Shiba Inu

The smallest of the native Japanese breeds, the Shiba Inu projects power and confidence. Its moderately sized head is defined by a broad and flat forehead, round, full muzzle and small, triangular, pricked ears. Deep set and upward slanting dark brown eyes give a confident, friendly expression. The nose, lips, and rims of eyes are black, and the bite scissors with strong, evenly aligned teeth. A straight back, deep chest with moderately sprung ribs and a tucked-up abdomen give the impression of force and agility, echoed in the straight forelegs and strong hind legs naturally held wide. The dog's strong, high tail is held in a curled or sickled position. The Shiba Inu has a soft, thick undercoat with a stiff, straight topcoat, and the hair on the face, ears and legs is short. The breed standard details specific cream-colored marking requirements, but in general the Shiba Inu may be bright orange-red, black with tan, and red with black tipped hairs.

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Fast Facts

Non-Sporting
13 - 15 years
Japan
Antiquity
23 lb
17 lb
15 - 17"
14 - 16"
Shiba Enu, Sheba Inu, Sheeba Inu, Shiiba Inu or Shiba Innu.
Brushwood Dog, Japanese Small-Size Dog

Shiba Inu Temperament

The Shiba Inu is good natured, spirited, bold and dignified....

Though sometimes reserved around strangers, earning this dog’s respect will win affection. The Shiba Inu is usually good with children but does not tolerate mistreatment. Socialization as a puppy will instill patience and tolerance in the dog. It can be aggressive with other dogs, especially of the same sex, and while it can live with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood, the Shiba Inu is generally not to be trusted around small animals. Intelligent and independent, this breed can be difficult to train and may adopt a selfish and headstrong attitude. The Shiba Inu is meticulously clean, often preening and even avoiding puddles when walking, so housebreaking should be fairly easy; in some cases, the dog housebreaks itself.

Caring For a Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a hardy breed and will adapt to its living circumstances....

It will be fine in an apartment if it is exercised moderately, but it does best with a yard. It should be given a chance to enjoy open spaces from time to time. The endurance of the Shiba Inu is exceptional, so it will do well on long walks. Its all-weather coat allows it to live well outdoors in moderate to cold weather. However, because it bonds closely with its owner, it is happier living inside with an attentive family. This dog can be stubborn and mischievous, so owners should provide a playpen and a kennel. The Shiba Inu is a seasonally heavy shedder, and requires brushing two or three times a week even when not shedding. Bathe only when absolutely necessary to maintain the natural weather-proofing of the coat.

Shiba Inu History

A Brief History of the Shiba Inu

DNA analysis has confirmed that the Shiba Inu, which is of Japanese origin, is one of the oldest breeds....

How it got its name is in question: Shiba can be translated as “small” or “brushwood” in Japanese, so the name may simply mean “small dog” or “brushwood dog,” paying homage to the dog's great skill at hunting in the Japanese underbrush, as well as the resemblance its coat shares with the underbrush. The Shiba Inu is thought to have been used as a bird flusher and, occasionally, hunter of wild boar as early as the 4th century BC. Historically, the Shiba Inu has been divided into three bloodlines based on geographic area: the Sanin Shiba of the northeast, the Shishu Shiba of the Nagano Prefecture, and the Mino Shiba of the Gifu Prefecture. By the end of World War II, the Shiba Inu was so close to extinction the three bloodlines had to be interbred to ensure the survival of the breed. This new commingled Shiba caught on quickly, and today is the most popular breed in Japan. In 1936, the Cultural Properties Act declared the Shiba Inu a precious natural product of Japan. The breed was first documented in the United States in 1954, but the first known American litter was not born until 1979. On June 1, 1993 the Shiba Inu won American Kennel Club recognition as a member of the Non-Sporting Group.