Can Dogs?

Dog Questions Answered

Shiba Inu Puppies – Small but Lovely


  • The smallest and most ancient of all the six Native Japanese dog breeds is the Shiba Inu. A theory states that the meaning of the word “Shiba” is “small”; however it may also mean brushwood which matches the red coat of Shiba Inu to the red brushwood trees in which they were hunted. These theories resulted in the Shiba being nicknamed “little brushwood dog”. Its origin is unknown, but it is obviously of spitz heritage and may have been used as a hunting dog in Japan during 300 B.C. The first Shiba Inu puppy came to America in 1954 and was officially recognized by AKC in 1993. Since then its popularity continues to grow.


  • The Shiba Inu puppies are small and compact dog. Shiba’s head is in proportion to its body. Its round muzzle has a stop and tapers toward the nose. Its lips and nose are black. Same as most dogs, its teeth meet in a scissors bite.  Their deep eyes are triangular in shape and mostly dark. The standing ears are triangular and small in proportion to its body. Two front legs are straight, dewclaws may also be removed.


Its high set tail is thick at its base, curled and is over the back, either in a circle or a semi-curve.  Coat is double and is soft, thick undercoat and a straight, stiff outer coat. Colors may come in red, or with a black overlay, black, sesame with red markings and cream. Markings must appear on sides of the muzzle and on the cheeks, throat and chest.


  • Shiba Inu puppies are independent, bold and headstrong. It is brimming with self-confidence even at young age. When it is playing in the outdoors it is very lively – while it is the complete opposite when the Shiba Inu puppy is indoors. They are very hesitant to move too much when they are at home, so it’s best to make sure that you allot some time for their outdoor activities so it gets a much needed daily exercise.


Sometimes it may be aggressive towards strange dogs of the same sex. If it was not convinced that the owner can handle the role of a leader and consider itself as a stronger minded, it will be stubborn and will make up its own rules. Human to canine communication is very important. Shiba is a natural hunting dog; it should not be trusted alone with small animals. Be careful when taking off its leash because it chases other smaller animals. It is always ready for adventure, a hardy breed. It is quite vocal and most Shiba Inu puppies bark a lot. Some tend to be domineering – it is territorial, alert and reserved with strangers which make it a great watchdog.


  • Shiba’s typical weight for males are 8-11 kg and for females 7-9 kg. Shiba Inu puppies are prone to hip dysplasia, PRA and slipping of kneecaps. The Shiba will be okay in an apartment – just make sure it gets a daily walk or exercise. It’s all weather coat protects it from both hot and cold condition so it can live outside the house. But it regards itself as a family member and does not like to be left alone outside.

It would be much happier indoors living with its family. Make sure the puppy gets a daily walk. It is very active and can walk for hours because of its enduring stamina. Shiba’s coat is easy to groom. Brush it with a firm bristle brush to get rid of the dead hair and give it a bath only if necessary. This breed is also a heavy seasonal shedder. Life expectancy is about 12-15 years.

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