Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu

Group: Non-Sporting Group

Origin: Japan

  – Males: 14½ to 16½ inches
  – Females: 13½ to 15½ inches

  – Males: approx. 23 lbs.
  – Females: approx. 17 lbs.

 Shiba Inu
Photo credit: MinPin & Shiba Rescue of BC

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Brief History of the Shiba Inu Breed:

The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the Japanese breeds, originally developed in three regions of Japan — the Nagano region, the Gifu region, and the north-eastern region of the main island. In 1928, Nihon Ken Hozonkai (Nippo) was established as an official organization in Japan to save the Japanese dog from extinction. In 1936, the Shiba was given the designation of “Natural Monument” — a program developed to recognize those animals and plants which were distinctly Japanese in origin. After World War II, the various Shiba bloodlines were combined to produce the breed as it is known today.

The first recorded litter born in the U.S. was in 1979. In Canada, Shibas were brought by Japanese families but there is no record of any breeding until the early 1980’s when several Shibas were brought into Canada from the United States. The Canadian Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1992.

Further Reading:


Breed Profile

The Shiba Inu was developed as a hunting dog mainly for game such as rabbit, grouse and wild boar. He is a friendly, outgoing companion and excellent watchdog. He is cunning, bold and has an independent nature. He may be reserved toward strangers but is loyal and affectionate to his family.

An active and agile dog, he does require a fair amount of exercise to burn off excess energy. The Shiba is seen participating in several dog sports and activities including agility, obedience, sledding, tracking and hunting. He is also used to work as a Therapy Dog, Service Dog, as well as in drug detection.

He has a stiff, straight, harsh and short outer-coat with a thick and soft undercoat. Acceptable colours for the Shiba Inu are red, sesame, or black & tan, all with cream markings.

Health Issues

The Shiba Inu breed is described as a sturdy, healthy little dog. However, some hereditary disorders have been found in the breed. The most prevalent and devastating disorder is Patellar Luxation. Hip dysplasia is also seen surprisingly often in the Shiba, considering the breed’s small size. Hereditary eye problems are common among several breeds, including the Shiba. For the Shiba, the most common eye defect is cataracts, formerly known as juvenile cataracts. Another problem, and the most common for the Shiba breed, are allergies, such as flea allergies as well as food and inhalant allergies.

If you are considering the adoption of a Shiba Inu puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. For the Shiba Inu, recommended testing and certifications include certification by OFA, OVA or PennHip that breeding stock has been x-rayed and certified with a rating of “Fair” or better; CERF certification indicating that breeding stock have eyes cleared of any hereditary defects (eyes should be re-examined at least every two years); certification by a licensed veterinarian that breeding Shibas are examined and rated normal for patellae. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

    — A website and e-mail list for Shiba Inu owners who are engaged in agility, obedience, and other dog sports with their dogs or considering doing so in the future.
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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