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One of the biggest questions I hear people ask is “are Shiba Inu a small or medium dog breed?”. You would think it would be a straightforward answer, but everybody seems to disagree, I took a few hours to check around and found the following.
Any dog weighing more than 20 lbs. is medium-sized, those who weigh less than 20 lbs. are classified as small. Typically, male Shiba Inu weighs around 23 lbs., making them medium-sized dogs. Female Shiba Inu commonly weigh around 17 lbs., which puts them in the small dog category.
It is important to know that just because a Shiba Inu is female doesn’t mean they are automatically a small-sized dog. My Shiba Inu, Faith, weighs in around 22 lbs. while being both healthy and extremely active, making her a medium-sized dog. A dog’s “size” is important not only when it comes to medical classifications but also with travel regulations, crate size, diet, and more.
What Classifies A Dog As Small Or Medium?
The biggest factor used in determining a dog’s “size” is their weight. Dogs weighing in at 20 pounds or less are considered small, while medium-sized dogs weigh between 20 to 60 pounds. Any dog weighing more than 60 pounds is considered a large dog.
These “weight classes” are tied to the individual breed based on the average weight of healthy adults. Individual dogs may move up from small to medium if they are larger than average and the breed has a healthy weight of around 20 pounds, Shiba Inus actually skate the line here.
The average healthy weight of an adult Shiba Inu typically ranges between 17 to 23 pounds. Males tend to be on the heavier end while females are typically on the lighter side.
Height on the other hand is not directly measured and considered a factor when determining a dog’s “size class”. Different breeds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but generally taller dogs are bigger, so they weigh more. But there is no specific height range.
How A Healthy Diet Can Impact Weight
A healthy diet is crucial for a happy and healthy pet. Just like people, pets and other animals can be overweight or obese, which brings its own list of potential health issues. If your Shiba is bigger, or even smaller than average don’t do anything drastic.
The size and weight of individuals are unique while the breed is averaged out. Contact your vet if you have any concerns with your pet’s weight.
My pet, Faith, is a happy and healthy female Shiba Inu weighing around 22 pounds, right around the weight class of a male for her breed. She’s been checked by our vet several times and has always been deemed healthy. She eats well, is very active and energetic, and always loves to share what’s on her mind.
Does Their Gender Make A Difference?
Gender can play a role for Shiba Inus because they ride that line between small and medium. Healthy males typically weigh around 23 pounds while healthy females usually weigh less than 20 pounds. For most breeds gender makes little difference in size classification because they are firmly in one category, not at a tipping point.
Will My Dog’s Size Impact Our Travel Plans?
Yes, in some cases but not all or even most. When it comes to driving and boating, no, size does not have an impact on whether or not you are allowed to take them. their size and weight will matter when it comes to a travel crate, life vest, harness, and so on.
Flying with a medium-sized Shiba Inu does have a direct impact on travel plans.
Most airlines do not allow pets over 20 lbs. in the cabin with you, if your Shiba Inu is over 20 lbs they will more than likely be put in a special cargo compartment. Which sounds scarier than it really is. The cargo compartment is pressurized and climate-controlled, just like the cabin.
Your dog will need an IATA-certified crate, up to date on shots, and have accessible food and water for the flight just to name a few things.
Summary: Shiba Inus Ride The Line Between Medium And Small
Shiba Inus, unlike most breeds, can be a bit confusing to classify. Because their breed’s average weight rides the cut-off line for medium-sized dogs, most people struggle to figure out where they truly sit. A shortcut to telling if a Shiba is a small or medium-sized dog is their age. Puppies and young adults aren’t fully grown, so they can’t be classified as medium-sized dogs at that time. While fully grown and mature adults are proper medium-sized dogs.