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Shiba Inu - The Only Small Dog Among Japanese Dogs

Image of a Shiba Inu standing in a rice field
Photo:A Shiba Inu standing in a rice field

This video, titled "No.7 Shiba inu ❤️ TOP100 Cute Dog Breeds Video," was uploaded by "I want a dog! A dog channel for beginners."

This video introduces the cute Shiba Inu, including everything from their personality to how much exercise they need, as well as things to know before owning one. Be sure to check it out as you read along.

The History of the Shiba Inu, a Dog Native to Japan

Image of a Mino Shiba Inu
Photo:A Mino Shiba Inu

Of the six types of dogs native to Japan (Japanese dogs), the Shiba Inu is the only small Japanese dog. It's said that the origins of the Shiba Inu may originate from the "Jomon Inu," which is said to have coexisted with humans as early as the Jomon Period (710-794).

The Shiba Inu has been kept as a hunting dog for small animals and birds in various parts of Honshu (mainland Japan) since ancient times. It's said that 80% of all Japanese dogs kept in Japan are Shiba Inu. There are several types of Shiba Inu, including the San'in Shiba Inu, Shinshu Shiba Inu, and Mino Shiba Inu, but the Shinshu Shiba Inu lineage currently accounts for the majority. Unfortunately, there is only a small number of Shiba Inu, and some breeds are in danger of extinction.

The Shiba Inu was also in danger of extinction due to crossbreeding with Western dogs at the end of the Taisho Period (1912-1926), food shortages during World War II, and distemper (a viral disease found in domestic animals), but thanks to the efforts of people wishing to preserve the breed, breeding improved and the Shiba Inu is still around today.

In recent years, research has shown that the Shiba Inu is the closest dog breed to the wolf.
[Video] 2:23 - The History of the Shiba Inu
[Video] 2:53 - The Shiba Inu - The Closest Dog Breed to a Wolf?

The 2 Kinds of Shiba Inu Faces - Fox Face and Raccoon Face

Image of a fox face Shiba Inu
Photo:A fox face Shiba Inu

There are two main types of Shiba Inu faces: The fox face, and the raccoon face.

The fox face is characterized by a long, stern face, a long muzzle (the part around the dog's mouth), and a shallow forehead. This type is similar to the ancestral dogs of the Jomon period.

The raccoon face is characterized by a round face, short muzzle, and a round nose and eyes, more modern characteristics.

It can be difficult to tell which face a Shibu Inu has when they are puppies, so you'll need to check the pedigree with the breeder.
[Video] 0:53 - Shiba Inu Face Types

The 4 Different Coat Colors of Shiba Inu

Image of a black-coated Shiba Inu
Photo:A black-coated Shiba Inu

In addition to their different face types, Shiba Inu have 4 different coat colors: These are red, black, sesame, and white.

●Red (Brown)
The red coat accounts for 80% of all Shiba Inu, and when most people think of a Shiba Inu, they tend to picture this coat color.

The black coat covers the entire body of the Shiba Inu, with the chest and belly often being white. The black color is also characterized by the eyebrow-like spots above the eyes. The color makes their bodies look tighter, giving them a dignified appearance in spite of their small size.

White is the rarest color of Shiba Inu. Some dogs are born with a red coat, but it gradually changes to white. Because of its rarity, until recently it was not uncommon for a pedigree to be issued for a white Shiba, but there have been some cases where the color has been recognized at exhibitions.

This coat color is a mixture of red, black, and white, and is classified as sesame, red sesame, or black sesame according to the ratio of these colors. As they develop, the ratio of the coat color changes, and you can enjoy watching your Shiba Inu grow.
Besides red (brown), other coat colors are quite uncommon.
[Video] 1:40 - Shiba Inu Coat Colors

Shiba Inu Size, Weight, and Other Characteristics + The Unique Mame-Shiba

Image of a Shiba Inu's tail
Photo:A Shiba Inu's tail

The Shiba Inu's outward appearance is characterized by its dense, stiff short hair and curly tail.

It's said that there are nine different types of tails, so be sure to pay attention to the shape of the tail as well as the face and coat color.

The average life span of a Shiba Inu is 15.1 years. It's a long-lived breed among small dogs. The average height of a Shiba Inu is 39.5 cm (15.5 in) for males and 36.5 cm (~14.5 in) for females, and the average weight is 10 kg (22 lbs) for males and 8 kg (~17.5 lbs) for females.

The "Mame Shiba," which has become popular in Japan in recent years, is smaller than the standard Shiba, with an average large height of 28 cm to 34 cm (11-13.5 in) and an average weight of around 5 kg (11 lbs). The even smaller "Ko-Mame Shiba" is about 24 cm long (~9.5 in) and weighs about 2 kg (~4.5 lbs), so even as an adult it looks like a puppy and is popular for its adorable appearance.

Neither the Mame Shiba nor the Ko-Mame Shiba are recognized as official breeds, but rather, are considered to be small Shiba Inu. Their personalities and how they are cared for are the same as that of regular Shiba Inu, but because of their smaller size, they are said to be a little more pampered than their regular Shiba Inu counterparts.
[Video] 3:23 - How Big is a Shiba Inu?

Things to Know Before Caring for a Shiba Inu

Image of a sleeping Shiba Inu
Photo:A sleeping Shiba Inu

Before committing to raising a Shiba Inu, it's important to first learn about their personalities.
Shiba Inu are said to be smart and loyal, and tend to be affectionate to no one but their owners.
They are also stubborn and cautious, so socialization training is important.

Shiba Inu should be trained to avoid barking and biting when they are puppies. By way of gender comparison, females are more docile than males. To develop a sociable personality, it's important to expose them to other dogs and people outside the family from a young age, and to familiarize them with various places.

Additionally, because Shiba Inu are very territorial and susceptible to stress, it's important to give them their space. If you keep your dog indoors, you should prepare an enclosure for it, and if you keep it outside, you should provide a kennel.
If you keep your dog outside, place the kennel on soil, not concrete, to avoid heat stroke.
[Video] 4:15 - How to Take Care of a Shiba Inu

How Much Exercise Does a Shiba Inu Need?

Image of a Shiba Inu walking
Photo:A Shiba Inu walking

The Shiba Inu was originally a hunting dog, and as such, is a very athletic breed. For an adult dog, it's sometimes said that the ideal exercise distance is equal to the dog's body weight (e.g. 10 kg = 10 km), but if you continue to exercise your dog every day, long distances may be difficult for both you and your dog to keep up. A good starting point is to exercise the dog for 30 minutes, twice a day, every day.

Sinec every dog varies, if your dog seems to be under stress due to lack of exercise, then you should be sure to take it on more walks, and give it more opportunities for exercise.
[Video] 5:16 - How Much Exercise Does a Shiba Inu Need?

How Much Does it Cost to Own a Shiba Inu

Image of a Shiba Inu
Photo:A Shiba Inu

If you wish to own a Shiba Inu, you can adopt a rescue, or purchase one from a pet store.
According to the American Kennel Club, the average price for a Shiba Inu tends to be around $2,000-$4,000. The price can also vary depending on the color of the coat.

Common diseases that Shiba Inu are prone to include skin diseases (atopic dermatitis)" and food allergies, as well as dementia, patellar luxation, cataracts, and otitis externa (inflammation of the external ear canal). although it can be difficult because of the large amount of hair that falls out, because Shiba Inu are especially prone to skin diseases, it's important to keep their bodies clean and brush them carefully when they are shedding. Compared to many other breeds, the Shiba Inu is said to be relatively disease-free. However, you should not let your guard down, so be on the lookout for changes on a daily basis.
[Video] 2:10 - Where to Get a Shiba Inu
[Video] 5:57 - Diseases Shiba Inu Are Prone To

Summary of the Shiba Inu

Image of a sleeping Shiba Inu
Photo:A sleeping Shiba Inu

If you're thinking about caring for a Shiba Inu, it's important to understand its personality, socialize it properly, and provide it with an appropriate environment.
[Video] 6:56 - Shiba Inu Review

・Shiba Inu have a history of being hunting dogs, so you should not think of them as pets.
・Shiba Inu are known to bite, so it's important to train them after adopting one.
・Shiba Inu shed a lot of fur and are prone to skin diseases, so be sure to keep them clean and brush them frequently when they are shedding.
・Shiba Inu need a lot of exercise, so they should be walked daily. Be careful not to overwork them.
・Japanese dogs are prone to dementia.

Shiba Inu are smart and loyal to their owners. It's important to understand their characteristics and traits so that you can live together with them for a long time.

Written By
Last Updated : Dec. 18, 2023
I am a writer who likes traveling, driving and cameras (Nikon).
Shiba Inu is a dignified and unique breed of dog!Learn about the types, personalities and characteristics through videos!
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