Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu

18 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Shiba Inus: what are they?

  • Shiba Inus are a small to medium-sized breed native to Japan.
  • They are one of the oldest and smallest Japanese spitz-type dogs.
  • Shiba Inus have a fox-like appearance with a curled tail and expressive eyes.
  • Shiba Inus are known for their independent and spirited nature.
  • On average, males stand between 35-41 cm tall, while females stand between 33-38 cm.
  • They typically weigh between 7-11 kg.
  • The life expectancy of a Shiba Inu is usually between 12-15 years.
Shiba Inu  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 2/5

What is the temperament of Shiba Inus like?

  • Shiba Inus are known for their unique and spirited temperament.
  • They are confident, intelligent, and independent dogs.
  • While they are loyal and loving towards their families, Shiba Inus can be reserved and aloof with strangers.
  • Early and thorough socialisation is crucial to help them become more relaxed and friendly in various situations.
  • Shiba Inus have a strong prey drive and may chase small animals, so proper training and supervision are necessary.
  • They are generally not recommended for homes with small pets such as cats or rodents.
Luna, the Shiba Inu

How much exercise do Shiba Inus need?

  • Shiba Inus are an active and energetic breed that requires regular exercise.
  • They need at least 1 hour of exercise per day to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  • Daily walks, playtime in a secure area, and interactive games are essential for their well-being.
  • Shiba Inus have a strong sense of adventure and exploration, so providing them with new experiences and environments can be beneficial.
  • They enjoy activities that engage their minds, such as puzzle toys or obedience training.
  • It's important to note that Shiba Inus should always be walked on a lead or in a securely fenced area, as they have a tendency to wander off if not properly supervised.
  • Shiba Inu puppies have specific exercise requirements to support their growth and development.
  • They have bursts of energy but also need plenty of rest for proper bone and muscle development.
  • Puppies should have short, supervised play sessions throughout the day to prevent overexertion.
  • Avoid strenuous activities or excessive jumping until they are older and their joints have fully formed.
  • Your vet can advise on the exercise needs for your individual dog.
Monchi, the Shiba Inu

Do Shiba Inus need a lot of grooming?

  • Shiba Inus have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean and healthy.
  • They shed moderately throughout the year and have two heavy shedding seasons during which they "blow" their coat.
  • Weekly brushing is recommended to remove loose hair and prevent matting.
  • During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary to manage the increased shedding.
  • Shiba Inus are generally clean dogs and groom themselves like cats, so they may not require frequent baths unless they get particularly dirty.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Winston, the Shiba Inu

Are Shiba Inus easy to train?

  • Shiba Inus have a reputation for being independent and stubborn, which can make training challenging at times.
  • They are intelligent dogs but may have a strong inclination to do things their own way.
  • Early and consistent training is essential to establish boundaries and ensure good behaviour.
  • Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, work best with Shiba Inus.
  • They respond well to training that is interesting, engaging, and mentally stimulating.
  • It's important to be patient, firm, and provide them with clear guidelines to achieve successful training outcomes.
Yoshi, the Shiba Inu

What do Shiba Inus eat?

  • A balanced and high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level is recommended for Shiba Inus.
  • It's important to monitor their weight and adjust their portions accordingly to prevent obesity, as they can be prone to weight gain.
  • Most do well being fed twice daily.
  • Shiba Inu puppies should be fed a specially formulated puppy food that supports their growth and development.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times daily until 6 months old when it can be reduced to twice daily.
  • Around 12-18 months of age, they can transition to adult dog food.
  • Treats should be given in moderation and as part of their daily calorie intake.

Are Shiba Inus healthy?

Shiba Inus are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some health concerns that can affect Shiba Inus include:

Bones and Joints

  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation.

This list is by no means comprehensive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Shiba Inu is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Shiba Inus

BorrowMyDoggy has 709 Shiba Inu members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

Japanese Dog Breeds

Akita Inu

Japanese Dog Breeds

Japanese Spitz

Shiba Inu

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