The Shiba Inu has a stubborn streak, which makes the dog challenging to train.
Are you contemplating adopting a Shiba Inu? Wondering whether this is the right dog breed for you?
Maybe you have some questions regarding their size; perhaps you want to know more about their temperament and general behavior.
We’ve got the information you need to gain insight into this beautiful hunting dog from Japan.
Besides, despite their Asian Heritage, this dog ranked 42 in the AKC’s most popular dog list in 2021.
Let’s see why.
In size, the Shiba Inu is classified as a small to medium dog breed.
When fully grown, they only reach between 12 and 17 inches tall and between 17 and 23 pounds.
That’s not particularly big.
In fact, despite their resemblance to a wolf, they are deceptively small.
Comparing them to Siberian Huskies, they are nearly half the size.
On the other hand, Siberian Huskies stand 20-23 inches tall and weigh 35-60 pounds on average.
A Shiba Inu may bear the same small upright ears. The dogs also have cat-like agility due to their lightweight size and frame.
Their size makes them ideal for apartment living. But you must take them out for regular exercise (but more on that shortly).
Shiba Inu temperament
Shiba Inus are generally good-natured and loyal in temperament, but they are also fearless and bold. They’re also high-energy and have a strong prey drive.
With a relatively high barking tendency, they are also known for becoming quite possessive of their items — food, toys, or territory.
This can result in aggression but can be prevented or minimized with the right approach.
Despite these tendencies, the Shiba Inu can be a great family dog and typically is easy to train.
They are incredibly affectionate with the people they know. If you socialize Shiba Inu puppies, they can be excellent dogs around well-behaved children.
Start training early to manage the dog’s energy level and prevent problem behaviors.
Shiba Inus need grooming. They possess a thick, double-layered coat with a soft undercoat and a stiffer outer coat.
While this makes them somewhat fluffy, you should expect a lot of shedding.
They are known for going through two particular shedding seasons per year. This is when they ‘blow’ their coat, and you should expect a considerable increase in hair fall during this time.
The double coat, added to their shedding level, makes these dogs unsuitable for people with allergies.
They are also odor-free and like to keep themselves clean, which is a nice bonus.
You will need to brush your dog weekly or daily during shedding season.
Infrequent bathing, teeth brushing, and nail trimming should be part of your regimen.
As a natural consequence of their size, Shiba Inus do not need to eat as much as larger dogs.
In specific recommendations, you are looking at around 1/2 a cup to 1.5 cups of dog food per day, given over two meals.
Of course, this recommendation is for your typical and average adult Shiba Inu.
Consider other factors to determine feeding amounts and frequency. Those factors include the type of food and your dog’s age, activity level, and health status.
Consult with your vet and check product packaging to determine if you feed the correct amount of food.
Shiba Inu dogs have a relatively moderate need for exercise.
The average adult Shibas will require around one hour of walking per day.
Again, this is a general recommendation. How much exercise your dog needs will change at different phases of your dog’s life.
For instance, Shiba puppies need careful exercise while growing.
A good rule is around five minutes of exercise per month for your Shibas age until they are fully grown.
So, plan 15 minutes when your Shiba is three months old, 20 minutes when four months old, etc.
Once fully grown, you can exercise them much longer.
Just consider the amount of space around your home, their weight, and any health conditions that may impact these times.
And it will likely be taxing, too; these dogs have a stubborn streak and get bored quickly.
They have a reputation for being difficult among dog trainers.
Thus, the Shiba Inu is generally not recommended for a novice owner. At least, they are unsuitable for one who cannot commit to regular and routine training.
A responsible owner who uses positive reinforcement can bring out their dog’s good qualities. This owner also becomes a leader and cares for their dog’s emotions and needs.
The bottom line on adopting a Shiba Inu
Shiba Inus are a wonderful breed.
They wouldn’t be the 42nd most-owned dog in the United States if they weren’t.
Nor would they be the face of a new decentralized cryptocurrency, either.
What is vital to this breed is understanding their needs and nature.
If you do that, you’ll have an excellent family companion and can commit to regular grooming, exercising, and training.
If you still have your heart set on the Shiba Inu, you’ll need to consider their costs.
You are looking at between $1,000-$3,000 if you buy your Shiba puppy from a breeder.
And that’s just for the puppy alone; you’ll have to consider other upfront and ongoing costs.
Other than this, rescuing a Shiba is an excellent alternative.
Running a simple Google search of “Shiba Rescue” + “Your State/Location” is the best place to start your research. Or you can search on the American Kennel Club’s website for approved breeders.
Ultimately, while this breed can present some challenges, they will provide a lot more upside should you proceed to get one.
Jeremy Williams has spent 25 years raising dogs and other pets – from cats and hamsters to frogs and chickens. He has since created PetEducate.com, an online resource he continuously works on to answer common questions about pets and pet ownership. If he is not researching or writing, he cares for his young family and 6-year-old Cockapoo, Barley.