Living with Shibas


The Shiba is not the easiest dog to live with.   They have a very strong but stunning personality.    If you want a no bother pet - don't have a Shiba.   Without exception my owners say their Shiba is their companion - not their pet
A Shiba is a big dog in a small body.   Some of my Shibas live with Rotties, Akitas, GSDs in fact mostly big breeds because Shibas can tend to bully smaller breeds.  They are a very primitive breed and the 'Fight or Flight' syndrome is very strong in them.   They will NOT cause trouble but if backed into a corner they will defend themselves.   Shiba males are fine with other dogs but they tend to be dominant over other Shiba males.   Of course - there are exceptions to the rule.   One of my owners has two males and they get on very well  but he hasn't added a female to cause any conflict.   The older male is not dominant and gives way quite willingly to the younger one.  

The main fault with our little breed is the fact that they moult  - bitches twice a year and dogs once.   You will never buy black again!    It is amazing how much fur can come from such a small dog.   It is much easier to groom them every day, wetting the coat to get out the excess hair. If you look at the photo above you will see how fine it is.

It takes forever to go for a walk.   Folk keep stopping you and asking if it is a fox.   At first it is fun but after a while it can get a bit much.  

Shibas can be stubborn.   Lead training a puppy must be a very careful affair.   After years I have found the best method is to use a Flexi lead.   Carry your puppy AWAY from home and then put him on the ground and hope that he tries to go home.   Follow him wherever he wants to go being careful NOT TO PULL THE LEAD ON HIS NECK.   If you do - you will be treated to the Shiba Scream.    This sound once heard is never forgotten.  Your blood will run cold and neighbours for miles around will come out to see what you are doing to the poor pup.  Make your training sessions short and be sure to quit when you are winning!   After a few days you can encourage him with treats to go in the direction you wish and gradually he will respond and you will have a perfect little gentleman (or lady) on the lead.   Shibas can be trained.   One of mine was trained to obedience, agility anf even to the gun. 

One more point to remember about your puppy.   The Shiba motto is "If it is in reach - it is MINE".   There is no point in weeping about those expensive trainers or Gucci shoes that were eaten if they were on the floor.   If the article is precious - make sure it is out of reach.  

Shibas need a lot of socialising.   They are a primitive breed and can easily be made nervous.  Please don't go for the first litter you see.   The puppies are so attractive it is hard to resist them.   See the parents, if one or both appear timid (as opposed to aloof) forget it.   They rarely improve and will just cause you heartache.  Shibas (males especially) are very often aloof.   They like to size you up.   They can shy away from a stranger coming from above their head.   They prefer to be tickled under the chin.   This is another throwback to the primitive.   In the wild they would be attacked from above and grabbed by the back of the neck so this is a sensitive area for them.  Don't force them into situations.   Let them sit back and study and then they will investigate under their own volition.  This brings me to the subject of children.   The Shiba is an ideal furry friend for a child who understands and RESPECTS dogs.   Some children tend to crowd dogs and want to pick them up and carry them around.   You should not do this with a Shiba and please NEVER play chasing games!    This only trains the dog to run away.   You want it to run TO you in times of stress -  not away.. 

The Shiba is not a noisy breed.   If it barks it is well worth looking to see why.   There is usually a very good reason.  

They eat very little and sometimes it is a good idea to leave their food out overnight as this is when the young ones like to eat.. 

They are very clean and rarely have to be housetrained.   Their mother does that in the nest. 

Shibas come in four colours, red, sesame (red with black tipping) black & tan and white.    

Some shibas can be let off the lead, others can't.   The Shiba by nature is a hunting breed and this instinct is more deep rooted in some than others.   I have two that can be off lead with confidence but the others need a secure area before I trust them.   Most Shibas have a death wish when it comes to cars.  Even on a lead they try to throw themselves under the nearest car. NEVER let even the best trained shiba off anywhere near a road.    

The photo at the beginning is of some of my Shibas at the seaside.   They love swimming!   This is shown in my 'Wittering' page.   

If you do decide on a Shiba remember it is a long-term investment.   Mine usually live to 15 - 17 years but my oldest pup was 21 when he passed away.

Don't forget - I am here 24/7 to give help and advice.   My details are UK phone 01707 883711, mobile 07941 223710 and email     There is more information on the What If? page.