Shiba Inu 101: Everything You Need to Know About Shiba Inus

Do you want to know something interesting about Shiba Inus? They are the smallest and oldest breed of dogs in Japan. I think they are great companions because they are tiny furballs of energy. Therefore, they are fun to be house companions. Are you interested in having a Shiba Inu? Continue reading to learn more about this dog breed.

Typical Features

  • Height: 23.5 to 16 inches
  • Weight: 17 to 23 pounds
  • AKC Category: Non-sporting
  • Life Expectancy: About 15 years

The Shiba Inu is a small and native dog in Japan. Therefore, it is one of Japan’s treasured dog breeds. Their eyes are dark and triangular, so these are one of their most distinguishable traits. Their tails are thick, curly, and high.

They have a double coat with a straight external coat and a soft coat underneath. Their outer coating can be black, tan, red, or red sesame. Their coat underneath can be buff, cream, or gray.


Originally, Shiba Inus were bred to hunt bears and small animals up in the mountains. Their breed was officially proclaimed and recognized as a natural Japanese animal. Nevertheless, after World War II, Shiba Inus almost got extinct similar to other dog breeds. Because of a breeding program, the breed subsisted.

In 1954, the Shiba Inus appeared in the US. It was only in 1979 when the first Shiba Inu litter was born. The American Kennel Club or AKC categorized this dog breed under the Miscellaneous Class in 1992. After a year, it was changed to the Non-Sporting category. Now, they are more popularly known as companion pets.


The first time I got a Shiba Inu, I thought I got a cat. Aside from being independent, active, alert, Siba Inus have agility similar to a cat. My family also noticed that our Shiba Inus get attached to us quickly. Moreover, they are loving and loyal.

They are also easy to travel with. Nevertheless, we have to train our Shiba Inus to socialize since they tend to be reserved around strangers. I also noticed that our Shiba Inus do not like getting dirty. I researched it and found out that it is not odd to see them avoiding dirty or muddy water.

Shiba Inus also do not bark a lot. They are also great with other dogs, cats, and children. Nevertheless, I do not recommend them with small animals since they might think they are food. Shiba Inus can also have separation anxiety when left alone for a long time.


I love jogging in the morning, and my Shiba Inus are my jogging buddies. They require regular play and exercise time. When going outdoors, they need to be on a leash since they might go after small animals.

They are great for those who have apartments. As mentioned, they do not bark a lot. They are also active, even indoors. Nevertheless, it is not a good idea to leave them alone for an extended period.

Everything You Need to Know About Shiba Inus 2


Regular brushing is recommended for Shiba Inus. However, several times a week is enough. I do not bath my Shiba Inus regularly. They have a waterproof double coat, so bathing them too often could cause it to shed a lot. I also noticed that my  Shiba Inus shed a lot when the season changes.

As for their nails, ears, and teeth, they have to be regularly trimmed and cleaned. This is to keep the Shiba Inus’ overall health.


In general, Shiba Inus live healthy and long lives. Nevertheless, they are prone to specific health conditions. Therefore, I always have them checked by a veterinarian for any of the following conditions:

  • Cataract
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Inward eyelid
  • Displaced kneecap
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Presence of tissue strands in the eyes
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Dental problems
  • Food and particle allergies (e.g., pollen, dust)
  • Flea allergies

The following conditions are not as common but might occur:

  • Kidney failure
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart murmur
  • Slipped hocks
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Liver disease
  • Hip joint disorder


Although Shiba Inus tend to be a little aloof, some can be affectionate, while some can be independent. I read that some Shiba Inus prefer to be pet on their terms. In my case, my Shiba Inus like to be cuddled. When they want cuddle time, they get it.


Finally, it is not surprising that many people love Shiba Inus. For me, I love their silliness and charm. They know how to be funny and sweet at the same time. Based on my experience, although they bring great joy, they are not easy to take care of. Nevertheless, all the hard work is worth it because of all the love we get.

What do you think of Shiba Inus? When you think of it, they are close to us, just fuzzier and cuter.

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Why do I love Shiba Inus? Shiba Inu are bear-like dogs that are extremely adorable—with human-like mimics, amazing charisma and overflowing cuteness.