If you’re familiar with meme culture at all, you’re familiar with the Shiba Inu, or at least their appearance. Those expressive, furry little faces have captured hearts all around the world, and certainly in the United States, although they’ve only been here since the 1950s or so. However, Shiba Inus are an ancient breed and emerged in Japan around 300 b.c. Whereas in the beginning they were hunting dogs, they’re now the most popular companion dog breed in Japan. Could one of these 20-pound pooches be right for you? Read on to find out!
While Shiba Inus are certainly a smaller dog breed, they don’t seem to notice or mind. They’re commonly described as “bold,” “headstrong,” and “dignified.” They’re independent but will let you know, in no uncertain terms, what they want and when, especially when it comes to your attention. These dogs are flexible and can be happy with one human or an entire family of them. With early socialization, they can get along with other pets as well. Still, you’ll need to nib some of the breed’s stronger territorial behaviors in the bud so that your Shiba Inu doesn’t exhibit aggression. As we recommend with all dogs regardless of breed, get to training your Shiba Inu as soon as possible, and consider local obedience classes specifically tailored to the breed if possible. Given the challenge of training Shiba Inus, this is absolutely imperative for new pet parents—independence and stubbornness often go hand in hand. You’ll also want to remember the Shiba Inu’s origins and keep yours on a leash whenever you’re out and about. Furthermore, if your furry friend will have access to a yard it must be securely fenced (the Shiba Inu is a well-known escape artist).
Because Shiba Inus are so energetic you’ll want to make sure to get in a couple of good walks each day. If that isn’t possible, consider alternative exercise options such as the NOVA Pets Doggie Day Camp to take care of exercise and socialization at the same time! Grooming should be a fairly simple matter, as the Shiba Inu simply requires weekly brushing, although more frequent brushings during their biannual shedding is recommended. As with any other dog, you’ll want to get your Shiba Inu’s teeth checked out regularly and their nails clipped every few weeks.
Finally, in terms of health you’ll want to ensure that you learn whatever you can about the dog you’re adopting and make an effort to spend time together prior to making them a permanent member of your family. Look through whatever records are available and learn about the examinations and services (ex: microchipping) that have already been performed by the shelter. If you choose to buy from a breeder, make sure that you choose a responsible one. Shiba Inus are prone to certain conditions, such as luxating patella and cataracts, but tend to be healthy, hardy dogs otherwise.
Once you have your new four-legged family member call NOVA Pets Health Center at (703) 378-9791 to make an appointment and establish care. Don’t forget that we’ve created Wellness Plans that can help you save money while keeping your Shiba sidekick in tip-top shape!