The Shiba Inu: A Complete Guide

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Shiba Inu Breed
Image Credit By: shiba_sihoya, instagram

The Shiba Inu was originally bred to flush birds and small game and was occasionally used to hunt wild boar.

He is one of Japan’s six native breeds, which include the Akita, Kishu, Hokkaido, Kai, Shikoku, and Shiba.

The Shiba Inu is known for his spirited personality, small upright ears, and cat-like agility. Today he is known primarily as a great companion dog in Japan and the rest of the world.

With his prick ears, squinty eyes, and curly tail, this dog certainly looks like a fox or even a stuffed toy. The Shiba Inu moves effortlessly, nimbly, and quickly like a ninja warrior. He is always keen and alert.

The Shiba Inu possesses a calm dignity that is uniquely his own, which is probably why he is also described as stubborn.

Shiba Inu Puppies – Before You Buy…

A Shiba Inu wearing glasses
The Shiba Inu wants everything, from what you’re eating to even wearing your glasses.

What Price are Shiba Inu Puppies?

In general, Shiba Inu puppies with limited registration from reputable breeders cost between $1,400 to $2,200.

Full registration puppies cost between $2,000 to $3,500.

How to Find Reputable Shiba Inu Breeders?

Many online sites can have you searching for a Shiba Inu breeder in your area in no time.

These sites allow you to be general or very specific in your requests. Some can also help you find animal rescue groups.

There are local newspapers that also have classified ads for Shiba Inu breeders which you can also check out. Social media is another great way to connect with a breeder.

Post on official Facebook pages that are dedicated to Shiba Inus so that other members of the group can refer you to good breeders in your area.

You can also start talking with all the pet professionals in your area about your desire for a Shiba Inu. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers.

When someone needs to give up their dog for any particular reason, that person will usually ask their own trusted network for help or recommendations.

Networking can help you find a good dog breeder. Most people who love Shiba Inus love all Shiba Inus.

They can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family by helping you find the right kind of breeder.

When you find a breeder, asking them important questions will help you determine whether they are reputable or not.

Make sure to ask about the dog’s energy levels, their behavior around other animals, and how they respond to other people.

Find out about their age, their parent dogs, their personality, and any known health issues.

When you do decide to buy a Shiba Inu puppy, make sure you have a good contract with the seller or breeder, and that you are provided with the health certificates and other documentation.

3 Little-Known Facts About Shiba Inu Puppies

  1. The Shiba Inu came from Japan along with the Kishu, Hokkaido, Kai Dog, Shikoku, and Akita.
  2. The Shiba Inu was used primarily as a hunting dog to flush out small game and birds for hunters.
  3. There are many theories about how the Shiba Inu got his name. One is that the word Shiba means “brushwood” for the brushwood bushes that these dogs loved to hunt in.

Physical Traits of the Shiba Inu

A Shiba Inu going for a walk
The Shiba Inus are affectionate and loyal to family members.

The Shiba Inu’s appearance often confuses people because he looks just like a fox. He has a muscular and compact body, a wedge-shaped head, dark brown eyes, and erect ears.

His coat comes in red, red sesame, and black and tan.

All three colors have a cream to white color on the cheeks, inside the ears, the sides of the muzzle, underneath the jaw, the inside of the legs, and beneath the tail.

His thick, powerful tail is carried curved over his back.

How Big is a Full-Grown Shiba Inu?

Male Shiba Inus stand 14.5 to 16.5 inches tall and weigh about 23 pounds.

Females stand 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall and weigh about 17 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Shiba Inu?

The life expectancy of the Shiba Inu is about 12 to 15 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is bold, alert, and good-natured. He is confident and strong-willed and often has his own ideas about things.

He is devoted and loving with his family, though he tends to be suspicious of strangers.

The Shiba Inu doesn’t share well. He tends to guard, sometimes aggressively, his food, toys, or territory. He won’t hesitate to run after small animals that are prey to him.

He’s been described as stubborn, but freethinking is probably a more positive way to characterize him.

Because of his independence, the Shiba Inu is not the easiest breed to train. Socialization and training should begin early to teach the Shiba Inu proper canine manners.

It is crucial for Shiba Inu owners to understand his freethinking nature to avoid being frustrated. The Shiba Inu is very intelligent, but he doesn’t like being told what to do.

You may have to make him think obedience is his idea. For best results, it’s important to work with a trainer who understands the breed’s independence.

The Shiba Inu has a fiery side to his personality that he sometimes shows to other dogs and animals.

Most Shiba Inus will have to be supervised carefully when off the leash. They are natural hunters and love the chase. There’s a big chance that they will chase small animals when they see one.

He is naturally suspicious of strangers, which makes him a good watchdog that alerts you to anything unusual.

He is best suited to a home with a securely fenced yard where he can romp. He should always be leashed when he’s not at home because of his prey drive and potential for dog aggression.

The Shiba Inu is a terrific companion, though his headstrong personality can be too much to handle for some people.

Other people are charmed by his spunk and devotion, saying that owning a Shiba Inu isn’t just owning a dog, it’s also a way of life.

Despite all of this, the Shiba Inu is a wonderful family dog. He is very devoted and gets along great with children, as long as he is properly socialized and trained, and the children treat him kindly.

The Shiba Inu’s Diet

A Shiba Inu laying down with flowers on its head
The Shiba Inu is one of Japan’s six native breeds.

Feed your Shiba Inu puppy healthy puppy food two or three times a day. The specifics depend on several factors, including how active your dog is and how old he is.

But generally, he should get between one and one and a half cups of food over the course of a day.

Alter the amount as necessary because you don’t want a pudgy puppy waddling around your living room. Always have fresh water available to him, too.

How Much Exercise Does a Shiba Inu Need?

Getting outside for some action is important to a Shiba Inu. He needs a good workout every day, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood or a jog alongside you.

Give him moderate to long walks about 30 to 60 minutes every day. You can also play lively games indoors or outdoors, preferably games that involve mental challenges, like Hide and Seek.

Shiba Inus have a high tolerance for cold weather. Make some time to play in the snow, and don’t be afraid to take walks all winter.

They don’t fare well in high temperatures, though. Exercise indoors on hot days.

Shiba Inu Health and Conditions

Shiba Inus can have bad joints. They can suffer from luxating patella, as well as hip or elbow dysplasia. These orthopedic diseases cause lameness and pain and can require expensive surgery.

Cataracts can progress to blindness, especially in young Shiba Inus.

Allergies cause itchy skin and scratching that can lead to bacterial infections. Heart disease and hypothyroidism also occur in the Shiba Inu.

The most worrisome eye disease in the Shiba Inu is cataracts. When they get them before they are two years old, they often progress to blindness.

Other eye diseases include eyelash abnormalities, entropion, corneal dystrophy, persistent pupillary membranes, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes severe eye and skin problems in Shiba Inus, but fortunately, this disease is rare.

What are the best types of toys?

Shiba Inu Toys

This breed is very active and energetic, so any toys that allow him or her to expend some energy and feel satisfied after some exercise will become solid favorites in their toy box.

However, these are very brainy dogs also, so you will find that your Shiba Inu also responds well to those toys that keep their minds busy.

For example, those dog toys that are puzzle boxes, with lots of buttons and secret compartments, or unexpected textures that pop up to interact with, really indulge the famous curiosity of the Shiba Inu.

A dog can lose a good hour or two to toys like these if they’re really intrigued, so these can buy you some peace and quiet too!

In terms of more traditional activity toys, like a ball, frisbee or chew toy, make sure they’re especially robust.

A Shiba Inu often celebrates finding the ball you’ve thrown by thrashing it about a little before returning it, for instance. Something like a tennis ball won’t last long under this treatment!

Interesting textures and surprises, even in these more physical toys, will make your dog love them.

For instance, the so-called spiky core balls – soft and squishy on the outside, but rubbery and covered in soft spiky material on a hidden toy on the inside – will make your Shiba In feel smart and proud to have solved the riddle!

Letting their strength shine also appeals to the Shiba Inu too, so a tug of war rope can be a great way of having them engage in some friendly competition with you.

Just don’t be surprised if their strength bowls you over!

My Final Thoughts on the Shiba Inu

Bold and kind-natured, the Shiba Inu wants everything, from what you’re eating to all your affection.

If you don’t learn to set some boundaries for him when he’s an irresistible puppy, you’re going to have problems on your hands when he grows up believing he’s the center of the universe!

It’s not unusual for Shiba Inus to think this way. With family members, though, they are affectionate and loyal.

However cute and sweet he is, don’t neglect to train and socialize your Shiba Inu from a young age to understand what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.

Start training him the day you take him home. He is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him even at just a few weeks old.

Even without formal training, you can train him at home and socialize him with family and friends. These experiences as a puppy will help him grow into a sensible, friendly, and calm adult dog.

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