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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu

Origin: Japan

AKC Group: Non-sporting

Height: 15 - 16 inches (Male)

Weight: 15 - 28 pounds (Male)

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Shibas are very popular in Japan. These high-spirited dogs are lively outdoors, but quiet indoors. They're suspicious of strangers, but usually friendly with children and other pets.

Male height: 
15 - 16 inches
Male weight: 
15 - 28 pounds
Feels like velvet. Brush once or twice a week. Ears prick up and lean forward. Tail curls.
Red, red with black (called sesame), or black with tan markings above the eyes, on the lower jaw, cheeks, chest, legs and tail. Eyes are dark brown. Nose is black.
Special considerations: 
These dogs look a lot like foxes. Be careful around hunting season.

The Shiba originated in the mountainous areas of Japan, where dogs of his type have been known for at least 2,000 years. He is the smallest of a group of several Japanese Spitz-type breeds of ancient heritage that includes the Akita. The Shiba Inu was used to hunt mostly birds and small game, although with his great courage and agility, he occasionally assisted the hunter in bringing down boar, bears and deer. The breed was nearly lost to the ravages of World War II, with its numbers reduced even further by a 1952 distemper outbreak. Today, though, this charming character is thriving and growing in popularity worldwide.

Some owners describe the Shiba as cat-like in his independence and fastidiousness. He is exuberant, agile and quick, and he loves a good romp. Always self-assured, he can be headstrong. He is affectionate and playful with his family, but tends toward aloofness with strangers. The Shiba's natural guarding tendencies make him an excellent watchdog.
At home: 
Shiba Inus can adjust to just about any living situation. However, if you live in close proximity to your neighbors, keep in mind that some Shibas can be quite vocal. He can be quite possessive of items in the home and what he considers his "territory" - in fact, he may be of the opinion that it's his house, and he's graciously allowing you to live there with him. This fiery attitude is why training and leadership are so important for Shiba owners. When outside, think twice before allowing your dog to run free, as his acute hunting instinct may send him off on a run at any opportunity. This also means that a fenced-in yard is a necessity.
The Shiba benefits from a vigorous daily workout to expend some of his boundless energy. A long walk or lively play session each day will keep him fit and happy.
The Shiba is generally a good eater who should be fed a high-quality food twice a day.
Early training and socialization are especially recommended for this independent spirit. The Shiba is highly intelligent, but like many spitz breeds, he may prefer to look the other way rather than heed a command. With patience and persistence on your part; however, he can become quite biddable.
Shibas do best with older children who understand how to responsibly act around dogs. Look out for a typical scrappiness with other dogs, and be aware of the breed's strong instinct to prey upon small animals - especially if your Shiba is to be near other pets such as birds or hamsters.
The average life span of the Shiba is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies; eye problems, including juvenile cataracts; hip dysplasia; and patellar luxation.
Fun fact: 

Shiba Inus are the most popular dog breed in Japan.

Grooming blurb: 
The Shiba's thick double coat requires regular grooming with a stiff slicker brush at least once a week and more frequently during periods of heavy shedding.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.