Shiba Inu Breed Characteristics & Traits

The Shiba Inu is an ancient Japanese dog breed. He’s not very well known outside of Europe. One would almost like to say, because the beautifully proportioned, bright dog, which looks a bit like a plush dog, is simply very pretty and has a wonderful personality. However, he is one of the primal dogs and is not always as easy to handle as his appearance would have us believe.

History & Origin

Some researchers believe that dogs similar to today’s Shiba Inu existed in Japan 8,000 years ago. What is certain is that the breed is very, very old. Her name simply means “little dog”. However, in the mid-19th to early 20th century, the Shiba as a breed almost became extinct because they interbred with Pointers and Stetters imported from Europe. Fortunately, however, it was possible to continue breeding a few purebred Shiba and thus save the breed from extinction.

Numbers, Data, Facts

  • Country of origin: Japan
  • Life expectancy: 12 – 15 years
  • Weight males: 10-13 kg
  • Bitch weight: 9-12 kg
  • Males: 38.5 – 41.5 cm
  • Bitches: 35.5 – 38.5 cm


The Shiba Inu used to be used for hunting, because of its small size it was mainly used for small game and birds. But he was also a good watchdog. Today he is mainly a family dog ​​and a show dog. In Japan, the Shiba is one of the most popular dog breeds, relatively little known outside of its homeland. But there are also important breeds in Europe and the USA. The animals bred here are usually slightly larger and stronger than the Japanese Shiba Inu. Research assumes that the Shiba, like the Akita and Kishu, have special genetic proximity to the wolves.

Classification, breed standard & breed standard

  • FCI Standard No. 257
  • Group 5: Spitz and primitive type dogs
  • Section 5: Asian Spitz and Related Breeds
  • Without work test

The Character & The Essence

By nature, the Shiba is an intrepid, very intelligent, and lively but also a stubborn dog. Like most Spitz-type dogs, he can be quite stubborn at times when asked to do something he doesn’t want. On the other hand, he is also a very friendly dog ​​who clearly shows his likes and dislikes. He has a hard time accepting people he doesn’t like. His nerves are very robust, noise, thunderstorms, and even gunshots don’t bother him, most Shiba just find it difficult to stay alone. They always want to have “their pack” with them.

Dealing with family & children

Of course, a Shiba can live with families with children. However, he needs to be brought up. The same goes for children because they need to know the signals their dog is sending out. Like all other dogs, the Shiba also needs a place and retreat where it will not be disturbed and at times when it is quiet and does not want to be busy. He is also not a toy, but a sentient being that must be taken into account.

In dealing with strangers

The Shiba Inu is a very good watchdog but is reserved towards strangers but not aggressive. He barks very little and has a good nose for real threats, while completely ignoring just passing people.

When dealing with other dogs

Other dogs are often ignored as well. However, the adult Shiba does not generally have much sympathy for strange dogs, nor does he show excessive respect for larger dogs. Smaller ones are quickly put in their place if you let them.

When dealing with other pets

With other pets, the Shiba is a thing. Many of them don’t get along well with cats, at least not with strangers. They also like to be hunted. The clever Shiba learns to tolerate the animals living in the household, but they must not be too cheeky or cheeky. It is also important to get the animals used to one another as early as possible (while still being puppies).

Urge to move

The Shiba is a very robust and resilient dog. He loves to go for walks, even though bad weather doesn’t bother him. He also likes to go jogging and cycling and doesn’t tire that easily, even over long distances. He loves looking for prey and likes to dig in the ground. On the other hand, this dog does not seem to have much interest and patience for the usual dog sports and also for retrieving.

The hunting instinct

Because the Shiba Inu has always been a hunting dog in its history, its hunting drive is significant, which means that most specimens are not easy to leash. However, there are dogs of this breed that don’t run away if something catches their eye or nose. Therefore, retrievability should be extensively trained and tested in practice. It is good if the dog has a fenced garden at its disposal, which at least partially replaces the lack of free space. However, interested parties should also know that the Shiba Inu is true escape king. They can scale very high fences, open latches, gnaw leashes, or slip out of collars when adventure beckons. But the breed can also be kept in the apartment if you plan enough walks.

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