Shiba inus are the smallest of the six native breeds of Japan. Smart, alert, independent, affectionate, playful, brave, neat, confident, and speedy are only some of the adjectives that can be used to describe these dogs. The Japanese have described the breed using three words: soboku (alertness), ryosei (good nature), and kaani-i (spirited boldness), traits that best exemplify the oldest breed in Japan. Somewhat resembling foxes with their russet coat and bushy tails, Shiba inus are the perfect companions for those who have active lifestyles, being highly energetic themselves.
Our 4 Paw Rating – to the suitability of shiba inus for your home and lifestyle:
Shiba inus reach between 13 and 17 inches at shoulder height and weigh between 17 and 32 lbs.
Shiba inus have a stiff outer coat and a thick, soft undercoat. They shed heavily twice a year, but also shed on a regular basis. Brushing their coat daily can help maintain their coat, or at least after every few days.
Shiba inus are good with children and can also serve as good guard dogs, as they have a very protective personality.
When it comes to personalities, some owners may find that their shiba inu has a tendency to act more like felines more than canines, ignoring you for long periods of time. However, they can also be quite affectionate and loving.
Shiba inus are quite flexible and can adapt to a variety of households, whether in the city or in the country. However, owners will need to be aware of the fact that the breed has a tendency toward possessiveness. Sharing is not natural to them, which is why it’s a good idea to put away their favorite toys and treats when around children or other dogs to avoid trouble.
Because of their active personalities, shiba inus require a lot of room to play in, such as a fenced yard. As such, small apartments aren’t ideal for the breed. It’s important for owners to spend time with them, which is why shiba inus aren’t recommended for frequent travelers.
The average lifespan of shiba inus is between 12 and 17 years. Like other dogs, the breed is prone to contracting diseases, including but not limited to allergies (food or otherwise), glaucoma, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and cancer.
While not strictly diseases, shiba inus are also known for running all over the house without a reason and chasing after their tails.
As already mentioned, shiba inus are an active breed, which is why they need a lot of exercise. A daily workout is best so they can work off their energy. You can take him or her with you jogging or walking in the neighborhood. Make sure your dog is leashed though, because he or she can be aggressive toward other dogs and smaller animals, such as squirrels.
While shiba inus may be smart, the breed is notoriously difficult to train because of their independent and stubborn personalities. As such, it might be a better idea to hire a trainer to work with your dog instead of trying to do so yourself, since trainers have more experience in dealing with the breed. Shiba inus will also need to be socialized early so that their aggressive tendencies will be reined in.