Is the shiba Inu the right dog for me? 

So you are thinking of adding a shiba Inu to your family. While Shibas are certainly a great breed of dog they are not right for every family.

Things you should consider are:

  • A fenced yard
  • Time to go through 8 to 16 weeks of obedience training
  • Can you train a tough stubborn dog?

The Shiba Inu is a very intelligent breed.  they learn things very quickly.  They are not a very obedient breed however and prefer to do things they want to do.  Many people find the dog trains them better then they have trained the dog.  

The Shiba requires a tough, firm and fair owner.  If you cannot 

Shiba puppies are very cute and adorable. They have a big personality right from the start.  They are typically very easy to house train and prefer to not even go in their yard if possible.  Most people have no issues with house training a Shiba.  Very quickly this adorable little pup will begin to test you to see how much he can control you.  Usually it is over brushing or toenail trimming.  the pup will squirm and shriek like he is in pain.  Of course you will stop what you are doing because you are hurting him. WRONG!  Shibas are drama queens.  He will immediately learn if he does not want to do something all he has to do is scream and throw a Shiba tantrum and you will do things his way! He may decide as he gets older to skip the scream and just nip your hand when he sees the nail trimmer coming or the comb or the ear drops or whatever he has decided he does not want to do.  this can turn into a big problem and as a responsible owner you need to be firm with your puppy while he is still young and easy to control.

Most people have no problems keeping up with a pup through 6 month old Shiba.  When the "teenage" stage hits it seems a lot of people give up and pass the dog on to rescue.  A 9  month to 2 year old Shiba can have a lot of energy.  if you are leaving him home alone all day he will want to play and run when you get home.  He will be able to go full speed for about 2 hours!  If you are not an active person this may be too much for you to handle.  A second dog may help if you have a fenced yard as the two can go out and play and wear off excess energy.  I also like my Shibas to be able to spend the day outside in a concrete kennel run.  They can watch the squirrels, play with a companion or toys and are ready to come in and relax when I get home. Another alternative at this stage is a doggy day care or a dog walker that can come in and wear off some energy while you are at work.  Once they have matured most Shibas are very content to stay home and will keep themselves busy with toys and chewies, but young dogs usually need more interaction and activities.

Young males tend to have more energy then females, but females tend to be more dog aggressive at this age.

Your sweet little girl will suddenly turn into a tasmanian devil at the dog park.  Some big pup will run at her to play and she will turn on him snarling and screaming.  She will let him know that she is NOT to be played with unless she wants to play and asks him first!

A Shiba is considered a primitive breed.  many Shibas are quite capable of living on their own.  Your Shiba will initially greet you with a toy and kisses at the door but once he is done greeting you he will probably prefer his own space.  if you want a lap dog that needs to be by your side all the time a Shiba is probably not the dog for you.  This independence has its benefits though as Shibas are rarely affected by separation anxiety.  As pups they will get into things, but none of my adult Shibas has ever torn up the house because I left.  They are much more cat like then dog like.


This is always a great idea for a young Shiba.  They are very smart and it is so important to teach your shiba manners while he is young.  If your dog is pulling on the leash, barks excessively, bolts out the door, is shy or nervous or shows aggression to people or other dogs he needs training!  Not all classes are the same!  If you can find a class where people who show their dogs in obedience train that is the best.  you want to learn how to control the dog and teach him to be a good member of your family.  Shibas are stubborn, tough little dogs and you need to be a firm owner and a pack leader.

I would never use a harness on a Shiba.  It is asking the dog to pull you where he wants to go and be a pack leader.  Stick to a collar.  If your Shiba is pulling and "choking" because of the collar you should go to a training class and learn how to teach your shiba to walk on a loose leash.  A Halti Lead may work and in my opinion would be better then a harness.

Mouthing Behavior:

This needs to be stopped right from the start.  Shibas are quick to learn to nip when they want something.  They see nothing wrong with it and see it as a form of communicating.  It may be cute when your pup grabs your pant leg to initiate play or nudges your arm when he wants another treat.  but it is not cute when strong adult Shiba teeth grab your leg to tell you they want to play NOW!    Shiba pups are quick learners and When I have a mouthy pup I grab the lower jaw with my thumb inside the pups mouth and hold on while saying NO BITE in a firm tone. Most pups learn in one training session that I will not allow this behavior.  It is important that none of your family members or friends allow this either.  Rough play with mouthing and jumping or wrestling should also not be allowed.  Sure it's cute when your shiba is a baby, but not so cute when he is 25 pounds and decides to take down and wrestle your friends 3 year old daughter!  We teach all of our dogs to be calm and patient as pups and do not encourage rough play at any time.

Running Off:

Many people have problems with their Shiba bolting out the door and running off.  Shibas do this because they are bored with home life and want to get out and explore the world!  A fenced yard helps as well as time in a dog park.  We teach our pups to come when called when they are very young.


Shibas can be very touchy about having their nails done or ears and teeth checked.  I do this daily with my pups to get them used to it.  I look in their mouth, touch and massage their feet and ears and tail and comb them frequently.  If your shiba gets a bug bite or has even a slight allergy he will chew off all the hair in the area.  I usually leave it alone unless the area is really red or inflamed.  The more you fuss with it the more your Shiba will.