10 Things You Should Probably Know About Shiba Inus

They’re cute and they’re fuzzy. They kind of look like foxes, wolves, coyotes, and dingos. But they’re anything but your “average” dog. From day one, Rigby has brought about so many questions. From the “what breed is that?” to the “I want one!” responses, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned about the Shiba Inu temperament, and other things I think you should probably know if you’ve ever considered owning one too.

*Please note, Shiba Inus each have their own personality and just like their owners, are special and unique. These experiences reflect my own experiences with my dog as well as many, many other Shibas I have met at meetups, in training classes, and through the reputable breeders I have met and worked with. I am not dog professional, just a passionate dog owner.

10 Things You Should Know about Shiba Inus from a Shiba Owner / hellorigby seattle lifestyle and dog blog

10 Things You Should Probably Know About Shiba Inus (From a Shiba Inu Owner)

1. They’re independent, and they’re not afraid to show it.
RIgby is incredibly smart. But ask him to do a down stay and actually obey without a reward? Forget about it. Along with the intelligence comes the ability for him to decipher when obeying a command is actually worth his time. Please note, for this reason, Shibas are not to be trusted off-leash. Even with professional training, most (not all, of course) Shibas will not listen once they’ve found something to “hunt” or that they think is more interesting than you. (Thanks to fellow Shiba-owner Holly for the suggestion to add this!)

P.S. Trying to take the perfect photo of a dog who won’t listen? Try my dog photography tips and tricks for some ideas.

2. Be prepared to deal with dog to dog snarkiness, and potentially aggression.
I wouldn’t characterize Rigby or the Shiba Inu breed in general as being typically dog aggressive. Snarky? Absolutely. Prefer personal space? Most definitely. Intolerant? For sure. Rigby has never appreciated other dogs in his business and this is something that we’ve had to be very careful about. But with age came a disinterest in spending time around other dogs. He just prefers the company of his people and very short amounts of time with other dogs. Push it and you could have a real problem.

3. They’re really not ideal for families with young children, at least as puppies.
They’re the cutest puppies, and for good reason. They’ll bite the crap out of you. Seriously. I remember one day distinctly when I thought my dog had it out for me. We were just sitting on the floor playing, he came up, latched onto my arm, bit down and wouldn’t let go. Yowch! He got a time out and I had a fat bruise from those little puppy teeth. Was he being aggressive? Ha, no way. He was teething and doing what puppies do best – exploring. This isn’t generally conducive for environments with young children considering this could really hurt (and potentially scare) a child.

4. Handling them? Forget about it. (Mostly.)
I know not all Shibas fall into this category, but handling Rigby is a nightmare. Trying to clip his nails? What a joke. He screams, cries, and if that doesn’t work, starts shaking and panting, or will attempt to nip me. It’s a ton of fun. Grooming him is equally as fun, as he hates to be brushed when he actually needs it (during a coat blow.)

P.S. Struggling to clip your dog’s nails or brush him? Try my suggestions on how to groom a difficult dog.

5. Speaking of coat blow… Oh, the shedding.
I hope you don’t have dark carpets or love your all black wardrobe too much, because it will be dusted with a light coating of fluff year round. Rigby has distinctive coat blows where tufts and chunks of hair come off, but he also sheds on a fairly normal basis as well. It is my understanding that some of this depends on climate (we don’t get super distinct seasons in the PNW, but other regions do and I can’t speak to that.)

Shiba Inu Personality and Temperament Information / hellorigby seattle lifestyle and dog blog

6. Be prepared for anxiety issues.
Yes, anxiety can be a thing in dogs too. And it’s definitely not a breed trait. But, I’ve found in talking to other owners that Shibas tend to be very sensitive to environmental changes and may react more severely to certain stimuli than other dogs. Rigby, for instance, is terrified of going to the vet. He’ll shake and pant and would most definitely lash out if provoked. We now give him an anti-anxiety medication before we go to make us all happier.

7. Prepare yourself for a lot of really weird questions/interactions with strangers.
As I said above, Rigby is often (still) mistaken for a fox, a coyote, a wolf, a husky, and numerous other eye-roll-inducing critters. People have also done some really odd things around him, like try to scoop him up without asking, trying to scare him by jumping and yelling boo at him (seriously, what is wrong with adults?), and my favorite, yelling, “my dog is friendly!” while letting their dog charge him off leash. Stop it.

8. Make sure you purchase from a reputable rescue or reputable breeder.
With a good breeder, you have their support for life if anything ever goes wrong. A reputable rescue is invaluable to save the lives of dogs who would otherwise be euthanized, and also is a great resource for helping you through behavioral issues if your dog comes from a less than stellar background. (Here’s a great list of Shiba specific rescue organizations.)

9. Resource guarding isn’t all that uncommon.
This was something surprising to me, but now after going through this with Rigby, I see it happen all the time. I’m sure you’ve seen a dog that won’t let other dogs come near a bone, tennis ball, or another special toy. That’s called resource guarding, and is something Rigby will do with high-value bones or bully sticks. He also used to do it with his food bowl. For him, it wasn’t very serious, and we caught it young and worked a lot with him on it. And from talking with other Shiba owners, it really isn’t that uncommon. Watch for the signs and work on it early and often.

10. Most of all, be prepared to ask for help.
Without the invaluable resources available on the great Internets like various Facebook groups for Shiba owners, the Shiba Inu Forum, the Nihon Ken Forum, and many other dog behavior websites, I probably would have gone a little insane. Reading threads of others who were once in my shoes was incredibly comforting as well as helpful to deal with problems as they arose.

Rigby the Shiba Inu Yawning / hellorigby seattle lifestyle and dog blog

Other things you may want to know:

Are Shiba Inus hypoallergenic?
No.

How much do Shiba Inus cost?
On the west coast, about $1,200-$1,500 at writing is to be expected for a pet-quality puppy. On the East Coast, I’d expect to pay a bit more, from $1,500-2,000 for a well-bred, health-tested, pet-quality puppy from proven parents. If this is too much for you, please adopt, don’t shop pet stores or online for a puppy. Supporting online pet brokers and purchasing pet shop puppies supports puppy mills and unethical breeding practices. And yes, even if they come with “papers” and are being sold at pet stores, they’re still from a puppy mill.

Do Shiba Inus bark?
While they don’t sit and bark just to bark, they definitely have a unique voice. Rigby will bark at the door when someone knocks or is behind the door to alert us. He will also bark if anyone walks in our back porch/yard area. He howls, yaps, yodels, cries, screams, and grumbles more often.

Are Shiba Inus healthy?
Overall, yes. Shibas were recently ranked as one of the top 10 healthiest of all dog breeds by All State. However, like other breeds, Shibas do have a genetic disposition to a few health concerns including Glaucoma, Cataracts, Luxating Patella, Hip Dysplasia, Allergies, and tooth and/or bite problems. (Rigby, for instance, has a severe underbite. It does not, however, affect his ability to eat or cause him any discomfort.) More details about Shiba Inu health problems can be found at the National Shiba Club of America website.  It is very important to find a veterinarian you are comfortable with so you stay on top of any potential issues before they become a problem, and another reason to seek out a reputable breeder if not rescuing a dog.

Sometimes accidents happen and it is important to know a few things like how to help a choking dog, ingredients that you may not realize are dangerous for dogs, and what to pack in your dog’s overnight bag so your sitter is totally prepared.

What should I feed my Shiba?
This is a personal preference, but I like to feed Rigby raw food. I find he is the most energetic, doesn’t have any digestive upsets (gas or squishy poo), and his coat stays fuller for longer on this diet. We’ve tried and reviewed several brands that we like such as I and Love and You and Bravo Pet Food. For more on the pros and cons of feeding raw, watch our video!

As for snacks, Rigby is a fan of pretty much anything from Orijen Dog Treats to these DIY easy homemade dog treats that I make every few months and then freeze.

So by now I’m sure you’re wondering, “so why the heck did you get a Shiba Inu?” Well, for all of the above reasons. Whether you think it’s a turn-off or not, Rigby has been the most difficult but most enjoyable thing I’ve brought into my world, and I wouldn’t change that.

Was having a certain breed of dog important to you? What do you wish you had known about your dog’s breed or personality beforehand? 


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169 thoughts on “10 Things You Should Probably Know About Shiba Inus

  1. Hannah

    Ahh he’s gorgeous! I love posts like this, I’ve never had a dog and its so useful to hear everyone’s thoughts and tips for when I *hopefully* can have one in the future.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thank you, Hannah! Glad it was helpful – if you ever need any recommendations on books to read, email me! I read a ton before I brought Rigby home (and after!)

      Reply
    2. Shelley

      I have a 3 year old Shiba and can’t imagine my life without him! The first time I heard the infamous Shiba Scream we were bathing him BC he has environmental allergies so were trying an oatmeal bath. You would have thought we were chopping off his arms! I couldn’t help but laugh at him!

      And if I had a dollar for every time someone tells me he looks like a fox….

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    3. Elizabeth

      My Shba inu was came to me after my Father died. I have had many dogs in my life. Some of them were very protective dogs but nothing like my sheeba. Yes I named her Sheeba. She has nipped two of my relatives and one neighbor. Im sure she has a reason but I am not knowing of it. She either gets along with you of she doesnt. Mine is also a runner If she gets loose…… she is gone till she tires herself out and then she finds her waY HOME. Which I found amazing cause I just moved out of the state, only lived here a couple of months and she got away from me about 3 hours later she was laying in the front yard and let me pick her up and in the house. She is more like a cat than a dog. Though I would not of gotten one of these breeds, I have grown to love her cause she was my Dads.

      Reply
  2. Kathryn

    This was really interesting to read! I think it’s so important to do extensive breed research before bringing an animal home. My partner really really wants a dog, but I have cats so right now we’re doing a lot of reading about breeds that tend to do well with cats (no herding dogs and no hounds!) as well as how to bring a pup home and introduce it to the kitties.

    Rigby sounds like a handful – but worth it! And he’s such a cute lil guy, he’s lucky to have found you!

    x Kathryn
    Through the Thicket
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  3. Julie

    YES! Thank you for writing this! People seem to just think, if the puppy is cute then I want it, without thinking about the type of dog it is. Certain breeds definitely require more work then others. There are a lot of husky rescues around for that reason…because they are a breed for more experienced pet owners. Very smart just like the Shiba Inus. I worked at a pet store for 3 and a half years and we sold puppies, at first I believed the owners when they said they were coming from private breeders but eventually found out they were using puppy mills too. I stayed for so long because I wanted to make sure the animals were cared for because they didn’t seem to care. So sad… I was so happy when they were shut down.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      So true! I’m a member of quite a few Shiba Facebook groups and it is alarming the amount of new dog owners who had no idea what they were getting into. There are so many Shiba-specific rescues for that reason, and to combat the puppy mill problem. That does sound sad, but I’m glad they were shut down!

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      1. Cynthia

        My neighbor has a shiu inu and she seems friendly when I approach her. She starts to jump and bark. I know that she has seen me cause I live next door. Is there a way to approach Uki that is her name in a way she knows I want to pet her.

        Reply
        1. Jenn Post author

          Some Shibas aren’t really a big fan of being pet! If it’s alright with the owner, I’d recommend having a tasty treat for her and building up trust so she’s comfortable and letting her approach you for pets. :)

          Reply
  4. Samantha

    I love this post. I don’t personally own a Shiba, but my mixed breed dog, Einstein, isn’t phenomenal with unfamiliar dogs (or people) right away either, men in particular. I’ve had a man walk by him bend down to pet Einstein between the eyes/on top of his head, without even acknowledging me! Einstein growled, and I didn’t even apologize. I don’t go around petting people’s heads without permission! And my biggest pet peeve is when owners I don’t know pull that ‘oh, my dog is friendly’ thing! Bleh. Anyway, Rigby is adorable, and sounds absolutely worth every hassle, if you could even call them that :) XO Sam
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Agreed! I wouldn’t apologize either – we’ve had a similar thing happen and if Rigby doesn’t dig it, that’s fine with me. Thanks Sam! :)

      Reply
  5. Alanna @ Alanna and Co

    Numbers 1 and 2 are exactly the same for Starla, who is a cattle dog! I actually adopted her at 3 y.o. and they said she was a completely different breed. I don’t know how they mixed it up! I wish I had known how much energy and intelligence she had before I adopted her. I walk her way more than I expected, which is totally fine, but training her has been super tricky because she will only work with treats and it is nearly impossible to phase out the treat and do the trick on command.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      I’ve heard that Cattle Dog personalities (okay, herding dogs in general) are similar. I’m going to take a not-so-wild guess and say that it’s because they’re both high drive breeds and basically too smart for their own good. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a dog that won’t work without a reward, haha!

      Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      HAHA, I see what you did there. I’m going to have to snap some photos of him sleeping. He definitely looks like a fox then.

      Reply
  6. Cat

    To be totally honest, my mom’s boyfriend had a shiba inu when I was about 12 years old, and I remember he was terrible. I’ve always been dog savvy, so I remember learning really quickly he was a bit scary and it was best to just stay away from him. I wish this hadn’t colored my perception of the breed so much, but it has! It goes to show it’s a breed that requires a lot of patience and work (something I’d imagine my mom’s BF wasn’t giving it enough of), and it’s really not a good dog for children :(

    That being said, Rigby is absolutely frickin’ adorable, and it seems like you’re very realistic about what he needs. I deeply admire dog owners who are honest with themselves when their dog just doesn’t want to be around other dogs or need some help with resource guarding. Owners who ignore that kind of stuff is when real problems arise!

    Also, total pet peeve about dog owners allowing their off-leash dog to charge up to your on-leash dog. If you can’t verbally control your dog and stop him from approaching, you shouldn’t have him off leash. It’s absurdly disrespectful and dangerous.

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, that’s hilarious. It’s interesting, Rigby is fascinated with kids now, but when he was younger, unfortunately my some kids picked on him and he got very protective and growly. The kids didn’t understand “no” and “please stop” and the parent wasn’t around to escort them away. I’m hopeful that if we decide to have kids it won’t be an issue because I’d hate for them to have an experience like your own.

      Thanks Cat! I credit reading about dog behavior in helping us out a lot. He’s definitely not perfect, but he’s overall a good little dude and he’ll behave when asked (with cookies.)

      Oh and yes, biggest pet peeve ever. Our neighbors let two of their dogs off leash, and so do many others in the complex. It’s incredibly dangerous as we’re not only near a busy road, we’re also not far away from the freeway on ramp. :(

      Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha! So, a couple of tricks – we only do one or two nails at a time, and we use a Dremel. He seems less sensitive on his back paws, so we try to do those first. For his front nails, I actually taught him to use a scratching board (erm, a skateboard) and he can file them down himself when I don’t have access to a second person to hold him. ;)

      Reply
  7. Chelsie

    When we were looking for a dog, I was pretty set on getting a Golden because I wanted to train her to be a therapy animal to take to hospitals. There was a golden who came to visit me when I was sick and I loved it! I know Golden’s have super great temperaments and generally do well with kids and older folks. Rosie is actually a golden mix, but came from a line of pure bred goldens and pure bred german short hairs, so we know she’s healthy. The German shorthair keeps her on the smaller side (she’s just under 60 pounds) and reduces her shedding compared to a purebred golden. We really couldn’t have asked for a better mix!

    A couple across the street from us just got a little Shiba Inu and it’s the cutest little thing, but it does not like Rosie. I totally get it, though. Rosie has been socialized since she was 10 weeks old with other dogs, but she has issues with any and all Great Danes; the sheer size of them terrifies her. Rosie also has resource guarding issues, which we’ve been working on. She doesn’t mind sharing her bones with the dogs she plays with on a regular basis, but if a new dog comes to sniff her treat/toy/bone, forget it. Definitely something we are still working on.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, Rigby loves huge dogs. He specifically seems to like Ridgeback and Ridgeback mixes. ;) We socialized Rigby with a lot of different dogs from a young age, and then he went to daycare… but some dogs he just does not like for whatever reason. I assume it’s like people – we can’t all be expected to like everyone. I just keep him moving if we happen upon another dog he’s not a fan of.

      Rosie sounds like a sweetheart and she’s just gorgeous! :)

      Reply
  8. Kels @ Blonder Side of LIfe

    Totally dissuaded from a Shiba now so I thank you lol My sister’s dog isn’t a Shiba but she’s (she being the dog not my sister lol) has this exact temperament. Although she still bites so Idk what that’s about. Anyway, she can be a complete nightmare (still taking about the dog) and I’ve decided I’m not enough of a dog person to deal with it. It’s ok if you judge me now, I’ll stick with my cat haha
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Some dogs are just really mouthy! Rigby still is – but only with those that he is comfortable with, and he never bites hard enough to break skin. You might like Shibas if you prefer cats… they’re often described as cat-like, and they aren’t as in your face as say a Lab.

      Reply
  9. Shannon Hall

    Okay, I love this post! I have only had my shiba puppy for a little over a month, but all of this is so true! She is biting like crazy right now and already developing her little sassy personality – hates being held unless she’s tired, thinks she knows everything, and this morning she even faked a limp for more attention. And I love that you mention the weird interactions with strangers – “shiba what?!” I’ve had one lady tell me I definitely had a husky even when I told her it was a shiba inu, and one time a little kid came up to pet her and said “cool cat.” Hahaha. I love shibas though! And Rigby is so so so adorable!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, Rigby faked a limp with my mom once. He went flying down the hall after a ball, crashed into the wall, and faked my mom out. She freaked out calling me in hysterics… what do you know, he was just fine! Shibas are silly. Haha, cool cat! Rigby’s vet sent us home with a “kitten” welcome home bag on his first visit!

      Reply
  10. Kelley

    Yes to the people that let their dogs roam free (when there’s a rule they have to be on a leash especially) when I follow the rules and keep mine on a leash! At the apartment complex we lived at there was a couple that never put their little yappy rat dog (sorry, small dogs bug me haha) on a leash so when I’d take mine to go to the bathroom, on a leash, this little yappy dog would never leave us alone. My dog has started to get defensive when she’s on a leash when she used to not be like that, and I feel bad because if mine wasn’t on a leash, she’d put the other dogs in their place. But, I actually care about other people’s pets and don’t want to put either of our dogs in a potentially bad situation because the owner doesn’t care to keep their dog on a leash.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Ugh, not following leash laws is a huge pet peeve of mine! We’ve been charged many times by dogs off leash with no owner in site in the parking lot of our condo complex. So irritating! I know what you mean, we have the same issue now too. :(

      Reply
  11. katrina

    What an interesting post! I was already so intrigued after you mentioned that Rigby isn’t a cuddler, and I had no idea Shiba’s are known for all other traits in your post. Gosh, I am so curious to learn more!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Katrina! Oh yes, they are interesting little creatures. I was thinking of writing a part 2, focusing more on why I like the breed so much. Anything in particular you’d want to know? :)

      Reply
        1. Jenn Post author

          Haha, he does sometimes, he just doesn’t seem to like it much, or for long! I will definitely answer that if I do write a part 2. :)

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          1. honey

            Interesting, looking forward to part 2. My daughter owne’s a Shiba Inu like you said they all have there own personality and are a lot of work. I have never met a dog like a shiba in my life. this dog has won my heart over! Jozy my daughters dog has been by other dogs since he was little, as he got older he became friendly with other dogs and loves to play with other dogs!! He also cuddles but only with loved ones when he wants you need to know him well! She also weened him off treats for doing tricks witch was amazing. They do have a mind of their own but I love that about him. I will be getting a Sheba Inu!!!! Like any dog you should have the time to spend with them or don’t get one. Sitting in a kennel 8 hours a day is a bummer life! Peace and Love to all!!

          2. Jenn Post author

            They definitely do have their own personality! I’m glad Jozy has won you over, Shibas are such special and fun dogs. :)

  12. Coley

    I’ve been wanting a Shiba Inu for so long now because they are the honestly the cutest things ever haha. I looked into their characteristics awhile ago and I’m just like noooo, why do you have to be so high maintenance! But all the work aside, I think they’d be so worth it. :) Here’s to hoping someday when the time is right!

    Also, just started reading your blog by the way and I’m loving it! :)
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Coley!

      High maintenance is right, but I agree, as long as you know what you’re in for they are worth it! :)

      Reply
  13. Jae

    I had to ask my brother (the master of our three guard dogs) if he knew what breed Rigby is, and I was completely appalled when he knew because I didn’t! Rigby’s mouth/teeth looks scary to me, but it’s nice to learn a few facts about its kind. :)
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Ah yes, I’ve heard that herding dogs and prey dogs like Rigby have a lot of similarities! Must be all that drive that triggers the anxious behaviors!

      Reply
  14. Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage

    He is definitely a cutie! What great information for anyone thinking of this breed! We have a yellow lab, very different traits for sure :) Our dog Sam is the sweetest, most non-aggressive dog but I do not let him run up to other dogs when I have him out walking. I’m amazed at the people do let their dog do that. The thing is you never know if another dog is aggressive or not. I actually was blocking Sam from charging at another dog on our walk, and the other dog owner said “what is he that aggressive he can’t say hi”. No I just try not to let my dog go crazy at strangers, I didn’t think it was weird of me.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      I know right? It shocks me that the safety of their own dog isn’t a concern! You just never know. And thanks Mariah!

      Reply
  15. Sarah

    I’m partial to Shih Tzus, of course, but Riby is adorable. I think it is SO important to do research on breeds before getting one. Before my family got our first Shih Tzu when I was 12, we did TONS of research. My mom and I even went to a dog show (mostly because I was a nerd…). Anyway, we didn’t do the reputable breeder and had a bad experience, but the 2 more that my parents have had, plus the two I have fit us perfectly. My husband might have been supposed to be born a Shih Tzu, if you compare them…
    I’m glad you wrote this because I am a huge proponent of finding the right fit for you and your family because the right dog can be a game changer–making your life so much better, but the wrong dog can really make life miserable.
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    1. Jenn Post author

      Couldn’t agree more. Breeds do make a difference and bringing a new dog into your home is a big decision! I’m glad you found the perfect breed for your family, your pups are too cute! :)

      Reply
  16. Lindsay

    I loved reading this post. I can tell you love your dog but you’re super educated on the breed and quick to point out that it’s not the dog for everyone. I discovered this breed a few years ago with my mom. We found this live cam link of a shiba inu litter that had been born. It was the cutest to see the entire litter grow. Until then, I had never heard of them but you’re quite right in that that are an incredibly unique but lovely breed.

    Lovely to meet you by the way. :)

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Lindsay! Oh that Shiba cam is the cutest thing! They are definitely unique and not for everyone, and I definitely think it’s important to share the good along with the bad. Great meeting you too! :)

      Reply
  17. Vicki

    This was great! A dog isn’t just a dog; each breed has genetic variables that seem to follow pretty strongly for some breeds and even certain lines! And to me, the dog is always family. I have a golden retriever that we adopted and he’s been perfect for us. Great blog!
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    1. Jenn Post author

      So true! I think it’s important to know as much as possible about your dog’s breed as possible to be prepared for them and their quirks. Golden Retrievers are such sweet dogs, so happy to hear you found the perfect one for your family! :)

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  18. Jen

    Your article is spot on. We bought a Shiba 12 years ago on our honeymoon. She was our pride and joy. Most incredible dogs ever. More human than dog really, and such personality! Ours was very independent and liked her own space. Sadly, we found out on May 1st that she had pyometra. We did everything we could to help her but the vet said she was too old for the very risky surgery. She passed away on June 5th and we are heartbroken. I’m a stay at home mom and my girl was right there all day every day. Our home feels very empty right now and her doggy brother seems lost without her. We can’t imagine getting another dog anytime soon, she is irreplaceable, but if we ever do it will definitely be a Shiba.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Aw, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your Shiba. Before Rigby, we lost a very special dog to aggressive cancer. It still breaks our heart that we couldn’t help her either. I hope you’re able to let a new Shiba into your life soon. As hard as it was to move on, it was definitely an important part of the grieving process for us. <3

      Reply
  19. Tami

    You nailed the traits spot on! I’ve owned and fostered Shibas for the past 9 months. There are times when I wish my dog was more of a people pleasing breed, but this breed has totally captured my heart. Nope, not a dog for everyone, but definitely the breed for me.

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Tami! Glad you could relate. We attempted fostering a senior Shiba once, and unfortunately for us Rigby was not a fan of another dog in his house! ;) Agreed – a great breed, but not for all!

      Reply
  20. Erin

    Jenn, you nailed it!! Our shiba and Rigby would be 2 peas in a pod, a very big pod with plenty of space for large personal bubbles. It nice when I hear others having the same experience with their Shiba and having an appreciation for their quirkiness. It takes just the right person to be a Shiba owner and lover. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha! Definitely a very big pod! ;) So glad you could relate to this, it definitely does take the right person to own a Shiba but I definitely wouldn’t want it any other way!

      Reply
  21. Rose

    Research is obviously good, but when you get a very ‘pretty’ dog (that’s what everyone says about Bella) from a national rescue centre and they say it’s a Chow x Staffie, you tend to think they know what they’re talking about! Not always true!! Noticing so many ‘different’ traits in our Bella in the first few weeks, we then did our research! We wouldn’t change a thing, but she’s definitely a Shiba Inu x Staffie! Loves her own space; sits with us watching TV for about 5 minutes then off to her own bed! Puts her head lovingly on our laps, but as soon as we touch/stroke her she moves away!! Go figure! It’s just such a pity we can’t let her off the lead; did that a couple of times and it was either a big chase or she was lost for the day :( Now that most people around us know her temperament it’s so much easier! What’s really nice about Shiba’s is that they don’t jump all over visitors!!
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    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Very true – mine is very much that way. He loves attention until it’s too much and then he wants his own space. Definitely keeps us on our toes, and very true about not letting them off lead! Can be a quick route to disaster.

      Reply
  22. zoe

    i got my shiba toby when he was 6 weeks old and have had him for over 13 years. he is the best dog i could possibly ask for. and even at 13, he is still incredibly healthy and energetic – i think they are also known for their longevity in comparison to other dogs. he is so gentle, loving, very loyal, and protective. and yes, he is extremely quirky – my friends that know him well think he’s hilarious. and i also get a lot of questions about him and his breed :) i would recommend shibas to anyone

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Very true – that was one thing that really attracted me to the breed was their lifespan. We had just lost our 11 year old dog, and the last thing we wanted was a new dog with health problems early in life. Love the Shiba quirks, glad Toby is the same and popular amongst friends. Ours is as well, and often people are more interested in hearing about our dog than us! ;)

      Reply
  23. Bonnie

    I’ve had Shibas for 21 years – I breed and show them. I wish more people did the research like you did. No matter how much you warn a novice owner, I don’t think they really get what it’s like to live with a Shiba puppy until the actually do it. I tell people that a Shiba will be the absolute worst puppy you will ever own, but they become incredible dogs if you put the time and effort into it. I think sometimes people forget that they are a primitive breed. Primitive breeds, for the most part were never selectively bred to work FOR humans and it comes across in their temperament. You have to be firm with a Shiba, butt not harsh – it is a fine line. Not firm enough and they never grow out of the bratty stage. Too harsh and you will ruin your relationship with the dog. I wish more people who wanted them because they are so cute put the time and effort into researching before they decided they had to have a Shiba. I found all of your advice and experiences pretty much spot on.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Bonnie! I feel like you’re a celebrity as I’m a huge fan of your Shibas. Is that weird? I guess you have to be a little weird to own Shibas so I’m sure you understand. :) Anyways, so glad you found the post to be true to your experiences as well! I definitely learned a lot from Rigby (and still do!) I also wish more people researched them – I’ve received many messages and comments about my “cute dog” and how they “want one!” which is why I wrote this. Now I point people to this post so they can know the good and the bad.

      Reply
  24. Bill

    I think your article is good about your individual dog. We have had several Shibas for 11 years. We show them in conformation, we do obedience with them, agility, breed them etc… They are very trainable and with the right owners training them correctly they are a fantastic house pet. Ideal size, very loving affectionate dogs, I have one female Lizzie that cries when I come home and can’t wait for me to sit down so she can jump in my lap. Ozzie is wagging his tail and meets me with a smile and will jump up beside me on the couch and lay his head on my shoulder. It is all about the owner and how much time, effort and training they put into their puppies. Without the correct training and guidance they are not the best house dog. Shibas are not for everyone, however they can be for many. To have a Shiba puppy the owners have to be an alpha, you have to get after them and if you do this you will gave a great adult Shiba, if you let them do what they want and don’t correct them accordingly they will not turn out to be a great pet. Invest time into your puppy and ask reputable Shiba breeders for advice and they will freely give it. There is no other breed for me and my family, including our children and grandchildren.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Bill! Your dogs sound great. This is definitely about my own experiences with my individual dog, as well as the fact that this is the first dog I have owned from a puppy. I definitely have made some mistakes with him, but overall he is a great companion and I love my Shiba. Glad you feel the same way about the breed!

      Reply
  25. Shirley

    I also have a Shiba Ainu, Lucy. She is 4 yrs old and got her
    While living in Japan. It’s just Lucy and me so we are close and boy can she be temperamental! She is really spoiled and I’m sure she knows how to get her way when she looks at me with them eyes! She is good around other dogs and kids so far with only one incident where she didn’t like a dog sniffing her that she responded in a way that I wondered who’s dog it was. It was my Lucy. I have never had a dog that I enjoy so much! Her personality is unlike any other dog. She is well known in our small area where we are back in the states because she is so unique and not like the other dogs.in don’t know that she is a watch dog as she hardly barks unless we are playing. A protector she isn’t!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Shirley! Haha, Lucy sounds spoiled just like Rigby. Perks of being an only dog, right? :) Funny that she isn’t a protector – obviously dependent on the dog and their background! Rigby’s dam was a protector so I imagine that was a learned behavior. Thanks for sharing about your experiences with your Shiba!

      Reply
  26. Ginger

    As long as you do your research I wouldn’t say shibas are a lot more difficult than many other breeds, except for the stubbornness. Before I got my Ammy I did notice to watch out for dog aggression so we got her into a doggy daycare. She went every day for a month from 8 weeks to 12 weeks and then a few times a week after. Ammy loves other dogs and I know it’s from her going to the daycare to play and socialize while she was very young. We also had a puppy shower where we invited our friends and their dogs for a small get together after Ammy got settled in. I think shibas get a bad reputation it’s all about the time you put in 100%. From the time she was 3 months she has been in a training class. She is now training to be a therapy dog. My Ammy is 10 months now and the most fun dog I’ve ever owned. I will testify to the amount of comments you will get about the breed and the random crazy questions you will get with one. Someone told me I was an idiot to have a real fox as a pet, some guy didn’t believe shibas are an actual breed. He kept asking me what kind of mix a Shiba (in air quotes) is. I also had a lady come up to her when she was 4 months old try to take her off the leash and walk off with her to show her husband. Ummm. No. Seriously be ready you cannot go anywhere without questions. I’m really tempted to make a pamphlet to hand out to save time.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Ginger! I definitely agree with that. Based on my work in rescue with other breeds, every breed is different and potentially difficult in their own way! I think for Shibas they just have some characteristics (especially the independent nature) that can make them not a good fit for some lifestyles. We’ve gotten the fox comment as well, though someone was convinced Rigby was a fox-dog hybrid. Pretty funny, I just laugh at those comments now. It’s amazing the nerve of some people when it comes to puppies too!

      Reply
      1. Ginger

        People will just get set on a breed based on looks (usually of a show dog) and won’t change their mind now matter how bad of a fit it would be. I’m a dog groomer and I see so many people in denial with shih tzus and Yorkies that they actually have to spend time to brush their hair for them to have the long show coat. It’s ridiculous. If people could understand it’s not all about how the dog looks people would be much happier. I love when people actually come into the shop and ask about breeds before they get one. I actually talked a family out of getting a golden doodle and getting a rescue dog because the breeder told them the golden doodle would never need to be brushed, groomed, was 100% pure breed, and 100% hypoallergenic – all lies. Research people research.

        Reply
        1. Jenn Post author

          It is quite amazing what people believe about certain dog breeds! I definitely read as much as I could about Shibas before I got one. I admit I was attracted by the looks, but the personality fascinated me as well. All the reading doesn’t ever quite prepare you, but I’m really glad I did my research! :)

          Reply
  27. Judy

    I have a 9 year old black and tan Sheba male. I agree with almost all of your descriptions. Blackie also needs his puppy valium for vet and grooming visits. He does “talk” all the time and certainly wants his own way. When given orders, he looks at me as though he is saying, “Yeh, I can do that. Is there a reason why I need do so? I’ll take it under advisement.”

    Something you didn’t mention; Sheba’s bond like glue with their person. A friend has told me Blackie is velcroed to me emotionally. They tend to tolerate others. This does not mean he needs a lot of attention. He is much more cat like.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Glad to hear Rigby isn’t the only anxious Shiba when it comes to the vet. He never was the same after we picked him up after his neutering, so I’m hesitant to ever leave him overnight. Poor pups!

      Definitely true on the bonding – he definitely is much more bonded to me (even emotionally, he always knows when I’m not feeling well!) than anyone else. We’re very lucky to have them! :)

      Reply
  28. KariK

    This is a very negative article. I have two Shiba Inus that we have had for over a decade and they are great dogs. I agree before buying any dog, research the breed but this article shouldn’t turn people off. We don’t have kids but one of our dogs loves playing tag with children. The females can be aggressive to other females and they should NEVER be trusted off a leash, they will run. They are so smart, playful and sweet. They will definitely decide whether or not they want to obey you but they know when it’s serious. They’ll let you know if anyone dares come near your yard but they are not yappers, they bark because they hear something and are trying to warn you. We have friends that have a very anxious one but that dog never gets exercise. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get exercise.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Kari! Sorry to hear you felt this article was very negative. Obviously I love my Shiba very much, otherwise I would have never named my blog after him, let alone addressed some of the questions I’ve received about his breed! As you said, some Shibas are aggressive with other Shibas, and their independent nature can lead to disaster if they’re left off a leash. They are definitely very smart and sweet – which is why I wrote a follow up about the best things about owning a Shiba and explained that despite some of our issues, I’d never change my Shiba for the world. This is definitely intended to be a cautionary article based on my own experiences of owning my dog. The breed is not for everyone’s lifestyle. My Shiba does not particularly enjoy the company of small children, and I’ve spoke to many other owners who have similar issues, but my post addresses the issue of their mouthiness during puppyhood. Overall, Shibas are just as unique and special as the humans that own them, and hope we can agree on that. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

      Reply
  29. Matt

    I had the pleasure of owning a beautiful Shiba Inu and her name was Mieko. I had her from 10 weeks of age until I had to say goodbye to her at 22 months.

    She had a condition that is hereditary called ‘Chylothorax’, Shiba Inu’s are prone to this condition and the only way to test for it is one the puppy has it around 1 year old.

    Mieko fought with all her might for 6 weeks but unfortunately we had to let her go. The total bill was $16,000 and she was worth every bit to give her the chance at a great future.

    Everyone has to be aware that this condition can happen to any Shiba puppy!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Aw, that is so sad, I am so sorry to hear about your loss of Mieko. I can’t even imagine! Thank you so much for sharing your cautionary story about your Shiba, I would hate for that to go undiagnosed in any other puppies. :'(

      Reply
  30. Susannah

    I’m a 65 year old woman and my dog of choice has been a Scottish Terrier. I’ve had 5 over my lifetime. The first was at age 12. My Dad was a policeman working at the county fair when he found this little Scotty wandering around. To the shelter it went but no one ever claimed her and thus she became a member of our family. The next were at 24, 34, 38, 39, 52. The one at 38 show dog and I returned her to the breeder. She was a beautiful dog, excellent in the show but a complete bully. Anyway, I’ve had some experience training difficult to train dogs. Our current Scotty is not only the longest lived Scotty I have ever had she is also so well trained she doesn’t bark except when she goes to the breeders kennel for vacation, she stays when told, heels without a leash, and goes to bed when told to. She has also had several interventions with the Vet.

    Because of the poor health prospects of Scotties, they have lots of health issues, I decided we could not in good conscience, continue to support their breeding. But I love their personalities. We have had other dogs along with the Scotties and there is a different personality that I’ve never seen in another dog. So 2 years ago I began looking for a breed that would manifest some of the Scottish Terrier’s character. Hence, we bought a Shiba Inu.

    She is now 18 months old. I have worked with her every day, just as I would a Scotty. She doesn’t bark but she had to express herself so I taught her to ‘whisper’, which is growling as she holds a ball in her mouth. She was not difficult to train not to chew on anything but her toys. We now caller her The Great Destroyer of Toys. KONG toys last one day with her with the only exception being the last ball that squeaks. She has never been allowed to jump on anything so she doesn’t know she can jump. She loves car rides, but she must be lifted up into the car because she can’t jump. The yard must be escape proof and is. Before it was she escaped twice. The first time she was about 6 months old. I was able to retrieve her only because I saw her escape and was able to bribe her back through jealously. She sure wasn’t going to listen to me so I offered a ‘cookie’ to the Scotty and Choo-Choo was back in a flash. The second time was when the gate didn’t shut properly. It took me about an hour to catch her but the truth is that I would not have caught her at all if all the neighbors didn’t come out help. Only together were we able to corner her, and it was the last possible place we could before she would have entered the forest.

    I began brushing her with the Furminator the day we received her. She gets brushed on a groomers table once a week. During the Blow it is every other day. She loves to be brush. She screams when I clip her nails. She doesn’t mind baths and that is only because the Scotty must have a weekly bath due to a skin aliment so Choo-Choo knows it is nothing special but there’s extra attention and a treat after all is over.

    Her attitude on resources is to share, sometimes. She will gift the Scotty a treat if the Scotty is not feeling well. The way she does this is cute. Our Scotty is old, a bit unhealthy but she still has more good days than bad. I had difficulty telling the difference between when she was just sleeping or when she sleeping because she felt bad. Choo-Choo knows. When out scotty feels bad, Choo-Choo will retrieve a treat from her kennel and set it in front of the Scotty as she sleeps. But when the Scotty is not sick there is resource protecting.

    Choo-Choo doesn’t bite and has never bitten me even during play time by accident. I can’t say the same for the scotty who gave me a couple of lasting scars.

    The kennel is a safe place for her, the Shiba Inu. She will go to it whenever she has done something she thinks she will get in trouble for, so I begin looking. She likes to chase the cat and she knows that is bad so after she chases the cat she gives herself time out in her kennel. I do not punish with the kennel. I swatted her with a paper towel roll center a couple of times when she is a puppy so clapping my hands is enough for her to know I am not happy with her.

    I am handicapped and retired. I can afford to spend all her waking time with her and educate her. I have no idea how someone with a job and family can manage a Shiba Inu otherwise. She is now a great companion dog. Warm, friendly, loving, smart, entertaining, and healthy. I will never let her off her leash though. The leash is required whenever we have visitors for at least the initial 20 minutes.

    In conclusion, a Shiba Inu is an intense one on one training dog who will challenge the person she likes the best. She is very smart, sneaky, and loving. She is also very sensitive to others, whether it is health or emotions. My Shiba Inu was more difficult to train than any of my Scotties. We are still training. But she is a good dog. I am too old to have another dog in my lifetime. I am looking forward to having her until she is over 15 years old (not the case with any scotty except the current one. Scotties live about 10-11 years). I am glad to have had this Shiba Inu in my life and as my last dog. She is a good companion dog.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Susannah! Thanks so much for sharing your vast dog knowledge and experience! I had no idea about the Scottie breed’s shorter lifespan and health issue. That’s really too bad, but based on the research we did prior to getting Rigby, was similar to what we found in other similar sized breeds. It’s really a shame.

      The whisper you taught sounds very cute, and much better than barking! Rigby does that when we return home with a toy in his mouth, it’s one of our favorite sounds. I’m so glad you were able to catch her after her escape attempts. Unfortunately Rigby can jump very high (he’s known about his jumping ability before we got him… and we never trained him out of it which may have been an oversight on our part) which means we have to be careful even in fenced and gated areas. He doesn’t seem to have an interest in running away, but you never know what may strike their fancy!

      Choo-Choo sounds incredibly intelligent, and she sounds like she has a sweet soul. How kind of her to offer a treat to your Scottie when she’s unwell. And how funny she gives herself a time out! Rigby sometimes does this as well, but we really never punish him so I’m not sure why he does it. He would get “time outs” or breaks in the bathroom when he would get riled up during his puppy-teething stage, but other than that he’s generally pretty good. Like Choo-Choo, he learned quickly to only play with his toys and not chew on our things.

      Smart on leashing her when guests arrive! The one escape we had was out our front door and up the stairs (we live in a condo on the ground floor) when a guest was over and it was time for a walk. Luckily we taught him recall to both voice and a whistle, and he came racing back home for a cookie.

      I’m so glad you were able to find such a great companion, it sounds like you have taught her very well and I wish you and Choo-Choo many healthy years to come! :)

      Reply
      1. Susannah

        Hi Jenn!

        I wanted to let you know because I have found it interesting. KiKoo, our scotty, died in September 2015. She is very much missed by us humans. We didn’t plan on getting another dog. KiKoo was never tolerant of Choo-Choo. She didn’t like her. But Choo-Choo obviously loved KiKoo. She went through a huge depression. She wouldn’t eat but every couple of days. She went down from 24 pounds to 15 pounds. She would sit or lay facing the KiKoo’s favorite napping place and quietly whine for what seemed the majority of days. She didn’t want to play or go for walks. We decided to see if she would accept or reject another dog. The problem was that not one Shiba Inu breeder in the 150 kilometer radius of where we live would consider us adopting a second Shiba Inu. They repeatedly said it was a bad idea because there would be fights. They suggested a much bigger and laid back dog.

        The list was a Golden Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, and Great Pyrenees. I was absolutely against that so I continued looking. I went to the vet and asked him what he thought of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. (He has suggested the Great Pyrenees). He thought about it and offered that it might work because he understood that Pembrokes had many of the same personality traits that Shiba’s are known for. Then gave me a few warnings. So the search began. There are not that many Corgi breeders in France, about the same number as Shiba Inus. There were only 3 Pembroke Corgi breeder I could find in all of France or maybe I just stopped looking when I saw her picture…

        So we drove 3 hours in a nightmare of a rain storm to met meet her when she was 2 weeks old. 6 and 1/2 weeks later, we returned to bring her home. Now Choo-Choo went with us both times but we couldn’t let her out of the car the first time. I took a small towel to hold Hannah in and then gave it to Choo-Choo when we returned to the car. Introducing them to each other the second time and we decided it would be ok. I assured the breeder I would always be present until I knew with confidence they had bonded. Did they ever!

        Hannah is 9 months old now. They are inseparable. Choo-Choo turned out to be the perfect mom to Hannah. Choo-Choo is back to her old self and she finally has a dog to love who loves her right back!

        Reply
  31. Susan

    Jenn, may I link to your post from FaceBook? I have been breeding Shibas for 30 years, and try to educate people about the drawbacks of the breed, as well as the many positive traits. But sometimes I get the feeling they don’t believe me – I think coming from someone who is an owner might help.

    Reply
  32. Nathan

    This is SPOT ON. My shiba is a little over 3 years old now and the first 2 years were GREAT. Meaning, I took him everywhere that was dog friendly (dog parks, bars, restaurants, etc). After the 2 year mark he started to become more independent. He no longer cares to hang out and play with new dogs but would rather spend time with a few of his long time friends. Even so, he’ll get snappy if he gets too tired or they are in his way. It’s a challenge but his personality trumps all of that for me. BTW, his name is SONIC – named after the Seattle Supersonics. I used to live in the Seattle area for 10 years and miss being in the PNW.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      So glad you found it accurate, Nathan! We did the same with Rigby, within reason of course. At around 1.5-2 we had to cut down his time at doggie daycare, and by 2 he was pretty much over interacting with dogs for more than a short amount of time. When we’ve gone to Shiba meetups at the local park, he prefers to hang out around me, beg for treats from strangers, and play ball. Love his name and the meaning behind it. Hopefully you’ll be able to return (or visit!) the PNW soon! :)

      Reply
      1. Nathan

        I go back to Seattle every now and then. I’d love to bring him up there though. It’s just the whole anxiety thing. I can see him going cray cray on a plane ride. Of course, he’d obviously have to be on some type of meds beforehand. Sonic has a best friend and it’s surprisingly another Shiba. Most of the Shiba meetups I go to, they could care less for each other. Just the nature of them I guess. Well, I’m definitely a fan of this blog now and I liked your page on FB so I guess this means we are Shibamates!

        Reply
        1. Jenn Post author

          Ah yeah, traveling in a plane with a pup would definitely be a challenge! Can’t blame you for your hesitation! Aw, thanks for the support, happy to meet another fellow Shiba owner and lover! :)

          Reply
  33. J. Royal

    I found this article on Pinterest. The hubs and I have been thinking about getting a Shiba in the next few years. We have 2 Basenjis and from what we’ve read Shibas and Basenjis are very much alike. Your article regarding your dog confirms it. Every point I read I’m thinking “Yup, same with our dogs.” Haha! I like that Shibas are independent and snarky. Basenjis are as well and we have grown accustomed to their irreverant, funny attitudes.

    Oh, and not sure if you’ve tried this, but a spoonful of peanut butter for our dogs to lick works wonders why we trim their nails. Our female Basenji hates being restrained but we have no issues when we use this method. Good luck! :)

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Ah yes, I’ve heard the same! I’ve only met a few Basenjis in a dog show setting, but I think if you enjoy the independent personality you will enjoy the personality and challenge of a Shiba as well!

      We do use the peanut butter trick for dremeling his back feet and dew claws! It’s one of the few distractions that works for us. We also taught Rigby to file his front nails himself (video here, if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57IsrxE9sf0)

      Reply
  34. Jennifer R

    We have had a Shib Inu for three years. Thank goodness I’ve had dogs before. They aren’t for new dog owners. She is the most unique, challenging breed I’ve ever owned. We love her. She definitely has the Shiba quirks. She hates other dogs. I tried to socialize her until she kept attacking all the other dogs at the dog park. She can’t ever be off leash,. She will run and forget her name. She also has anxiety of any new situations. She loves her routine. I cannot board her at a pet boarding facility because she got so stressed out there they had to medicate her. I now have a dog sitter come to my house and that works great. I have resigned that my house and car will ALWAYS be covered in Shiba fur.
    For all of these hard things we get great things back from her. She is very loyal and LOVES her family. She wants to be near us all the time, follows us around the house, and sleeps with us. I have two older kids (ages 11 and 13) and she’s great with them. She is smart as a whip..too smart sometimes:) She is great with strangers and loves when we have guests over. For all of these things I love this breed.
    I do hear all the time from strangers that they want one. Just as you said, it’s not the dog for everyone. A lot of research should be done and I would encourage someone thinking of getting one to visit a Shiba Inu meet up group and see the dogs and talk to their owners.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Rigby is my first dog on my own, and I can definitely say I do not recommend them to first-time dog owners unless they are fully prepared! Definitely quite quirky and it sounds like she’s quite a lot like Rigby. Agreed on your last point – whenever anyone asks me where to find a Shiba, I always recommend a meetup group in their area. I went to a Shiba meetup before we went to a breeder to be sure we liked the breed and it was definitely a good use of time!

      Reply
  35. Kellie

    I have a shiba inu named Ronin. A lot of these pertain to him! Oh the shedding!! He is going to be 2 in August. He is such a cuddled though! If I am on the couch he is on my lap and he sleeps curled up next to me every night! He used to hate being brushed and have his nails trimmed but we just held him down and now he just lays there for us. He was always great with other dogs until very recently and he’s started to get possessive with toys and good. He loves little kids ( thankfully! As we are due with our first in January) but he does tend to jump on people at first and does not listen all that well without being given a treat. With that being said we did just hire a very recital dog trainer to nip some of this in the butt before the baby gets here. All in all I love ronin so much and he is a great dog!!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      The shedding is fun, isn’t it?! Rigby started blowing coat again when it got into the 90s here in the PNW a couple of weeks back. Fur, fur everywhere! Ronin sounds like a sweetie!

      Reply
  36. NIcole

    I have a Shiba Inu who is almost 3 years old. I disagree with #s 2& 3. My dog loves playing with other dogs. When we have picked him up after boarding him, he actually seems sad, as if he misses the other dogs. The boarder always sends us plenty of pics and videos of him having fun. Also, we never had any problems with him biting.
    The others are true for my dog, especially the shedding. I feel like we brush enough hair for another dog out of him and, then, can still come back and get the same amount the next day.
    Also, something that I didn’t see here – the howling! I actually like it when he howls. He very rarely barks unless he needs us for something or we have something he wants.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Rigby used to love his doggie playmates at daycare too, but he seems to have grown out of his need for “friends”. I imagine dogs are like people – some love to be social, and some do not! It’s amazing how much they shed though isn’t it? Rigby is blowing coat again right now because of the hot weather we had and we have enough fur for another dog! We love Rigby’s howling too, I wish he did it more often, haha!

      Reply
  37. Monica

    Great job on giving an accurate portrayal of the breed! They are a challenge but so worth it! Thank you for explaining the price and why it’s important to buy from a reputable breeder or rescue.

    Reply
  38. Janelle

    I have a Shiba Inu named Sadie, and wow, I sure agree with your list! Sadie was just diagnosed with glaucoma in her left eye. Through this I learned, through many vets and dog eye specialists, that Shiba Inus are prone to getting glaucoma. This is something you could really add to the list! It’s so important to get their pressures checked early… I didnt know this and learned the hard way, we caught it too late and Sadie will have to have her eye removed in a week :(

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Aw, I’m so sorry to hear about Sadie’s diagnosis! It seems like lately there have been even more Shibas being diagnosed with Glaucoma and thank you so much for the suggestion. I’ll definitely include it as something to watch for in terms of health issues!

      Reply
  39. Edwina

    When I met my now husband he had a 4 yr old shiba. I had a pitbull. I am a big doglover and I love training but more on the physiology side. I could do anything with my pit Damu, he is very well behaved and great with people,children and other dogs. Then there is Angel the shiba. I knew nothing really of this breed when I met her, but besides that she was not trained AT ALL. She would bite it you pet her too long when she was the one to initiate it in the first place. You couldn’t pick her up. She had horrible allergies and was suffering because she wouldn’t let anyone bathe of medicate her. I told him if she was going to be part of the family he had to let me train her and not feel sorry for her when she shiba screams. She’s not dieing and she will work thru it. Well it took a couple years for me to remove her caution sticker at the vet I worked at but it happened. She is a amazing 10 year old and I can now do anything I need to with her. She is great with kids and other dogs. Nails are still a struggle but no biteing. She is ok off leash at home in our backyard that is not fenced but I don’t trust her in public. I love this breed now and I would love to get a puppy one day and start that training off from day one. She is such a momma´s girl now and she listen to me much better than she does with my husband. I have a certain respect for the breed and am now known as the shiba lady at my job and I assist in most of the shiba appointments we have and am questioned on the breed and training tips. I will say my experience with my past husky helped but Shiba´s are a personality all there own. I love her and wouldn’t trade her for the world.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Aw, so happy to hear of your happy ending with Angel! It sounds like you put a lot of work into her and so happy you’re able to reap those rewards! Shibas are definitely such a unique breed, and it sounds like Angel is a typical Shiba through and through!

      Reply
  40. Jen

    I had a shiba inu/chow mix once named Marcus. Had him about 7 years before he passed from epilepsy. He was one of the most well-behaved dogs I’d ever seen, and the sweetest. I suppose he adopted the best traits of both breeds, rather than the worst, thank heavens! He did 4-H and loved agility. I was told on several occasions how much he looked like a fox. His tongue and nose had the cutest pattern of pink and black. Quite the gem, and I’ll always miss him.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Aw, so sorry for your loss – losing furry friends is one of the most heart breaking things. It sounds like he was one of a kind and so happy you have such fond memories of him!

      Reply
  41. Tiffany

    My shiba, Siri is still a handful at 5 years old! I love her and have come to accept what others call her “oddities” and find them normal now! I am a professional dog groomer and have Siri on a very strict grooming routine and we have gotten to the point where she rarely sheds and during her twice yearly blow-outs she doesn’t she’d tufts anymore, just sheds a little more. Before this routine was in place shedding was a nightmare! Along with that, nails are a breeze. She stands perfectly still to have them filed down every week.
    I completely agree with never allowing off-leash. Siri has had a couple of “freedom runs” and the only way to get her to come back is bribing with food! She’s very smart and very food motivated so that helps with training as well.
    Genetically we’ve run into allergies. Nothing severe but enough that she’s on a daily non-steroidal medication. Otherwise, a VERY healthy breed. She is also on a very strict diet to help with allergies and to keep her at an ideal weight and looking and feeling her best.
    We have also had to work quite a bit with her resource guarding. She is very particular over some of the smallest things. Sometimes her snarkiness shines in these moments. Knowing how Shibas are helps to discipline or redirect, but at the same time they’re so cunning it’s interesting watching them try to outsmart you as you’re trying to do the same to them!
    I personally enjoyed your post. I found truth to most off it (no anxiety issues here) and love seeing others enjoying their special Shibas as much as I do mine!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Tiffany, so glad you enjoyed it! I’m jealous you’ve got the full grooming routine down – it’s still a work in progress as Rigby still hates nail trims and he’s not a big fan of brushing unless he’s getting cookies. ;) They definitely know how to work us, don’t they?

      Reply
  42. ally

    I think I got a fluke. I am from the pnw as well and I have am shiba. She is 6, her name is Abby and she is the most obedient dog I have ever had. She could go off leash ANYWHERE and she won’t go but 10 paces ahead of me, barely looking over her shoulder to see if I’m still there but pretending not to care lol. Sometimes when I let her out in the backyard she will get out and be gone for about 30 mins and just before I start to panic she’s back at the back door. You are so right there is nothing that can compare to a shiba personality it’s crazy how much personality in such a small dog but in am SO thankful for my Shiba. I’m not sure if her calm and obedient behavior is because of the breeder I got her from (Sunshine Shibas in Oregon) or if it’s just some kind of weird owner/dog understand and respect for each other but it’s crazy. Just thought I would share and let ppl know that there is hope to have a well behaved Shiba. Anywayss your shiba is so darling and thank you for this article

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Ally! Has your Shiba always been like that? It seems like with age the breed definitely does mellow and become better behaved. Sounds like Abby is a sweet girl and glad you’re a big Shiba fan too. :)

      Reply
  43. Jeff and Shannon

    Hello Jenn,
    My partner and I have been looking at getting a dog for awhile now. We have always been interested in Shiba Inu’s and have recently been in the process of getting a little Shiba pup.
    We’ve both had dogs before (he’s had a few terriers and I’ve had a lab) but after researching extensively on the breed we have a few concerns.

    1. Are we getting in over our heads when it comes to training.
    -the only experience we have with training is with terriers and labs, will this experience prepare us for what to expect when it comes to training?
    2. The escaping Shiba
    -“never let your Shiba off leach” is something we have read over and over again. We both love to be outdoors and live just down the street from a dog park. Does this mean literally never let them off leach?? Does this mean off leach dog parks are a no-no?
    3. Shiba’s can be aggressive
    -we don’t have small children and aren’t going to be traveling down that road, but we do have friends and family with children. If we socialize early enough, is this a breed characteristic? Or a socializing issue?
    4. Shiba’s may not want to be around other dogs
    -all of our friends have dogs, and we get together (dogs and friends) quite often. We are concerned that even with socialization with the other dogs that we may have an issue with the Shiba’s comfort levels. Can this be overcame if true?

    We have some friends that have Shiba’s and they all say that they wouldn’t change a thing. They’ve all mentioned difficulties they’ve had, but overcame. We’ve also had difficulties with our previous dogs and overcame those obstacles. Owning a dog, we feel will always have obstacles to overcome, because they’re all different, regardless of breed. We really just want to know if we will be equipped to be good dog parents from our previous experiences. I know you can’t really know that, because you don’t know us personally, but are we about to get in over our heads here? We just want to be sure we will be the right fit for a Shiba.
    Do you have any advice based on your personal experiences?

    Thank you for your time and hope you can give us a bit of insight.

    Jeff and Shannon

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Jeff and Shannon!

      Happy to help as much as I can, and if you ever have more questions feel free to email me! I’m usually a bit quicker to respond to emails. :)

      1. No! Rigby is my first dog. If you’re willing to learn, you’ll be fine!
      2. Yes literally. I have done off-leash parks and I wouldn’t do them with a Shiba under a year or even 2 years old. Shibas are terrible at listening (rather, they can hear you but they choose to hear what suits them). Rigby did good when he was under 6 months, and terrible between 6 months and a year and a half. He’s better now but I would never let him roam off leash in a strange area.
      3. It’s not a breed characteristic, but it’s something I hear often enough to think that many Shibas just are intolerant of many things, and sometimes that thing is children. Rigby thinks children are interesting and likes older children, but if they’re toddler size and they get too close he’s not really a fan. We don’t have plans on having children in the immediate future, but we will definitely proceed with caution when it comes time. If you have friends with children, definitely socialize the puppy with them as much as you can! We didn’t really have access to any small children on a regular basis (that sounds strange…) but we met them on walks when he was a puppy and he did fine. I’m not sure what changed but he definitely doesn’t like them as much now…
      4. If they grow up around a lot of other dogs I would think he/she would be fine. Like people, all dogs are different so it definitely depends on your particular dog. If you’re getting a dog from a breeder, I would recommend explaining this and asking for a more confident dog. Shy or timid puppies may not do well in a busier environment.

      I think you’ll be fine! The fact that you doubt yourself at all shows that you care and are the right kind of dog owner for a Shiba. Often those who are underprepared or do no research are the ones who have the most trouble! Like I said, feel free to email me anytime if you have any other questions. I’m happy to answer them as best I can! :)

      Reply
  44. Tracey

    I got a shiba about three weeks ago (after months of research), and we love her! I haven’t noticed any resource guarding, though I do touch her food before I give it to her and touch her and take her toys and bones from her while she has them to get her used to it. When did you notice Rigby resource guarding so i can keep an eye out? I definitely have noticed she likes her space with other dogs. She likes to play for a bit, but it seems like she prefers playing with boys more than girls. Is Rigby friendly with people at least? My little girl is a little bit timid, especially when meeting people and dogs outdoors or for the first time in our home. Elsewhere, if we’re inside of a building she does fine with people and takes a little time to warm up to dogs, but usually ends up just fine,

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      I think he was around 6 months old or so. His personality changed a lot in that time – he had been teething, got neutered, and was just maturing. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, just something to be aware of! It’s not always food either – it can be toys, spaces, or even you!

      Rigby loves people. He’s much more of a people dog than a dog’s dog. I’m totally fine with it, he played well with dogs as a puppy at daycare and the park, but he really just prefers to hang out at home. At the dog park (when we’ve gone for Shiba meet ups, I don’t really like them otherwise) he really is more interested in the people and me than anything else.

      Reply
  45. kari

    Great post, Jenn. My fiance and I have two full bred Shibas, the male is 4 and the female is 3. As you said above, much like other breeds, their temperament often depends on the owners. Our male Shiba Boone is VERY NEEDY. He is constantly needing to be pet, cuddled, loved on…it is seriously constant. If you sit down on the couch, there he is wanting to be pet. As a puppy he was more outgoing, but I think it’s my fault that he is so needy. His favorite thing is to be pet on the head, which I’ve read is very uncommon in this breed, as it is a submissive gesture to Shibas. Again, I think he just got used to it and now can’t go without it.
    Our little girl Baileigh is more “Shiba” than Boone. She’s super feisty, is the alpha dog in the house and doesn’t trust strangers. Boone on the other hand LOVES strangers and people. Though Baileigh is more independent, she also loves to be kissed, cuddled and pet. She was a freaking nightmare to train though. Boone was super easy. I thought Baileigh was the spawn of Satan when we first got her. I would just tell other first time Shiba owners, or even second time owners, to not give up! They’ll get it eventually if you’re consistent with them. They long for structure.
    That being said, Shibas are the only way to go! <3

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Ha, how funny that your two are so different! They definitely are a unique breed with such individual characteristics. Glad you’re a fan of the breed (and all the quirks!) too, Kari! :)

      Reply
  46. Dana

    Hi Jenn, I very much enjoyed your post. Many of the traits you described, we have seen in our dogs. We have raised two Shibas, a male Toby and a female Yuki Kuma. Both displayed their own personalities and we learned quickly what they liked or disliked and how to read their emotions. The first couple years were not easy, as they matured they mellowed a bit, by then we had figured out how to parent them. They have brought so much joy and fun to our family and wonderful memories too. Toby was very smart, loved to hike and camp, loved his toys and Christmas was his favorite. Toby had some health issues, two knee surguries, as he aged he had additional health issues and we lost him recently. I have to say it was one of the sadest days of my life. Yuki is timid, gentle with children, loves to go by by, and runs like the wind when off lease in our fenced yard. Shibas are high maintenance dogs, but if you are willing to invest your energy in one (or two), it’s a very rewarding experience.

    Reply
  47. Octavius

    I have had my own Shiba for 2 years now ( since she was 8 months). I have to agree with everyone that I wouldn’t change her for any dog!!! After reading a lot about this breed I think I kinda hitted jackpot whith her because she is super well behaved in general.

    She almost doesn’t use her Shiba cry ( only when you grab her in what would be an uncomfortably manner for her for too long or she feels it’s about to happen from a stranger [ which is hilarious when they jump back thinking they may have harmed her ] also she loves tearing plushies apart and digging huge holes in my garden.

    Aside from that she let’s any stranger ( I present her) pet, play or carry her, she doesn’t like the vet but only shows it by running to the car until we are finished ( my vet says she is a Shiba that doesn’t knows it’s a Shiba XD because of that ) . She even hangs out whith my girlfriend’s cat!!!! And respects it’s zone. And I love the fact that i can play rough with her without the game turning aggressive.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Aw, sounds like you have a very sweet Shiba! It’s amazing how different all of their personalities are. They are a unique breed and she sounds like an amazing dog!

      Reply
  48. Zuzie

    Love the article. I have a 6 month old shiba inu girl. In someways my girl is totally like your guy. Before we got our shiba I did TON of research about the breed and even reached a point where I was scared to get a shiba with all the negative things I read about them. But I just wanted one so badly and decided to take on the challenge. Our girl turned out so far to be better than I thought ( my research indicated I be living with a little monster). But we did everything possible so far to make sure she is a good dog. We enrolled in obedience school which I strongly recommend. It’s really helped us learn how to train our girl the right away. We socialized from day one. Will continue socializing for a long time. We got our shiba from a reputable breeder. I found they all have their own unique personality. Our girls personality is why we love her the most. She is extremely playful and friendly pup. She loves all dogs and people and maybe a little too much. She has been known to pee herself from too much excitement lol. She is a cuddler and will nap with me. She is a very sweet girl. But she also can be stubborn and too smart for her own good. She has figured out our routine and knows when we are getting ready to leave to go out before we put our jackets on and loves to play a hide and seek game on us. She will run and hide from us to make it difficult to crate her. She loves her crate and will not fight us once we put her inside but sure loves to be brat and make us chase her around the house. She is a very vocal dog. She howls from excitement as well. If she doesn’t pee herself she will howl her head off when we have company over. She has been pretty good with grooming as long as there is treats she is willing to work with us ( cheese is her fav). She has been a pain in ass to walk. She pulls , puts on the breaks, tries to chase bunnies near by and even Leash bites. She in near the end of her teething and she is getting spade next week so I know I have lots more changes to come my way. With all the good and bad we dealt with I wouldn’t have it any other dog. She is awesome dog.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Ha, I was also a little intimidated by the breed after doing my research too! It sounds like you may have your work cut out for you, I remember that age all too well and the “best” is yet to come. I found 8 months-year to be the most challenging, where behaviors I thought we’d trained out returned. Teenage Shibas are interesting, but you guys will get through it and you’ll get your sweet, awesome girl back! ;)

      Reply
  49. Megan

    I loved this article! I have a Shiba named Pola. She’s never shown anything I would consider to be aggression, but she can be really iffy of new dogs if they’re not perfectly polite to her. Like, if they meet and the other dog gets in puppy stance wanting to play and waits for Pola to respond before actually playing, she’s fine. But if the other dog just runs straight up to her wanting to roughhouse, they’ll get a snarl and a “back-off” nip, which I’ve never gotten her in trouble over because she’s just letting them know she doesn’t like it!

    She loves puppies and MOST children, as long as they’ve been brought up to be reasonably gentle and introduce themselves to her first. She also loves my parent’s and sister’s dogs, which range from 50 to about 90 pounds. She gets super excited when I say their dogs’ names and runs to the garage to get in the car! There’s two pit bulls in the neighborhood she likes to hang out with… One has too much energy for how little she knows him and, whole she used to get along great with him, she’s gotten very stern with him in the past year. The other one is shy and afraid of most other dogs, but is complacent with Pola! They’ll see each other, maybe romp around for a little bit, and then just mind their own business after that. There’s also a particularly small pug in the neighborhood that she simply adores! She always greets her by rolling on her back and letting the pug sniff her for a while before getting a bout of playfulness and wanting to romp! It’s amazing how much her attitude changes for specific dogs!

    She’s a rare one in that I can trust her off-leash as long as there are no roads nearby… She WILL chase a squirrel even if it’s on the other side of the road. But as long as we’re in an open field or trail in the woods… Or I have treats for off-leash trading… She’ll stay within eyesight of me! I found something called the Emergency Recall that I’ve taught her for just in case she’s about to get in trouble and I need her to come back to me NOW! I haven’t had to use it yet, but I do bring extra special treats with us on hikes and practice it from time to time.

    SHE’S SO AWESOME. If she’s any representation of the breed, Shibas are awesome!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Ah yes, that is the greeting that Rigby is not a fan of either. We stopped doing face to face greetings because he just doesn’t like them at all, really.

      We’re a fan of emergency recall as well. The one time Rigby did sneak out the door (with a guest that didn’t know that he’s not supposed to go out off leash) he responded immediately (we use a whistle) much to my relief. Definitely a good thing to practice often – you never know!

      Reply
  50. Danielle

    Great article- I agree 100% with it. I have two shibas. One is 4 (male)and the other is 9months (female). I love them so very much but yes they definitely do all of what you said. My oldest Nik is very tempormemtal even sometimes with us. The Trixie is just a sweetheart and only once in a while had a problem with the older when guarding her food or trying to be dominant. Nik was so strong and hard to train but Trixie was easier. I would add one thing as well for shibas- not sure if yours does this but mine are not good with strangers. Nik is friendly at first but then he doesn’t want to be touched and will growl. Trixie is not a threat but won’t come within 5feet of anyone. But they have bonded so closely with my and my husband. I honestly love my shibas!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Rigby is definitely finicky with strangers! Some he’ll go nuts to try to meet, and others he wants nothing to do with. He also has a time limit with strangers who aren’t interesting (aka not playing with him!) to him and definitely will let them know when he’s had enough. Sounds like you have two awesome Shibas, glad you love the breed too! :)

      Reply
  51. Arie

    Chika, our Shiba Inu, is now around 9 years old. She is a lovely dog, but she did, and on some points still does, come with a manual.

    We did various training with her when she was younger. At puppy class they warned us that she was probably not going to do well, especially compared to the Labrador and several German Sheppards which we in the same puppy class. Shiba Unis do not have the best name when it comes to listening ;) To everyone’s surprise though, she performed best, better than all the other dogs at puppy class. Hahaha ;) We did various trainings with her. We found that it built a good base between us and our Shiba Inu and if we would ever have another dog, we would do at least puppy class and 1 more class again, even though we know the material being taught.

    Chika listens very well… In general ;) When she spots a rabbit, or once even a deer, she is off, just like Jenn wrote. You can call her whatever you want, she will not listen. When she chased the deer, we were in the mountains in Germany where we were on holidays and it was impossible to follow her. Even if we could have, she would have been too fast for us anyway. We were worried of course and looked all around, but did not find her. After quite some time she just showed up again, acting like nothing had happened ;) We could not be mad at her, we were just happy she decided that it was time to return to us. We still let her loose every now and then, but we always try to make sure that it is safe to do so.

    We had a dog therapist come by twice because of the way she guarded her food when she was little still. We felt like we did something wrong, that we were bad owners. We did do something wrong. In our case we were too kind, we did not treat Chika as a dog and we let her scare us when we wanted to take her food or a bone away for example. What we have learned is that we have to treat our family as a pack, like how wolves and dogs do in the wild. We eat first, then our two cats get their food, followed by Chika. If she does not finish her food, we take it away. When she was little it happened a few times that she would show her teeth or even snap at us, but we learned not to fear it and simply take the food. Showing her that we were not scared, showed her that we were in charge, that we were the leaders of the pack. That was many years ago and although she still does not like it when we take away her food if she does not finish it, she will not snap at us or show her teeth. She accepts it, because we are the leaders of the pack. Chika does not eat big treats, she will only guard them. Small treats are fine, but as soon as it is more than two bites, she will not eat it. Instead of trying to make her eat it, a dog therapist simply suggested not to give her big treats. Problem solved. It is as simple as that.

    As for the cats, they are also allowed on the couch for example, Chika is not. She has to know that the cats are ranked higher in the pack. Chika respects our oldest cat, who is now around 13 years old. They do not play and when the cat wants to walk somewhere, Chika will make place for her. Our youngest cat is around 4 years old by heart. He and Chika are buddies. They play together and have fun. Sometimes Chika can be a bit overwhelming and then the cat simply looks for higher ground, where he is safe from our playful Shibe ;) My parents have a Burmese, a breed of cat sometimes referred to as being the dog under the cats because of the way they act. He and Chika are also good friends and play a lot. Sometimes we hear a small scream of pain when they play, but it is never the cat who screams. Chika is very careful when playing. The cat is not that careful ;) but everything always goes well, Shiba Inus are simply wussies and scream when there is nothing really happening; the Shiba Inu scream is famous among all owners ;)

    When Chika was perhaps 3 years old, she was grabbed by another dog. She could have died, but thankfully she recovered. It did leave a scar though. Not visibly, but emotionally. We notice the change in her character. She is more scared now. When she fears another dog, she will not run or take a low position to show that she is less in rank for example, but she will lash out, give the other dog a big mouth. If the other dog ignores her when she gives a big mouth, she will love the other dog. She has various dog friends in the neighborhood. All larger than her. All not impressed by her growls when they met her for the first time and now when she sees them, she will be all happy to see them. Dogs which she does not like, she will never like. Best result which we can achieve in that case if that the dogs simply accept each others presence, which is fine with me. Most of her friends are male. She hardly has female friends. I hear that a lot from dog owners in general, not specifically Shiba Inu owners, that females more often do not get along.

    People often call Chika a fox. We went to a kind of market once and we started counting the times that people asked if she was a fox, or even called her a fox. We stopped counting at 100 and we were only there for perhaps 4 hours. Sometimes I say that she is a Jack Russell, wearing a fox outfit, when people ask us about it ;) Many people state that they want one too, but I always try to temper their enthusiasm a bit. We know 3 couples in our region who got a Shiba Inu because we have one. None of them knew what they were getting themselves into. A Shiba Inu is not a Labrador for example. My mother-in-law has a Labrador. A Labrador does anything to please you. It will not try to take over the pack. A Shiba Inu does. Shiba Inus still have that pack mentality. A weak leader? A Labrador will just wiggle it’s tail. A Shiba Inu will take command over the pack however. My mother gives Chika a treat every now and then. Chika does not respect my mother, she simply sees her as a big pile of treats. My mother says sit for example before giving Chika a treat, but instead Chika gives a paw for example and my mother rewards her with a treat, showing Chika that it is fine to disobey her and that she will still get a treat…

    Being the pack leaders helps towards other dogs too. The Labrador of my mother-in-law for example always jumps up against her. Her Labrador never does that with us. Never. She knows that we are in charge, even when it comes to her. She pulls the leash when my mother-in-law walks with her. When we walk with her, after not even 5 minutes she will stop pulling the leash and she will follow nicely. My mother-in-law is still surprised by this and does not understand it, even though we have explained it to her 1.000 times. If my mother-in-law would have had a Shiba Inu, the dog would be lying on the couch and my mother-in-law would be sitting on the floor ;) I cannot stress it enough that you need to be in command. You have to be the pack leader. You have to come across as being strong. Never doubt yourself. Once you have made a certain decision, do it. For example, if you decide to take away her food, then you do it. You do not try to do it, no, you really do it without any hesitation. You are in charge.

    We have a son now who is 1,5 years old. We were a bit worried how things would go with Chika, but it is going great. From the moment he was born, we made sure that we did not give Chika less attention, which is what sometimes happens with people, that the dog is forgotten because all attention is going to the baby. Chika is very patient with our son. They play together too. Our son takes a dog toy and throws it away for Chika, who gets it and brings it back to our son. That is, when she feels like it, otherwise she will just take the toy and start chewing on it ;) Our son can also take a toy from Chika, even when Chika is lying on the floor, chewing on it. Our son simply takes it and Chika allows it. She shows her belly to our son too, so that he can stroke it. Still, we never let them alone together. Not because Chika is a Shiba Inu, but because she is a dog. Our son is too young to understand and he can be pushy towards Chika for example. He has to learn to be nice to animals. Most of the time he is, but sometimes he tries to sit against Chika when she is sleeping somewhere or pushes her aside for example. It is not meant mean, but he needs learn to respect the space of others, both of Chika as well as of the cats. The advantage which the cats have is that they can simply jump to higher ground to escape from our son when it gets too much for them. Chika cannot do that, so we always keep an eye on them. If we cannot keep an eye on them, then we do not keep them together. Better safe than sorry.

    Anyway, I love our Shibe and I hope that she will be with us for a long time still. Do I advise Shiba Inus to others? No, generally I do not. Do not be fooled by their cute appearance. They can be quite dominant and they need a strong leader. If you cannot even handle a Labrador for example, then do not take a Shiba Inu. They are not the most easy breed. Before taking a dog, whatever breed, always read about the breed a lot. Make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into. If you fully understand and you believe that you can be a good owner, which every dog deserves, then go for it. Make sure you get your Shiba Inu from a known breeder. If you do not, you might end up with a dog with various health and behavioral issues, besides that you will keep alive the puppy mills, who do not care about the well being of animals and are only there to make a profit.

    I wrote too much; I could go on for ages when it comes to our little Shibe ;)

    From The Netherlands, greetings from me and a paw from Chika :)

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks for a great comment, Arie! It sounds like our pups have a lot in common. We found that the resource guarding stopped when we taught Rigby the fun of “trading”. We would trade whatever he was guarding for something even more exciting and enticing. By doing this consistently, we taught him that we’re not there to take his food from him but instead are the purveyors of even better goodies. If you run into trouble again, Mine! by Jean Donaldson is a great resource. I do have to mention that we don’t subscribe to the pack theory as that’s generally been debunked by experts. Here’s some reading that you might find interesting about it: https://positively.com/dog-training/myths-truths/pack-theory-debunked/ Regardless, it sounds like the training you’ve done has been effective in your situation. :)

      I love your comments on raising your son and animals together. As you said, it’s not because Chika is a Shiba, it’s because she is a dog. Dogs are animals and can be unpredictable, even when they have a history of always being a certain way. Like you said, better safe than sorry and it sounds like you have a harmonious home because of it! Thanks for sharing Chika and your experiences! :)

      Reply
  52. Christine

    Nice article!
    Except point 4.) and 6.) I totally agree with my two Shibas ( 8 and 4 years old)
    Handling was never a problem, I trained much from the beginning….every day a little bit – touching ears, showing teeth, touching paws and so on….they love brushing :)
    Anxiety is a case what more and more Shibas seems to have. But it is not a desired character property. Sure, Shibas should be reserved and suspicioustowards stangers, but not fearful. There are so many Shibas with anxiety (such as noise, changes in everyday life, other people….), and in my opinion it is a lack of breeding. Breeding dogs with weak charakter.
    A Shiba should be a dog, which feels home, where you are, which is flexible in changes and reposing.

    My Shibas are very good off leash, but indeed, if there’s a rabbit, I would have no chance ;)

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Christine! Thank you, glad you enjoyed and agreed with it for the most part. :) I’m glad you haven’t had the handling issues – I blame myself for not being consistent with Rigby as a puppy. If I were to do it over, I would make it into a daily routine so it wasn’t such a big deal.

      I definitely agree anxiety seems to be on the rise and I’m sure it’s due to poor breeding, via backyard breeders and puppy millers. In our case, Rigby’s anxiety is essentially “White Coat Syndrome” and he really is not sensitive to anything else (noises, people, etc.) We’re planning on switching to a vet closer to us and hope that the fear is just related to the one clinic where he had the bad experience.

      Reply
  53. Theresa

    # 8 – Please, please, please… One of my shibas is a rescue from a puppy mill, where she spent the first five years of her life in a small wire cage with no exercise, only removed from the cage to be bred and have puppies for sale to pet stores online. We’re not sure exactly what other experiences she had in the mill, but three years later, she is still afraid of pretty much everything that we haven’t acclimated her to, although she is very curious as well. Unlike some who have become passionate about rescue in general, I’m not completely against breeders, as long as they actually care for the physical, emotional, and development needs of both parents and puppies, and have adopters lined up *before* they breed – after all, if there are no breeders, where would we get more shibas? But absolutely never, ever buy a puppy unless you can see both of its parents, and the conditions in which they live. Also note, my other shiba is also a rescue, and although we have every reason to believe that she was well-cared for, once her reproductive years were up, she was unceremoniously dumped in a kill shelter “because they couldn’t afford to keep her” – or didn’t want to pay for a dog that won’t produce a profit. So please consider adopting from a rescue!

    Otherwise, after 3 shibas, I absolutely concur with the rest of this article – I once read that you don’t train a shiba, you come to an agreement! ;)

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Theresa! That’s terrible. What puppy mills do to dogs absolutely breaks my heart. Our next Shiba will definitely be a rescue, however we did get Rigby from a reputable breeder because I wanted a puppy. Trust me I tried to rescue one first – I was thisclose to booking a flight to Wisconsin to get a 4 month old Shiba puppy who was at a shelter (they picked a local family, which I can’t blame them for!)… but unfortunately we just don’t see Shiba puppies come into any shelters in this area. :/

      We attempted to foster a senior Shiba who came from a hoarding situation, however Rigby and her were not having it. She was quickly adopted though and I’m sure is living out her golden years in bliss. My support now is financially to the many Shiba rescues in hopes that even though we can’t take one of their dogs, we can help them pull from the puppy mill auctions and help with medical costs to those that they’ve rescued.

      I think that’s the perfect explanation of a Shiba’s behavior. Definitely an agreement! :)

      Reply
  54. Ania

    I just read the post and I’m 90% in for your remarks ;) I can add one more breed people would mistake Shiba with, be amazed…it’s Samoyed :P I have both and people on the street tend to ask if Ryuu (my Shiba) would be as white when he grows up! Cheers:)

    Reply
  55. Krasnoocko

    Each time I read similar articles I agree on more than half points but there is always something which doesn’t really fit. But this is basically 100% accurate description of my shiba. Thank you especially for the part about shibas not being “agressive” but rather snarky, reserved and intolerant (I don’t hear this from other shiba owners that often and I always thought this is not so common and felt guilty for not being able to teach my dog not to be like this) and the anxiety part (oh how both me and my dog have suffered because of this! I didn’t know shibas are prone to anxiety and had to learn the hard way when my dog started having these problems. I was completely at a loss at first. It started when I broke up with my boyfriend, there was a bit of yelling but nothing terrible… but my dog was so stressed by the emotions and changes that she went several days just whining, panting and doing repetitive stuff like scratching a wall, ignoring all my efforts to calm her down and not letting me sleep at night. That was hell. But we gradually learned how to prevent it and cope with it and it’s gotten much better.) This is IMHO very important thing for the unexperienced shiba owners to know!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Oh it’s totally common! I see this all the time at Shiba meetups so it puzzles me when people say their dogs are not snarky and are so nice around other dogs! We call Rigby the Drama King and he really is.

      Aw, so sorry to hear about your dog’s anxiety! I imagine that was traumatic for her, and Shibas are so sensitive I’m sure she was reacting to the emotions. So glad you enjoyed the article and could relate! :)

      Reply
  56. Todd heil

    Nice blog! Trying to do research.
    I’m looking at getting a puppy in April from a litter to be born in February. I’ve had dogs for 20+ years, just recently lost our last one. A coworker turned me on to this breed. The lady I found that breeds them is super nice, is not a puppy mill and gets her dogs from a show breeder, so they are first gen/blood.
    The lady actually drove in town to show us one for sale and his father. Super chill dad and of course puppy was cute x10. Just a bit too soon since my last one passed so waiting/reading/research a little more. This lady will let us have a pick from litter and we get it after 60 days and 2-3 vet checks.
    I’m still deciding if this is right breed for us. The breeder said that this is a perfect “working man/woman dog” Not in a sales person way just informing what she thinks. Meaning they are ok with masters working during the day and are similar to a cat.
    Have you found this to be the case? I can see being anxious to go to vet and my last dog hated his nails trimmed, he would run and hide just breaking out clippers..lol
    We have lots of love, care and training to give, we just dont want to stress out a dog.
    In a perfect world the dog would get a long with our best friends basset hound. My plans were to take puppy every Sunday to a play data for puppies at local pet store to get them used to other dogs.
    We also have 2 -10 year old cats, but I think eventually they would tolerate each other, they did with our last dog.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Todd! Thanks so much, happy you found me! So a few red flags about the breeder stand out. 1. You said she gets her dogs from a show breeder. Is this breeder her mentor and is overseeing her breeding? Is she performing health tests on her dog (not vet checks, but checking for knees/hips/eyes? If you haven’t already I’d verify on http://offa.org) 2. You mentioned she brought her dogs and puppy to you. Did she not want you to see where the dog was being raised? My breeder had us over to her house, showed us around her home, and we met all of her dogs. I’d be looking for a breeder who keeps puppies in the home 100% of the time so you know the puppies are her focus. 3. Letting you pick from the litter… I wouldn’t do that. We didn’t have a choice with Rigby because he was a singleton, however in all of our experiences with other breeders, they get the final pick on who gets which puppy since they usually will pick the best one for your situation.

      To answer your questions…
      1. Yes, Rigby is great at home while I’m at work. He was high energy for about the first year of his life so we did have him enrolled in doggie daycare 2-3x a week to burn off excess energy. He also has a dog walker… well, my mom ;)… who comes and takes him out 2x a week for a few hours during the day. Now that he’s 3 he’s very chill all day and sleeps most of the time like a cat.
      2. Rigby is anxious at the vet’s office, but I believe it was due to a traumatic event. He’s never loved being handled, and it’s only gotten worse as he’s gotten older. This is mostly my fault – he’s my first puppy, so I didn’t realize the amount of time I needed to spend getting him use to being groomed. If I were to do it over I would work on it every single day throughout puppyhood, just for a few minutes. Better safe than sorry, as I’m sure you know from experience!

      I definitely think if you raise your puppy around another dog (your friend’s basset hound) that they probably will always get along. Rigby likes dogs, he just doesn’t feel the need to always be around them. He’s got only child syndrome. :P Puppy classes and play dates are great! I recommend reading Ian Dunbar’s Before You Get Your Puppy and After You Get Your Puppy, as socialization to as many things as possible in the first months of life are super critical with any puppy, but especially Shibas! (Both are free here: http://www.dogstardaily.com/files/downloads/AFTER_You_Get_Your_Puppy.pdf and http://www.dogstardaily.com/files/BEFORE%20You%20Get%20Your%20Puppy.pdf)

      Hope that helps and if you have any more questions feel free to shoot me an email! :)

      Reply
  57. Todd heil

    Yeah, she does all those checks. I guess a visitor went out to her house once and somehow gave a disease to all the puppies and they passed. She checks all those things you mentioned. She lives on a farm and devotes entire enclosed porch to the dogs.
    Here is a little about her:

    her name is Kristi Ha**
    Her info-
    Welcome to my small, personal, hands on home for Shiba Inu’s. 10+ years of raising pups with love and compassion. Healthy, happy pure breed Shiba’s fill my country home. ACA/APR papered.

    .

    the vet checks-
    Pups will receive their first parvo/distemper shots….given at 42 days old..
    Pups receive 3 doses of de-wormer at 21..35..47 days old..(Stongid T formula)
    Pups go to the vet (32 days old).. they are checked for heart, knee, and hernia issues..
    Pups will need another set of vaccinations between 10 and 12 weeks of age..(seek your own personal vet)
    Final vet visit for all pups is at 52-54 days old..recheck on heart, knees, hernia..weight, and full physical exam is preformed by the vet..

    Thanks for answering my questions, it’s hard to process the entire thing after loosing a beloved dog. Guilt of moving on, loving another dog, ect.
    Our kids are grown, will be 16 and 19 this year, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Getting along with our best friends dog would be nice, since they have a nice fenced in yard where they can tear around. But in reality we only visited with our last dog a few times so it inst a deal breaker. I’m lucky to have a gorgeous dog park less than 10 minutes from me, plus plenty of sidewalk to walk so exercise has never been a problem.
    To compound problem of adopting, we were given a chance to adopt a puppy mixed lab, from .carepetrescue.org.(sorry if you dont allow websites, but I’m not affiliated with them and are actually 2 hours from me)
    Some mama was abandoned and had 15 puppies! I know they aren’t Shiba’s but its an option to rescue a dog in need.
    Take a look at their puppies, they will melt your heart!
    We aren’t done loving puppies/dogs yet, that’s the bottom line, so we’ll continue looking/researching and asking questions.
    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Hi Todd!

      I just sent you an email to the email associated with this comment and also edited it to remove personal details of the breeder in question. I have a few resources I think will really help you make a decision! :)

      Reply
  58. Rose

    It’s always nice to read about other people’s experiences with Shibas! Ours is a (probably) a Shiba x Staffie. We got her from a rescue centre (who didn’t really know what she was) but after research she’s definitely got the Shiba personality! I can add at least two more things to your list – Shiba’s act more like Cats than Dogs! and They are Escape Artists! Take a look at this blog for our Shibas escapades! http://www.livesandtimesofbella.blogspot.co.uk/

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Rose, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Definitely are very cat-like and will take an opportunity to escape if they have one! ;)

      Reply
  59. Ida + Otis

    hahaha! What a great post! #7 definitely made me chuckle! So funny how Shiba owners can relate to all these issues so much more than other dog owners.

    Rigby is an absolute beauty! Just wanted to say hi from Vancouver, Canada :) :) #westcoastlove

    Have a wonderful day!!

    Reply
  60. Smrithi

    Your post was great !! I have been reading up about the Shiba Inu a bit these days and almost convinced that this is the breed I want to go for. But we ( me and my husband) have been suggested that this may not be the best dog for novice dog owners, which we are. Also I would going to the Grad school very soon and the dog may have to be home for 4 to 5 hours by itself. Do you think the Shiba would be a good fit for us?

    Thanks !!

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks so much Smrithi! I’m a first-time dog owner, so it’s definitely possible! ;) A puppy would probably not do very well for 4-5 hours alone on a daily basis. Is there someone who could come while you are away to walk him/her? Puppies typically need to go outside every couple of hours, at least for the first few months. Another option would be to get an adult or older puppy. Hope that helps, and feel free to email me anytime if you have more questions!

      Reply
  61. Heidi

    Hi all! I have a shiba Inu female named Tootsie. She’s tricolored, black tan and cream and 13 years old. I found her at the local animal shelter and aside from a few minor issues, has been one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. Nail trimming was a night mare with her until I started using the Pedi Paws dremel on her. I first got her used to it, taking about two weeks to get her used to the smell, and noise and feel of the dremel on her body. She follows the command of down, and rollover for nail trimming and brushing. (No one else can come near her for this but me and my children) She’ll fall asleep in my lap when I’m trimming her nails now. The thing we are struggling to figure out how to deal with now is she has begun nipping and grabbing my 16 month old grandson’s feet and ankles. She would do this occassionally with the teenagers, but when they started paying more attention to her and petting her it stopped. Maybe working with Gabe to get him to give her treats would work?

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Absolutely! It sounds like she may be trying to play with your grandson and nipping is how she’s able to get his attention. Is there a toy she really likes to play with? Perhaps the toy could be used when she gets nippy so she learns what she can nip at instead and is treated when she redirects to the toy instead of Gabe. Hope that helps!

      Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Love Pitbulls! Shibas are definitely quite different. My boyfriend had a Pit-Lab Mix previously to Rigby and she was a sweet dog. Rigby, well, he is all Shiba. ;)

      Reply
  62. Shari

    What an excellent job of describing the breed! I can especially relate to #7, yelling “my dog’s friendly”. Ugh that used to make me so angry! We had our shiba for 15.5 years. True, he wasn’t the easiest dog to live with (dog aggressive, anxiety, never off-leash, etc) but we loved him more than we ever thought possible.

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      Thank you Shari! Yes, that phrase still gets me! My dog is not “friendly” to strange dogs so it doesn’t matter if your dog is or not. Sorry for the loss of your Shiba, they sure know how to make their way into your heart!

      Reply
  63. Terry

    Hi Jenn,

    About three hours ago I just contacted one of our local animal shelters about the possibility of adopting a 3 Y.O. male Shiba who was turned in because the original owners had gotten a divorce, and neither party wanted to keep this dog.

    For the last two years I have had a 14 Y.O. Norwegian Elkhound x Vizsla that I adopted from the same shelter that presently has the Shiba. And for the past year I have also had a 2 Y.O. male Basenji x Rat Terrier [I call him a Basrati] which I adopted from a different shelter 50 miles from home. I also have three adopted cats: two male DSHs, one 9 Y.O., and one 2 Y.O.; and a 9 Y.O. female Maine Coon Cat.

    The shelter website says that the Shiba is good with other dogs and also with cats. The Basrati is not to be trusted off-leash outside of a securely fenced-in enclosure either, so that is no worry for me about the Shibu.

    Both of my dogs have past four obedience classes each and have their AKC Canine Good Citizen Certifications. If I am fortunate enough to be able to adopt the Shibu, we will aim for the same training goals for him. The fun is in the doing!!! I Just love a good challenge.

    I have been training all 3 cats at the same time…yes, you can train cats!

    Reply
  64. Mary Campbell

    Thank you for putting this out there. When you own a Shiba other dog owners don’t understand why your dog won’t come when called, or why your dog runs when you want to pick her up! I have an 8 year old girl named Hannah. If I would have known more about the breed I probably would not have gotten her. But, I would not trade her for the world. With all the quirks and Shiba life, I love her. Thanks for sharing all of this and I do hope those people who want a Shiba realize how special they are and they need good care and love, just as any animal does. Shiba’s just expect the best!

    Reply
  65. Jen

    Thanks! I don’t have a Shiba, nor do I think they’re the right dog for me. I just read it because I was curious. :) This article was interesting, and a good reminder to keep all dogs on leash unless they’re at the dog park. My Jack Russell Terrier mutt is obnoxiously friendly to other dogs, and if she were to get bitten by a Shiba, it would be her own fault. So. Thanks for dropping that bit of wisdom, which applies to all dogs, in your article.

    Reply
  66. Erich Rogers

    While these woolies are not for everyone they are by far my favorite dog. My wife and I have two of them, Ghost and Nim, sisters from the same litter. They have moments with each other but get along pretty good. Thankfully, we haven’t had any behavioral issues. From the time they were puppies we exposed them to the grand kids and other people. My wife takes them to the groomers and they always get a good report card. They are pretty energetic and while I am getting old, I enjoy that about them. I love these girls more than words can say and if one can get through potential issues with patience, it will be rewarded with lots of love… and hair… lots and lots of hair! haha

    Reply
  67. Allison Tongiani

    From one Shiba Inu owner to another: This is such a helpful and informative post. Shibas really are so unique…unlike any other dog I have ever owned or known. They’re incredible, loyal, animals with immense intelligence and personality. It’s so important that people who are considering this breed understand what exactly they are committing to (beyond an irresistibly adorable puppy that will grow into a beautiful dog that “looks like a fox”), because as any Shiba owner will tell you, they are anything but average and they will always keep you on your toes ( :

    Reply
  68. Stephanie

    My older sister has a Shiba who is very independant. We give our dogs table scraps (I know it’s not good for them but we can’t help it, and they seem none the worse for it) and when Kirra would take the food from you, she would curl her lips up and try not to touch your fingers. And if you try to pet her, she will lay down and roll over, so you have no choice but to rub her belly. When my sister moved to Kansas to go to vet school, she took Kirra with her and we were lonely. So I did some research – I wanted a yellow lab, but my dad was too allergic to them. So then I wanted a corgi, but my mom thought it would bark too much. So then I decided I wanted a Basenji. They’re like shiba’s (Independant, snooty, and very intelligent. They yodel and scream too) but have much much thinner coats. They also, apparently, don’t like rain much (a definite problem, since it rains a lot where we live). But we had found a breeder a few hours away and called to see if we could meet some of her dogs. She never called back, or answered our emails though. So I decided on a Shiba. I had only ever had Shiba’s my whole life and had wanted a change. But I got my wonderful, smart, destructive (when bored), snooty, playfull, sesame colored, bed-hog Hachi. He is one and a half years old and super cute. His best friend is a great dane who destroys everything. Even though Hachi weighs less than a quarter of Macklin (the dane), He has never been afraid of him. They play fight all the time, and Hachi usually wins, but that’s mostly because Macklin is a big baby. When they fight Hachi makes the most pitifull noises ever, we call it his battle cry. Hachi is very protective of his toys; his favorites are his many wiffle balls he’s collected. Hachi was in love with Kirra, the moment he met her. When my sister came home for Christmas last year, we gave Hachi a small piece of bacon (his favorite) and he set it aside untill Kirra got up. He then gave her the bacon. She on the other, almost constantly snarl’s at him. But I love them both, so much.

    Reply
  69. Theresa

    I have 4 female Shiba’s . Two of them are 4yrs old , one is 3 yrs old and a couple months ago added a puppy to the mix. I free feed and free water , which is challenging in the beginning , but , with a lot of training and patients they all handle it very respectfully . Some will eat together and others choose to wait patiently for others to finish. The new puppy was a bit of a challenge with learning respect for food , but with the help from the other girls she has learned to wait her turn. They are absolutely quirky , and a bit head strong, and they are 100% sure you work for them . Shiba’s really require an owner who will be able to take the time to train them non stop until they learn their place ( and even after that) . Out of my four there is one that can be trusted off leash , her desire to be with her people is a much stronger drive then her desire to hunt , she would prefer to sit on my lap all day if she could. It is such a loyal breed. I feel bad because I feel like the Shiba’s get a bad rap, they are a very different breed and with their beautiful foxy look comes a lot of work . It is so worth it though, they are funny and smart and stuck up and sometimes jerks lol, but very loving , loyal, fun , silly , sweet and honestly the best breed I’ve ever had . ❤️

    Reply
  70. Chris

    I gotta say I cracked up most of the time reading this article because I have a shiba and he does many of the things you listed. He’s such a goofball and he makes me laugh every single day. If you’re on instagram you can see him @sleepyshiba. Laziest dog i’ve ever met. Have to literally pull him out from under the bed to take him out for walks, and he also freaks out in the vet and the car. Ohhhhhh shibas.

    Reply
  71. Melissa

    I enjoyed reading your article – I am always amazed at how alike and how different Shibas can be.. Your picture looks just like my Toshiro! He was 16 years and 8 months when we had to put him down. His arthritus was so bad he couldn’t enjoy a walk further than the end of the driveway. I had him from 5 weeks old! What a challenge. I was teaching middle school when I got him, so I thought I was up for the challenge. That first year, I often brought him to school with me. The students loved him and if it got to be too much, he would go in his crate. He used similar hiding tactics when neices and nephews visited and when we had our own kids too.

    When he was 4 we moved to Finland. That first winter, he wanted to be outside ALL the time. Even sub zero temperatures. I was always afraid he’d end up a dogcicle. I had bought him a doghouse before, but he never used it. He figured out how to make a snow cave and would curl up with his tail over his nose so only that thick coat was exposed. On at least one morning, I thought he’d gotten loose, but I followed the rope and found him as happy as could be under the snow. I can tell you he had the thickest most luxurious coat ever in the winter. Not a hair was lost, but come summer, it looked awful and there was hair everywhere.

    We have a cabin in the middle of a forest. For 9 years we let him loose as soon as we were on the lot. He loved his freedom. We rarely knew where he was, but we knew he was always guarding us and protecting us. He didn’t always come when called, but when we started the car up, he’d be there in seconds, ready for his ride. Or, the instant a neighbor would show up, he’d be right there sounding the alarm. He did run off once, when he was 13. Some moose hunters were on the property hunting and somebody fired a gun. He got spooked and disappeared, or so we guess. Many neighbors told us of a small, red, angry dog on the loose. We found him before going back home a day later. He was happy to be back home. After that we kept him on leash at the cabin too. When he got older, he wanted to be inside more, but even at age 15.5, he was running several miles a day! Healthy, yes. Best dog ever. Best breed ever.

    Reply
  72. Christina

    Hi,

    I enjoyed reading your ten things you should know about Shiba Inus. I have had three Shiba Inus but currently own a Siberian Husky cross at the moment. One thing I was surprised not to see was that Shiba are escape artists. My very first Shiba (female) could escape from just about anywhere. I can’t tell you how stressful that can be, especially after giving birth to my second child and running around the neighbourhood trying to catch her screaming at cats. I also truly believe that this breed is not for everyone and that anyone wanting one really needs to read all the info about Shiba as they can. They are beautiful and can be so very loyal but also more work than a lot of breeds out there.
    I too would get comments about our dogs being foxes lol. Plus their scream… I have never quite heard anything like that before.
    My second Shiba Inu will always be my favourite dog. I have never had a closer bond with any animal quite like I did with him. He was my pal and I still miss him though it’s been seven years. Shibas will always have a special place in my heart.
    Thanks for the read, your dog is a beauty.

    Christina

    Reply

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