The Shiba Inu is an athletic, independent, confident, fearless and lively dog. He is affectionate and good-natured with those he knows, but aloof and reserved with strangers. He makes a good watchdog because he is alert and territorial, and will bark when he senses a threat. He tends to be quiet indoors, however, and is not an overly barky dog. He will sometimes make a strange screaming or "yodeling" sound when he is unhappy, or when he is being handled too much. He loves his family but doesn't really like to cuddle, except on his own terms. He is no lap dog! He needs moderate but energetic exercise. He needs a daily walk or run; with his strength and endurance, he can walk for hours. He is toy-crazy and loves to play ball and other games outdoors. When outside, he should always be leashed or in an area with a high and deep fence. He has very strong chase instincts and will go after other animals, and will run, and even dig or climb, ignoring your commands in an attempt to escape and reach his "prey." He is both an indoor and an outdoor dog, but because he can grow bored and escape he shouldn't be left outside alone. He can be trained, but is not a naturally obedient dog. As learns at an average rate. He is strong-willed and can quickly become bored if his training is repetitious and uninteresting. He can be jealous and possessive of his food and toys, doesn't like his leash very much, and can chew destructively. He would rather you be the one to "come" and "fetch"! So you will need to be firm, consistent, and patient to teach him. He can be aggressive toward other dogs and small pets, but may learn to live with a cat if raised with it as a puppy. He is good with considerate, older children, but since he doesn't like to be cuddled and squeezed is not comfortable with younger ones, and may snap. He is an extremely clean and fastidious dog who will lick himself like a cat to stay tidy. He is easy to housebreak, and may even teach himself this task. He is an extremely high shedder, and so would not be a good pet if you are concerned about dog-hair in the home.
The Shiba Inu is 13 to 16 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 17 to 30 pounds.
He has a double coat consisting of a short, straight, stiff outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat. His coat color can black and tan, cream, or red.
His coat only needs an occasional brushing but you might find yourself brushing it daily to catch the dead hair!
The Shiba Inu is the oldest and smallest of native Japanese dogs, and his name means "Little Brushwood Dog." He was developed in the mountainous regions of Japan to hunt small game, boar, and even bear in the dense underbrush. During Wolrd War II his breed languished and almost disappeared, but after the war rebounded to become Japan's most popular companion dog. The first Shiba Inu arrived in America in 1954, and he was admitted to the AKC in 1992. His AKC popularity was 67th out of 157 breeds in 2007.