Shiba Inu | Dog Breed Guide

Shiba Inu | Dog Breed Guide

by ScritchSpot

Japan’s Shiba Inu dogs have taken the world by storm and their signature look and personality have made them video stars.

Weight – Female: 17 pounds; Male: 23 pounds

Height – Female: 13.5-15.5 inches; Male: 14.5-16.5 inches

Life Expectancy: 13-16 years

Group: Non-Sporting group

Temperament: clever, aloof

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

Shibas are among the smallest of Japan’s six ancient breeds, and their fox-like appearance makes them exceedingly popular since they have proliferated in America. Shibas are popular for their smart and regal appearance, which is attributed to a genetic closeness to wild wolves, as is their clever and energetic demeanor. 

Shibas are double-coated and highly furry dogs with tan, black and tan, or reddish brown variations with white markings sometimes on the chest, belly, paws, and tail. They sometimes require professional de-shedding as their coats can increase in production in colder climates. Shibas have long hair that is smooth and sleek, but humid climates can cause some puffiness. 

Known for their hunting ability, this dog requires proper socialization and training to coexist with families and other dogs. Though well suited to both apartment and house life, Shibas are required to have dedicated exercise time to avoid boredom-related bad behavior. Proper engagement of this dog’s energy will keep the home in symbiosis. Shibas are ok with other pets and babies if they are exposed to both at a young age. Begin training and socialization at a young age for a well-rounded pet. Shibas can be stubborn when it comes to training, so consistency is key.

Very popular in the US, the Shiba Inu is the number one companion dog in Japan, where they were bred alongside the dawn of Japanese civilization in mountain regions. Their name translates to ‘small dog’ which is representative in their iconic, fox and wolf harkening appearance. 


Shiba Inus are naturally pretty clean and odor-free. Regular brushing will help to remove dead hairs and he may need the occasional bath. Their fur requires more dedication than the typical double coat as they can overgrow in wintertime. Be sure to keep up with regular teeth brushing and nail trims to maintain good health.

Energy Level

Shiba Inus must have proper exercise including daily walks and play. Training a Shiba is essential to keep them on their best behavior. 

Health Concerns

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Patellar luxation

The Shiba Inu is fairly healthy due to its ancient breed stock with various mixes in their DNA, but be on the lookout for hip and knee problems as well as allergies. Pet insurance is recommended for Shibas; insuring your pup before he develops any medical conditions can help cover any future potential accidents or illnesses.