. She sees the difference between humans and animals on screen, and always reacts to animals. Mostly to bark at them – act tough as if they are in our house. She really responds to elephants and horses on screen. We have to tell her to be nice to the animals on the TV.

    She also is aggressive towards other dogs while on the harness. I have followed The Dog Whisperer’s advice and constantly have to remind her: No barking at dogs! Be nice to other dogs. Most of the time she will (now) actually listen, if not surprised by another dog behind her. She does understand our disappointment when she lunges at another dog. She herself was attacked by a few dogs who broke off from their owner’s grip. It was very scary. She acted like she could defend herself, but it was a dangerous situation.

    Moose also will stare until you read her mind; hold out for the treat she wants until she realizes it’s not coming; bares her teeth when playing and growls when playing with you and her stuffed animals. She has destroyed so many stuffed animals that we began buying her flat fabric animals with no stuffing.

    She can finish a bone in fifteen minutes that would take a big breed dog a week to devour. She’s like a machine.

    We love her personality so much it would be hard to have a different kind of dog. The Shiba part of her is mellowed out by the mix I guess; but she is so funny and intelligent. THe stubborn part can drive one to distraction.

    Similar to another post, she absolutely flips if we even mention the words “Cut nails.” When I used to cut our cats nails, Moose would run back and forth to look, then hide. If we say, “clip” her ears and tail go down and she slinks away. It’s frustrating because she needs her nails clipped and we have to take her to a vet to do it – after sedating her a bit with benadryl.

    I know you folks are talking abour pure shibas, but thought I’d like to add that a shiba mix is also pretty amazing and actually tones down some of the shiba qualities (like bolting out of a yard, etc.) quite a bit.


    • Diane says


      Moose also grazes like a cow. Yesterday she was so into eating grass in the park, that she laid flat down rather than move on when I tried to get her to stop. I wasn’t sure if it was good for her to eat so much grass. But reading these posts has made me think otherwise. We discovered a good non-fattening treat for her, by the way, is a carrot. Not too many. Just one or two small baby carrots. they are crunchy and she loves them.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Diane,

      Thanks for sharing Moose’s story with us. She sounds wonderful, funny, and full of Shiba goodness! 😀

      Sephy was also reactive to other dogs. We did a lot of dog-to-dog desensitization exercises with him, which was very helpful in getting him to stay more calm.

      She has destroyed so many stuffed animals

      LOL! Yeah – Sephy also loves getting all the stuffing out. He doesn’t eat the stuff – just treats it like a puzzle.

      She can finish a bone in fifteen minutes that would take a big breed dog a week to devour.

      Hahaha – yeah Shibas have large teeth relative to their size and they are big time chewers. Sephy chews so hard that he cracked one of his teeth on a deer antler several years ago. Now I make sure to only get him chew toys that are too hard.

      We discovered a good non-fattening treat for her, by the way, is a carrot.

      That a great suggestion! My Sibes love eating carrots and some fruits. Sephy is not really into it as much though. He is more of a meat guy.

      Big hugs to Moose!

  178. Kate says

    I love your page! I’ve read it multiple times before and after gettin my shiba. I reasached them for months before deciding I could handle one after havin trained my mini American Eskimo, who is an absolute princess! My shiba is named Koda and he is just about 3 months. He’s so smart and pretty good from some horror stories I’ve read. Koda loves to play and run, and is usually content being just near me, although he enjoys his alone time haha! He is the typical little brother to my mini eski, he constantly annoys her but adores her to pieces! Potty training is so simple it’s crazy! I’d say Koda’s only major issues, other than any normal puppy behavior, is his mouthiness and that evil shiba look/growl if you anger him. I don’t let him think he can intimidate me or get his way, which seems to help, but I would definitely like some advice here. I don’t want him to think that behavior is acceptable ever. Otherwise I’m in love with this little man! He’s skiddish at times, but is usually willing and trusting to follow me anywhere. Thanks for the info!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kate,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      Koda’s only major issues, other than any normal puppy behavior, is his mouthiness and that evil shiba look/growl if you anger him.

      With Sephy bite inhibition training was very helpful. I think it is his instinct to use his mouth much more so than I have noticed with my Sibes. Training Sephy to have a soft mouth really helped with his other issues later on. I still keep up with it today, and it is great that he takes food out of my hand calmly and gently.

      In terms of growling, Sephy sometimes growls while he is playing. He will also occasionally growl in warning, for example letting my Sibe pup know that he is not interested in playing. I will step in then and get puppy to do something else. He may also growl when he feels threatened. In general, I try to look at his entire body posture and surrounding context to determine what he is trying to say to me.

      In terms of mouthiness, timeouts work very well on Sephy. I first start by no-marking the behavior (Ack-ack) and then give him an alternate command or redirect him into doing something else. If he does this, I praise and reward him with good stuff. If he continues, then I stand up, fold my arms and ignore him. If he escalates his behavior, then I calmly put him in a timeout.

      Big hugs to Koda!

  179. Wendy says

    This is a great site….. We got Karlos about 4 months ago from a animal rescue, we were told he was a Akita & today I was told he was a shiba inu. He is a great little guy (well not so little 40 lb) Karlos matches all the traits that were talked about. He does like the water but not over his head, he just chases the waves & tries to bite the waves…. The one thing he HATES the most is being brushed, that is the only time he bites…. & it drives me nuts anytime someone comes over he just barks & barks I like that he does that, but when I want him to stop he will not…. he is SO great with our 4 kids waits EVERYDAY for them to get off the bus to greet them. a few times we have put him on his run & we left he got lose and did not run away, as soon as I got home I could see that he was not on his run, so I started to freak out, but to my surprise he was laying on the porch… I just wanted to thank you for this great page…

    • shibashake says

      he is SO great with our 4 kids waits EVERYDAY for them to get off the bus to greet them

      That is so sweet! Karlos sounds like a wonderful guy.

      Sephy also did not like handling and grooming when he was young. We went slowly, and it took some time, but now he will tolerate brushing and teeth brushing for his favorite chicken + sausage dish. 😀

      I think with Sephy it is a matter of getting him comfortable with something and working it into his routine. He is very routine oriented, and once something is part of his routine he is fine with it.

      Big hugs to Karlos and many thanks for your comment!

  180. Bill Allen says

    Just lost my baby Rusty after 14 years of kidney failure. He was a rescue that I got when he was 1 year old. Although he was all Shiba I was able to get him to walk off leash after years of training. I know that he was very special in this area. He was so laid back. He was Alpha male when it came to other dogs. He loved his walks, at least 1 hour each weeknight, then 1 1/2 hours on the weekends. Even at the end he walked for an hour 2 days before he left us. I was very lucky to have him and wonder if I could ever find another Shiba with his personality.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Bill,

      Thanks for sharing Rusty’s story with us. He definitely sounds like a very special Shiba.

      I had a very close bond with my childhood dog – a mutt. I still think of him often and imagine how he would get along with my current dogs. He was active, brave, and always ready for adventure – much like a Shiba! But at the same time, he was always willing to sit quietly with me and listen to all my problems and secrets.

      I would love to see some pictures of Rusty. Please share some picture links with us when you have the time.

  181. Alicia says

    This is so helpful! I have a 1 1/2 year old shiba named Dawkins and he is a dream! He is very playful and loves everyone and everything. Babies, kids, cats, dogs you name it. He has never been aggressive with anything. You can leave your finger in his mouth when he eats and will not bite. He hates the vet though and doesn’t like getting his nails cut or even flea and tick gel on his back. He won’t do anything but just wants to run away. He is very gentle and will let you lay with your face on his face. I never had a dog and he has been testing me. He will absolutely not go to the bathroom in our yard. He has to be walked 3-5 times a day and they are never short. However, he occasionally pees in the house at my parents and in- laws and I don’t know how to get him to stop. By no means will he ever do that in our house but I don’t know what to do. Also, on our walks he only wants to go his way. If you want to go a different direction he stops and doesn’t move. It aggravates me when I have limited time and I don’t know how to get him to just go where I want him to. Any suggestions?? I have to say that I really have no complaints and he is seriously the best dog I could imagine except for not going in the yard to do his business! Haha.

    • shibashake says

      Haha, Sephy is like that as well. He does not like going in the backyard. I think his Shiba fluids are too valuable and he wants to save it for neighborhood or park walks.

      During walks, I usually let him pick where he wants to go. When I am on a deadline though, then I just increase my pace or start jogging to get him to move along. He usually gives up the ghost and comes along. I used a harness when Sephy was younger so that he would not choke himself from pulling during walks. After he was leash trained, I switched to a no-slip collar.

      In the old days, he would sometimes lie down and do alligator rolls when he does not want to move. When he does this, I just lift his chest area up so that he is on his front legs, then I move on at a fast clip. Sometimes, I scrape my shoe on the concrete. It makes a sound that he does not like, and that causes him to get up.

      In terms of potty training, dogs may not generalize potty lessons across locations. Once trained, most dogs understand that they are not supposed to go in their own house, but they may still go in other houses or indoor areas. To stop this, I just repeat potty training exercises in the other location.

      Hugs to Dawkins!

  182. Jo says

    I am proudly owne by a shiba Inu..Stevie Ray.
    He is the best lil brat in town,Stevie Ray is me 2nd shiba,i had a female with me for 16yrs.I also live with a border collie Hagar and 2 manx cats hendrix and Ozzy.Stevie Ray is 7 months now and lives mostly in harmony with everyone..well as long as he gets his way that is..LOL
    i have never locked him up ,i was on lockdown for the first 2 weeks i had him to teach him house rules then started leaving him for short periods slowly making them longer,he will shread paper if its left out but thats about it .When it strikes him he will take one of the throw pillows off the couch simply cus he knows it will get a reaction..he is also an acomplished pickpocket and general thief he will not destroy anything but takes great pride in his loot and will prance it around right in front of its owner..I just adore this little clown who is not so little at 40lbs.
    I think he is the only shiba that loves water even if its a bath,The other unusual trait for a shiba is he loves all people..well he picks on my daughter who is not fond of him at all,he just pesters her but she will power struggle with him and as any self respecting shiba hes not having it,she just wont learn.
    I love this site …I discribe the shiba as a cross between a cat a human and a dog and will have one by my side till the day i die.

    • shibashake says

      LOL! Thanks for sharing a slice of Stevie Ray’s life with us. He sounds a lot like Sephy except for the loving people part.

      Sephy does not usually like water, but if it is a water chasing game, he will get soaked through and be very happy. He is a paradox of personalities.

      Does Stevie Ray get on well with Hagar? I always wonder if I can get Sephy interested in playing Fetch if he is competing with another dog. Likely, he will just steal the ball and try to start a chase game! Shibas always think outside the box. 😀

      Hugs to Stevie Ray, Hagar, Hendrix and Ozzy.

  183. Susan says

    We purchased a shiba Inu back in oct. 2010. I did not read up on this breed but fell in love with him upon sight. Brought my dog home and commenced to educated myself with this breed. I must say after reading alot on the internet (which was mostly negative) I wondered if i brought home a demon. However my Shiba has many of the traits spoken about in this web site but is not agreesive at all. Even my vet was amazed. I love him and for us he is the perfect dog. Yes he is smart, gentle with my grandchildren and my 87 year old mom who loves to walk him. I need some input on a behavior he is doing latley. Him seems to “hack/cough” like he is trying to clear a fur ball fom his throat. Is his normal as he grooms himself constantly like a cat. Thanks for a delightful and accurate web site on the characteristics of Shiba’s. Any input would be helpful.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Susan,

      Yeah Shibas do shed a fair amount, especially when they are blowing their coat. During coat blowing season, I brush Shiba Sephy a couple of times a week or more, if needed, to remove all his loose undercoat. I use a Furminator, which is very effective at getting all the hair out. I make sure to pair it with food rewards and make it into a very positive experience so that he enjoys his grooming sessions.

      Hope this helps.

      Hugs to your Shiba. He sounds like such a wonderful guy. 😀

  184. Ashley L says

    I absolutely loved this article. My boyfriend and I recently got a shiba inu. Her personality matches exactly with Sephy. My boyfriend once said, “You cannot train a Shiba inu, you can only persuade it.” This is extremely true! Our shiba will listen if we have something in return (a tasty treat, or toy). I have also noticed that Shibas are curious. When I take my shiba for a walk, it is never in a straight line. She bounces back and forth to check everything out. I once took her off leash on a walk (never will i do that again)and a neighbor had her door open, well my shiba decided to stroll right through to check it out! Anyways, your article was funny, creative, and informative. Your site will definitely be a daily reading ^.^

    • shibashake says

      “You cannot train a Shiba inu, you can only persuade it.”

      LOL! You may enjoy this – Why Are Shiba Inus One of the Most Difficult Breeds to Train

      Sephy used to be a terror when he was young. Now he is much more calm and lazy. When I least expect it though, he will still bust out one of his ninja-moves and remind me that he is Shiba!

      They really are very funny and unique. Many of the things that Sephy does, my Sibes would never do. 😀

  185. Nikole says

    I have 5 Shiba’s & I love them all, they each have their own unique personality. Most recently though one of my Shiba’s got out, she disappeared a week ago & has recently been spotted in the area this weekend. She WILL NOT come to us, she just runs when we call her. We finally set up a catch & release trap this afternoon & are still waiting for it to work. Does anyone else have any ideas on how to get her?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Nikole,

      Some things that motivate my Shiba Sephy to come running over to us-
      1. Other dogs. Sephy loves to play with other dogs. When our dog walker took Sephy walking at the park, he wouldn’t come when called but he would follow the other dogs. The walker would just call one of the other dogs and Sephy would follow along.

      2. Fun and new things. Sephy will especially come running when I am playing with my other dogs, or when they are getting rewarded with good smelly treats. Playing with a new squeaky toy will also get Sephy very interested.

      Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.

  186. says

    My shiba oliver is almost 9 months now, he really is an endless ball of entertainment! Luckily, he is very well behaved for a puppy with of course a few crazy moments here and there. One of the biggest problems is pulling on the leash, if he sees anything moving, and i mean anything, he tries to get it. If it’s a windy day, you can just forget about having a nice walk as he will go ballistic trying to chase leaves. He’s the same way with birds, he even watches airplanes!!! If you have any good tips please let me know, he does not listen to commands outside and does not particularly care about treats, even hotdogs he is so focused on the leaves or birds.

    In the meantime, here’s oliver in action!!!

    • shibashake says

      LOL! Funny video. Gotta love Shibas. 😀

      If it’s a windy day, you can just forget about having a nice walk as he will go ballistic trying to chase leaves.

      Yeah, Sephy also loved to chase leaves when he was a puppy. He also loved to jump into piles of leaves. Now that he is older, he is more blase of about leaves. Wish we had a big backyard when Sephy was young, it would have been fun to watch him run around chasing leaves in the yard.

      Hope to see Oliver’s video on “chasing leaves” – that would be really fun to watch!

      As for pulling, the 180 turn around technique works well with Shiba Sephy. Every time he pulls, I would verbally warn him. If he keeps going I would just turn around and move him away from whatever he is pulling toward. After a distance, we would stop and he can watch if he stays calm. Here is more on our leash training experiences.

      Big hugs to Oliver!

    • Monique says

      oh…. my ….. gosh. I recently got a dog from the shelter that was part German Shepherd according to them. It was clear that he didn’t look like one. He was so much fun when we met him and bonded with us super quickly. So we took him home. I then began researching what kind of dog he must be on the other side. It was clear that it was something unusual, because he looked a bit like a fox, with a powerful build, but smaller stature. Oh…. and a SUPER curly tail. Many people thought he might be an Akita, in fact.

      So I googled “Curly tailed dogs” and went through the images. The moment I saw a picture of a Shiba Inu, I screamed “THAT’s IT! I think … no, I’m pretty sure that’s what Jacob is, because he looks almost EXACTLY like a Shiba Inu. (except a couple of black markings on his back, but that’s about it!). Little did we know what a character we adopted.

      He hugs by putting his paws around our waist and leaning into us. He jumps about a mile high. He’s infectiously funny, and we wondered if a comedian dropped down and decided to inhabit the body of a dog. He’s AMAZINGLY smart and trainable. He’s an adept escape artist. He can entertain himself for hours without us having to do anything, except sit there laughing. I can be playing with him and a fly will buzz by… and he’ll be off to the races. He’ll hear a squirrel and charge at top speed through the air. (He can catch some serious air!) It’s impossible to take him off leash, unless he’s completely squared off in a large enough space and CAN NOT get out. I can’t use aversive training very well with him. He responds better to positive training. He LOVES to mouth us… he doesn’t bite, but I’ve never seen a dog who gets serious pleasure out of mouthing anything. It’s like a baby with a pacifier. I’ll say “No biting”, but really lovingly and he’ll just close his eyes and mouth my arm while thumping his tail and curling into me. The list goes on… and on… and on. I’m reading this blog and laughing hysterically. It’s soooo JAKE. …. except he is extraordinarily affectionate. I’d say that’s the only difference. He’s not aloof by a long shot. But everything else is a button on the nose. Looooovee this doggg!!

      In fact, he looks almost EXACTLY like a Shiba Inu. (except a couple of black markings on his back, but that’s about it!)

    • shibashake says

      LOL! Jake looks absolutely adorable. Love those big ears! How old is he?

      It’s soooo JAKE. …. except he is extraordinarily affectionate.

      That is so awesome. Wonder what other breed Jake is mixed with that gives him the more affectionate nature. Perhaps it is the German Shepherd side.

      Would be really nice to get a more affectionate Shiba! 😀

      Thanks for sharing Jake’s story, photos, and wonderful nature with us. Love the pictures. Also big hugs for helping out a dog in need!

  187. Bruno's Mom says

    I have a 13 year old Shiba. I rescued him at 2. He is the light of my life. Bruno is very stubborn but loves other dogs. We adopted a lab/hound mix 2 years ago and they are best friends. I had a baby 11 months ago and I have to keep them separate. He wont go after her, but will bite her if she tries to crawl on him.

    My question is, we just adopted a 5 month old kitten. I have introduced her to the Lab mix and they are fine. I tried to introduce my Shiba and he tried to bite her!

    Any suggestions?

  188. says

    hey, i was reading your page, and it ‘s scary to see the things my shiba does on here! But, my real question was if you had any advice on shiba agility because im trying to train my shiba Cody, and some days he will work with me and some days he wont try anything because he doesnt feel like it. I would love to enter him into competitions but i need him to work with me more. Do you have any advice?

    • shibashake says

      some days he will work with me and some days he wont try anything because he doesnt feel like it.

      LOL! That is exactly like Sephy!

      When I have something that Sephy really wants, he is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. The difficult part is finding something that he consistently wants.

      Have you tried rewarding Cody with a favorite game? Sephy likes doing tug and chase games so he is usually willing to work for those. I am not sure how that will work in an agility competition though.

      When Sephy is hungry, high priority food rewards can also be a strong motivator. I recently put him on a mini diet, and he has been a lot better about doing commands and being attentive. He is even willing to work for kibble, which is pretty amazing.

      Yeah, Shibas are definitely not a common breed in dog agility. But it would be awesome to see one beat out all the Border Collies! 😀

    • Jordan Martin says

      Haha yes! I have be rewarding him almost after every jump so he knows that he did something right. He has improved so much though. He used to never even get near a stick or pole or something! He’s such a girl sometimes. LOL. Also, i have recently changed his food, im not sure if you have heard of it but its called Taste Of The Wild? He seems to love it. The last thing i am having troubles with is concentration. He doesnt always want to listen like you said reward him. I have been doing so, but then he runs away and thinks we are playing a chase game and wont come back! Lol:) I would love to see him kick butt in agility.

    • shibashake says

      He used to never even get near a stick or pole or something! He’s such a girl sometimes.

      LOL! Sephy doesn’t like stepping in puddles, and will not touch lizards, mice, or earth critters.

      im not sure if you have heard of it but its called Taste Of The Wild?

      Funny, I just saw this kibble mentioned recently in another comment. The ingredient list looks good. I currently have all my dogs on Innova EVO.

      but then he runs away and thinks we are playing a chase game and wont come back!

      Hahaha, yeah that definitely sounds like a Shiba. There is the Shiba-way or the highway.

      Would love to hear more about how you trained Cody on agility. You should write an article about your experiences. 😀

    • Jordan Martin Comment#3 says

      Haha yes.. he’s crazy. And that is a good idea, i might write some things down and make an article later! He just gets nervous too when it comes to things that he has never seen before, If you want to see some pictures? I could email them or something. but thank you! you’ve been a big help! 🙂

  189. Sarah says

    While reading this article, I recognized a lot of the things you talk about with Shiba’s. He does get very aggresive towards the other dogs, especially when it comes to food or getting attention. Sometimes he will even attack me for no reason. He will come up to me when he does want the attention and then start snapping at me a minute later, which I will never understand. Another thing I will never understand is why he eats dog poop. He even brought it in the house the other day. Any idea’s?

  190. laura says

    Hi im laura and i have a few questions i would like to ask you about the breed

    1st does this breed have any serious medical problems? this breed a good apartment pet? the first week you have the dog what do you have to do to train it and stuff

    any suggestions on how to take care ofShiba Inu of there first week living with you let me know

    • shibashake says

      1. Hip dysplasia is probably the most common hereditary condition. I also got a comment about glaucoma.

      An accredited club breeder will usually have relevant health certifications.

      2. If properly trained and well exercised, Shibas can be ok in an apartment. When I first got my Shiba I did not have a backyard, but I did take him on a lot of walks, and I also took him to our ASPCA for off-lead time in an enclosed play space. When Shiba Sephy was young, he had a lot of energy, and needed regular off-lead time, in an enclosed space, to play and run around.

      3. In terms of training, it took me a lot of time, and a lot of patience to train Sephy. It was many months before I got most of his crazy behavior under control. Shiba Inus are very stubborn and generally more difficult to train than many other breeds.

      Here are some of my experiences with Shiba Inu training.

    • Aiko Aiko says

      When we were looking into the Shiba Inu breed, we looked at the Shiba Club of America’s website. It looks like patella dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and eye problems are the most common genetic issues. A reliable breeder will have the CERF eye ratings and the OFA hip and patella ratings available for the dam and sire of a litter.

      Glaucoma is another problem that can come up occasionally in Shiba Inus but you can’t get it checked in a puppy and it’s not part of the CERF check for the eyes. You have to get your dog checked around 4 yrs. This is important because if they don’t catch it in time, your dog can lose their eyes. Again, this is all info I found on the Shiba Club’s website. Any inaccuracy is my own as I’m remembering what I read a month ago.

  191. Sam says

    I must admit my shiba has a real personality, but you almost make it sound more negative than positive, As long he/she knows who is boss your shiba will be obedient and love you, my shiba hendrix is quiet. Only alerts us when someone is at the door,doesn’t scream, love all and everyone, this is due to at a young age been with all ages and animals, and he even will do tricks without the aid of treats, just be consistent and firm when the time is right and you will have a best friend who will show you total respect, good article though,

  192. Ortencia says

    This is spot on when I was reading this I was like this is exactly like my shiba inu who is also 5 although a female. I really liked this article 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who had a dog with this unique personality haha.

    • shibashake says

      LOL! One of Sephy’s vets described him as “quite a character”. I like that. Shibas really are such “characters”, and should be featured as a USA network character! 😀

      Shiba Sephy really taught me how to be a lot more Zen about things.

  193. PudgeTheAdorable says

    This was a good article:) I thought that they were lapdogs beforehand haha. Good thing I looked that up before getting too seriously in love with the breed, because though they are cute, this isn’t something I want in the personality:/ How sad, they’re so cute

  194. Chloe robertson says

    Hi, I loved your article! I have been wanting a shiba inu for some time now and I am wondering whats a typical week with him. I have never had a dog before but I have a very old cat. Can you help me on finding out a typical week then?:)

    • shibashake says

      Hello Chloe,

      That is a great question! 😀

      The typical week with Sephy when he was a puppy is very different from a typical week with him now. He was a lot of work during puppy-hood. He would probably wake up and start getting into trouble right away – biting and tearing at books, stealing remote controllers and running around with it, leash biting, humping, and showing me the Shiba butt if I try to give him any affection. 😀

      Sephy is now about 5 years old and he is a lot better.

      On a typical day, he would wake up at around 5:30 am. He would have an early play session with the Sibes and then he is happy to just rest and relax. Later in the morning, he would have breakfast and then we would go out for a walk of about 1.5 hours. Once we get back, there would be another play session with the Sibes, after which he is happy to catch some Zzzz’s until evening time. If people come nearby the house though, he would usually wake up and alert me. He stops barking when I go check out the situation and reward him for being such a good guard dog.

      When he wakes up in the afternoon we would usually go to the backyard for a play-session, if it is not raining. Sephy is not a fan of rain except during walks. Then in the evening, we do teeth brushing, and dinner. Before sleep there is usually another Sibe play session, then he goes into his crate for the night with his Greenie and a chicken Kong Jack. We also groom his nails on a weekly basis.

      Sometimes he would get into a black-mood and not want to do teeth brushing. But that is ok. I usually just ignore him and try at a later time when he is more hungry. He will also dig at the carpets sometimes, which seems to me like a denning instinct. He stops when I tell him to. Sometimes he will still try to steal from the other dogs, so I always keep an eye on him during meal times. 😀

      Sephy is not perfect, but he is a lot better than before and actually pretty low maintenance. However, he is still not a very affectionate dog relative to other dogs (breed trait). In addition, vet visits are still pretty awful.

      I don’t have a cat though, so I don’t have first-hand experience with that. Shibas are hunting dogs, so they do have pretty high prey drive. They will have to be trained not to bother the cats in the house. Definitely check out the Shiba Inu Forum for more cat experiences.

    • debra says

      I disagree with the affectionate part. my sheba Kani LOVES to cuddle. she will sleep touching me and crawls into my lap often to lay on me or just give me kisses (in fact she is a bit of an obsessive kisser at times), every morning as soon as I wake up she come up close against me and rolls on her back for a cuddle and a belly rub and if i decide to go back to sleep instead of getting up she curls up against me to sleep too. I will say that while she has always been like this, she is even more so since she was hurt (i think her being in so much pain and needing me to help her do everything bonded us even more than before), one of her favorite (and cutest) things she has always done is she will come up and butt her head against me and leave it there, just her forehead laid against my chest. I adore my pretty little “fox”!!

  195. Stephanie says

    Hello 🙂
    I absolutely loved your article, it was very informing!
    Now, i have some questions if you don’t mind answering 🙂
    The first is that my mother had a allergy for our old Chihuini (Dachshund-Chihuahua mix, acted like a bitchy mini-Sheba) so i was wondering if a Shiba might make her allergy return considering the fact that they do shed a lot at certain times? We have a dog now who she isn’t allergic to, and have had several others before the Chihuini were there has been nothing.
    Also, right now my family has a 6 year old Yorkshire Terrier but I’ve been wanting a Shiba Inu for quite a while but was wondering if a Shiba would be able to ”share” his/hers new castle with my other dog without there being fights involved – especially at feeding times! Although my other dog is not aggressive or really that active he gets VERY hyper and territorial when we meet dogs on our walks, although i have started working on that.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Stephanie,
      Glad you enjoyed the article.

      1. Shedding – Yeah Shibas have a thick undercoat and they will shed a lot during coat blowing season. Their coat only blows about twice a year, but with my Shiba, I find that there is some hair around all of the time. Probably not a good idea for someone who is allergic to dog dander.

      2. Sharing castle – Shibas can be taught to share, but training and supervision are key. Shiba Sephy tends to be aloof with new dogs. He did not want to have anything to do with my new Sibe puppy at first. We supervised them very closely, did a lot of group training exercises, and rewarded them well for being calm around each other. After about 10 days, Sephy warmed up to puppy.

      The key, I found, is to make sure that they have many positive experiences and little or no negative ones. A lot of supervision is needed, especially in the beginning. Here are some of the things I did while introducing my Sibe puppy –

      Most Shibas tend to be more dominant by nature, and do not generally get along well with other dominant or territorial dogs. Both my Sibes are more submissive by nature.

      From observing Sephy, he is not the type to start a fight, but if another dog starts one, he will not give up and will not surrender no matter how big or how fierce the other dog is. I make sure to carefully screen all of the dogs that he meets and plays with.

  196. Brittany says

    I have a 1 year old shiba and he eats all my socks and underwear, no matter if they are dirty or not. I learned to keep them out of his reach but he learned to open my drawers while I am sleeping! He chews on all the baseboards and stair railings; I buy him bones and toys and take him for 45 minute walk/runs daily. I don’t know what to do to keep him from eating and chewing. Another big problem I have is that shiba scream, I know I just need to ignore it so I do but then he paws at me with his sharp nails and bites my arms and legs. I am at a loss on how to control him. PLEASE HELP!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Brittany,

      Yeah I know what you mean. When Sephy was younger he wanted to eat everything, and given his stubbornness, he would be really resistant about dropping things once they went in his mouth. What has helped most with Sephy is a lot of management and to stop him before he actually steals/eats something that he should not.

      When Sephy was young, he had a lot of house rules and a very fixed routine. I also put him on a long drag lead (only with a thick flat collar and *not* an aversive collar). When he steals something and runs away, I can easily step on the drag lead and catch him.

      When I was too busy to supervise Sephy, I would either put him in a fenced in area in the kitchen or he would go into his crate to sleep.

      At that time, I was walking him about 4-5 times a day because he had so much energy. Later on, I found that off-leash play with other dogs are really great at helping Sephy drain energy. With Sephy, enclosed dog parks were not a good option, but small and very well supervised pllay-groups worked out very well. Here are some other activity ideas –

      Finally, if Sephy paws at me, humps me, or bites at me, then that is a timeout offense. When he does this, I calmly non-mark him (No or Ack-ack) and I give him an alternate command (e.g. Sit). If he ignores me and continues with his bad behavior then I say “Timeout” and take him to a timeout area using his drag lead. Sephy really likes his freedom so timeouts are very effective for stopping bad behaviors. However, I only use it for serious offenses.

  197. Debbie says

    I love this website! We are fostering our son’s 20 month old Shiba, Bo. He is super sweet, super smart, and leaves a toy outside our bedroom door for us to find in the morning. Our only issue with him is in regard to potty time (he has been neutered for a whopping 3 weeks now). We cannot just let him outside for him to do his business. He has to be walked, and he will simply ignore anything he has already marked. He refuses to go in our yard, which some may say is great, however winter is coming soon and it will not be great then. It’s sort of a pain in the tuckus actually. We purchased a pee-post, but it didn’t appear to be to his liking. Any ideas on how we can get this little foxy boy to just go out into the yard and go potty? Thanks much!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Debbie,

      Shiba Sephy is exactly the same way! 😀

      I haven’t found anything that really worked. He will just hold his load until we go outside. Usually he is willing to go in the front-yard or across the street.

      I think he feels that he is wasting his precious liquids by going in the backyard because there aren’t any external scents that he has to cover. I know there are potty training aid sprays and I have wondered if they would work if I spray it on the grass or pee stick, but I haven’t seen any that get good reviews.

      Definitely let me know if you find something that works for Bo.

  198. jan says

    Please if any one has any information. My dog Sammy I knows has allergies but this I have no idea. He bit off all his stomach hair and contact scratching at his ear. (We gave him drops). His mouth is dry and chap and his eyes too. Does any one have ideas what this can be and what I can possible put on his stomach and mouth area?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jan,
      It is best to go to the vet. My Sibe had an issue with hair-loss and scratching a couple of years ago and it turned out to be mites. The vet took a skin scraping and was able to identify the exact type of mite and give us topical medicine to treat it.

    • Sherry says

      Hi Jan,

      Our Shiba inu had allergies and at first we didn’t know what was wrong. She was licking her paws and they became red and irritated. She developed irritated areas on her stomach as well. We took her to the vet who said she may have an infection but most likely allergies. She ordered her some antibiotics and suggested we change her food. We changed her food to California Natural Herring and Sweet Potato Formula food and she has been fine ever since. Unfortunately she can not have treats or different food but she seems to be doing fine. We also have 3 cats, we keep their food away from her also. This was a couple of years ago now and “Shiba” is healthy and happy. Good Luck!

    • Mara says

      Have you tried to change brands of dog food. Sounds like an allergic reaction to food………. check with your vet or others who are more experienced.

      I have just adopted a Shiba Inu mix “Sunny” she is around 2 and has lived with me now for going on three weeks. This site SO helpful with things I did not know about her. The using of the dog yard, she has no interest and will wait for quite a while to use our walks.

      I have two cats, so far, they are not happy that I brought Sunny home. She has been OK because I have been supervising their time together. I hope and think they will be fine eventually. Both cats loved my dog (lost my black lab mix in March) with whom they lived with for over 10 years. So “Sunny” and i have work to do.

  199. Dakota says

    Just wanted to put an FYI out there. Took my dog to the vet for an eye infection. A week later turns out she has glacoma. Today, just came back from the ophthalmologist, good news her pressure went from 55 to 32. Still need to bring that down but we will. Turns out my 5 year old Bella is now blind in her right eye. I was told by the ophthalmologist that this common in Shiba Inu’s.Once they get it in the one eye, Bella is predisposed to getting it in they other eye. We r doing preventitive measures now. But GET YOUR SHIBA’S EYE PRESSURE TESTED. I haven;t stopped crying since I got home. My biggest fear, what do I do if she goes blind in the other eye? Get your doggies tested!!!!!

  200. Shannon says

    My husband and I recently rescued a 1 year old Shib/Canaan mix (but is totally a Shiba). I was recently laid off, so I have the time at home to walk him 3-4 times a day, especially as he’s on meds and getting used to his new home. However, when I go back to work, we both work 10-12 hour days. I don’t know if a walker is okay (since it’s once a day only) or if he needs a daycare. Any advice?

    Also, I am sentimental and emotional and I’m having a difficult time when Pluto has to be in his cage while I’m home. I know he needs to be there b/c he cannot be trusted (hehehe), but it tugs at my heartstrings and I’m worried about doggie depression and or resentment. What are some of ypour thoughts and suggestions?

    Pluto is amazing and came to us knowing to potty outside during walks, to play fetch, and tp ignore us when we call him – so common with Shibas. We’re working on the “who’s in charge” bit and my amount of wanting to cuddle and pet him, as he adores it but I’ve read that it makes me the follower of the pack, rather than the leader. He generally ignores orders after cuddle time. We’ll get there. Pluto was worth the wait (we waited for nine years / four and a half being married before taking the jump into Netherland). 😀

    • shibashake says

      Hello Shannon,

      I don’t know if a walker is okay (since it’s once a day only) or if he needs a daycare. Any advice?

      I think that would depend on Pluto’s temperament. My Shiba, Sephy, did not really enjoy daycare because he did not get to play in his usual rough and tumble play style. He also could not settle down when there were so many other dogs around – so there was a lot of Shiba screaming. How does Pluto do with other dogs? What kind of play style does he have?

      A walker suited Sephy’s temperament more because then he got to explore new areas for a fixed amount of time and then he got to come home to his castle. Still, it can be difficult to find a walker that knows how to handle Shiba stubbornness without resorting to aversive techniques.

      Also, I am sentimental and emotional and I’m having a difficult time when Pluto has to be in his cage while I’m home.

      Yeah, I know what you mean. When Sephy was young I put a baby gate up in our kitchen entrance and kept him in there with me while I was busy with kitchen chores. Since there is nothing he can really destroy, he had some amount of freedom but could not get into any trouble.

      I also put Sephy’s crate in the area where I spend most of my time.

      Another thing that helps is to make my dogs work for all of their food. Some of the food goes into training, some into grooming, and whatever is left over goes into a variety of interactive food toys. This helps to keep them occupied while in the house and mostly out of trouble. 😀

      Pluto is amazing and came to us knowing to potty outside during walks, to play fetch, and tp ignore us when we call him

      LOL! Yeah, Sephy is also very good at selective hearing.

      We’re working on the “who’s in charge”

      One thing that really helped with Sephy is following the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program. This just means that Sephy has to do something for me first before I give him anything in return, even affection. For example, when he wants to go into the backyard, I ask him for a Sit. Once he sits, I give him a bit of affection (which is mostly for me) and then open the door for him.

      In this way, Sephy learns that the best way to get what he wants is to do what I want first. 😀

      Big hugs to Pluto. The Canaan breed also looks very interesting. Would love to see some pictures of Pluto – he must be a looker!

  201. Pam Giron says

    I have a year old female shiba. She is a beautiful cream color. Her name is Isabella, AKA Izzy. She has lots of the traits you have described, and thank you for your very informational info. She is so sweet yet naughty too. I can’t stay mad at her, but my goal since she was a pup was to let roam free in our home, but she gets into everything and rips everything to shreds, including my husbands bottom dentures! So we have gated her off in the kitchen, which she hates, because she wants to be with us. I give her plenty of chew items, but it doesnt matter. I also have a 10year old chihauwa, that Isabelle absolutely loves, but unfortunatley doesnt love her. I have a 12yr old cat, that she loves too, but the cat contiunally tries to scratch her eyes out, but Isabelle is relentless, and never gives up trying to play. To say the least its like a zoo at my house. My husband is disabled and is very slow moving, so when she is outside with him, which she usually is, the minute he heads for the gate, she is right behind him, and escapes almost everytime. I bought a tie out so he can connect her to, while I’m at work, in our fenced yard. We live on a very busy street, so it scares me to think she might be injured or hit by a car. She usually heads around the block to visit other animals and people, which is her favorite thing to do. You can usually hear the high pitched squeal of delight if you listen close. She nips, bites,humps, chews on things she shouldnt, and squeals at such a high pitch, you can’t hear. So do you have any advice to curb some of these behaviors?? Thanks

    • shibashake says

      Hello Pam,

      Heh yeah Shibas are crazy stubborn and very mouthy. I had a lot of problems with my Shiba when he was young. He is such a rebel and such a rogue.

      In terms of humping and biting two things really helped with my Shiba –
      1. Putting him on a drag lead (only on a regular flat collar and not an aversive collar).
      With a drag lead I can more easily control my Shiba and get him to stop bad behaviors . Otherwise, Shiba Sephy will run away and try to start a game of chase.

      2. Timeouts.
      When he starts humping, I non-mark him (Ack-Ack) and if he continues, I say timeout and calmly remove him to timeout using his drag lead.

      I use the laundry room for timeouts. The laundry room is dark, boring, and there is nothing in there that he can chew or destroy. Shiba Sephy really likes his freedom so he really hates going to timeout.

      With biting, I usually try to get him to redirect onto something else. Sometimes I will give him an alternate command (e.g. Sit) which I can then reward him for. If he ignores me, and continues with biting, then he goes to timeout.

      Some other things that helped with my Shiba –
      1. Following the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program. This means that Shiba *always* has to do something for me first before he gets anything in return – including food, toys, going into the backyard, and my affection.
      2. Having a very fixed routine and giving him a lot of structure and rules inside and outside the house.
      3. Bite inhibition training.

      Here is another article I wrote on my experiences with biting –

  202. polpol says

    Thanks for a great and informative article.
    I’m amazed at how precise your description of shibas are. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought you were describing my shiba.

    Feeding question.
    I noticed on several occasions, my shiba bringing her empty bowl to me after she’s done eating.
    We are on a pretty consistent schedule when we feed her, and we are not exactly the stingy type when it comes to feeding her. Is this a sign I should be giving her more food?


    • shibashake says

      I noticed on several occasions, my shiba bringing her empty bowl to me after she’s done eating.

      LOL! That is simply adorable! Definitely take some pictures!

      My dogs are also big time food lovers, especially my Sibes. They will eat and eat and eat if they can. 😀

      In general I feed them their allotted amount of food and don’t give them more than that. I also give them some treats, so I reduce their kibble intake according to their treat intake.

      With Shania especially I have to keep her slim so that she doesn’t have to support any extra weight (she is a 3 legged dog). I think it is generally good practice and healthy to keep dogs slim and well exercised.

      Remember to share those bowl pictures with us. I can’t wait to see it! 😀

  203. Jasmine says

    Omg this website makes me want a shiba inu even though there kind of a tough dog to take care cause you need to know so much about it and know how to take fully good care of it.

    • shibashake says

      Hahaha, yeah Shibas are a big pain in the ass! The get better when they grow older but they are always rebels at heart. 😀

  204. Lettie F. says

    I have a 10 month old Shiba female named Collie. We had her since she was 10 weeks old. She is a total momma’s girl. 🙂

    Her favorite place to go (daily) is the dog park. When we go there are usually 3-4 other Shiba’s (3-12 years old) and I’ve noticed that Collie doesn’t not want to play play with them vs gathering them up and ganging on the small dogs. 🙂 Is there a reason why (certain) Shiba’s don’t like interacting?

    • shibashake says

      Heh, Shibas generally think that they are King and all other dogs should behave according to what King Shiba wants. 😀

      Sephy likes playing chasing games so he will usually steal balls and try and get other dogs to chase him. I think he is truly puzzled when other dogs don’t want to play chase with him because why wouldn’t anyone not want to play with a Shiba?!

      Sounds like Collie likes herding other dogs, which is also a type of interaction.

      Also, I have noticed that small dogs don’t generally like playing with Sephy because he has a rougher play style that can easily overwhelm them. I usually only let Sephy play with larger dogs.

  205. Clare says

    my shiba will not stop biting people! he often humps my leg and paws me and bites my hands and clothes and when I back up he follows and continues to bite. when we go on walks he won’t let me put on his harness and does this ‘scream’ thing. also he will not listen to orders unless he can smell food. is there anything you know that can help? mainly just no jumping up and biting ppl.


  206. says

    I loved your article. It was very fun to read. Some of the parts were very humorous to me. I was thinking about getting a shiba inu puppy(8 weeks old approx.) when i move. The thing is i work anywhere between 8-10 hrs usually. Would a shiba inu puppy be okay for that long by themselves? Thank you.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Tyler,
      With Shiba Sephy, he really needed a lot of attention especially when he was a puppy. Not the cuddling type attention, but the “what kind of trouble I can get into now” type of attention. When left on his own, he would be biting at curtains, biting at books, and biting at everything in sight except his toys. 😀

      He is 4.5 years old now, so he is often happy to relax and sleep after his > 1 hour daily walk, but he still really likes having his pack close-by.

      In terms of how to keep a Shiba puppy entertained and somewhat contained while you are away, here are some possibilities –
      1. Dog daycare.
      This allows Shiba to be with people and socialize with other dogs. A good daycare will have small very well supervised playgroups. They will also group together dogs based on size and energy.—Good-Or-Bad?&id=1494435

      2. Group dog walks.
      Many dog walkers now offer group dog walks where they bring a group of dogs to a hiking park. This is usually a much smaller group of dogs, probably around 6 at most. It is also more structured than a daycare. However, a really good dog walker is probably required to be able to do this with a Shiba.

      This article on whether Shiba Inus are truly independent may also be of interest –

    • Clare says

      omigod u want a shiba?! i hav one and if this is ur first time it will be a HEADACHE! will u b able to STAND the biting? they often jump on u 2 greet u, scratching u in the process and leaving paw prints on ur clothes. r u ready for a shiba? also shibas tend to be the leader instead of u. my shiba is almost 1 yrs old and still isn’t well trained!

      but there is a good side!
      they r sooooo CUTE! especially when they roll over and let u scratch their belly or when they cock their heads to one side at weird noises. don’t fall for their ‘cute look’ when it’s meal time!

      good luck!

  207. meg says

    Ok, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted. My moksha has been a model shiba well that is until now. Just recently he has decided that he is going to test me on every bit of the training that I’ve done so far. He will not do anything that I ask him too. He is doing things that he used to do when he was just a little puppy ie, biting furniture, stealing things, whining all the time and my least favorite being a little aggressive with other dogs. So lately I have been feeling like he is very much testing my patience…I swear it’s a good thing he’s so adorable. So anyway I think that all the other things will come around, but I am a little worried about the dog aggression. I would appreciate some suggestions about how I can get him to stop with the dog aggression safely. I mean so that he doesn’t tick the wrong dog off and get hurt. I have been using the NILF technique for all of his other behaviors and that has worked in the past, but the dog aggression I am pretty stumped on. I don’t feel like the dog park is the right place to work on this problem, but because I don’t have many friends with dogs it’s kind of hard to work on it at home. The other problem is that I could take him to the local dog trainer, but as every shiba owner knows it’s either hit or miss with dog trainers and I really don’t want to put a tremendous amount of money to spend time with a trainer for a half hour. All that to say if you have any ideas HELP!!!!!!!!! I love my prince moksha, but it seems as though the terrible twos is a cliche not only for humans but for dogs too.


    • shibashake says

      Hello Meg,
      Always good to hear from you and Moksha.

      I don’t feel like the dog park is the right place to work on this problem

      I would agree. Going to the dog park actually made Sephy’s behavior worse. There is very little structure in dog parks, and often, there are dogs there that do not want to interact with other dogs, are dominant, aggressive or untrained.

      Based on my experiences with Sephy, I have observed that different dogs have different tolerances when it comes to meeting other dogs. Dogs bred for protection are slower to trust and will be more particular when it comes to dog greetings.

      Sephy is pretty picky about his dog friends. He does not like dominant dogs and he does not like new dogs coming up to him and sniffing his butt. In general, we don’t stop and meet neighborhood dogs because most of them are over-excited and not under good owner control.

      In Sephy’s case I have found that it is best to create neutral experiences. We simply ignore other dogs, stay calm, and go on our way. For playing, I carefully choose his friends so that he only plays with more easy-going dogs that are totally not dominant.

      When Sephy was young I did a fair amount of dog-to-dog training with him at our SPCA.