Shiba Inu Temperament & Personality: An Overview

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Have you ever heard about “memes” before? If you have, then you’ve probably heard of the meme called “Doge” (read more), where a funny quote written in comic sans font is added to a picture of a dog that looks at the camera. The meme was so famous that it won the best meme of the decade last 2019. And believe it or not, the meme also became a cryptocurrency!

But we are not here for that as we are here for the dog breed behind the meme: the Shiba Inu! Shiba Inus are known for their incredibly charming appearance. Originating from mountainous areas in Japan, these dogs are agile and cope well in cold environments.

Do you want to own one for your home? Well, here is an overview of the breed that you will find useful! In this article, we will talk about their history, temperament, and personality.

Shiba Inu: An Overview Of The Breed

Shiba Inus, as mentioned above, originates from the cold mountains in Japan. They are one of the six native dog breeds from the country: Akita, Kai, Kishu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Shiba. Shibas are the smallest of the native dog breeds, and they are also a basal breed. Basal breeds are a particular strain that is bred to do specific tasks. As for the tasks, Shiba Inus were bred to hunt down small game and flush birds.

The Shibas have been around since 300 B.C making it one of the oldest dog breeds in Japan. The word “Shiba” is the Japanese term for “Brushwood” that refers to the brush of the mountain. The breed almost went extinct during the era of world war two because of food shortage and post-war distemper disease in dogs.

Luckily, people in Japan took an interest in breeding the three surviving bloodlines of the breed. These dogs were Shinshu, Mino, and San’in Shiba. Thanks to their efforts, the breed survived, thrived, and became Japan’s number one companion dog!

In 1954, the breed was imported by a military family to the United States of America. Due to its distinct features, it is no surprise that it became popular almost instantly. Their popularity continues to rise today!


The Shiba Inus are double-coated, with the undercoat thick and soft and outer coats that are straight and stiff. Their body frame is compact with muscles. Their furs are typically short and have a face, ears, and legs similar to the fox. They have guard hairs that protect their underlying skin and repel the snow and rain.

Their tail is long and stands open in a brush, and it is their distinct feature that makes them unique. Furthermore, the back end also shields sensitive parts (their face) from the harsh winter weather. For their color, it was considered both by the Japanese and American Kennel club that their cream color is a “fault” since it does not have the required markings known as “urajiro”, which translates to “underside white.” Their other colors include sesame, black and tan, and white.


If you have not seen Shiba Inus before, they look like a smaller version of another native dog, Akita. The male typically grows up to 16.5 inches and weighs around 23 pounds. The female can stand after 15 inches and can weigh up to 17 pounds.

Personality And Temperament

The Japanese refer to the breed in three words: Soboku, Ryosei, and Kaani-i. The three words mean alert, good nature, and spirited boldness correspondingly. The three words are enough to define the Shiba Inu temperament & personality, but that is not all of it. They are also confident and could fend on their own if they wanted to!

The Shiba Inus are also stubborn, similar to cats. Unlike the Golden Retrievers, they will only go to you after calling their name when they are in the mood. Their assertiveness and sense of individual mindedness are one of the spectacular traits that made them distinct and different from other dog breeds.

Shibas are possessive dogs and tend to keep things from other dogs. These things can be their toy, food, and territory. They get easily mad if other dogs or animals would try to touch their stuff, so it is best to keep those away from them as possible. But you can suppress their aggressiveness by making them socialize with other animals!

Since they hunted down small game in the past, they are likely to chase chipmunks, squirrels, chickens, cats, and other small critters. Training them is the best way to control their urges to chase (link: small animals. Socializing at an early age can also help suppress those urges too.

Overall, Shiba Inus are loyal and aloof at times. They are loving as most dogs but are less affectionate in comparison. Shiba Inus are indeed good-natured dogs but would growl at you when irritated. They are also energetic and require daily exercise in their routine.

This dog breed also has destructive and disruptive behaviors such as digging, barking, growling, and howling if you did not spend time with them adequately. Additionally, they are sensitive to chaotic surroundings, objects, and people as they are alert. Even a little noise from their surroundings would perk their ears up and become restless!

Is The Breed For You?

The Shiba Inus may not be the best for novice dog owners if adopted at an older age. They require socialization to help them suppress the unpleasant traits they possess. But overall, they are still lovable, great guard dogs, loyal, and would leave you alone if they are not in the mood, which is great for those who work from home. Be sure to adhere to their requirements, like exercise if you did adopt one!

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  1. Very good post and yes the Shiba is not for the novice without a good breeder to walk you through an make sure this is the right breed for you. They are so Unique. Dakine Shiba Inus

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