Shiba Inu: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


Among the characteristics of the Shiba Inu, they stand out that it is a fast, very active and agile animal. A pet of Japanese origin with a nobleloyalaffectionateplayful and also a little independent character. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Shiba Inu dog breed.


Character of the Shiba Inu breed

The Shiba Inu dog breed has a noble, affectionate, loyal and playful character, but also somewhat independent. In fact, the Japanese use three words to describe the temperament of this dog:

  1. The first is kan-i , which describes the mixture of courage and pride combined with a special mental strength.
  2. The second is ryosei , which defines its good disposition and noble nature, and complements the first term, since one cannot be understood without the other.
  3. The third is soboku, which reflects the great natural charisma of this always alert dog, always ready for anything and with a truly irresistible personality.

It is an excellent animal for life and society today. Its ability to adapt to all kinds of situations is extraordinary and, consequently, it lives just as well in the city as in the country, where it enjoys running and playing freely.

If it regularly resides in an urban environment, it is essential to go out with them daily for long walks and take them very often to a park or an open, bounded and safe area where it can be released, since it is an active animal that needs to be done. exercise every day.

Points in its favor to consider it a good urban dog are its extraordinary cleanliness, almost more like a cat, and also its little fondness for barking, something always very appreciated by the neighbours.

The truth is that the Shiba’s relationship with people is excellent because, despite its virtues as a guard dog, it does not usually show surly with strangers.

Its behaviour with children is fantastic, it becomes an excellent accomplice in games and mischief. It also tends to establish a good relationship with other dogs and even with pets of other species.

The integration of this dog with its new family is usually perfect, so it is not a bad choice for owners with little experience.

In any case, it is always advisable to seek the help of an expert professional or join a working group to share the experience and the different vicissitudes of Shiba upbringing and education with other people who are in similar circumstances.

On the other hand, its great fame is due in part to its enormous versatility, since in addition to participating in beauty contests, the specimens of this breed can be used in a multitude of activities, from those of their ancestral origin, such as the guard and the hunt, to other more modern sports such as agility , flyball , frisbee or obedience.

Also, due to the great sympathy that it wastes and its good manners, it stands as a wonderful therapy dog. Makes company and gives love to the people who need it most: sick children, elderly people who feel alone, etc.

In short, this is, without any doubt, a very friendly, active and intelligent dog with whom the whole family can have fun and enjoy.

  • Energy: a It is an active, fast and agile animal that needs to exercise daily: going for a walk, running in the field.
  • Temperament: it is a dog that is very loyal to its owners. It is of a lively character and has a remarkable acuity of senses.
  • Adaptability: As long as you can get the exercise you need and have your family close by, it adapts seamlessly to any environment.
  • Sociability: It is very sociable and gets along well with almost everyone, people or animals, especially if it is subjected to a good socialization work when it is a puppy.
  • Health: It usually suffers from hip and elbow dysplasia.
  • Longevity: Lives 12 to 15 years.
  • Utility: very versatile. It is a great hunting dog, but also a guard, utility and companion dog.
  • Use: hunting and company.

Shiba Inu characteristics

To define the characteristics of the shiba inu, mention should be made of its general appearance. It is a small dog with a well balanced structure.

It is endowed with good bones and strong, well-developed muscles. It is a dog with fast and agile movements, and of great beauty.

Being a working dog, the shiba is a fast animal, with quick reflexes, very active and agile. Likewise, its bearing is haughty and proud, and it shows its strong temperament with its small triangular ears always erect and its tail curved over its back.

Among all Japanese spitz-type hunting dogs, the shiba is, along with the Japanese spitz, the smallest, but, despite this, its original use has always been as an auxiliary hunting dog, and not only in small game, but also big game, where it had to deal, above all, with bears and wild boars.

Those who approach this dog for the first time define it as a miniature version of the Akita , because that is the first impression it makes. Its exotic beauty, in addition to its good temperament and excellent health, has led it to become a very popular breed throughout the world.

Its body is of solid and balanced constitution, the shiba is endowed with well-developed skeleton and musculature.

It is a medium-sized dog, with a height at the withers of about 40 cm for males and about 37 cm for females.

The head has a broad forehead, it has a well-defined stop and a slight frontal furrow. The muzzle is moderately thick and tapers towards the tip. The nose is black.

Their eyes are triangular in shape and quite small, with dark brown irises and raised external angles (eye corners).

It has ears of relatively small size and triangular in shape, the ears are firmly erect and slightly inclined forward.

The feet are oval with arched toes, strong and generally dark-colored nails, and strong, elastic footpads.

The tail is set high, it is thick and the animal wears it tightly curled or in the shape of a sickle. It is covered with long and somewhat bristly hair.

As for its hair, it has abundant, very fine undercoat and a coat of smooth, short and rough-textured hair, except on the tail, where it is longer. It can be red, black and tan, sesame, black sesame, or red sesame.

Let’s now see in more detail what the shiba inu is like and the breed standard:

Shiba Inu breed standard

  • General appearance: muscular and with good bones, it is a robust dog, with a strong and balanced constitution.
  • Size: medium.
  • Height at the withers: between 39 and 42 cm for males and between 35 and 39 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 7 and 13 kg for males and between 6 and 12 kg for females.
  • Origin: Japan.
  • Body: it is a dog with a strong build, slightly longer than tall, and with powerful bones and muscles. The belly is well collected.
  • Head: has a broad forehead and well developed cheeks.
  • Muzzle: It is a bit thick and progressively tapers towards the tip. The lips are firm.
  • Nose: it is black.
  • Eyes: quite small, triangular in shape and dark brown in color. The external commissures are raised.
  • Ears: the ears are relatively small, triangular, slightly inclined forward and erect.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is well defined and has a slight frontal furrow.
  • Jaws: The teeth are strong, with a scissor bite.
  • Neck: thick, strong and well proportioned to the size of the head and body.
  • Back: it is straight and firm, and the loin is broad and muscular.
  • Chest: It is deep and the ribs are moderately arched.
  • Forelimbs: seen from the front they are straight. The shoulders and shoulder blades are moderately oblique. Its elbows are close to the body.
  • Hind limbs: they have well developed muscles. Their legs are short and well developed. The thighs are long, the hocks are thick and strong.
  • Color:  the coat is red, black with tan, sesame (mix equal parts of black and white hairs); black sesame (more black hairs than white) or red sesame (red hair mixed with black hair). All these colors, except white, also have the “urajiro” hue, that is, whitish hair, on the sides of the muzzle and on the cheeks, under the jaw, neck and abdomen, under the tail and on the side internal legs.
  • Hair: the outer coat is hard and straight hair; on the contrary, the internal one is of fine and dense hair. On the tail, it is longer and bristly.
  • Feet: their toes are close together and arched. The foot pads are strong and elastic. It has strong nails that are usually dark in color.
  • Tail: it is thick and set high. When it is raised, the dog wears it curled or curved in the shape of a sickle; when it falls down, the point reaches the hock.
  • Movement: presents a loose and agile movement.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 257 Group 5 – Spitz and primitive type dogs. Section 5 – Asian Spitz and related breeds.

Shiba Inu puppies

If you are reading this and are looking for information about the Shiba Inu, it may be because you are considering the adoption or purchase of a puppy of this breed. But before making the big decision, we believe that there are a number of aspects that you should take into account.

The puppies of this breed are very playful and cheerful, so they tend to get along very well with children, becoming perfect companions for games and mischief. Therefore, it is not uncommon for small “accidents” to occur at home.

It is also a breed of dog that needs to exercise daily, therefore, if you are a sedentary person, it may not be the best choice for you. In the same way, it is essential to provide the puppies with a balanced and quality diet.

It is also necessary to start their education and socialization from the earliest age. Always under the supervision of a veterinarian, puppies should experience being in other places and noises, as well as having contact with other dogs and pets.


Shiba Inu education and training

As for how to train a Shiba Inu, you should know that this dog was selected from the beginning as a very versatile hunting dog.

Trained and skilled in hunting rabbits or partridges, as well as stalking wild boar. Their modus operandi when hunting is similar to that of other Japanese spitz. That is, stalking and cornering the piece in a place with no escape, to then wait until the arrival of the hunter.

The shiba is almost certainly the most trainable Japanese spitz of all, due to its intelligence, its speed in learning and, above all, its extraordinary disposition to satisfy the wishes of its family.

In fact, one of the most important parts in the education of the specimens of this breed is their socialization .

It should start when it is a puppy just a few weeks old, and it should be done intensively and continuously to bring out the best of its potentially extraordinary temperament.


Shiba Inu diet

Regarding how to feed a Shiba Inu, their food needs are high. It needs to ingest a very high amount of high-quality protein, in order to keep its muscular system in condition, without having to eat a large amount of food, something impossible for a dog of its size.

The fats must also be of known origin and of good quality. They have to be present in the diet in the right amount, to ensure the proper functioning of the different organs. In addition, to affect the health of the skin and hair.

It is especially important to take care of the diet of puppies and older animals. It is necessary to guarantee, on the one hand, that the physical development of the first year occurs in a harmonious way and, on the other, that the old age is faced with health. And, without being overweight that can cause secondary alterations, some of which become very limiting and serious.


Shiba Inu health and diseases

In principle, the shiba is a very mentally balanced animal that does not cause many problems, nor does it present excessive health complications , as it is a very healthy breed, as evidenced by its average longevity, which usually exceeds 15 years of age.

However, despite not having a very large size or wingspan, not being extraordinarily heavy or having a special body conformation (long back and short legs, for example), the frequency of specimens suffering from elbow or hip dysplasia it is perhaps greater than expected.

Other diseases that sometimes also occur in this breed are skin and eye problems, and knee dislocation, something more common in a breed of this size and which is aggravated by the particular conformation of its rear joint. In any case, it is a fairly healthy dog, very robust, rustic and strong.

In addition to taking care of its diet, to have a healthy and balanced shiba, both physically and mentally, it is essential to allow it to perform the daily exercise it needs to stay in good shape, and it is also essential to have advice and support from a trusted veterinarian as the best way to establish a preventive health program.

Said program must include a routine vaccination and revaccination schedule . Also one of internal and external deworming to avoid the proliferation of infestations, which can lead to the appearance of diseases or the deactivation of the effect of any vaccine.

The veterinarian must also be in charge of controlling the evolution of the growth and weight of the animal in all its different stages, and of the state of the eyes, mouth, ears, hair and skin , the main indicators of the general health of the dog.


Specific care of the Shiba Inu breed

As for aesthetic maintenance, the truth is that it is practically nil, as it hardly needs an occasional brushing with a card or a metal bristle brush. And, a bathroom in the case that the dog is considered very dirty.

To bathe them, always use a shampoo that does not alter the natural pH of its skin and hair. It is recommended to take the precaution of rinsing it very well until completely eliminating the traces of soap. Since, they could cause discomfort, itching, allergies and even the appearance of eczema.

With this little care, the shiba will show off the splendid appearance that has made them so famous outside its country and is making them win many awards in the different dog shows in which it participates, where it always shines at great height.

In fact, until very few years ago this breed was practically unknown in Europe. Nowadays it is widely accepted and very high quality European specimens can be found.


Dog BehaviorDog Food and Nutrition
Dog TrainingDog Grooming
Dog HealthTips for Dog Owners
PuppiesDog Breeds
Dog AdoptionTravel with Dogs

Leave a Comment