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Is a Shiba Inu Right for You?


shiba-inu-944510_960_720Shiba Inus are popular dogs thanks to their fox-like aesthetic and small, manageable size.  However, this breed of dog is often considered to be one of the more difficult ones to own, and for good reason.  Is a Shiba Inu right for your family?

Shiba Inus are commonly called the “cats of the dog world” due to their aloof personality.  They tend to be loner dogs, ones that prefer keeping to themselves rather than engaging in stereotypical dog-like behaviors, such as attention seekin.  As alert and active animals they make great watch dogs, and their high energy makes them perfect exercise partners for active people.

Size, Coloring, and Upkeep
Shibas are small in stature, standing 16 – 17 inches tall and weighing 18 – 22 lbs.  They have four common coat colorings, including red, sesame, black and tan, or white. Shiba Inus have a double coat and shed heavily, requiring daily brushing to control their heavy-shedding nature.

Other Pets?
Unless properly socialized from an early age, Shiba Inus do not make good companions for other dogs and animals.  They tend to be dominant, and indeed can be aggressive towards canines.

This breed is often recommended for experienced dog owners only, as Shiba Inus can be difficult to train due to their “spirited boldness,” which is part of the breed description.  Their stubbornness and aloof attitude means that owners must develop creative ways to engage them in training sessions, such as turning obedience into a game.  However, when it comes to potty training, Shiba Inus will often housebreak themselves due to their cleanly nature.

Shiba Inus have no specific feeding requirements, but as with any pet, a high quality diet is recommended.  Look for a food that lists protein as the first ingredient, and avoid brands that contain excessive fillers and preservatives.

A very active dog, Shiba Inus require vigorous exercise daily.  When these needs are not met, Shibas often become bored and destructive.  Keeping your Shiba Inu tired will also help prevent aggression issues, which can be common in this breed.

Despite their small size, Shiba Inus are not recommended for apartment living.  The best home for a Shiba is one with a large yard with a tall privacy fence, as dogs from this breed also tend to be escape artists.  If planning to live in an apartment with your Shiba Inu, ask yourself whether you are dedicated to providing adequate exercise for your pet daily, such as running or long hikes.  If possible, hiring a dog walker is also recommended.

Shiba Inus are relatively healthy dogs, with most living for an average of 12 – 15 years.  The oldest known Shiba Inu was Pusuke, who lived to be 26 years old.  Common health issues include allergies, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, and ocular disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts, and entropian.  When purchasing a Shiba Inu from a breeder, it is important to verify the eye health of the parent dogs.

Ultimately, Shiba Inus can make fantastic pets in the right home.  They are not recommended for large families, as Shiba Inus oftentimes do not do well with small children and dislike affection; however, with the proper owner they can live very happy lives.

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Anna Weber

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