With fox-like facial characteristics and pointed ears, Shibas are one of the most enchanting and popular dogs in the world.

Here are 18 interesting facts about the Shiba Inu you probably didn’t know:

1They Were Bred to Be Clever Hunters

These stubborn hunters were bred to hunt wild boars, birds, and bears. They also have a dense undercoat, which allows them to withstand cold temperatures – a particularly useful feature for a hunting dog.

2Their Name Means “Brushwood Dog”

shiba inu facts

The Japanese name of the breed is a little mysterious. The name Shiba Inu probably means “Brushwood Dog”. The name is thought to derive from its tendency to run through bushes or dense grass when hunting; others think it is because the dog has the same fiery red color as the plant. Another theory is that Shiba actually means “small” instead of “brushwood”.

3Shiba Inu is an Ancient Breed

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The Shiba is the smallest of the six original Japanese dogs (Akita Inu, Shikoku Inu, Kishu Inu, Hokkaido, and Kai Ken), and they go back a long way: According to National Geographics, Shibas are the breed most genetically similar to wolves, indicating that they are among the oldest domesticated dog breeds. All the old Japanese breeds were bred before the 19th century and belong to the top breeders family; they have pointed ears and a thick coat.

4The Shiba Inu is Relatively New in the United States

The first Shiba came to the United States in 1954, but the first litter born in the country did not make its enchanting debut until 1979. The American Kennel Club finally officially recognized the breed in 1992. Today the Shiba Inu is the 44th most popular dog in America.

5The Shiba Inu is One of the Most Popular Breeds in Japan

shiba inu facts
Bild von Malen Billoni Ahumada auf Pixabay 

Shiba Inus have more than just historical roots in Japan. According to the American Kennel Club, Shibas are the number one companion dog in the country. Their long lifespan and high energy make them a lovable and ideal addition to the family.

6Shiba Inus Were Almost Extinct

During the Second World War, Japan’s focus was not on dog breeding, and Shiba breeding suffered as a result. After almost extinct, the Shibas were returned with the only three remaining bloodlines: the San-In Shiba, the Mino Shiba, and the Shiba Shu Shiba.

7Do Not Scare a Shiba

Shibas unleash an almost human-like howl when they’re angry. Sources of stress can be bathing or cutting the nails. With such screams, it is easy to understand why they are sometimes regarded as the drama queens of the dog world.

8Shiba Inus are Loyal.

The Shiba Inu can be a little distant from strangers, but very loyal to their families. There is no better example than Mari, a Shiba Inu, who after the 2004 earthquake at Chūetsu took turns taking care of her older owner, who was trapped in his house, and her newborn puppies.

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The man was finally rescued by an airlift but had to leave the dogs behind. Miraculously, they survived; when the man came back, he found that the mother was lean, but her puppies were plump and healthy.

The amazing story of the dogs’ selflessness was so touching that it turned into a film called A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies.

9Shiba Inus Have a Well-Formed Body

The appearance of a Shiba Inu is very pronounced. Despite their small stature they have well-developed musculature and are quite strong. The average size of an adult male dog at the withers is between 14 and 17 inches and the size of females between 13 and 16 inches.

The average weight of a healthy adult male dog is 22 pounds, while the average female Shiba Inus weighs 18 pounds. This makes the Shiba Inu the smallest of the indigenous Japanese dog breeds.

10Shiba Inus Need Little Coat Care

Bild von akihito10298 auf Pixabay

Shibas are known to be very clean dogs; they often care for themselves and lick their paws like cats. They also avoid puddles when walking. The dogs have self-cleaning coats that repel dirt, so owners don’t have to wash them as often as other breeds.

11There are Three Standard Colors

shiba inu facts
Bild von kazzzsat auf Pixabay 

There are three standard colors of the Shiba Inu, which are internationally recognized and accepted. The most common color is red, but Shiba Inus are also available in black and brown or sesame. The undercoat is either grey, polished or cream and very soft and thick. The outer skin of the Shiba Inu is stiff and straight. On their ears, legs and face the coat is short and even. The coat at withers and tail is slightly longer.

12Health Problems of the Shiba Inu

Overall, the Shibu Inu is healthier than many other dog breeds and most will suffer from very few health problems throughout their lives. However, as with all breeds, there are some health problems for which this breed is more susceptible.

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Some of them are glaucoma, allergies, cataracts, entropion, luxating patella, and hip dysplasia.

13The Oldest Shiba Inu Was 26 Years Old.

The average Shiba Inu has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. However, there are many examples of Shiba Inus that have lived longer than the average. In fact, there was even one who lived until the age of 26. This dog was called Pusuke and died in December 2011. He was not only the oldest known Shiba Inu, but he was also the oldest living dog of his time.

14The Shiba Personality Can be Summed up in Three Words

The Japanese have three words to describe the essence of a Shiba. Kan-i refers to the vigilance and bravery of the breed; this awareness and trust make the Shiba a perfect watchdog. Ryosei means to be good-natured, loyal and obedient. Finally, Soboku describes her simple, natural beauty.

15Shibas Have Cat-Like Qualities

shiba inu facts
Bild von Peter Ahrend auf Pixabay 

In many ways, the Shiba Inu is more like a cat than a dog. These dogs are very independent. Therefore, dog training with them is often difficult. They also spend a lot of time caring for themselves and are usually extremely clean.

16There is a National Shiba Club of America.

The Shiba Inu has now gained enough popularity in the United States and already has a real fan community. Therefore there is now also a National Shiba Club of America.

This is an organization that promotes and standardizes Shiba Inus. The club has an informative website and gives advice and tips to potential new owners of a Shiba Inu. It also organizes events in the United States for fans and owners of this breed.

17Many Celebrities Have a Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are more and more popular. So this great dog has also attracted the attention of celebrities. Some famous personalities who are proud owners of a Shiba Inu are Kelly Osbourne, Daniel Dae Kim, and Roberta Flack. It has also been reported that Dustin Hoffman is regularly seen with a Shiba Inu, but some reports say that the dog belongs to his son.

18The Internet Loves the Shiba Inu

shiba inu facts
Bild von Tony Lee auf Pixabay 

Even if you are not immersed in the “Doge” hype, Shibas can be found in every corner of the Internet. Among Internet friends, the so-called Doge Meme has become particularly known since 2013. The most frequently used photo shows the male Kabosu, a dog adopted by kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato. This Shiba was even given its own cryptocurrency: the Dogecoin.

Dog Obedience Training

Mari the Shiba is a YouTube sensation, known for her cold rejections of her owner. Alternatively, there is Bodhi, the fashionable dog known as Menswear Dog.

Shiba Inu Facts


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