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 now see why.
In size, the Shiba Inu is classified as a small to medium dog breed.
They only reach between 12 and 17 inches tall and between 17 and 23 pounds when fully grown.
That’s not particularly big.
In fact, despite their resemblance to a wolf, they are deceptively small.
If you compare 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.
Still, a Shiba Inu may bear the same small upright ears; they have cat-like agility due to their lightweight size and frame.
Their size makes them ideal for apartment living, so long as you can 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.
With a relatively high barking tendency, they are also known for coming quite possessive of their items – food, toys, or territory.
This can result in aggression, but it can be prevented or minimized with the right approach.
Despite these tendencies, the Shiba Inu can be a great family dog.
They are incredibly affectionate with the people they know, and if socialized sufficiently and adequately, they can be excellent around well-behaved children.
Shiba Inus need grooming. They possess a thick, double-layered coat which consists of a soft undercoat and a stiffer outer coat.
While this gives them a somewhat fluffy appearance, it also means 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 of hair to fall during this time.
The double coat, added to their shedding level, makes these dogs unsuitable for people with allergies.
Nonetheless, this breed is not considered too challenging to groom for those of you without 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.
You will need to consider other factors with feeding amounts and frequency, such as the food you offer, their age, levels of activity, and health status.
Consulting with your vet and checking any product packaging are two excellent ways to ascertain if you are feeding the correct amount of food.
Shiba Inus 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, and it will likely differ 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 of your Shibas age until they are fully grown.
So, plan on 15 minutes when your Shiba is three months old, 20 minutes when four months, 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.
Shiba Inus are tough to train.
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 not suitable for one who cannot commit to regular and routine training.
But an owner who commits to mindful and appropriate positive reinforcement techniques, becomes a pack leader, and addresses their dog’s emotional state and needs – should help their beautiful traits come to light.
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.
You’ll have an excellent family companion if you do that 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.
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 the past 25 years raising dogs and a whole host of 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 takes care of his young family and 6-year-old Cockapoo, Barley.