Shiba Inu

Other Names
Brushwood Dog, Japanese Small-size Dog, Japanese Shiba Inu
Country of Origin
Japan, the 3rd century BC.
Dogs: 20-30 pounds Female: 18-28 pounds
Dogs: 14-16 inches Female: 13-15 inches
Life Expectancy
13-16 years
Litter Size
2 to 3

The Shiba Inu is a small, compact, agile furry dog that looks like a miniature Akita. Its outgoing personality, convenient size, and good nature have made it the most common pet in the Japan. This is not a dog for the faint-hearted as it is a large animal in a small body.

This dog needs to have human interaction and should not be left alone in the back yard. Unique vocal sounds its bark may sound like a “yodel”. It will usually only bark when it has reason.


The Shiba Inu  is an alert, lively and bold dog; it is independent, but affectionate and loving. This dog is kind, trainable, and clean; it is easy to housebreak because it is naturally fastidious. It is playful, agile, and fast. The Shiba Inu is confident, fearless and courageous. It makes a good companion to children. It is charming and open. It may be a bit reserved with strangers; it makes a good watchdog. It needs a firm, consistent handler.

Socialization at an early age is a must. It does well with other dogs and cats if it is raised with them from puppyhood, though it tends to be aggressive with members of the same sex. Don’t trust this dog around other small pets such as rodents and small birds; big birds such as parrots may be okay. This dog is not usually reliable off-leash. The Shiba Inu is an undemanding dog that will adapt to your circumstances. However it is a very active dog and will be healthier and happier with regular exercise. This little dog has tremendous endurance; it can walk for hours on end.


Red, salt and pepper, black, black and tan or white.


Harsh, straight, clean, coarse, stiff, short-haired coat. It is easy to groom. Brush with a firm bristle brush to remove the dead hair and bathe only when absolutely necessary as it removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. The waterproof, all-weather coat protects the dog in both cold and hot conditions. This breed is a seasonally heavy shedder.

Health Issues

This breed is generally hardy and healthy with few genetic weaknesses. A small proportion of Shiba Inus have histories of hip dysplasia and PRA, some lines are prone to patellar luxation (slipped kneecap). To help prevent the chance of hip or elbow dysplasia developing make sure your dog is on a healthy, well proportioned diet, and avoid excessive running and jumping while still a puppy as this can be hard on the developing joints. To minimize the risk of your Shiba Inu developing any hereditary health issues, you should buy a dog from a reputable breeder.

Living Environment

This breed will do okay in an apartment if is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. It can live outdoors if you have a secure yard of reasonable size. However, it does regard itself as part of the family and does not like to be left alone outside. This dog would be much happier living indoors with its family.