Variety of colors- red, or red with a little black overlay, or black with tan markings being the most common. In general, the dog should have white or cream-colored markings on the cheeks and sides of the muzzle, throat, underside and chest.
14 inches - 16 inches
20 lbs - 30 lbs
13 inches - 15 inches
19 lbs - 28 lbs
The Shiba is a hearty dog for its size and will do well in many different circumstances and settings. It is well suited for apartment living as long as it gets the exercise that it needs out of doors. Because of it quiet nature, many apartments allow this type of animal. Another benefit is that the breed is very clean and is easy to housebreak. They are not an excitable breed by nature but they will alert the owner if someone comes to the home. While the Shiba will do well in small quarters it is always better if it has a large area to exerciser and play in, such as a back yard. The animal will often play and run by itself when it has the room to do so. This breed loves to be a part of the family so it will play with just about anyone who plays with it.
This breed is not a good choice if it is planned to have it live outside. It does much better living inside the home with the family and may become despondent and unhappy if left outdoors for long periods of time. If left outdoors for any amount of time, it should be kept in a fenced yard. This animal may run off if something interests it.
It can live happily in both hot and cold climates.
Some people have confused the Shiba with the Akita. There is a reason for that: they are very similar in appearance. The Shiba is a small, compact, very agile breed that looks (and is) very furry.
The Shiba has a distinctive pointed face. It has a broad forehead and triangular ears that will prick up when the animal is alerted to noise. The eyes are small and dark but they are very alert to anything around them.
This breed has a scissors bite that is not too pronounced. The nose is dark and is usually a shade of reddish brown.
The tail for the Shiba Inu is thick and strong and will curl over the back and is carried either in a ring or with a sickle curve.
Of particular importance to some owners, the Shiba Inu is a very proportionate dog with a height to length ratio of 10 to 11. For the most part, it is a medium boned, somewhat compact animal. It is very well-muscled dog and this shows in its gair and in its run.
The Shiba has a dense double coat similar to that of a husky. Although all colors are acceptable in the Shiba standard, red, red sesame (sable) and black and tan are the more preferred colors.
White and cream shadings are usually present on the legs, belly, chest and part of the face and tail.
The Shiba has a double coat that is very plush and soft. The coat contains essential oils that help protect the animal so the animal should not be bathed any more than necessary
The Shiba have a long and interesting history. Shibas were originally bred to flush birds and small game. The breed was brought to Japan from China nearly two thousand year ago. The Shiba is the smallest of the six distinct breeds that were bred from the original dogs that were probably Chow Chow. It is interesting to note that some of the original six are now extinct.
While they were first used for hunting, they are now primarily kept as pets, both in Japan and the United States. It is interesting to note that there are more Shibas in Japan than any other breed.
In the 7th century AD, the Yamato Court established a dog keeper's office that was charged with maintaining the Japanese native breeds as an integral part of Japanese culture. This was a good idea that did not work. Even though the country was closed to foreigners from the 17th through 18th centuries, some European dogs were imported and bred with native dogs living in the more populated areas. Dogs in the countryside, however, remained relatively pure.
There were originally three main varieties of Shiba and each was named for its region of origin. It is because of these regional differences that we have the various breeds known today.
The Shiba are usually very alert and very intelligent dogs. They can be very independent when they wish to be and this may cause the owner some grief, especially during training periods.
The Shiba can also be aloof with strangers and with other animals that may be a part of the family. One of the best ways to increase the socialization of this breed is to train early. But even with training, this breed can be a handful.
It should be noted that this animal can be very spirited when it wants to be. Owners should know and understand that dog aggression is a part of this animal's personality. This fiery aspect of the Shiba nature should not be taken lightly.
When treated properly the dog is independent but affectionate and loving. It is also brave and clean. The Shiba is agile, fast and playful.
For the most part they bark very little and bond closely with their owner. They are often good with children in the home and make good companions for the whole family.
When they are socialized early (as a puppy) they do well with other dogs and cats. However, owners should not trust this breed around other small pets such as rabbits and birds.
Like all breeds of this size, the Shiba can have Health issues. Most of these problems can be avoided with proper nutrition, hygiene, and regular visits to the vet.
The Shibas can have some hereditary defects, for which all reputable breeders screen their Breeding stock. patellar luxation will sometimes appear in Shibas. This ailment causes loose kneecaps and is usually not severe enough to be detrimental to a pet. An experienced veterinarian can detect this condition early on.
Moderate to severe patellar luxation can easily be corrected by surgery and the dog will lead a normal, healthy life.
Another health issue is hip dysplasia. It is not as serious in the Shiba as it is in large breeds of dogs but it can occur.
Something that many new owners do not know is that the Shiba can be prone to Allergies. If you suspect Allergies, you should take the animal to the vet as soon as possible as the symptoms can range from mild to very severe.
The Shiba may also suffer from Glaucoma. This can be detected early on through regular visits to the vet. As with many dogs, eye problems can present problems and owners are encouraged to have their dogs eyes checked regularly. These eye test are now easy to conduct and are worth the small added costs.
Another eye issue that all dog owners need to be aware of is PRA, Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is an genetic disorder which makes prevention of the disease something of an issue. Research is being done on this issue ever now.
For those interested, much more information on the possible ailments that can be present in this size of animal can be found online or through your vet.
The Shiba Inu has a clean, coarse, coat that is usually stiff and short. The coat is very easy to groom. It is a good idea to brush the coat with a firm bristle brush to remove any dead hair.
This breed should only be bathed when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. Owners should know that this breed is a seasonally heavy shedder and be prepared for it.
Owners should also tend to the other needs of the animal. Some of these include:
The teeth need to be kept clean as well. If the owner is not able to perform this grooming task, a pet salon should be used. Proper dental care is extremely important as it helps your pet to keep its teeth for as long as possible.
For general cleaning of the ears, you can use baby oil and a cotton ball. Take special care to not go too far into the ear as you could damage the ear drum. It is best to gently wipe around the outer ear and remove any debris that you may find.
Should you notice your dog is scratching its ears more often than usual or shaking its head vigorously, you should take the dog to the vet as this may be an indication of ear infection.
You should trim the nails once a week or so to prevent overgrowth. This is very easy to do. You will need a pair of animal nail clippers that can be found in most pet stores. Only trim the top portion of the nail and do not over cut into the nail.
The hair between the pads of the feet should be trimmed when it becomes long.
The Shiba Inu is a low to medium level breed for exercise. What this means is that it is very undemanding and will adapt to your circumstances. The animal is an active dog and will often find ways to exercise itself, which can be very beneficial to older owners who may not be able to walk the dog as often as they would like.
When allowed to walk, it should be on a leash. This breed will take off on you at times. It should also be noted that this dog can walk for miles without complaining. The Shiba has a very high endurance level.
The Shiba is a trainable breed but it should be kept in mind that they are also a very independent type of dog. They are best trained when the training begins early. This is important especially if the home has children or other animals in the house.
One of the issues that owner's need to train the dog on concerns the Shiba's instinct to be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Neutering the dog will go a long way in taming this instinct but it will not completely remove it. For those Shiba's that are no neutered, owners must be on alert when the Shiba is in close proximity to other dogs.
Because the breed is very alert and very intelligent they are easy to train and easy to learn new things. This does not mean that they will be eager to obey at all time, but many owners find that independence to one of the charms of the breed.
This breed will do well in families with children if obedience training is conducted early on. Once they are trained, the Shiba can become very loyal and dedicated to the owner and the family.
Most of the training can be performed by the owner if desired. Professionals are also available for training. Because these dogs are very clean by nature, housebreaking them is easy.