15 Pros and Cons of Owning a Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a canine breed which offers a body profile, including the curled tail and short, dense coat, that you can find on the Chow Chow. These dogs are active, alert, and attentive to the needs of their home without being overly large or cumbersome. Males of this breed average about 23 pounds as an adult, while females average about 17 pounds. The life expectancy of this non-sporting dog is up to 16 years.

It is an ancient Japanese breed, but the Shiba Inu continues to be popular because it is a well-muscled dog that is capable of hunting or protection. Most individuals have an excellent nature, high intelligence levels, and a friendly disposition. These canines are adaptable as well, finding their place in rural or urban environments. Their spirit makes them popular in their home country, where it is the most popular companion dog.

The first Shiba Inu dogs were brought to the United States from Japan about 60 years ago. It is a breed which continues to see a growth in popularity in the West, especially with the variety of coat colors that are possible.

These are the pros and cons of having a Shiba Inu to consider.

List of the Pros of Shiba Inu

1. This breed offers a lot of strength in a small package.
Many people believe that the Shiba Inu is one of the most beautiful dogs in the world because its combination of agility, strength, and proportion. They have a lovely face with intelligent, beautiful eyes which are graced by a wide, stocky profile. Even though the dog might weigh just 20 pounds, this breed always looks stocker and bigger than it is. These dogs know that they’ve got the right stuff too because they will parade around like royalty when they begin to get comfortable with their environment.

2. You won’t find a more loyal dog than a Shiba Inu.
It does not take long for a Shiba Inu to become part of your family. When they are born, they almost look like teddy bears, ready for some cuddling. As they grow a little older, they turn into something closer to a lion cub before reaching the foxy adult body profile. It is not unusual for people to ask you if you have a fox, wolf, or coyote because of their appearance. They also feel like part of the family right away, which means you will have a loyal companion for life. These dogs might like to feel as if they are in charge, but you will also find them willing to help or snuggle at times too.

There is a story of a Shiba Inu in Japan named Mari who searched for rescuers to help her companion who was trapped under a structure after an earthquake, saving that person’s life. Several similar tales are told throughout the world as well.

3. Shiba Inus are exceptionally healthy dogs.
The Shiba Inu is one of the closest canine relatives to the wild wolf today, which gives them an advantage with regards to their overall health. Their well-built physique and natural hunting instincts make them well-suited to the outdoors and highly adaptable to changing situations. As a breed, there are no serious health issues to worry about except for patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and a few eye issues. These are high-energy animals who are hard-wired to eat a lot, so if your dog isn’t getting a lot of activity, they can put some weight on quickly.

Spoil your Shiba Inu by playing fetch in the backyard, going for a long walk in the woods, or even running on a treadmill if you wish. When you reward them with physical activity, it will promote better health and wellness throughout their life.

4. This breed has a high emotional IQ level.
The Shiba Inu is a highly intelligent dog which relies on their keep perception to navigate the world around them. They are very sensitive to the various changes that might occur in or around their environment. Don’t associate this benefit with an ability to be obedient since most individuals tend to have a mind of their own. They don’t like doing tricks because there needs to be a purpose to each activity. This sensitivity means that they can sense when something is wrong with you so they can be supportive, while at the same time becoming standoffish and angry if aversive training methods are used.

You must respect the high emotional IQ levels of the Shiba Inu if you want to create a successful relationship with your dog.

5. These dogs hate to stay dirty.
It is not unusual for Shiba Inu to describe their dog as being part cat because of their overall desire to stay clean. You will find this breed avoiding puddles and staying away from mud because they don’t like being messy at all. You will find them grooming frequently through self-care methods, which can reduce the need to give them baths over time. This breed is a low-odor canine as well, so you don’t need to worry about that pervasive dog smell that can develop over time at home.

6. Shiba Inus produce less dander than other dog breeds.
If you are sensitive to dogs or have an allergy to them, then the cleanliness that the Shiba Inu emphasizes each day can work to your advantage. Their skin produces less dander that gets left around the house, which means this breed could be an option for those who are sensitive to these animals. No dog is 100% hypoallergenic, but you will discover that there tends to be fewer issues in this area when you have a Shiba Inu instead of one of the other popular dog breeds at home.

7. You will become part of a highly supportive community.
Shiba Inu owners support one another because of the unique nature of this dog. Communities exist around the world that can help you learn how to manage challenging behaviors, understand their personality quirks, and deal with training issues. It is not unusual for you to be the only home with this breed, so running into someone with a similar perspective can feel enthralling. You will feel like you’re inheriting a second family when you decide to bring this canine home as your next companion.

List of the Cons of Shiba Inu

1. This breed can develop some unusual habits that are challenging to break.
One of the primary complaints that Shiba Inu owners have with this breed is that they can develop strange and obsessive habits over time. It is not unusual for them to start licking almost everything in the environment around them. That means your floor, walls, furniture, and even the blankets will one day be graced by the loving tongue of this dog. This habit can translate into some destructive issues as well, which can be challenging to stop because of their high intelligence levels.

2. An unhappy Shiba Inu can replicate a human scream.
If your Shiba Inu doesn’t like something that is going on, then they are not going to howl or bark loudly at you. They will scream. If someone is not familiar with this sound, they will think that you are trying to harm your dog. The noise is quite loud too, so you can hear it down the block when they really become displeased with you. This issue occurs most often when visiting the vet, a groomer, or going for a walk that is not wanted, but you can experience it if you don’t follow through with something that they want – like a refill of their food dish.

3. Shiba Inus are as vocal as the average husky, especially with a complaint.
This disadvantage is another area where the Shiba Inu seems more like a cat than a dog. Have you ever had a kitty talk back to you if you’re telling the animal to get down from a table or a counter? This dog breed does the same thing with their grumbles and whines. If you fail to follow through with a task that they want you to do, then you will encounter this issue as well. Although some dogs are more demanding than others, the nature of this breed is to be a leader more than a follower. You must establish yourself as the leader of the pack if you want to have a successful relationship with this breed.

4. This breed is not as affectionate as other dogs.
Almost every dog will greet you at the door with a wag of a tail and a big smile if you’ve been gone for a while. If you have a Shiba Inu, then the reaction you’ll receive tends to be more muted. It won’t take them long to become disenchanted with your arrival, especially if they want food in their dish or a refill of their water bowl. Some like to snuggle, but most tend to have more of an aloof personality. They don’t like to be smothered with attention. You’ll get a few scratches of the head, some conversation, and that’s about it.

5. You will discover high levels of stubbornness with this breed.
There is arguably no other breed right now that is more stubborn than a Shiba Inu. If you issue a command to your dog to sit or come, you’ll get a response if they are in the mood. If not, then you’re not going to receive the result you want. This breed requires a lot of patience for a successful experience. Trying to teach them how to walk or become housebroken can be challenging. The best time to work with this breed is when you can see that they are in a good mood.

6. Shiba Inus should never be walked without a leash.
The development of Shiba Inus as a breed began with the need for small and muscular hunting dogs. They were trained to find small game, and these dogs became very good at what they could do. This breed still excels in this area today, which is why any walk must involve a leash. If your pet spots a mouse, squirrel, or rabbit, then they will take off after the creature. This behavior makes them sometimes reliable even with the leash on. If they see prey, then many have been known to ignore all other commands until the small game is caught of disappears to an unreachable location. You must go through heel and leash training from an early age to work on preventing this issue.

Expect to get a lot of attention when you take your Shiba Inu anywhere as well. People often talk about how cute the dog is, so any off-leash activities might draw a complaint quickly.

7. This breed can shed a lot.
One of the reasons why people love the Shiba Inu is because its coat is one of the most luxurious in the world. It is thick, dense, and highly capable of protecting them in numerous environments. These traits also mean that you will be brushing and blowing out their coat frequently. This breed sheds their entire undercoat twice each year, producing enough fur that you could legitimately create another dog from it. The fur goes everywhere once it drops, so you might find corners piled high with the stuff in the spring and fall.

8. These dogs tend to be aggressive with each other and toward other canines.
The way that a Shiba Inu says “I love you” involves a snarl, some teeth gnashing, and the occasional bite when playing with other dogs. This breed might be small, but they can hold their own against larger canines with relative ease. Once you establish a specific boundary for their home, this dog will guard it with ferocious intensity. Should another dog come onto your property that isn’t part of your pack, you can expect them to defend the space with intensity.

The pros and cons of a Shiba Inu are important to review because you will be bringing a lifelong companion into your home. Their high intelligence levels and emotional sensitivity makes this breed an ideal candidate for people who are willing to manage their high energy levels. They consider themselves to be an equal, if not superior, member of the pack, which means you’ve got some work to do every day to maintain this relationship. When you are successful, then you won’t find a more loyal breed.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.