Shiba Inus Are Very Alert But Not Protective (Answered)


Shiba Inu watching the street

Having a 4-legged companion who not only loves you but also protects you is a dream come true. The real question is “can a Shiba Inu protect me?”.

Shiba Inus are naturally alert, vocal, and wary of strangers making them excellent watchdogs. It is important to know that while they can be a great early warning system, they are not guard dogs. With an average breed weight between 17-24 lbs, they are too small to subdue potential threats.

While physical protection unfortunately isn’t a Shiba Inu’s strong suit they can help keep you safe in other ways. Every Shiba Inu is different, having their own personalities and individual quirks, meaning they will show signs of protection in their own unique way.

A Quick Note On Watch And Guard Dogs

A watch dog’s, or alarm dog’s, primary job is to alert their owner to any potential threats around them or their property. Typically, trespassers, intruders, or potential vehicles, and noises that are out of the ordinary.

Size isn’t a concern here because watchdogs are expected to make noise, not engage with potential threats. Although the barking is primarily for their owners to know something is off, they have the chance to scare away potential trespassers or intruders, but this is not guaranteed.

Generating a lot of noise is one of the Shiba Inu’s specialties. Shiba Inus are also smart enough to know not everything is a threat to them or their owners, so they generally don’t bark endlessly at anything.

Guard dogs on the other hand have a much more serious and active role.

The only similarity guard dogs have with watchdogs is that they both need to be alert while informing their owner of any potential situations. But that is where the similarities end.

Guard dogs are expected to actively deter and fiend off those same threats watch dogs alert you to. Size is definitely a factor here. Both for intimidation and for actually protecting you or your property. You can’t expect a 20-pound dog to fight and win against either a 160+ pound person or a wild animal.

If Shiba Inus Aren’t Guard Dogs, Then How Can They Help Me?

It’s impossible to know how protective or supportive your Shiba will be in a high-stress encounter. Some Shibas will jump in the way to protect you, but most will opt to bark and scream in a high-stress situation. Helping alert other people nearby that something going on, and with any luck deterring the person or animal in question.

What Makes A Good Watchdog?

Just because your Shiba Inu makes a lot of noise when something is happening outside does not mean they are instantly a world-class watchdog.

The most important skill that can’t be taught is understanding what does and doesn’t warrant alarm. I doubt you want your dog to bark every time your neighbor comes home or is getting their mail. The same goes for people going for a jog or walking their pets around the block.

A car parking in front of your home or a person walking up to your property on the other hand may be more valuable information. In all the examples above, being able to distinguish a real threat from a common occurrence is the difference-maker. 

Thankfully Shiba Inu are surprisingly smart while mostly being wary of strangers and generally territorial, so that barking may be more to protect their home as opposed to protecting you. Another thing in a Shiba Inu’s favor is that they are a very vocal breed. Not all Shiba Inu are equal when it comes to the qualities touched on above, each one’s unique personality and quirks can and will affect their decision-making.

How Alert Are Shiba Inus?

Very alert. Shiba Inus are known for their sharp hearing, quick wit, and natural hunting instincts. Leading to many Shiba’s hyper-focusing on new sights, sounds, and smells. That hyper-focus commonly leads to excess barking, at times for minor reasons, but that isn’t always the case.

Are Shiba Inu Capable Of Protecting You?

While some Shiba Inu will put up a fight in hopes of keeping you safe, do not expect it or willingly put a pet in an emergency. Due to their size, most threats won’t have a hard time dealing with them. Shiba Inu are more reliable as an alarm, not a final line of defense.

They are very loyal and faithful dogs but are still a stubborn breed and some can be selfish. If your Shiba Inu doesn’t want to help, then they simply won’t, and you can’t force them to. Not all or even most Shiba Inu are like that, but some are, and it is better to know and learn what type of dog yours is ahead of time if possible.

Should You Invest In Defensive Training For Your Shiba Inu?

Training a Shiba Inu for everyday things such as walking properly on a leash, sitting when asked, or even getting off the sofa are time-consuming and can be frustrating. That’s the double edge sword of this breed, they are incredibly smart, but they are also independent.

Yes, it is possible to train a Shiba Inu to keep an active lookout or even to protect you but be warned it will be more difficult to train Shibas to be protective than other dog breeds. If it is something you are dead set on it is best to start training them from a very young age. The earlier you start training your dog the better.

Just keep in mind, as I’ve touched on several times, they are smaller than recommended protective or even guard dog breeds, so they are more likely to get hurt. Please keep your Shiba Inu’s health and safety in mind, theirs is just as important as yours.

Summary: How Protective Is A Shiba Inu?

While Shiba Inus make fantastic natural watchdogs, that isn’t the case for the more protective guard dog. Their small size puts them at risk of getting seriously injured before they’re able to put up a real fight. If you are looking for a guard dog, unfortunately, the Shiba Inu isn’t the breed for you.

Now, if you are just looking for a furry companion that can alert you to something happening nearby, then that answer changes. Due to the Shiba’s natural instinct to hunt and protect their territory, they’re natural watchdogs. Then even make great doorbells if you live in an apartment without one.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Shibas Protective Of Their Owners?

While Shiba Inus aren’t known for being directly protective of their owners, they are loyal and commonly territorial. That loyal yet territorial nature leads them to bark at the first sign of an intruder or threat. Helping prevent their owner from getting caught off guard.

Is A Shiba Inu A Good Watchdog?

Shiba Inus make excellent watchdogs. Shibas are high intelligence, territorial, and best of all extremely loud when they want to be. All of which are fundamental for a good watchdog.

What Is The Bite Force Of A Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inus boasts a bite force between 200-400 PSI (pounds per square inch), in line with the average bite force for most dog breeds. Where humans have a bite force between 120-160 PSI. Something of note is that a Shiba’s jaw bites in a “scissor-like” action, making bleeding more likely to occur.

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.

Recent Posts