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Shiba Inu: the Dog That is Actually a Cat

Updated on June 25, 2014

To Doge or Not to Doge...

that is the question.

With the rising popularity of the meme "Doge" came a high interest in the internet-sensations breed of dog - the Shiba Inu. Reputable breeders of the ancient Japanese breed are found far and few, and a pup can cost anywhere from $1,000.00-$1,600.00CAD before shipping costs. They are a high-maintenance breed that can cost a pretty penny to both adopt and care for, making it of the utmost importance to first analyze yourself and your lifestyle in comparison to the Shiba Inu before deciding to adopt.

Shibas: secret cats!
Shibas: secret cats!

Cat-Like Characteristics

of the Shiba Inu breed include the following:

  • Attention-Seeking/Unaffectionate

A Shiba is not typically a "cuddler" who enjoys constant affection. Though they do crave your consistent attention, and may enjoy petting, picking up, and companionship, do not expect your Shiba to curl up on your lap or at the foot of your bed at night.

  • Playful

Shiba Inu are very, very playful. They can often seem to have endless energy.

  • Agile

A Shiba Inu is quick on his feet, and an excellent jumper. Beware, as they are wonderful escape artists.

  • Intelligent/Stubborn

Shibas have no problem learning tricks and commands, and will catch on quite quickly to training. Doing these commands when commanded, though, may prove an issue. Shibas are very stubborn and strong-minded. They prefer to do what they want, when they want it, and will have no problem holding out on you until the appropriate amount of treats are presented.

  • Difficult to Walk

As a result of many Shiba characteristics, these pups can be very difficult to walk or train to walk properly.

  • Destructive

The Shiba Inu can be very destructive, digging, chewing, and eating socks, laundry, toilet paper, boxes, corners of walls, and more

  • Hunters

Your Shiba May trouble you by picking up and dragging inside the dead bird in the lawn, but you will thank him and his natural hunting instincts when there are less and less bugs or rodents in the basement or out by the shed. Shibas were initially bred as hunting dogs, and their hunting instincts remain dominant today. Unfortunately, this may make them difficult to socialize with cats or small pets - but it is doable.

Sleeping Shiba Inu puppy.
Sleeping Shiba Inu puppy. | Source

the Shiba Scream

One of the most deterring characteristics of the Shiba Inu that prospective pet owners overlook is the Shiba Scream. This breed of dog is very vocal, and has a vocabulary that will astound you. Like most dogs, a happy Shiba will communicate with a variety of playful or pleasing barks, yips, growls and howls.

An unhappy Shiba will express his disdain with an ear-shattering, high-pitched whine that will wake the deepest sleeper. Being a dramatic breed, Shibas may scream if you step too close to their paws, if they are losing in a playful wrestling match with another pup, or most commonly, when they are kennelled.

The noise-factor is a huge thing to consider before adopting a Shiba Inu. They are not apartment or newborn approved!

How to Avoid Negative Traits of the Shiba Inu

If the negative characteristics of the Shiba Inu have not yet turned you away from the breed - great! The Shiba Inu can be a wonderful, loving, and loyal companion. In the following paragraphs, you will discover the more positive aspects of the breed.

To best avoid behavioural issues and negative personality traits surfacing in your future Shiba Inu pup:

  • Kennel Training is Key

Purchase a kennel as part of your puppy preparation essentials. A wire crate with a bottom tray is fine, but be sure to line the kennel with soft blankets and perhaps a heating pad. Train your pup to sleep in his kennel from the get-go, despite any objections from your pup or personal aspirations to cuddle your pup all night. Placing his food and water, favourite toys, and bed in the kennel can help him adjust. Line the kennel with a puppy pad for his first few weeks.

  • Hand-Feeding

Hand feeding can stop your puppy from developing any food aggression issues in the future. It can also help him learn to be gentle with humans, especially small children or strangers. Even hand-feeding for his first few weeks home can make a huge difference down the road.

  • Persistence is Mandatory

Do not neglect to enrol your puppy in obedience classes and keep with his training indefinitely. Once you show submission to your Shibe, he will begin to act up. Puppy classes also give him time to socialize with other dogs, which can help him adjust to positive behaviours.


A tired puppy is a well-behaved puppy. Especially when that puppy is a Shiba Inu. Playing with your new four-legged family member can wear him out and help him have a quiet nights sleep, and is important for bonding. If you have a fenced yard, allow him ample time to explore and run. Walk him at least twice a day.

Shiba Inu Appearance


Positive Traits of the Shiba Inu

If cost, cat-like characteristics, and the dreaded Shiba Scream haven't got you running towards the hills, then this may be the breed for you! Aside from the previously mentioned negative aspects, Shiba Inus are known to be very suitable companions or family pets for the following reasons:

  • Loyal

Though he won't cuddle you all night, your Shiba will excitedly greet you at the front door or follow you room from room. Shiba Inus typically take a stronger liking to one family member, but are equally loyal to all members.

  • Finicky Nature

Due to their fastidious nature, Shiba Inu are easy to house-train. They often avoid puddles or mud, and enjoy grooming (other than bath time!).

  • Friendly

When properly socialized and trained, Shiba Inu are extremely friendly and outgoing dogs. Like all breeds of dog, though, lack of the aforementioned values can lead to unfavourable behaviour with other humans and pets.

  • Intelligent
  • Personable

Shiba Inus have larger than life personalities, and a hilariously large range of facial expressions. They are known to have many quirks, like sitting on various objects, that add to their visual cuteness.

  • Gentle
  • Medium-Sized Build

The Shiba Inu breed is a medium-to-small size typically weighing between 18-25lbs. An average Shiba Inu will weigh 20lbs and possess very fox-like physical attributes. They are a small dog that looks like a big dog, and appeal to many people who are fond of larger Spitz breeds but do not want a large pet.

Shiba Inu Expressions

Shiba puppy barking
Shiba puppy barking | Source
Shiba winking
Shiba winking
Shiba smiling
Shiba smiling
Shiba Inu lays on back
Shiba Inu lays on back
Shiba Inu dogs talking
Shiba Inu dogs talking
Shiba tongue face
Shiba tongue face

Breeder Directory

United States
Remember to verify breeders and puppies with AKC, CKC, or related and do your research before sending any payment or personal information.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I love these dogs so much I hope I get one when Im older :D

      So cute omg

    • RaeDawn profile imageAUTHOR

      Rae Blair 

      4 years ago from ON, Canada

      Thanks! Their appearance may be easy for everyone to find cute, but the breed is definitely an acquired taste!

    • RaeDawn profile imageAUTHOR

      Rae Blair 

      4 years ago from ON, Canada

      Thank-you! I have a Shiba and found he did well in apartments, too. However, his ... chattiness ... was not appreciated by all neighbours. Especially those who weren't necessarily dog people! I would suggest anybody considering any breed, really, wait until they are out of a large building at the least to avoid trouble with noise. :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Cute article. I think they are great for apartments, though, since they are so clean. A little screaming is better than a constant barking.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      The photos show they are beautiful dogs, but the negative aspects would keep me away. (Not that I could afford one, anyway!) I suppose anyone who learns all these things about a Shiba and adopts one anyway is quite likely to be the right person-match for that dog...right?

      Voted Up/Useful/Interesting



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