Are Shiba Inus Hypoallergenic? (Beginners Guide)

Shibas Inus are a popular breed with a not-so-popular profession, shedding. This breed sheds like their lives depend on it, easily overwhelming allergy sufferers. 

Shiba Inus are not hypoallergenic. They shed steadily year-round, heavily during the spring and fall months, and produce dander. Brushing a Shiba outdoors weekly and regular vacuuming helps minimize the spread of fur and dander throughout your living space.

While Shiba Inus aren’t usually recommended for allergy sufferers, that doesn’t mean their regular shedding can’t be managed. Especially if you love having guests over.

shiba inu laying on a bed

Shiba Inus Are Not A Hypoallergenic Dog Breed

Unfortunately, this fox-like breed is not hypoallergenic. And the fact they’re a breed with two coats, an over and undercoat, only makes things worse. Shiba Inus are known for their semi-annual heavy shedding periods, once for roughly three weeks in March and a second time for another three weeks in September.

Shibas go through these regular shedding phases so they can prepare for the upcoming summer or winter months. You may have seen or heard people refer to it as “coat-blowing season” and it’s not uncommon for owners to walk away with enough loose fur to make another dog.

The Reason Shiba Inus Shed So Much

Shiba Inus blow their undercoat in March so they can thin out and keep cool during the warm summer months. The opposite is true in September when they shed their loose summer undercoat for a newer thicker winter coat. Which is a real nightmare for allergy sufferers.

And when I say their undercoat, I mean exclusively their undercoat. A Shiba’s overcoat is coarse and longer so it can protect their overcoat, and helps keep them clean by repelling dirt and moisture. Unlike their undercoat a Shiba Inu’s overcoat does not regrow so once it’s gone, it’s gone. Because of their heavy reliance on their overcoat, Shiba Inus should only be shaved in emergency medical situations.

Most Shiba Inu owners note regular steady shedding throughout the year, instead of just heavy shedding twice a year. Making a regular brushing schedule a must if you wish to manage their excessive shedding.

How To Manage A Shibas Shedding For Allergy Sufferers

There are a number of things allergy sufferers can do to help manage a Shiba’s shedding, those being:

Wash Your Hands After Handling Your Shiba Inu

You should wash your hands with warm soapy water whenever you handle a Shiba Inu, or any other pet for that matter. A dog’s loose fur isn’t the part most people are allergic to, it’s the dander. Dander comes from your pet’s dead skin, shedding heavily along with fur. The real problem with dander is that you can’t see it so it’s easy to get it on your hands and clothes without noticing.

Stick To A Regular Brushing Schedule

A proper brushing schedule is one of the best ways to manage a Shiba’s constant shedding. Not only does it help you keep your home clean, but it also gives you and your Shiba another opportunity to bond with one another. Ideally, you’ll want to brush a Shiba Inu once a week and at least every other day during coat-blowing season.

If your Shiba Inu is anything like mine, then they’ll freak out the first few times. She’s calmed down other the months and years, but it was definitely a struggle at first. I found giving her a hard treat to chew on, incorporating toys, or even making a game out of brushing very helpful.

While there are many different types of dog brushes on the market, slicker brushes are the best style for this breed. They don’t damage their overcoat, like de-shedding brushes, and do a great job of removing their loose undercoat, whereas undercoat rakes aren’t as consistent. I personally recommend this one from HERTZKO over on Amazon.

Vacuum Weekly

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to allergies, which is why I recommend vacuuming weekly if you have the time. Regular vacuuming, when paired with a consistent brushing schedule, will do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to managing a Shiba’s shedding. Don’t forget to get around and underneath your furniture. I’d also vacuum or wipe down any chairs or couches you allow your Shiba Inu on.

Wash Your Bedding Regularly

While not every pet owner is comfortable with their pet on or even sleeping in bed with them, you should regularly wash your sheets and blanket if you do. Your pet tosses and turns in their sleep, just like us, leaving more and more loose fur and dandruff for you to deal with in the morning. I’d aim to wash your bedding at least once a month. If you have a second set you can switch to, then I’d rotate through them bi-weekly. Depending on how severe your allergies are.

Bathe Your Shiba During Coat Blowing Season

Many Shiba Inu owners have turned to bathing their pets during peak shedding season to help get additional loose fur and dander regular brushing may have missed. You do need to be careful when bathing a Shiba, while most won’t be a fan the real issue comes in when you over-bathe them.

Shiba Inus are a double-coated dog breed. While their undercoat helps keep them warm by regulating body heat their outer coat uses natural oils to repel dirt and moisture, keeping them clean and odor free.

If you bathe your Shiba Inu too much, you’ll strip those vital natural oils from their coat and skin, drying both out and causing discomfort. While Shibas are known for not having that musky dog smell most breeds have, over-bathing a Shiba will cause them to smell.

It’s safe to give a Shiba Inu a bath once every other month, depending on your activity level. Monthly works if you regularly go on hikes and long walks with your pet. But if you only go on regular walks and generally stay inside, a bath every two to three months will work. Shiba Inus are a fairly clean cat-like breed that only needs help when they’re overly dirty, like if they get muddy.

Summary Of Why Shiba Inus Are Bad For Allergy Sufferers

Shiba Inus are a one-of-a-kind breed that, like many others, unfortunately, isn’t too kind to allergy sufferers. Shibas are a dual-coated dog breed, having both an undercoat and an overcoat, and shed like it’s their full-time job. Regular brushing and vacuuming around the house does wonders for helping manage their excessive shedding but you can’t just shave them to avoid the extra trouble.

Shiba Inus rely on their double coat to regulate body heat and stay clean. Their undercoat manages their body heat and is part of their coat that actually sheds. A Shiba’s overcoat is taller, thicker, and rougher than their soft undercoat and uses natural oils to help repel dirt and moisture.

While a Shiba’s undercoat will regrow if you shave them, their overcoat won’t grow back, permanently ruining a Shiba Inu’s coat for the rest of their life. And with how heavily they rely on both, it’s best to only shave your pet in medical emergencies at your vet’s discretion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Shiba Inus Good For Allergy Sufferers?

Unfortunately, Shiba Inus aren’t recommended for allergy sufferers. This fox-like breed is not hypoallergenic and has a double coat that sheds steadily throughout the year, and heavily during “coat-blowing season”, a three-week period in March and September when Shiba Inus shed their undercoat.

Do Shibas Trigger Allergies?

Shiba Inus will trigger allergies for those allergic to dogs. They’re a non-hypoallergenic dual-coat breed that heavily sheds twice a year, for roughly a three-week period in March and September, to prepare for the upcoming summer or winter months.

Is Shiba Inu Non-Shedding?

Shiba Inus are known for their steady shedding throughout the year, and heavy seasonal shedding in March and September. Those heavy periods of shedding are commonly called “coat-blowing” season. This breed should be brushed at least weekly to manage their shedding. Shaving is not an option.

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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