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Shiba Inu:Characteristics, Grooming, Health, Training (Shiba)

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About Shiba Inu

Country of Origin, History of Shiba Inus

The Shiba Inu is the smallest, and possibly the oldest, of the Japanese breeds. This alert and agile dog with keen senses was developed for hunting by both sight and scent in the dense undergrowth (brushwood) of Japan’s mountainous areas. ‘Shiba’ means ‘brushwood’ and it means ‘small.’ The word ‘Inu’ means ‘dog.’ They have become the number one companion dog in Japan.

This is a breed where the male looks very masculine and the female looks very feminine.

Shiba Inu Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Shiba Inu the right breed for you?

Is the Shiba Inu the right breed for you and your family?

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Check Your Shiba Inu's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Shiba Inu's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Shiba Inu training methods.

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Shiba Inu Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Shiba Inu needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Shiba Inu Calorie Calculator.

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A General Appearance of the Dog

The Shiba Inu can easily be mistaken for a fox if seen on the run, but his thick, powerful tail curls up over his back in a sickle or curled position. This small Japanese dog has somewhat deep-set, dark eyes which are rather triangular in shape and slant upward toward the ears. The eye rims are black. The Shiba Inu’s ears are triangular, small for his head and body, and pricked with a forward slant. His facial expression is good-natured with a strong and confident gaze. His back is straight and level to the ground. And his legs are thin but strong.

Coat Color

Urajiro, a creamy white color, is required in the following areas on all coat colors: on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the underjaw and upper throat inside of legs, on the abdomen, around the vent and the underside of the tail. On reds, it is commonly found on the throat, forechest, and chest. On blacks and sesames, it is commonly found as a triangular mark on both sides of the forechest. White spots above the eyes are permitted on all colors but not required.


Shiba Inus have intense, clear red - White markings restricted to eye spots, cheeks, under jaw, forechest, underparts and underside of tail and legs. No white marks should be present above elbows or hock.

Another coat color can be Sesame red - Red with an even overlay of black guard hairs; black to be not less than 25%, or more than 50% of normal red area. White markings in Red and Red Sesame restricted to eye spots, cheeks, under jaw, forechest, underparts, and underside of tail and legs. No white above elbows or hock. The white marking on the forechest resembling the shape of a bow-tie. Colour Eye spots in Red Sesame may be tan.

Another variety has Black and Tan coat with dull black with a bronze cast. Tan markings restricted to eye spots, cheeks, inside of ears, legs and tail. White markings as in Red and Red Sesame. Tan markings only occur between black and white areas.

One more variety is seen - which is mostly white - White coat with red or grey tinges. They have a White undercoat.

Coat Type

The Shiba Inu is double-coated with the outer coat being stiff and straight and the undercoat soft and thick. Fur is short and even on face, ears, and legs. Guard hairs standing off the body are about 1½ to 2 inches in length at the withers. Tail hair is slightly longer and stands open in a brush.


Males: 14.5 to 16.5 inches
Females: 13.5 to 15.5 inches


Males: 20 – 30 lbs; ideally about 23 lbs
Females: 18 – 28 lbs; ideally about 17 lbs

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Shiba Inu Personality Traits

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The Spanish Water Dog is an extremely intelligent, fearless, ever-active, strong, attentive, happy and well balanced versatile working dog with strong herding, hunting and guardian instincts. It is a devoted companion. It is reserved, not shy, with strangers. They can be protective and territorial.

Are they suited to families with kids?

Most of them are good with children and other animals if properly socialized.

Shiba Inu Activity Level

How Active is the Breed?

He is moderately active indoors. He likes running in a securely fenced yard, but can live in an apartment if walked sufficiently and given opportunity to play in a fenced area. He can walk for hours on end with his great endurance.

How Much Exercise Does the Dog Need at every stage of its Life?

Puppies need more exercise than adults. Trips to a fenced dog park a couple of times a week will be necessary if you do not have a fenced yard. Indoor play and walks help keep him exercised throughout life.


Once a week brushing is necessary year-round. He is a seasonally heavy shedder.

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Free Shiba Inu Training Secrets

Free Course on Shiba Inu Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Health and Care

He is generally healthy but beware that some lines have hip dysplasia, eye problems, or patella luxation.

Life Span: 12 – 15 years

National Breed Clubs

National Breed Clubs

British – Japanese Shiba Inu Club of Great Britain
US – National Shiba Club of America –

Other Recognition: CKC, FCI, AKC, KCGB, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR

Rescue Link:

Group: Non-Sporting Group, KCGB Utility Group.

AKC Popularity Ranking: 44

Also Known As: Japanese Shiba Inu; Shiba Dog

Train Your Shiba Inu To Listen To You

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  • How to lead and think like a pack dog - the new psychology.

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Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers Shiba information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, Shibas have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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Our Dog Experts

The Shiba Inu training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

Here are a few of our experts:

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