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Could the Shiba Inu be the perfect match for you?

Could the Shiba Inu be the perfect match for you?

If you’re looking for the perfect mix of independent but faithful and confident, then Shiba Inu might just be for you. Here’s everything you need to know about one of Australia’s favourite breeds.  

Breed Snapshot 

  • Size Small-medium sized dog (8-10kg)
  • Coat They’re double coated and shed moderately throughout the year. They shed heavily for about 3 weeks twice a year (fall and spring).
  • Energy They’re an energetic dog but they can also adapt to a more sedentary lifestyle. As long as they get enough walks/exercise, they’ll happily cuddle on the couch. 
  • Lifespan 13-15 years
  • Country of origin Japan
  • Breed type Identified as a basal breed which means they retain a “genetic legacy”. They were bred to hunt and find small game like birds and rabbits. Temperament: They can be described as independent and are very particular about being clean. You’ll find them often licking their paws similarly to cats. 
  • Other names Shiba, Shibe

Great breed for

•   Families with kids

•   Apartment and house living

What is a Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inus are a small-to-medium sized dog. They’re the smallest of the Spitz breed. They’re native to Japan and have a rich history. Originally, they lived in the mountainous areas of the Chubu region. During the Meiji Restoration, many western dogs were imported to Japan and crossed with the Inu. In the early 1900s, there was almost no pure Shiba Inus left. Despite efforts to keep them pure, the Shiba Inu became nearly extinct during World War II.  


What do Shiba Inus look like?

Shibas are a compact dog with a muscular build. Males are roughly 35-43 centimeters long while females are 33-41 centimeters tall. On average, they weigh about 8-10.5kg! They’re double coated and their outer fur is straight and thick. They have similar faces and bodies to foxes. They can vary in colour including red, orange, yellow, black, tan or sesame. What makes them stand out is their tails. Their tails help protect them from the harsh winters in Japan! 


What makes the Shiba Inu special?

Shiba Inus are known for their bold personalities! The Japanese have three words to describe them: kaani-i (spirited boldness), ryosei (good nature) and soboku (alertness). When these traits are combined, they make an interesting and intelligent breed. They have quick reflexes and are naturally on high-alert for prey.  


How often do I need to groom my Shiba Inu?

Because Shibas are double-coated, this means they shed a lot. They’re often compared to cats because they love being clean and will clean themselves. Shiba Inus seldom need haircuts and other than brushing out your pup every couple weeks, their grooming needs are pretty basic. Make sure to get your Shiba Inus nails trimmed as it can hurt their paws if they’re neglected! 


How often should I walk my Shiba Inu?

They require at least one hour of exercise daily to keep them healthy and happy! When they get bored or have pent-up energy, they can be destructive or aggressive. Exercise can include playing with them outside, using dog toys, letting them off-leash at a dog park or a 3–60 minute walk around the neighbourhood.  


How do I train my Shiba Inu?

Because Shiba Inus are very independent and have cat-like tendencies, they can be a bit more difficult to train! But not to worry. Stay positive and treat your dog with respect. They often understand commands but will choose to ignore them. In this case, consistency is key. Using praise, treats and positive reinforcement is the best way to make them listen.  Pet Cloud offers dog training classes in blocks of six-week, one-hour sessions with registered trainers. The trainer will come to your home and use positive reinforcement techniques in line with RSPCA guidance to teach your puppy.  


Quickfire Shiba Inu Questions 


How long will my Shiba Inu live?  

They have a lifespan of about 13-15 years. 


Can my Shiba Inu be left alone during the day?

This breed of dog doesn’t require too much attention and is known for their independence. They can be left alone as long as they get some exercise beforehand. They can be left alone for about 8 hours! They’re a great companion for people who can’t always be home due to work/hobby reasons.  


Are Shiba Inus “barkers”?

Shibas are not excessive barkers which makes them perfect apartment dogs. When they do bark, it’s to warn their humans of someone at the door or a sound they heard. Sometimes Shiba Inus will howl like wolves! 


What kind of health risks do Shiba Inus face?

Overall, Shibas are a very healthy dog! Health conditions that do affect them are allergies, glaucoma, cataracts and luxating patella. A few ways to prevent these issues from occurring are periodic joint examinations and eye tests.  


Where can I get a Shiba Inu?

So you’ve finally decided to go with the Shiba! What are the next steps? You have two choices: you can adopt or go through a breeder. The great thing about adoption is you’re giving a pup a chance in a new home. Be sure to check out the RSPCA’s adoption guide to find out more.   If you decide to go the breeder route, make sure they’re responsible and you’re not supporting puppy mills. The RSPCA also has a handy guide for finding the right breeder. 


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