Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is the smallest of Japan’s native dogs and for centuries was a hardy, capable hunter in the mountainous terrain of that island. Although World War II almost caused the breed to become extinct, dogs from many remote communities were added to a breeding program, which eventually created the breed as it is known today.

The Shiba Inu stands 13.5 to 16.5 inches tall and weighs 15 to 28 pounds. The breed is spitz-like in appearance, with a foxy face, dark eyes, and upright ears. The body is slightly longer than tall, and the tail is long and carried over the back. The dog has a soft, dense undercoat. The outer coat is fine and can be fawn, brindle, or brindle and white.

Breed Overview

  • Temperament: Charming, Fearless, Keen, Alert, Confident, Faithful
  • Height: 14-17 (male), 13-16
  • Weight: 18 – 24
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Drive: Hunting
  • Group: Non-sporting


This breed needs twice weekly brushing for most of the year. However, in the spring and fall when shedding is at its worst, daily brushing might be needed.

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Although Shibas are not a high-activity breed, they do enjoy long, brisk, daily walks. The walks are also great socialization opportunities, which Shibas need, as they can be watchful and wary of strangers. This breed is also playful, and if you don’t play with them, they will find ways to amuse themselves. Puppies can be destructive.


Training, to a Shiba, means the dog’s ability to train her owner, something this breed is very good at. However, it is important that Shiba owners establish some control, so training should begin when the dog is young and continue through young adulthood. Training should be structured yet fun. Training a Shiba has been compared to training a cat; patience and good motivators are the keys to success.


The Shiba Inu may be too much for a first-time pet owner, although many cat owners think a Shiba is an excellent choice for their first dog. The Shiba is great with children who treat her gently and with respect; she will not tolerate rough handling. She may also be dog-aggressive.

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Health concerns include: eye defects, luxating patellas, and allergies.

Non-sporting Group Summary

Dogs in this group do not share any mutual characteristic and simply do not fit into the other groups so they’re quite diverse. Therefore, the personality and appearance features of the dogs in this group are not similar.

Behavior & Training

Dog Ownership