Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Height: 13.5 to 16.5 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 17 to 23 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 16 years
With his bright eyes, plush coat, and boldly curling tail, the Shiba Inu is an official Japanese national treasure. In the United States, he’s a small – under 25 pounds – companion dog with a big attitude. He’s charming and affectionate, with a sense of humor about life and also about those odd verbalizations humans call “commands.”
Did You Know the Shiba Inu is a Noted Escape Artist?
The Shiba is a Japanese breed, one of the oldest types of dogs native to that island nation, and the smallest. The word “Shiba” in Japanese means brushwood, like the terrain over which the dog hunted, and he is sometimes called the little brushwood dog. The word “Inu” means dog.
The Shiba is the smallest of the dogs native to Japan. He was bred to be a hunting dog in the country’s mountain regions. In his homeland, the Shiba is officially recognized as a precious natural product. And who could disagree? He can navigate rugged terrain like nobody’s business, he’s a keen watchdog, and he has a bold, spirited nature.
While they’re active dogs that love to hike, walk, and run with their human family members, Shibas are happy with a few romps a week once out of puppyhood. They’re noted escape artists, so provide a Shiba with a securely fenced yard and check it regularly for potential escape routes. Supervise children and workmen to make sure that gates are always latched and doors closed. The Shiba will bolt if given half a chance.
This is a dog that is very attached to his human family and can’t stand being isolated from them. Don’t even think of keeping your Shiba in the backyard or garage; that bold, bright nature will be channeled into noise and destructiveness.
Other Quick Facts About the Shiba Inu
The Shiba is the most popular companion dog in Japan.
The Shiba’s appearance often leads people to ask if he is a fox. He has a compact, muscular body, a wedge-shaped head, dark-brown eyes and erect triangular ears that combine to give him a confident, good-natured expression. His coat comes in one of three colors: red, black and tan, and red sesame (black-tipped hairs on a red background). All three colors have a cream to white color known as uwajiro on the sides of the muzzle, the cheeks, inside the ears, underneath the jaw and upper throat, the inside of the legs, the abdomen, and beneath the tail. His thick, powerful tail is carried curved over his back.