This Breed Originated in Japan
The Shiba Inu in Japanese means "brushwood" and "small," referring to a type of tree found in Japan whose leaves turn to a red coloring in the fall. It is believed that the name came from this tree because the most common color of a Shiba is red, and their size is small. Inu means "dog." This breed was bred to hunt small game, like birds and rabbits. They still remain one of the most popular breeds in Japan.
The breed is a "young breed" in the United States. Records show that the first litter was bred and born in 1979.
Looking for Cat-Like Characteristics in a Dog?
They are often referred to being "cat-like", as they are a fastidious in their grooming practices. The Shiba will spend time licking and grooming themselves, like a cat. Although they are a very clean pet, they love to splash and play in water. Their coat is perfect for this type of play as it is waterproof, protecting them in cold and hot weather.
The Shiba prefers to sit in high places, like the back of a couch, and will tend to be a very dignified breed, with an attitude of "I am better then you." Due to this type of personality trait in the Shiba, they require an assertive leader. Passive personality's need not apply for this breed.
Shiba Inu's Require a Daily Walk - No Exceptions!
Shiba's can have serious behavioral issues if not trained and socialized properly as a puppy. They are a HIGH energy dog that requires a daily walk to help prevent many unwanted behaviors, such as: jumping, barking (which they are known for a high-pitch scream, when not getting their way), nipping, bullying other dogs, or chasing small animals.
Shiba's have an incredible amount of stamina. They are happiest when given a daily walk, and would be happy to go several times a day. Another fantastic option for this breed is Doggy Daycare. Non-stop playing, and interacting with other dogs is perfect for the Shiba to burn off energy, and have continual healthy building blocks with the dog-to-dog interaction that Doggy Daycare provides.
The Shiba is easily trainable, but they need a strong-personality to show them the way. Otherwise, the Shiba Inu will be happy to be in charge, and for a dog, that is typically in all the wrong ways.
I've had the pleasure of working with two Shiba Inu's. Their pet-parent's signed up for puppy obedience training classes with me. Basil and Clyde are well on their way to being well-behaved Shiba's. Their pet-parents are doing a fabulous job with their pups. Basil attends regular Doggy Daycare, and Clyde is learning that nipping isn't getting him the attention he demands.
Do you have Other Small Pets and Children in the Household?
This breed is not a good choice for that type of living situation. They do not tolerate rough handling, an overly active household with young children, and will be happy to torment a cat or other small animals.
If it is decided that this breed is your choice and you have small pets and children, it is highly recommended early puppy obedience, and proper, gentle socialization is done. If this is done correctly, a Shiba can happily live within this type of household.
Potty-training is a Breeze for this Breed!
This breed is typically very easy to potty-train. They are a very smart dog, and learn quickly what is expected of them.
This is a huge turn-on for many potential pet-parents considering this breed. As a dog trainer, I promote crate training to assist with the potty training. It is quick, and easy.
TRAINER TIP: Here is how you use a crate: put puppy in crate, this is teaching a puppy to "hold" it. Puppy's like a clean space, so when confined in their crate, they don't want to make a mess in it. Every time you take your puppy out of the crate, take them outside to relieve themselves, give them a treat for pottying outside, and lots and lots of verbal praise! Then they have earned a little playtime after the potty break. This helps to prevent accidents within the house. For more helpful tips on potty training read my blog at: potty-training.
Shiba Inu Requirements
Living in an apartment is fine for the Shiba if properly exercised every day. Although they would LOVE to have a fenced-in yard, it is not necessary for this breed, a daily walk is what they prefer. Be cautious when training your Shiba Inu to be off-leash, they will not hesitate to give chase to a squirrel, or rabbit.
They will also require a daily brushing to help keep their beautiful coat looking luxurious. They are a heavy seasonal shedder, so many allergy sufferers will not be able to tolerate this breed. Do NOT shave the Shiba in the summer time, as their coat is part of their cooling system.
The Shiba enjoys being around their human family. So confining them to a backyard, will make for a very unhappy Shiba Inu.
Their average life span is 12-15 years.
As you begin looking for a Shiba Inu, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
A "cat-like" personality, loves going for walks, and potty training comes easy to this breed. Does the Shiba Inu sound like a good fit for your family?