A Comprehensive Guide to Shiba Inu Care (Beginner Friendly)

Taking care of a Shiba Inu can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it also requires a lot of time and effort. These dogs are known for their independent nature and strong-willed personalities, so it’s important to establish yourself as the pack leader from the very beginning.

smiling shiba inu puppy

About Shiba Inus

Shiba Inus are a Japanese dog breed that has become increasingly popular in recent years. They are known for their small size, fox-like appearance, and independent personalities. If you are considering getting a Shiba Inu, it’s important to understand their unique characteristics and needs.


Shiba Inus are a small to medium-sized breed, typically weighing between 17-23 pounds and standing 13-17 inches tall. They have a thick double coat that comes in a variety of colors, including red, black and tan, and sesame. Their ears are triangular and stand erect, and their tails curl over their backs.


Shiba Inus are known for their independent and stubborn personalities. They are not always eager to please their owners and can be difficult to train. However, they are also incredibly loyal and affectionate with their families. They can be wary of strangers and other dogs, so early socialization is important.


Shiba Inus require regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are an active breed and enjoy going for walks and playing games. They also need a balanced diet and regular grooming to maintain their thick coats. Keeping them on a leash or in a securely fenced area is important, as they are prone to chasing after small animals.

Shiba Inu Personality

Shiba Inus are known for their unique personalities that can be both charming and challenging. Here are some key traits to keep in mind when taking care of a Shiba Inu:

  • Independent: Shiba Inus are independent dogs that like to do things on their own terms. They are not the type of dog that will constantly seek attention or affection from their owners. However, they still enjoy spending time with their owners and can be quite loyal.
  • Stubborn: Shiba Inus are known for their stubbornness. They can be difficult to train, especially if they don’t see the point in what you’re trying to teach them. It’s important to be patient and consistent when training a Shiba Inu.
  • Assertive: Shiba Inus are naturally assertive dogs. They will not back down from a challenge and may even try to dominate other dogs or people. It’s important to establish yourself as the pack leader early on and to socialize your Shiba Inu with other dogs and people.
  • Curious: Shiba Inus are curious dogs that love to explore their surroundings. They have a strong prey drive and may chase after small animals, so keeping them on a leash or in a secure area is important.
  • Clean: Shiba Inus are clean dogs that like to groom themselves. They rarely need to be bathed and do not have a strong odor. However, they shed heavily twice a year and must be brushed regularly.

Shiba Inu Training Needs

If you’re considering getting a Shiba Inu, it’s important to understand their training needs. Shiba Inus are intelligent dogs, but they can be stubborn and independent, making training challenging. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to training your Shiba Inu.

How Do You Discipline A Shiba Inu?

Disciplining a Shiba Inu can be a bit tricky. Shiba Inus are sensitive dogs and don’t respond well to harsh or physical discipline. Instead, it’s important to use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. Here are a few tips for disciplining your Shiba Inu:

  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Shiba Inu with treats, praise, and affection when they exhibit good behavior. This will help reinforce the behavior and encourage them to repeat it.
  • Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to training your Shiba Inu. Make sure everyone in your household is on the same page when it comes to rules and expectations.
  • Redirect bad behavior: If your Shiba Inu is exhibiting bad behavior, redirect their attention to something else. For example, if they’re chewing on a shoe, give them a toy to chew on instead.

How Do I Train My Shiba Inu to Pee Outside?

House training a Shiba Inu can be a bit of a challenge, but with consistency and patience, it’s definitely doable. Here are a few tips for training your Shiba Inu to pee outside:

  • Establish a routine: Take your Shiba Inu outside first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime. This will help establish a routine and make it easier for them to learn when it’s time to go outside.
  • Use positive reinforcement: When your Shiba Inu pees outside, reward them with treats, praise, and affection. This will help reinforce the behavior and encourage them to continue peeing outside.
  • Be patient: House training can take time, so be patient with your Shiba Inu. If they have an accident inside, don’t punish them. Instead, clean it up and continue with the training process.

Remember, training a Shiba Inu takes time and patience. You can help your Shiba Inu become a well-behaved and obedient companion with consistency and positive reinforcement.

Healthy Lifestyles For Shiba Inus

Is a Shiba Inu Hypoallergenic?

Shiba Inus are not hypoallergenic dogs. They have a thick double coat that sheds heavily twice a year, which can cause allergies in some people. If you or someone in your household has allergies, it’s important to consider this before getting a Shiba Inu as a pet. However, regular grooming and bathing can help reduce shedding and minimize the risk of allergies.

How Long Do Shiba Dogs Live For?

Shiba Inus have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, on average. However, this can vary depending on factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, and overall health. To help your Shiba Inu live a long and healthy life, providing them with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care is important. You should also be aware of common health issues that can affect Shiba Inus, such as hip dysplasia, allergies, and eye problems.

In addition to proper nutrition and exercise, it’s important to create a healthy lifestyle for your Shiba Inu by providing them with mental and physical stimulation. Shiba Inus are intelligent and active dogs that require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. You can provide this by taking your Shiba Inu for daily walks, playing games with them, and providing them with puzzle toys and other interactive toys.

Exercise Needs

Shiba Inus are an active breed that requires daily exercise to maintain health and happiness. In this section, we’ll discuss the exercise needs of a Shiba Inu and how to meet them.

How much exercise does a Shiba Inu need?

A Shiba Inu typically needs at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This can be broken up into multiple daily walks or play sessions. However, the amount of exercise your Shiba Inu needs may vary based on their age, health, and activity level.

What types of exercise are best for a Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inus are a high-energy breed that enjoy a variety of activities. Some great ways to exercise your Shiba Inu include:

  • Daily walks: Taking your Shiba Inu for a walk is a great way to provide them with exercise and mental stimulation. Aim for at least two walks per day, each lasting around 15 minutes.
  • Playtime: Shiba Inus love to play and can benefit from interactive toys such as puzzle feeders, chew toys, and balls. Playing fetch or tug-of-war can also be great ways to exercise your Shiba Inu.
  • Hiking: If you live near a hiking trail, taking your Shiba Inu on a hike can be a great way to provide them with exercise and adventure.

Tips for exercising your Shiba Inu

When exercising your Shiba Inu, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Start slow: If your Shiba Inu is not used to regular exercise, start slow and gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of their workouts.
  • Be consistent: Make sure to exercise your Shiba Inu every day, even on weekends and holidays.
  • Pay attention to the weather: Shiba Inus are sensitive to heat and should not be exercised in extreme temperatures. During hot weather, exercise your Shiba Inu early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler.

By providing your Shiba Inu with regular exercise, you can help them maintain their health and happiness.

Grooming And Bathing Requirements

Shiba Inus are known for their clean and fastidious nature and don’t require frequent baths. In fact, over-bathing can strip their skin of natural oils and cause dryness and irritation. Generally, you should bathe your Shiba Inu every 3-4 months or as needed.

However, Shiba Inus shed heavily twice a year, during spring and fall. You may want to bathe them more frequently to help remove loose fur and keep their coat healthy during these times.

When bathing your Shiba Inu, use a mild dog shampoo and avoid getting water in their ears. Rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue which can cause itching and skin irritation.

Aside from bathing, regular grooming is also important to keep your Shiba Inu’s coat healthy and shiny. Brush their coat at least once a week to remove loose fur and prevent matting. Use a slicker brush or a shedding tool to remove dead fur, and finish with a bristle brush to distribute natural oils and give their coat a healthy shine.

In addition to brushing, you should also trim their nails every 4-6 weeks to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. Use a dog-specific nail clipper and avoid cutting too close to the quick, which can cause bleeding and pain. If you’re unsure about how to trim their nails, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian for guidance.

Common Shiba Inu Health Problems

Shiba Inus are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health issues. Here are some common health problems you should be aware of if you own a Shiba Inu.


Shiba Inus are prone to allergies, which can cause skin irritation, itching, and other symptoms. Common allergens include dust, pollen, and certain foods. If you notice your Shiba Inu scratching excessively or developing skin rashes, take them to the vet to determine the cause of the problem.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that affects many dog breeds, including Shiba Inus. It occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and other joint problems. Symptoms include limping, difficulty getting up, and reluctance to exercise. If you suspect your Shiba Inu has hip dysplasia, consult with your vet to determine the best course of treatment.

Eye Problems

Shiba Inus are prone to several eye problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy. These conditions can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. Regular eye exams are important for catching these problems early and preventing further damage.

Dental Issues

Shiba Inus are also prone to dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay. Regular dental cleanings and checkups can help prevent these issues and keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition in which the kneecap slides in and out of place, causing pain and difficulty walking. Shiba Inus are prone to this condition, which is often genetic. Surgery may be necessary to correct severe cases of patellar luxation.

Remember to schedule regular checkups with your vet to keep your Shiba Inu healthy and catch any potential health problems early.

Food And Nutrition For Shiba Inus

What Food Should I Feed My Shiba Inu?

Feeding your Shiba Inu a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and well-being. As a responsible pet owner, providing your dog with high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs is important.

When choosing a food for your Shiba Inu, look for a brand that uses high-quality ingredients and meets the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Shiba Inus have a sensitive digestive system, so choosing a food that is easily digestible is important.

You can choose between dry kibble, wet food, or a combination of both. Dry kibble is convenient and can help keep your dog’s teeth clean, while wet food can provide additional moisture and flavor. Some Shiba Inus may have specific dietary needs, so it is important to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to their diet.

When choosing a food, it is also important to consider your Shiba Inu’s age, activity level, and weight. Puppies and senior dogs have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and active dogs may require more protein and calories than sedentary dogs.

In addition to providing your Shiba Inu with a balanced diet, make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water at all times. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, so it is important to monitor your dog’s water intake and provide them with clean water on a regular basis.

Proper nutrition is essential for your Shiba Inu’s health and happiness. By choosing a high-quality food and monitoring their intake, you can help ensure your dog stays healthy and happy for years.

Fun Facts About Shiba Inus

Shiba Inus are fascinating dogs with a rich history and unique characteristics. Here are some fun facts about these adorable pups:

  • Shiba Inus are the smallest of the six native Japanese dog breeds. They were originally bred for hunting small game in the mountainous regions of Japan. Despite their small size, they are known for their bravery and tenacity.
  • Shiba Inus have a distinctive scream-like bark called the “Shiba scream.” This high-pitched bark is often used when they are excited, scared, or want attention. It can be quite startling at first, but it’s just one of the many quirks that make Shiba Inus so lovable.
  • Shiba Inus are incredibly clean dogs. They are known for their fastidious grooming habits and will often clean themselves like cats. They also have a natural aversion to soiling their living spaces, which makes them relatively easy to house train.
  • Shiba Inus are independent and stubborn. They were bred to work independently, which means they can be difficult to train. They are also known for their stubborn streaks, which can make them challenging pets for inexperienced owners.
  • Shiba Inus have a unique coat that comes in a variety of colors. Their double coat is thick and plush, with a soft undercoat and a stiff outer coat. They come in a range of colors, including red, black and tan, sesame, and cream.

How Are Shiba Inus Like Cats?

Shiba Inus are often referred to as “cat-like” dogs due to their independent nature and fastidious grooming habits. Here are some ways in which Shiba Inus are similar to cats:

  • Grooming: Shiba Inus are known for their fastidious grooming habits, often licking their paws and fur like cats. They have a thick double coat that sheds heavily twice a year, so regular brushing is necessary to prevent matting and hairballs.
  • Independence: Shiba Inus are independent thinkers and may not always follow commands like other dog breeds. They are known for being aloof and may prefer to spend time alone rather than cuddling with their owners.
  • Cleanliness: Like cats, Shiba Inus are known for being clean animals. They are often compared to felines due to their fastidious grooming habits and dislike of getting dirty.
  • Playfulness: While Shiba Inus may be independent, they are also playful and energetic. They enjoy playing with toys and chasing after balls, much like cats enjoy batting around toys and pouncing on prey.
  • Temperament: Shiba Inus are known for their unique temperament, which is often described as “cat-like.” They are intelligent, curious, and can be quite stubborn at times. However, with proper training and socialization, they can make great companions for those who appreciate their independent nature.

Do Shiba Inus Like to Cuddle?

Shiba Inus are known for their independent nature. While they may not be as cuddly as some other dog breeds, they can still enjoy affection and attention from their owners.

Do Shibas Attach to One Person?

Shiba Inus do not typically attach themselves to one person. They are loyal to their entire family and can be friendly with strangers. However, they may show a preference for one family member over others, especially if that person is the primary caregiver.

Can Shibas Be Left Alone?

Shiba Inus can be left alone for short periods of time, but they do not like to be left alone for extended periods. They are social dogs and thrive on human interaction. If left alone for too long, they may become anxious and destructive.

To keep your Shiba Inu happy when you are away, make sure to provide plenty of toys and mental stimulation. You can also consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to give your dog some company while you are away.

Are Shiba Inus Good House Dogs?

If you’re considering getting a Shiba Inu, one of the first things you might be wondering is whether they make good house dogs. The answer is yes, but there are some things you should consider before bringing one into your home.

Are Shiba Inus Good for Beginners?

Shiba Inus are not always the best choice for first-time dog owners. They are independent and stubborn, which can make training difficult. They also have a strong prey drive, which means they may not get along well with other small animals in your home, such as cats or rabbits.

However, with proper training and socialization, Shiba Inus can make great house dogs. They are loyal and affectionate with their families and have a playful and energetic personality that can be a lot of fun.

What Are the Cons of Owning a Shiba Inu?

While Shiba Inus can make great house dogs, you should be aware of some cons to owning one. For example:

  • They are known to be escape artists, so you’ll need to make sure your yard is secure and supervise them closely when outside.
  • They shed a lot, so be prepared to do some extra cleaning and grooming to keep your home free of fur.
  • They can be vocal and may bark or howl if they get bored or anxious.
  • They are prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia and allergies, which can be costly to treat.


Taking care of a Shiba Inu requires a lot of time, effort, and patience. These dogs are highly intelligent and independent but can also be stubborn and difficult to train. However, with the right approach, you can develop a strong bond with your Shiba Inu and provide them with a happy and healthy life.

One of the most important aspects of caring for a Shiba Inu is providing them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. These dogs are highly active and love to explore, so daily walks and playtime are essential. You should also consider providing them with puzzle toys and other interactive games to keep their minds engaged.

Another key aspect of Shiba Inu care is grooming. These dogs have thick, double coats that shed heavily twice a year, so regular brushing is crucial. You should also trim their nails regularly and clean their ears to prevent infections.

When it comes to training, positive reinforcement is the most effective approach. Shiba Inus respond well to treats and praise but can become bored or frustrated with repetitive training sessions. Keeping training sessions short and varied is important to keep your dog engaged and motivated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Shiba Inus Love the Most?

Shiba Inus are known to be independent dogs, but they still crave attention and affection from their owners. What they love the most is spending time with their owners and being included in their daily activities. They also enjoy playing with toys, going for walks, and exploring new environments.

Where Do Shiba Inus Like to Sleep?

Shiba Inus are adaptable and can sleep in a variety of places, but they typically prefer a comfortable and cozy spot. Many Shiba Inus enjoy sleeping in their owner’s bed or on a soft blanket or bed. Some may prefer a crate or a designated spot in the house that they can call their own.

How Do You Know If a Shiba Likes You?

Shiba Inus are known for their independent nature, but they still show affection in their own way. Signs that your Shiba Inu likes you include wagging their tail, following you around the house, and seeking attention from you. They may also show affection by licking or nuzzling you.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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