The Ultimate Guide to Shiba Inu Coat Colors

When it comes to Shiba Inus, one of the most striking features is their beautiful coat colors. These iconic pups are known for their distinct and captivating appearance which can vary across a spectrum of hues.

As a Shiba Inu enthusiast, you’ll find it interesting to learn more about the range of coat colors and the genetics behind them.

different shiba inu color palettes

What Colors Can Shiba Inus Come In?

As a Shiba Inu enthusiast, you might be curious about the different coat colors these adorable dogs can have. Let’s explore the unique and beautiful coat colors that you can find in Shiba Inus.


The red Shiba Inu is the most common and iconic coat color in this breed. It’s a vibrant and stunning shade that ranges from orange-red to deep, rusty red. Their coat typically has a bright, contrasting white or cream undercoat, creating a striking appearance.

You’ll notice white markings on the chest, throat, and tail, giving them an even more attractive look.


Cream Shiba Inus have a soft and light cream-colored coat. Their undercoat and topcoat are usually a blend of cream and white, sometimes with subtle shades of yellow or buff. While not as common as red, cream Shiba Inus still capture attention with their gentle and dreamy appearance.

Just like the red variety, you’ll also find white markings on their chest and other parts of the body.

Black And Tan

The black and tan Shiba Inu is quite a rare sight but undeniably gorgeous. This color combination features a rich black coat with well-defined tan markings above the eyes, on the cheeks, and on the lower parts of the body.

Additionally, you can expect to see unique white markings on their chest, legs, and tail. This color contrast makes black and tan Shiba Inus truly stand out.


The sesame Shiba Inu is the rarest coat color among this breed, and it’s quite a visual treat. Sesame Shiba Inus have a primarily red coat with a mix of black and white hairs interspersed throughout, giving them a unique, salt-and-pepper appearance.

You’ll often see more black hairs on their back and head, with the white markings showing up on the chest and other areas like the other coat colors.

Will A Shiba Inu’s Coat Change As They Age?

As your Shiba Inu gets older, you might notice some changes in their coat. It’s natural for a puppy’s coat to go through a few stages before reaching its final color. Typically, a Shiba Inu’s coat will start to change around three to four months of age and continue until they’re about one year old. The change, however, isn’t drastic and involves slight shifts in shade or patterns rather than a complete color change.

During the first year, your Shiba Inu will experience regular shedding, making way for the adult coat to grow. Usually, the adult coat has a richer color compared to the puppy’s coat. However, as your Shiba Inu ages further and enters their senior years, you might notice slight variations like lightened or grayed areas around the face. This is generally more noticeable in dogs with darker coats.

These age-related changes in your Shiba Inu’s coat shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless you notice drastic differences or health issues. Regular grooming can help in maintaining their vibrant coat, but keep in mind that just like humans, Shiba Inus will have changes to their appearance over time. So, continue to appreciate and care for your furry companion as they age gracefully!

Does A Shiba’s Coat Color Change When They Shed?

You might be wondering if a Shiba Inu’s coat color changes when they shed. Well, let’s dive into it! Shiba Inus go through a shedding process twice a year, known as “blowing their coat.” This process involves shedding their undercoat, which can result in a slight change in their overall coat appearance.

During shedding season, you’ll notice the undercoat of your Shiba Inu becomes looser and starts to come out in clumps. As this undercoat is shed, the new underlying fur may have a slight variation in color compared to the old one. It’s not a huge difference, but you might find your Shiba looking a bit different for a short period.

However, keep in mind that this change is temporary. Once the shedding process is complete, your Shiba Inu’s coat will eventually settle back to its original color. It’s essential to groom your Shiba Inu regularly during shedding seasons to avoid matting and help distribute natural oils throughout their coat.

What Is The Most Popular Coat Color For Shiba Inus?

When looking for a Shiba Inu, you may wonder what the most popular coat color is. Well, you’re in luck, as I’m here to break it down for you!

Shiba Inus are known for their unique and vibrant coat colors. There are four main coat colors that you’ll see in this breed: red, black and tan, sesame, and cream. Each color has its own charm, but the red Shiba Inu is undeniably the most popular and sought after.

The red Shiba Inu has a beautiful, bright, and fiery coat that truly stands out. This distinctive shade is reminiscent of a fox and is hard not to notice when you see one. Owners of red Shiba Inus often receive compliments on their dog’s striking appearance. The red coat is also the most common color in the breed, so it tends to be more widely available if you’re looking to adopt or purchase a pup.

Other coat colors, like black and tan, sesame, and cream, are less common but still loved by Shiba Inu enthusiasts. The black and tan coloration is characterized by a striking contrast between the rich black fur and the tan markings on the muzzle, chest, and legs. Sesame Shibas have a mix of red and black hairs, creating a beautiful and unique appearance. Cream Shiba Inus sport a lighter, almost white coat, which can range from a pale champagne hue to a more golden cream color.

What Is The Least Popular Shiba Inu Coat Color?

When you think about Shiba Inu coat colors, you might immediately picture the vibrant and iconic red-orange shade. However, Shiba Inus come in a variety of colors, and some of them are surprisingly less popular than others.

One of the least popular coat colors you’ll find on a Shiba Inu is the “cream” or “white” coat. This coat color is off-white with a subtle hint of cream or pale orange. Although it’s less sought-after, it doesn’t make these Shiba Inus any less beautiful or charming. The reason for its low popularity is mainly because it doesn’t conform to the breed standard set by kennel clubs, which has caused some potential owners and breeders to shy away from it.

Another rare Shiba Inu coat color is the “pinto” pattern. This coat features a white base with large patches of other colors like red, black, and sesame. While it’s eye-catching, it’s also not recognized by breed clubs, so it’s less common in the Shiba Inu population.


Red: This is the most iconic color in Shiba Inus, ranging from orange-red to deep rusty red, often with bright white or cream undercoat and white markings.

Cream: Cream Shiba Inus have soft, light cream-colored coats, sometimes blended with white or subtle shades of yellow.

Black and Tan: A rare combination, this coloration features a black coat with tan markings and unique white markings.

Sesame: The rarest coat color, sesame Shiba Inus have a red coat mixed with black and white hairs, giving a salt-and-pepper appearance.

A Shiba Inu’s coat might change as they age. From three to four months, a Shiba Inu’s coat may change slightly in shade or patterns until they’re about one year old. As they grow older, slight variations like lightened or grayed areas might appear around the face.

The piece highlights the phenomenon of “blowing their coat” where Shiba Inus shed their undercoat twice a year. This shedding process can cause a slight and temporary change in overall coat appearance.

Among the four main colors (red, black and tan, sesame, and cream), red is the most popular and widely available, while cream and the non-standard “pinto” pattern are the least popular and least sought after, mainly because they don’t conform to breed standards set by kennel clubs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Rarest Color Of Shiba Inu?

The rarest coat color for a Shiba Inu is sesame. This color is a mix of black, red, and white hairs, making it unique and hard to come by. It’s important to note that not all sesame Shibas look the same, as the color distribution can vary.

What Is The Most Common Color For Shiba Inus?

Red is the most common coat color for Shiba Inus. In fact, when most people think about this breed, they typically envision a red Shiba Inu. Their coats can range from a bright, orange-red shade to a deep, rust-like color.

How Will I Know If My Shiba Inu Is Purebred?

To confirm if your Shiba Inu is purebred, you can choose to perform genetic testing. This will provide you with information about your dog’s breed composition and lineage. Additionally, you should be aware of the breed’s standard coat colors, which include red, cream, black and tan, and sesame. Unusual coat colors may be a sign of mixed breed heritage.

Are There Any Rare Coat Colors In Shiba Inus?

Besides the aforementioned sesame color, cream coats are considered relatively rare among Shiba Inus. A cream-colored Shiba will have an ivory or off-white coat. Keep in mind that this color is not recognized by some breed clubs and associations due to concerns about genetic health and breed standard deviations.

What Are The Most Common Coat Colors For A Shiba Inu?

The most common coat colors for a Shiba Inu include:

  • Red: Vibrant, orange-red to deep rust shades
  • Black and Tan: Black coat with tan markings on the face, chest, and legs
  • Sesame: Mix of black, red, and white hairs

Shiba Inus come in a variety of coat colors, each with its own unique charm. By understanding these coat color variations, you can better determine your Shiba’s purebred status and appreciate the genetic diversity within the breed.

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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