9 Facts About Shiba Inu

three shiba inu puppies standing in grass

Social media fame aside, the Shiba Inu is a popular dog breed in its own right. They are a small dog that originated in Japan and is often considered a smaller version of the Akita. They are known for their fox-like looks, cat-like agility, strong will, mischievous antics, and loyalty and devotion to their families. Here are a few more facts about Shiba Inu:

1. The Shiba Inu is an Ancient Dog Breed

As an Asian spitz-type dog breed, the Shiba Inu’s origins can be traced back to the third century B.C. Not only does this classify them as an ancient dog breed, but it also makes them one of the oldest dog breeds in existence.

2. They Were Originally Bred for Hunting

The Shiba Inu tends to have a high prey drive and urge to chase because they were originally bred for hunting. They were prized as hunting dogs for their small stature, endurance, and agility. These are all traits that served them well as they hunted both small and large game throughout the mountains of Japan.

Although they were originally used as hunting dogs, they were also highly prized as companion dogs. In fact, they are still the number one companion dog in Japan and are also one of the popular dog breeds in the United States.

3. Shiba Inu Almost Disappeared

Throughout history, wars are responsible for the extinction or almost extinction of many dog breeds. The Shiba Inu is no different. By the end of World War II, the Shiba Inu was almost extinct due to bombings and distemper.

But, because they were so highly valued in Japanese culture, their population recovered. They are still considered lucky and precious in Japanese culture and are a beloved dog breed in the United States and many other countries.

4. They Can be Difficult to Train

The Shiba Inu is a highly intelligent dog breed, but they are notoriously strong-willed. They are one of the most independent dog breeds and can have a stubborn streak. Oftentimes, they will only respond to activities that make sense to them. If they don’t see the point of responding, they won’t. But, if you can make them think obedience is their idea, you’re more likely to see a response.

This can be difficult for first-time or novice dog owners to handle and is why puppy training classes are often recommended. Although they can be stubborn, they respond best to a confident owner that establishes themselves as a leader with love and respect and who can be firm and consistent with training.

5. Shiba Inu Are Known Escape Artists

Although they are small dogs, Shiba Inu have a knack for escaping. Much like the Siberian Husky, they are highly intelligent, have an urge to chase, and are talented escape artists. These dogs are high-energy, so it’s important to give them plenty of exercise. This can help reduce their escape artist tendencies.

At the same time, they shouldn’t be let off-leash unless they are in a securely fenced area. Their high prey drive, urge to chase, and freethinking nature means they’re likely to chase after whatever they want and may conveniently forget what “stop”, “no”, or “come” commands mean.

6. They Are the Most Popular Dog Breed in Japan

Declared a national treasure in Japan, Shiba Inu are the most popular dog breed in the country. Since Japan helped bring the breed back and highly values them, it’s no surprise they’re the most popular breed. Many Shiba Inu have gained popularity on Instagram and YouTube.

7. Their Name Origin is a Mystery

While “inu” means “dog” in Japanese, no one really knows where “Shiba” came from. Shiba means “brushwood” in Japanese so it’s possible the breed was named after the terrain they came from.

It’s also possible they were called Shiba Inu due to their coat color. Their coats tend to be close to brushwood. Shiba also used to mean little so it could also refer to their size.

8. Shiba Inu Have Cat-Like Qualities

Known for their aloof personality, Shiba Inu seem to share more qualities with cats as opposed to dogs. Shiba Inu are independent and are a harder breed to train. They also spend a lot of time alone, are meticulous about grooming, and are quite clean.

9. There Used to be Three Different Kinds of Shiba Inu

Before World War II, there were three different kinds of Shiba Inu. These three kinds were the Mino, the Sanin, and the Shinshu. They were named for the regions where they originated. The Shinshu is the most like the Shiba Inu of today. However, all three kinds contributed to the modern Shiba Inu we know and love today.

A Shiba Inu is a great fit for single owners and families who can dedicate the time and attention they need for proper socialization and training as well as exercise, mental stimulation, and affection.

These are just a few facts about Shiba Inu. If you think this could be the right dog breed for you, learn more about them and check out the available Shiba Inu puppies. You might end up finding your best friend!