Shiba Inu Pros And Cons

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on 9 December 2022

Shiba Inu are a dog breed native to Japan but have become popular throughout the world thanks to their striking appearance and unique personalities.

Shiba Inu

Breed name: Shiba Inu
Lifespan: 13 to 16 years
Height: 13.5 inches to 16.5 inches
Weight: 17 to 23 lbs

These ancient dogs were traditionally used as hunters in their native Japan but in modern society, they’ve established themselves as a hugely popular companion dog in the Asian country.

Their popularity has soared in the 21st century and the Shiba Inu is rated as the 42nd most popular dog breed in the USA according to the American Kennel Club’s breed popularity ranking.

Shiba Inu are perhaps best known for their red or red sesame coat but some Shibas have a black and tan coat.

The AKC explain the meaning behind their name on their website:

The breed is named after its history as a hunter in the rugged mountains of Japan; “Shiba” means “brushwood” (referring either to the brush in the mountains or to the dog’s reddish color) in Japanese, and “Inu” means “dog.”

We’re going to take a look at Shiba Inu pros and cons, examining some of the advantages and disadvantages of owning one of these small Japanese dogs.

Cody and Taurus (Photo: cody.taurus / Instagram)

Cody and Taurus (Photo: cody.taurus / Instagram)

In this article, we’re going to hear from content creator Cody who has a Shiba Inu called Taurus. You can follow Cody and Taurus on Instagram (@cody.taurus) and TikTok (@cody.taurus).

You can check out Cody’s YouTube video on why the Shiba Inu may not be the right breed for you in his video entitled: “Four Reasons You Should Not Get A Shiba Inu”.

Shiba Inu Pros

Independent

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Shiba Inu have a reputation for being an independent dog that are strong-willed, independent thinkers with a stubborn streak. Of course, Shiba Inu’s independence could be considered both a pro and a con. If the idea of a velcro dog doesn’t appeal to you, the Shiba Inu could be the perfect pet. However, if you want a lap dog, you might want to consider a different breed such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Cody (@cody.taurus) further explained.

Having an independent dog can be nice because when you leave them home alone or with a sitter, they’re less likely to get separation anxiety and stress out.

Physically Appealing

There can be no arguments that the Shiba Inu dog breed is beautiful, objectively speaking. They’ve got a striking red or sesame coat that makes them immediately identifiable. Shiba Inu are often attributed with having an appearance that is foxlike, thanks to their red coat, alert expression, pointed ears and inquisitive eyes. If you’re someone who loves dogs, socializing and speaking about dogs, the Shiba Inu could be perfect for you. They’re real conversation starters. However, if you don’t like to attract unwanted attention, another breed could be a good bet.

Cody (@cody.taurus) shared what life is like as a Shiba Inu owner.

If you like getting attention, they will draw attention in public by hearing “it’s dogecoin dog!”, “It looks like a fox!” followed by people asking what breed are they and more.

Intelligent

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

While the Shiba Inu may have a stubborn or willful streak, don’t be fooled. These small dogs are extremely intelligent. If you can harness their high IQ in a positive way, you’ll have a great companion on your hands. If you have a quick Google of whether Shiba Inu are intelligent, you’ll find an array of website suggesting that these Japanese dogs are of “average” intelligence. However, we prefer to listen to owners with experience of the breed, such as Cody (@cody.taurus), who shared how smart the Shiba Inu breed is.

Having a dog that is very aware of it’s surroundings and learns quickly is definitely beneficial, not only will it be good for their well-being, they’ll catch on to your training faster.

Size

As someone who owns Alaskan Klee Kai, I can appreciate the benefits of having a small dog breed. Shiba Inu have an average height span of 13.5 to 16.5 inches. They only weigh between 17 and 23 pounds. These Japanese dogs are compact in size and shape which makes them highly portable. If you plan to do a lot of road trips or travel a lot with your furry friend, the Shiba Inu could be share your passion for wanderlust.

Cody (@cody.taurus) highlighted the breed’s portability.

This can be beneficial if you travel a lot, live in an apartment or looking just to have a small/medium size you can bring around.

Personality

If you want a dog with a big personality in a small body, Shiba Inu tick all the boxes. The Asian breed have big personalities that will add colour to your life. They’re a loving breed in their own way – there’s a good reason why they’re Japan’s number one companion dog. But their personalities can be more human-like than dog-like. It’s often said that a Shiba Inu’s mannerisms and personality are unique and unlike the typical dog.

Cody (@cody.taurus) explained that Shiba’s may be small but they’ve got big personalities.

These dogs pack a lot of personality, they’re so quirky it’s like having a little person inside a dog’s body living with you. Some of the silliest dog videos on the internet are Shiba Inus doing stuff.

Shiba Inu Cons

Stubborn

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

If you know a good amount about dogs, you’ll have probably heard the stereotype that Shiba Inu are stubborn. They’re not a “people-pleasing” dog breed. If they decide that they don’t want to do something or go somewhere, they won’t go. Shiba Inu aren’t particularly food motivated so they won’t necessarily follow commands or do their owner’s bidding just because there’s the potential to earn a dog treat.

Cody (@cody.taurus) used an example situation to highlight how stubborn Shiba Inu can be.

Imagine trying to recall your dog, and it only works 10% of the time.

Independent

We’ve already touched upon their independent streak but it can be viewed as a pro or a con. It depends on what the type of dog that you want. If you’re looking for a cuddle buddy, keep looking. You often hear Shiba Inu described as the cats of the dog world. Cody (@cody.taurus) added:

Most dogs thrive of pleasing their owners, Shiba’s thrive off their owners pleasing them, so don’t expect cuddles, affection and love 100% of the time.

Aloof

Shiba Inu looks at tulips (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Shiba Inu looks at tulips (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Continuing along the independent theme, Shiba Inu can often be described as aloof or standoffish. The AKC gives them a three out of five rating for being open to strangers. They’re certainly not enthusiastic greeters like Golden Retrievers. Of course, Shiba Inu should be socialised a lot as puppies to improve their social skills. It’s also worth noting that every Shiba Inu is different and they’re personalities can be influenced by their environment.

Cody (@cody.taurus) revealed that Taurus likes her personal space.

Shibas aren’t as social as other dogs, they’re curious about things they don’t know but like their personal space. So being rushed up on by another dog who’s excited to play can set them off quickly.

Shedding

Shiba Inu are relatively big shedders so you should be prepared for a lot of hair. They usually blow out their coat twice a year at the changing of the seasons. However, Shiba Inu wll shed to some degree all year round. So if you’ve got a phobia of dog hair or you don’t like the idea of finding dog hair on your clothes, furniture and floor, Shiba Inu isn’t the breed for you.

Cody (@cody.taurus) explained that Shiba Inu shed a lot.

Not much explanation needs to be done for this one, if you don’t like shedding, major con with the Shibas.

Health

Shiba Inu can struggle a lot with allergies. The AKC suggest that Shiba Inus are particularly prone to skin allergies that manifest themselves as irritation or itching. The AKC add that Shiba Inu with allergies can lead “normal lives with products that treat the symptoms”.

Cody (@cody.taurus) highlighted some potential health issues to be aware of.

A lot of pure bred dogs are prone to health issues, including the Shiba. So be aware of allergies, joint problems, glaucoma and other health issues that may cost you a lot with the vet.

Shiba Inu Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Shiba Inu a good family dog?

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

I’d say for the average family that has a few kids and medium size household, maybe not. That’s primarily because of the kids, I feel like kids would thrive with a dog who is excited to play, fetch, walk and cuddle with them, that simply doesn’t describe the behavior of a Shiba, a good family cat though? Yes

Do Shibas have problems?

Health related problems? Yes. Many pure-bred dogs do, so it is good to keep in mind the long-term costs of owning one is definitely going to be above average.

What is special about Shiba Inu dogs?

I’d say their appearance and cat-like behavior. It is truly entertaining to observe some of the things they do on a day to day basis, and they’ll keep you on your toes.

Is Shiba Inu a rare dog?

This will solely depend on where you’re located, but overall I’d say with the hype of Dogecoin in the past few years they became more popular and in higher demand, so not as rare here in the US.

Can Shibas stay home alone?

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Generally speaking, A full grown Shiba Inu should have no problem staying home alone. I typically don’t see Shiba’s resulting to destruction out of boredom or getting anxiety when their owner is away because of how independent they are.

Can you trust a Shiba off leash?

No, and if you see a Shiba off leash, try and catch it so you can return it to it’s owner. JK but it is very rare that an off leash Shiba will heel next to it’s owner and not try to run off exploring.

Do Shibas like to be cuddled?

Mine doesn’t, unless it’s on her terms, which is still very rarely. I’ve had most people say they experience the same treatment, but I have seen a few people mentioned their Shiba loves to cuddle, I’ve also witnessed it as well. So this is a toss-up, but for the most part, I’d say they aren’t too affectionate.

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