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Breed Profile: Shiba Inu


Shiba Inu Dog Breed Photo - Picture of Shiba Inu Photo © chris Stein/Getty Images




The Shiba Inu is one of just a handful of dog breeds native to Japan. Though originally bred for hunting birds and small game, the Shiba is now a popular companion dog in Japan. This breed's name translates as "brushwood dog." Some say it was given this name due to the brushwood bushes it once navigated on the hunt. Others feel it refers to the brushwood-like color of the breed. It is also said that the word shiba describes its small size (brushwood as in kindling).

The first Shiba Inu was brought to the US in the 1950s, but Shibas were not bred in the US until the 1970s. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1992.


15-25 pounds


Cream, red, red sesame, or black & tan; often has white markings on chest, ventral neck and limbs

Health Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed:

The Shiba Inu is a sturdy and agile little dog with a courageous and independent personality. Though the breed can be hesitant with strangers, it is loyal and affectionate with its family, making the Shiba a lovely companion.

The Shiba has a stiff, straight outer coat with a soft, thick undercoat. Shedding is moderate on a regular basis, but this breed will "blow its coat" (shed excessively) twice a year. Basic routine grooming is all that this breed tends to need for maintenance. Weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy and decrease shedding, though brushing should be done more frequently during peak shedding seasons.

Shibas are very smart dogs, but are also known to be willful and stubborn. This makes training a challenge but also a necessity. In addition, early socialization is key. The Shiba has a strong prey drive, is often hesitant around strangers, and may not always get along with other dogs. Proper obedience training and socialization can help you keep your Shiba under control and allow its good-natured side to shine through. In addition, this breed has a relatively high energy level and should get plenty of exercise - at least a daily walk.

The Shiba Inu is a rather adaptable dog that can thrive in a variety of households. The breed can get along well with children and other pets if raised together. If you decide the Shiba is right for you, you are bound to have a loyal and steadfast companion for life.

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