If you've ever wanted to adopt a teenager who sort of looks like an extra floofy fox, the ShibaInu is for you. This dog is not always going to listen to what you say. She's just not. But in a natural disaster, a ShibaInu could save your life. True story: one of these dogs helped rescue workers find her people under the rubble of their home after a 2004 earthquake destroyed much of Japan. No wonder this island nation declared the ShibaInu a national treasure! These dogs are still one of Japan's most favorite canine companions, as well as being the nation's smallest and oldest breed.
This breed is independent, knows her own mind, and takes great pride in keeping herself clean — honestly, she's more like a cat than a dog in that way. But she's gorgeous — ShibaInu is Japanese for “brushwood dog,” probably referring to that lovely sandy color — and she's loving with her chosen person, if not overly demonstrative.
This ancient breed is originally from Japan, can grow to between 15-24 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Non-Sporting group.
|Breed's original pastime||Companion|
|Average lifespan||12-15 years|
|Bark factor||Rarely barks, if ever|
|Date of origin||Ancient times|
|Original function||Hunting and flushing small game|
|Average size of male||Height: 14.5-16.5 Weight: 23|
|Average size of female||Height: 13.5-15.5 Weight: 17|
|Other name||Brushwood dog|
|Energy level||Medium energy|
|Affection level||Very affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Shy|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Shy|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Friendly|
|Ease of training||Easy to train|
|Protection ability||Moderately protective|
|Grooming needs||Moderate maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||High tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A SHIBA INU'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
A ShibaInu's personality is something like a moody and very hairy teenager. (Real-life tiny “Teen Wolf”?) They're attentive, alert, and very aware of everything going on around them. They sometimes like kids and can play well with other dogs, if supervised. Shibas make excellent watchdogs for their chosen family.
WHAT IS SHIBA INU BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a very active breed, so plan for rigorous daily exercise. Think long walks, runs, or extended sessions at the dog park. They don't bark much, though they sometimes emit a high-pitched shrieking sound when excited or upset. (Yet another way this dog is not unlike a teenager.) They can make great apartment dogs if they get enough activity.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A SHIBA INU?
In all honesty, the ShibaInu is one of the most difficult breeds to train. They're intelligent, but you're going to have to work to convince them that this “training” malarkey is worth their while. (Except for house training — Shibas are often fastidious and take to potty training quickly.)
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO SHIBA INUS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
That deep, plush coat looks posh. But this fancy fox-faced dog is a surprisingly easy keeper. Shibas are seasonal shedders and only require weekly brushing. This breed won't need frequent baths — the ShibaInu's dense coat repels dirt.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO SHIBA INUS HAVE?
As a breed, ShibaInus are generally healthy. Some are susceptible to slipping kneecaps, hip dysplasia, or eye disease.