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Adopt a Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


Spitz, Northern (companion)

Area of origin:


Original function:

hunting and flushing small game

Average size of male:

Ht: 14.5-16.5, Wt: 20-30

Average size of female:

Ht: 13.5-15.5, Wt: 20-30

Other names:

brushwood dog, Japanese small-size dog

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Shiba Inu Dog Temperament

Bold, independent and headstrong, the Shiba is brimming with self-confidence. He is lively outdoors, yet calm indoors, as long as he gets daily exercise. He may chase small animals. He is a hardy breed, ready for adventure. Some tend to be headstrong and domineering. He is territorial, alert and reserved with strangers, ingredients making for an excellent watchdog. He is quite vocal; some bark a lot.

Shiba Inu Dog Care

The Shiba needs a daily workout, either in the form of a vigorous game in the yard, a long walk or a good run in a safe area. He does best when allowed to divide his time between inside and out. His double coat needs brushing one or two times weekly, more when shedding.

Shiba Inu Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: patellar luxation
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: knee
Life span: 12-15 years

Interested in the history of the Shiba Inu dog breed?

Native Japanese dogs are divided into six breeds. Of these, the smallest and probably most ancient is the Shiba Inu. In fact, one theory about the name Shiba is that it simply denotes small; however, it may also mean brushwood in reference to the brilliant red brushwood trees that so closely matched the breed's red coat and through which they hunted. These theories have resulted in the Shibas being nicknamed the 'little brushwood dog'. The origin of the Shiba is unclear; but is clearly of Spitz heritage and may have been used as early as 300 B.C. as a hunting dog in central Japan. Although they were used mostly to flush birds and small game, they were occasionally used to hunt wild boar. Three main types existed and each was named for its area of origin: the Shinshu Shiba (rom the Nagano Prefecture), the Mino Shiba (from the Gifu Prefecture), and the Sanin Shiba (from the northeast mainland). After World War II, the breed was nearly lost, and it was further decimated by distemper in 1952. In an attempt to save the Shiba Inu, the different types were interbred, crossing the heavier-boned dogs from mountainous regions with the lighter-boned dogs from other regions. As a result, the Shiba survived as one breed, with some variation in bone substance. The first Shiba came to America in 1954 and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1993. Since then, Shibas have achieved a staunch following, and their popularity continues to grow.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Shiba Inu Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Shiba Inus ready for adoption:

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