Shiba Inu FAQ
What about Exercise?
Young Shiba are non-stop bundles of energy who need exercise. They aren't called lil spitfyres from hell for nothing. Adults are more laid back but they can still do the Shiba 500 as well as any pup. They are content to lie around the house with regular exercise, but they also have plenty of stamina and can go for hours when your out with them. Shiba are active, but providing some exercise and mental stimulation will keep them happy and content.
Attitude & Temperament?
All Shiba have different personalities but are also distinctly "Shiba". Ours prefer to be wherever we are and like lots of petting, hugs and affection. But suspiciousness toward strangers. Aloof & Standoffish by nature, Shiba need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds, but will respond to patient, consistent, firm, loving training. Some love to be in your face, and some love to lick toes. They have an independent mind of their own and are not easy pushovers some are easy to raise and train some are not. Some can be manipulative, and many are willful and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through consistency, and positive training. They have a horrible "Shiba Scream" when they are not getting their way, Most of that screaming can be worked out with the early training.
How are Shiba with Grooming & Shedding?
The Shiba is fastidiously clean and is free of body odor and parasites. Shiba clean themselves like cats. In fact, a Shiba that gets soiled with mud will clean himself/herself up. Therefore, bathing requirements are minimal. Most Shiba owners only have to bathe their dogs once a year or less! Twice a year, Shiba "blow" their undercoats. They will shed their undercoats completely. It is a very intense shedding period that can last three weeks from start to finish. The good news is it only happens twice a year! The remainder of the time, Shiba are mostly shed free. Some people feel that this problem is easier to cope with than the constant shedding and removal of many smooth coated breeds. The hair usually comes out in large and small clumps. During the intense shedding period, if you brush the dog every day, to help get out the undercoat, it should shorten the shedding period. Other than during the shedding season, the Shiba needs very little grooming. No trimming or shaving of the hair is required. Just occasional brushing and to remove dead hair and keep the coat fresh and shiny. Their nails should be checked and clipped periodically.
I've heard that Shiba are mischievous. Is this true?
Shiba are very intelligent dogs. They will often do things that surprise their owners. They can get into things that one might think are impossible. When Shiba are bored, they can become quite mischievous, inventive, and destructive. This is typical of working dogs. This is why it is so important to include the Shiba in family activities and give him plenty of attention and exercise.
Are Shiba Obedient?
Please do NOT expect slavish obedience. Even in an obedience trained dog. Part of their charm is their free-thinking, and sometime free wheeling, attitude. You might get the focus and responsiveness you desire, if you train consistently, if you remember to make training fun, if you quit BEFORE the dog is bored. And then they are going to pull something out of thin air. Just to see what happens. These dogs are always thinking. They are very cat like.
Can Shiba run free?
He may be fine the first time you allow him off leash in the yard. He may come back to you promptly every single time no matter how interesting the smells or squirrels. That is, until he hesitates, just once, and the car hits him. These are independent dogs. Not porch dogs. They were bred to be stubborn. They have zero road sense. They have zero car sense. He WILL get on the roads and most likely get himself killed! NEVER let your Shiba off leash or out of a fence!!
How are Shiba to train?
Shiba are extremely intelligent dogs. You should establish early that you are the pack leader, then they will be willing to listen to you, "mostly" One must keep the Shiba interested and challenge his intelligence in order to properly train him. They might learn a command quickly, but you can’t count on them to perform it reliably unless there’s something in it for them? Shiba are not a breed who live to please their owners and, in fact, they are convinced that their owners live to please them.
Do Shiba Bark A Lot?
Shiba are quiet dogs. It is not typical of the breed to be big barkers. But it also depends on the dog, Some Shiba seem quite reluctant to bark. Other Shiba are more vocal. But they are not a yappy breed.
What kind of health problems do Shiba have?
Shiba are not prone to many diseases. Shiba sometimes develop Luxating Patellas, Heart Murmurs or Eye Problems. The most common health problem afflicting Shiba is allergies. Some are quite sensitive to various allergens including outdoor pollens, fleas, and even certain foods.
What colors do Shiba come in?
The AKC Shiba standard allows for three colors: Red (varying shades of red), Red Sesame (rich red coat with black tips), and Black and Tan. All Shiba have urajiro (white) markings on their cheeks, muzzle, throat and chest. Shiba also come in cream which is a recessive gene carried by some black and tans. They cannot be shown, but they have no genetic problems associated with the color as in some other white breeds of dogs. See examples Here
How Are Shiba With Children?
Shiba are usually great with children as long as your children are nice, affectionate and respectful. (Mine live with 4 kids ) but may not (depending on the individual dog) be great with very young children because Shiba do not usually like to be grabbed, hugged or held to tightly, young children usually do not understand this. However I have produced some Shiba that love and prefer young children to their adult counterparts. Like any breed or people for that matter their is a vast array of temperaments and attitude's. As with any dog, it is not a good idea to let puppies and children play unattended. Children and puppies tend to be unaware of their own size and strength and could accidentally injure each other. The best thing to do is to teach your child and new puppy how to behave around one another and you shouldn't have any problems. The key is to supervise very small children with the puppies and train children in the proper care of animals.
Are Shiba good with Cats?
Most Shiba do get along with cats. It's surprising because Shiba have high prey drives and if given the opportunity, will chase and kill small animals such as rabbits, squirrels, etc. It helps if the Shiba is exposed to cats at a young age. It also helps if the cat is okay around dogs and doesn’t run away which only encourages a dog to chase it. Mine live with 2 cats and they are very fond, of playing with each other.
Are Shiba good with other Dogs/Animals?
Many Shiba are dominant toward other dogs. This is not to say they can't live with other dogs, I have 2 intact males that are best buds, (even with intact females around) but they were raised together. If you want them to be good with other dogs, male, or female, you will need to include lots of exposure to other dogs in their normal socialization routine and very frequently though out their first year of life. Spaying or Neutering the dogs when they are young helps to reduce aggression. Some breeders say it cannot be done and they can not live with other pets, dogs, and kids. This is not true, I have several friends who have several Shiba living harmoniously together, and with cats, and little kids BUT you must introduce them to these things at a young age and to teach them to live this way. Our dogs all get along well but that is due to early socialization and good breeding.
My Sister in law has one of our Shiba and he lives with and loves house birds and is great friends with an arctic fox and a deer. She also takes him to a friends farm where he helps feed chickens and rabbits.