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Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu Dog Breed Information

Size 14 -16 in (37-40 cm)
Weight 18-22 lb (8-10 kg)
Origin Japan
Color Red, black, white
Lifespan 12-15 years
Suitable as Companion dogs and family dogs
Personality Attentive, confident, curious, loyal, strong willed
Exercise Dog Exercise
Drooling Dog Drooling
Shedding Dog Shedding
Fur care Dog Fur Care

Rating = very/a lot; Rating = not very/a little

Did You Know?

Red Shiba Inus are often mistaken for foxes. Its coat color, face, ears and legs look very similar.

Breed Characteristics

The Shiba Inu has a strong will and strong opinions about certain things. They’re not fond of sharing, and feel at their most comfortable in their own place with their own toys and food. The Shiba Inu doesn’t necessarily come when called, but when it wants to.

Shiba Inu Shiba Inu - Photo: Pavels Rumme/Shutterstock


Shiba Inus are agile, light yet muscular, strong dogs made for dashing through thick, low forests. Their curled tails are this breed’s special feature. Their short fur is straight and solid. Their soft, thick undercoat protects them from cold temperatures in their natural habitat.

History and Origin

The Shiba Inu is a very old dog breed that existed as far back as 300 BC. They come from mountainous regions of Japan, where they were used to hunt wild animals and birds. They nearly died out completely.

During the Second World War, many dogs were killed in bombings and many died from canine distemper (a virus). Thankfully, the breed was saved, mostly thanks to being crossed with other breeds. Along with the Akita, this breed is one of the most popular in Japan.

Where Does The Name Come From?

“Inu” means “dog” in Japanese. It’s not completely clear where the “shiba” came from. “Shiba” means “brushwood”, referring to their habitat, thick with bright red coppice trees.

The term could mean “small”, an old meaning of the word “shiba”. Or maybe it comes from “shiba-aka” (a brown-red color), referring to the color of their coats.

Shiba Inu Shiba Inu - Photo: otsphoto/Shutterstock

Health and Care

The Shiba Inu is generally a healthy, robust dog. It’s important that they get a lot of exercise and regular brushing - at least once a week. Something to keep in mind: they shed an extreme amount twice a year: in spring and in fall.

Typical illnesses for the breed:

Disorders of the eye (e.g. glaucoma and cataracts) Patella luxation (knee injury)
Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joint)

Please note: not every dog will suffer from these illnesses

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Shiba Inu Shiba Inu - Photo: Rosaline Chan/Shutterstock