The Active Shiba Inu

descriptive textDog Breed Info
The Shiba Inu
Weight 17 — 23 lbs
Height 13” — 16”
AKC Rank 2008 #63
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group: Non Sporting
Origin: Japan

  • Breeders And Rescue Groups
  • Dog Health, Dog Illness, Medical Problems

    Dog Breed Info - The Shiba Inu

    A Young Shiba playing in the Fall leaves.
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    Breed Overview

    Origin: Ancient times. Hunting small game. Today: Companion dog.

    The Shiba is of spitz heritage going back to roughly 300 b.c. It was originally used as a hunting dog in Central Japan along with several related varieties of Shiba’s. The first Shiba came to America in 1954 and was finally registered by the AKC in 1993. Since then the Shiba’s have achieved a following as family companion dogs.


    Not easy to train. Stubborn and headstrong. He will learn, but takes time. Try using a clicker and you'll see results. clicker training has been around and works on even the most difficult of cases. A clicker costs about $3 in the States.

    Crate Training

    Want to crate train your Shiba Inu? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

    Potty Training

    Shiba Inu puppies can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

    If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


    This is an independent, self-confident breed and can try to take a dominate role. The breed protects it’s territory. Shiba’s are active and lively outdoors and as long as they get plenty of exercise, are quiet indoors. Always looking for new adventures. A moderately quiet dog and a great family house pet.

    If you happen to get a Shiba Inu with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

    The Shiba Inu portrait
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    Friendly Toward Other Dogs

    No. Can be aggressive with other dogs, especially of the same sex.

    Friendly Toward Other Pets

    Will go after small animals, Not to be trusted with other small pets unless raised with them.

    Friendly Toward Strangers

    The Shiba is reserved with strangers. Always wary of the unknown.


    Somewhat playful. Will romp and play with the family. They love interaction with their family.


    Moderate. The Shiba Inu craves human interaction and needs to be with his family.

    Good with children?

    Yes, the Shiba does fine with well-mannered children. This is a good family dog.

    A Shiba Inu on patrol in the field.
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    Good with Seniors over 65?

    Yes, a good match for seniors as long as the senior can get out and walk twice a day and throw a ball in the yard, this dog is good to go. The dog needs attention and the senior has time to give it. If longevity or training are issues, find a Shiba Inu Rescue group and adopt a 2 or 3 year old dog that is house trained and knows a few commands. It will save some headaches for the seniors.

    Living environment

    House, farm. He’s a good candidate for a fenced yard with a doggie door to go in and out of a large secure area to run and play fetch with a ball in.

    Energy level

    Yes, fairly high energy. I’d rate him 6 bars out of 10.

    Exercise needs, daily

    Fairly high. Needs several long walks and a vigorous play session with a ball or Frisbee.


    Excellent. Excels.

    Guard dog

    Yes, pretty good. Will not back down.




    Brush with a firm bristle brush twice a week, more often when shedding to remove dear hair. Your dog will appreciate the extra attention.


    Suggested Reading - The Shiba Inu
    Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

    • 3rd book from the left is "101 Dog Tricks" and offers something for every dog. Even I was amazed at the variety of things for dogs to do. This will provide good mental stimulation for your dog and give him new things to try to learn.

    • The book at the far right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for every dog owner. Vol 2 and comes with a DVD.

    Shiba Inu Breeders

    In the event you decide to go looking for Shiba puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
    Shiba Inu Breeders with puppies for sale.

    Shiba Inu Rescue

    In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Shiba Inu Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
    Petfinder - Shiba Inu Rescue - (Nationwide)At the time of this writing, there are 326 Shiba's available for adoption, some of them mixed breed, in the USA according to Petfinder. You might want to go online and surf for Shiba Inu Rescue groups or foster homes to find something closer to you. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate dog health records for possible future reference.
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    Dog Health Issues For The Shiba Inu
    Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems as listed for the Shiba Inu by various vets.

    This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

    The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

    • Patellar luxation—Limping, Lame, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg, back leg lame. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position on the Shiba Inu. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect either rear leg. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

    • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the Shiba Inu's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

    • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

    • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

    • Entropion—Eye irritation Irritations caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

    • Distichiasis—An eye condition involving the cornea. Eyelashes, growing improperly on the inner surface of the eyelid cause corneal ulcers due to the constant rubbing and irritation. The problem is fixed by having the vet remove the lashes if the ulcers don’t heal for your Shiba Inu.

    • von Willebrand"s Disease—A deficiency in clotting factor in the blood. The affected dog does not properly utilize the blood-platelets for blood-clotting. Thus, the dog is prone to excessive bleeding if in an accident or surgery.

    • Persistent pupillary membranes—Hereditary. Vision impaired by strands of tissue in the eye left over from before birth. Strands should be gone by 5 weeks age. Strands can bridge from iris to cornea, iris to pupil, iris to lens (causing cataracts) or they can for sheets of tissue. If the Shiba Inu is young and you see small white spots in the dog’s eyes or the dog seems to have poor vision, see the vet. Forming of cataracts might be the biggest problem but don’t let this slip by. It may be nothing, it may be something.

    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

    Other health problems could occur with your Shiba Inu. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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