About Shibas

Shibas are the most amazing dog. They are a smart and proud breed. Often you will find your Shiba concentrating on something to almost an obsession until they can accomplish their goal. One of our Shibas decided that she wanted to carry the thick plastic frisbee by folding it in the center. She spent time each day trying to bend it by biting it and digging at it in the center. After over a month of daily work, she finally stretched the plastic and was able to fold it in her mouth! Oh the joy! She marched around the house; from person to person, showing off her great accomplishment! She still has that frisbee and when she plays with it, she still shows such pride when she carries it bent in her mouth.


A Dog with a Heart

Shibas are very concerned about your opinion of them; they want to please you. They can easily get their feelings hurt, so we never scold them unless they have been very naughty. One night, Akuto was running about the room even after being asked to stop several times. Finally, he ran under the end table and knocked it over along with a glass of soda, my cell phone, etc. When the soda sprayed over me, I jumped up and shouted, “STOP!”. Then I rushed to save my cell phone and clean up the soda from the hard wood floor. Poor Akuto hid behind the chair for over an hour. I tried to coax him out, but he was too upset. Finally, he let me bring him out and he sat next to me for two hours, sulking while I pet him and assured him I still loved him. He was very hurt that I shouted; I’ve never done it since.


Special Companions

Shibas can demonstrate great devotion to their loved ones. Each morning, our routine (established by the dogs) is for Akuto to lay next to Darren while Darren drinks his morning tea and reads the news. At the same time, Beni lays next to me for her morning belly rub while I drink my coffee. Yuri then has her time with us, but she stretches across the sofa so both Darren and I will dote on her. And so it goes …


Feral Nature

The Shiba is a feral and intelligent breed. Because of their nature, they can be painfully independent and destructive if they have not been socialized or handled as a young puppy. However, those puppies that were handled and socialized by their breeder will offer their families a lifetime of genuine adoration and love.



Shibas are easy to train. Because of their intellect and strong sense of pride, it is easy to guide a Shiba in the direction you want them to go. Just praise them as they make attempts and continue to practice until they achieve. Once they have achieved your goal, make a huge deal out of it, because that is the great reward for them. Now, they will never forget what you taught them.


You Really are in Charge

A Shiba is like a magnifying glass and a mirror. However you treat them, they will do the same in return, except stronger. If you act like you are glad to see them, they will be even more happy to see you. If you praise them for doing something good, they will do it over and over and over and over… If you act mad at them for being naughty, they will respond by being even naughtier. Our key to training a Shiba is to praise the good and ignore the bad. If they are doing something naughty, redirect them. If they are chewing on a cable, just give them a bone and praise them when they start chewing that instead. if you focus on the good, they are actually extremely easy to train!


Shiba 500

The Shiba 500 is the big race. The Shibas run around as fast as they can, chasing each other, chasing their tails, even chasing us. The more athletic ones jump on the ottoman and fly off it with great strength and agility. The soft doggie bed is the home base, and the others must not touch the dog resting on it, but that rest never lasts long. In just a few seconds, the dog has caught its breath and continued to carry on. Ours run the Shiba 500 at dusk; we think it is because it is their natural time to hunt and they have a surge of energy. It only lasts a few minutes; it is very entertaining and we encourage it. They always have such confidence after the race; it’s good for them.



Based on the results of health tests performed by reputable breeders, the Shiba Inu is one of the healthiest dog breeds that exists. Yet, these breeders still take effort to have licensed veterinarians perform standard testing on their dogs so they are assured of the quality of their dogs and their dogs’ puppies. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) offers a national database where all test results are stored. Some of the tests are X-rays taken and sent in to OFA who then sends them to three random licensed veterinarians for evaluation.

While it is the dog owners decision whether to allow the OFA to publish the results for their individual dogs, the OFA does retain all test results and offers statistics for each breed. Here is a breakdown of the top health issues of the Shiba Inu based on evaluations as of December 2012.

                                       Percent Abnormal                    Percent Normal
CARDIAC                                   .0                                            100.0
ELBOW                                    4.0                                              95.5
EYES                                          .0                                            100.0
HIPS                                         5.6                                              93.9
PATELLA                                 6.2                                              93.8
THYROID                                   .0                                              94.0

The general health of the Shiba Inus who are owned by reputable breeders is exceptional. Furthermore, while some do suffer from inherent genetic health defects, they are few. That is the reason you should expect nothing but a healthy puppy when you purchase one. You should expect the breeder to openly offer you proof of their dog’s health test results. All they have to do is send you a link to their dogs information on the OFA website.


Reputable Breeders

Glaucoma and Hip Dyspasia are common health disorders in Shibas. Both of these heart breaking health problems cause extreme pain and limited quality of life for the pet. They also require expensive, long term veterinarian care. So why are these horrible diseases an issue when the OFA has recorded such low risk of them? The answer is: The breeder must spend the money to have these expensive tests performed and submit by licensed veterinarians to the OFA in the first place. Backyard breeders and puppy mills make no such investment in their dogs. The OFA statistics are proof of the quality of the puppy you purchase from a reputable breeder.

Reputable breeders will show their dogs to prove they are within the breed standard. It takes much preparation and training to be ready to show a dog. It is expensive with entry fees, hotel and travel, training, conditioning, etc. Again, a large investment into the dogs.

Reputable breeders will NOT be USDA licensed. That license is something that is required by the government for people who own and breed a large number of dogs. The government wants to regulate them. Not all people who meet the government’s qualifications are licensed; it is avoided as you can imagine. Being USDA licensed is an indicator of the type of kennel they are.

Reputable breeders will register your puppy in AKC. You will find some who register in CKC or APRI. These are legitimate registries, but they have few requirements and do not regulate their members. Many byb and millers register their puppies in APRI as a way of offering a registered puppy, because they were kicked out of the AKC. Those registries aren’t good enough for you. Make sure the puppy is AKC registered. The AKC has requirements for their members and are not afraid of suspending membership for wrong doings.


Backyard Breeders, Puppy Mills and Rescues

Reputable breeders don’t have 20+ shibas, they just don’t. I mean, can you imagine caring for 20 dogs? Particularly, if they are doing the health testing, training and showing, conditioning. There is not physically enough hours in the day to accomplish even a moderate quality of dog under those conditions. Not to mention the cost. A dog is expensive as a pet, but add on the cost of health tests, dog shows, training, conditioning, breeding exams, stud fees, etc. A breeding dog easily costs 20 times that of a pet. How does someone afford that many dogs? Besides, that many dogs is required by law to be licensed by the USDA. So just ask the person you are speaking with how many they have. If they say they have 20, even if they are a member of a dog club, pass on them. Those dogs aren’t living in the house, nor are they being socialized. You’ll save yourself much frustration.

The Shiba Inu population is small relative to the demand; these are popular dogs! This imbalance creates an opportunity for profit by those who do not care about healthy, happy puppies, but instead about the bottom line. It is unfortunate, but there is a large population of Shiba Inu puppy mills. Not only do they not do health tests on the parents, many are riddled with genetic defects. They do not own quality dogs. They purchase dogs that reputable breeders would reject for breed. And of course, the dogs are treated as puppy mill dogs are treated. The puppies produced are quite feral, because of the lack of socialization when young.

Rescues get involved by buying puppies from puppy mill auctions. Spaying or neutering them, then selling them. Like the puppy mill, they take no responsibility for the longevity or health of the puppies or the puppies’ social skills; after all, they are ‘rescues’. Their social skills are the result of the puppy mill and the rescue doesn’t have the parents to run health tests on them. While these things are indeed true, and many believe it is most noble to ‘save a life’ from a rescue, I challenge you to consider that when you open up that spot in the rescue, the rescue will purchase another puppy mill puppy to replace it. Your purchase supports the industry, not eliminates it. I challenge you to consider your future with your puppy and to choose a puppy from parents who are proven healthy.



The Shiba Inu 柴犬 is the smallest of the six original and distinct spitz breeds of dog from Japan. A small, agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu was originally bred for hunting. It is similar in appearance to the Akita, though much smaller in stature. It is one of the few ancient dog breeds still in existence in the world today.

Alert and agile with keen senses, the Shiba Inu is also an excellent watchdog and companion.



Males and females are distinctly different in appearance: males are masculine without coarseness, females are feminine without weakness of structure.

Coat: Double coated. The outer coat is stiff and straight and the undercoat is soft and thick. Fur is short and even on the face, ears, and legs. The guard hairs, which stand off the body, are about 1-1⁄2 to 2 inches long. Tail hair is slightly longer and stands open like a brush. Shibas may be red, black and tan, or sesame (red with black-tipped hairs), with a cream, buff, or grey undercoat. They may also be white (cream), but this color is considered a “major fault” by the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club and should never be intentionally bred. Conversely, a cream coat is accepted by the British Kennel Club breed standard.

Eyes: The eyes of the Shiba Inu are one of the distinguishing attributes of their fox-like faces. They are somewhat triangular in shape, deep set, and upward slanting toward the outside base of the ear. Iris is dark brown. Eye rims are black.

Required Markings: Urajiro 裏白 – Urajiro is cream to white ventral color. Literally translates it means “underside white”. Urajiro is required in the following areas on all coat colors: on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the underjaw and upper throat inside of legs, on the abdomen, around the vent and the ventral side of the tail. On reds: commonly on the throat, forechest, and chest. On blacks and sesames: commonly as a triangular mark on each sides of the forechest.


Breed Standards

The breed standard as defined by the AKC (American Kennel Club) and the UKC (United Kennel Club) is as follows:

Males 14 1/2 inches to 16 1/2 inches at withers. Females 13 1/2 inches to 15 1/2 inches. The preferred size is the middle of the range for each sex. Average weight at preferred size is approximately 23 pounds for males, 17 pounds for females. Males have a height to length ration of 10 to 11, females slightly longer. Bone is moderate. Disqualification–Males over 16 1/2 inches and under 14 1/2 inches. Females over 15 1/2 inches and under 13 1/2 inches.

The judgment of the Shiba Inu at a dog show is to determine the best quality dog for breeding purposes. If a dog is disqualified by an AKC show judge, the dog may continue to show. If it is disqualified three times, it is no longer allowed to show, however, it retains its registration and is allowed to be breed. It’s puppies can be registered.

This is not the case in the UKC. If a dog is disqualified by a UKC show judge, and it is found to not be within the breed standard, the dog’s registration is revoked. Upon their own decision, the owner may breed it, however, the UKC will not register the puppies. The UKC holds true to the standards of each breed and by culling dogs that don’t meet those standards, keeps the breed true to the standard.



Japanese Breed Standard: A spirited boldness 悍威 (kani), a good nature 良性 ryōsei, and an unaffected forthrightness 素朴 soboku, which together yield dignity and natural beauty. The Shiba has an independent nature and can be reserved toward strangers but is loyal and affectionate to those who earn his respect.

American Breed Standard: The same as the Japanese Breed Standard and includes the following: At times aggressive toward other dogs, the Shiba is always under the control of his handler. Any aggression toward handler or judge or any overt shyness must be severely penalized.



The Shiba is a fastidious breed and feels the need to stay clean. They lick their paws and legs much like a cat does. They go out of their way to keep their coats clean, yet thoroughly enjoy swimming and playing in puddles.


House Breaking

Because of their fastidious and proud nature, Shiba puppies are easy to housebreak and in many cases will housebreak themselves. Having their owner simply place them outside after meal times, play time and nap time is generally enough to teach the Shiba the appropriate method of going potty.



These dogs are very clean, so grooming needs are minimal. A Shiba Inu’s coat is naturally waterproof so there is little need for regular bathing. However, they do shed the thick undercoat, also known as blowing coat, during the seasonal change. Once the undercoat is loosened, it can be removed all at one time by simply brushing it out. You should never shave or cut the coat of Shiba Inu.