Japanese breed originally developed to hunt birds. In Japanese, the word “shiba” means “brushwood,” describing the breed’s hunting grounds, while “inu” means “Dog.” The Shiba Inu is commonly referred to as the “Little Brushwood Dog.” They are known for his spirited personality, small upright ears, and cat-like agility. Today they serve primarily as a companion Dog in Japan and the United States.
Pricked ears, squinty eyes, and a curly tail give this breed a “stuffed toy” appearance.
Grooming and Physical Needs
- Grooming Needs: The Shiba Inu is fairly easy to maintain when it comes to grooming. They are a naturally clean and odor-free Dog. They do need brushing to remove dead hair and distribute oils once a week, or more often when he's shedding heavily.
- Coat Type: The Shiba Inu has a thick double coat that gives them a Teddy Bear look. The outer coat is stiff and straight, and the undercoat is soft and thick. Their coat comes in orange-red, white (ventral), and sesame. Sometimes, there are white markings on the tip of the tail and on the forelegs and hind legs.
- Moulting: They shed moderately throughout the year and heavily twice a year when they "blow" their coat spreading it heavily around any given space.
- Exercise Needs: Requires moderate to high exercise, a good daily workout.
- Average Life Span: 12 to 16 years.
- Family: The Shiba Inu is a fantastic family Dog but guards their stuff, including toys, food, or territory fiercly. Proper socialization helps minimize this characteristic, but it's wise to put away any of his favorite toys and treats when other dogs or children are around so he's not tempted to quarrel over them.
- Temperament: The Shiba Inu is known for a bold, fiery personality. Combined, these traits make up the interesting, intelligent, and strong-willed temperament of this breed.
- Trainability: Because of his independence, the Shiba Inu is not the easiest breed to train. Begin early and be both consistent and persistent.
- Sociability (Other Pets): The Shiba Inu has been known to show the fiery side of his personality with other Dogs and animals. Bring to heel when you see other Dogs out and about just in case, and socialise often for opportunities to tame this behaviour.
- Barking: Shiba Inus are known for being moderate to heavy barkers, expect this behaviour.
The Shiba Inu is small (about 20 pounds) and athletic, perfect for nimble tricks and agility training following their bird fetching and catching routes.
The Shiba Inu is a wonderful companion, though their strong-willed personality can be too much for some people. Others are charmed by their loyalty, which is why enthusiasts say that owning a Shiba isn’t just owning a Dog — it’s a way of life.