Some people have a tendency to ignore the Shiba Inu pros and cons that exist and wind up taking on a dog that they’re not prepared for.
Don’t get me wrong, with how cute and cuddly they look as a puppy as well as an adult, it isn’t a hard thing to overlook.
But it happens, and the dog’s nature isn’t addressed throughout its youth, and before you know it, the dog is either in charge or relocated.
To ignore Shiba Inu’s pros and cons, or those of any dog for that matter, isn’t going to end well for anyone involved- including the dog.
Shiba Inu Pros and Cons for You to Consider
Here, we have 33 pros and cons. Hopefully, by the time you reach the end of this list, you’ve learned a thing or two about the breed.
I’m not trying to build the breed up or tear it down. Still, I am giving an unbiased assessment of the dog, its nature, and what you need to expect if you’re in the market for this particular breed.
By the end, you’ll be able to make a more educated decision about whether a Shiba Inu is the dog you thought it was, and if it would be a good fit for your home.
Shiba Inu Pros
1. Shiba Inus are Loyal
Shiba Inus are very loyal to their owners. There are stories that span decades that exemplify the loyalty of the Shiba toward their owners.
The most impressive is the story of a Shiba Inu dog called Mari, who sought out first responders to come and help its owner, who was trapped under rubble after an earthquake. This kind of loyalty was bred into the dog nature early into its history.
2. They Suffer Fewer Health Problems than Other Breeds
With an average lifespan of 12-15 years, Shiba Inus are generally known to be a healthy breed. Healthy means that, though they have certain health concerns like any other breed, they are less prone to suffer from as large of a variety compared to others.
A healthy diet and exercise help avoid many of the issues that can occur with the Shiba Inu. However, they can be prone to have hereditary diseases and need to be checked for eye, hip, and knee problems as they get older.
3. The Shiba Inu Breed is Very Intelligent
There is intelligence that can be observed as soon as you look into the eyes of a Shiba Inu. They’re easy to train in the sense that it gets what you’re trying to make it do.
It has no problem learning new things. Whether or not it decides that it cares, well, that’s a different issue- but its intelligence is never up for debate.
4. They’re Known to be a Clean Conscious Dog
The Shiba Inu is often compared to cats concerning keeping itself clean. Unlike most breeds, they typically don’t like getting dirty and avoid anything that it thinks will make a mess out of its fur.
Like cats, they spend a good deal of time cleaning its paws and licking its fur- anywhere it can reach. Their fur type also helps to repel dirt or filth, as if it was meant to match the dog’s desire for cleanliness.
5. Shiba’s are an Affectionate Breed
Shiba Inus are affectionate toward their families but have their own way about them, their own way of showing it. They are not cuddly dogs and are not lap dogs.
But they do give plenty of affection, even if it’s in a reserved manner at times.
6. A Convenient and Easily Manageable Size and Weight
Shibas are a small to medium-sized breed. A male can measure in at 14-17 inches, and a female 13-16 inches.
The average male Shiba weighs in at around 18-24 pounds, and a female weighs in at 15-20 pounds. Most people would find this height and weight very manageable and adaptable to multiple types of living situations.
7. A Bold and High-Spirited Breed
This breed is famous for being alert, fearless, bold, comedians, charming, confident, and faithful. A well-bred and well-trained Shiba Inu will make for a great house pet and is a good-natured companion.
8. Cuteness- The Appearance of a Fox
This first impression is guilty of seducing hordes of people to have made this dog’s popularity skyrocket! It’s fluffy appearance almost makes it look fake, and its cuteness has a way of erasing a multitude of its sins for the tenderhearted.
Some people think that it resembles a little teddy bear as a pup, and when grown, they tend to have a cute, fox-like appearance. Even as adults, their youthful face never seems to tip off its age.
9. Easy to Take Care Of
Overall, the Shiba Inu tends to be a low maintenance dog. An infrequent bath will be fine, as it is constantly cleaning itself anyway.
They do need to be brushed frequently, but they’ll be thankful for your efforts applied toward their goal of cleanliness. Shibas do blow their coat twice per year, but aside from that, they do not typically shed much.
10. Housebreaking Comes Easier than Other Dogs
Because of their cleanliness standard, housebreaking a Shiba Inu can be much easier to accomplish than other breeds. In fact, as far as training goes, housebreaking is among the easiest things to teach them.
However, a lack of understanding might make housebreaking a little more difficult. If you understand that these dogs will need to go out frequently to go pee, you shouldn’t have any problems. Like all small to medium-sized dogs, they have smaller bladders than larger breeds and will need to go more often.
11. Shiba Inus are Not Excessive Barking Dogs
Shiba Inus are not necessarily quiet dogs, but they aren’t known to be barkers either. Some have deemed this breed to be perfect for apartment living for this reason- no barking complaints.
Though they are quieter than other breeds, they do have several different means at their disposal to communicate, either with their owners or to otherwise show how they feel about certain things.
12. Each Shiba Inu is an Individual
This is another area in the life of a Shiba Inu, where they are compared to cats. Like a cat, this breed is known to be rather independent and would rather be in control of its own destiny.
This might be a con for some. But for those who need to leave the dog alone (have to work, for example), it is a pro. They are a proud breed that has a temperament all its own and is unique in many ways.
13. They are Easily Entertained
Because of their curious and fearless nature, they don’t have a difficult time being entertained. They are natural hunters and love to look for things to search out.
Puzzle toys are great for this breed, as it promotes them to do what comes naturally to them in a positive way. When given reason to exercise its natural strengths, the Shiba Inu can keep itself plenty occupied.
14. A Shiba Inu Enjoys Attention from Its Family
As I stated above, this is not a cuddly breed. However, they do enjoy attention from their family. Yes, there is a big difference between attention and cuddles.
If a Shiba is comfortable and happy, it won’t mind being handled or given physical attention. But other means of attention it enjoys could be communication, play, praise, and so on. They enjoy being around everyone, taking part in activities, and being a part of the family.
15. They are sturdy Dogs, Stronger than they Look
Some people are shocked to find that these dogs aren’t all fur. There’s a muscular and hearty dog hiding under that cute exterior.
Their strength can help them book it across a field or jump up deceivingly higher than you’d think they’re capable of.
16. Shibas are Playful
As stated above, Shiba Inus are a strong breed. Coupled with this is a higher energy level than other dog breeds- particularly when they’re young.
This combination is a great source of play. When in the playful mode, this breed can do all kinds of tricks and feats of ability that will entertain both the dog and its owners.
They also tend to be the class clown, doing goofy things in play, even during more relaxed quiet times.
17. They Can be Protective Over Family and Property
Shiba Inus are careful to watch over its surroundings, including those he loves and its territory. Though their attitude might outweigh their capabilities when it comes to defending against intruders, they are loyal enough to do their best anyhow.
Shiba Inu Cons
18. An Odd Habit- Excessive Licking
Yes, they’re clean animals and lick themselves clean, but sometimes it can go far beyond cleanliness. Shiba Inus can, at times, develop strange habits. Among them is the need to lick- everything.
Dogs lick people and things; it’s just what they do. But if a Shiba Inu does it in a way that seems to be excessive and refuses to stop, something is lacking somewhere. Either in training, or the owner hasn’t established proper dominance.
19. Screaming to Get Their Way
No, this breed isn’t known to be a barking dog. However, some may prefer barking to screaming! Yes, Shiba Inus scream for several different reasons.
The biggest reason is when they don’t get their way. Some people have had concerns about this trait, so to help out, we’ve written an article all about it called, “What is a Shiba Inu Scream?”
20. They are Known for their Stubborn Behavior
Though these dogs are intelligent and more than capable of learning things, they have a strong reputation for being stubborn. If they don’t want to do what you’re wanting them to do, it will protest.
21. Can Tend to be More Aloof than Other Dogs
Because they have an independent mindset, they can be more on the aloof side- again, similar to cats. They care about certain things and couldn’t care less over other things.
Sometimes they’ll willingly do something they’re expected to do; other times, they won’t. It’s all about what they feel like doing. This indifferent or standoffish behavior is often confused with a lack of affection. It isn’t a lack of affection, but rather a streak of independence.
22. Higher Prey Drive than Other Dogs
The Shiba Inu breed was originally bred to be hunters, and if that prey drive is not trained out of them early in life, it can be a problem for years to come. This is particularly true with its aggression toward other small animals.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are Shiba Inus good with cats?
23. They “Blow Their Coats”
Twice per year, usually during the fall and the spring, Shiba Inus do what’s called “blow their coats.” All this means is that they lose large chunks of their undercoat in wads throughout a period of about three weeks per occasion.
This is in the cons section because it can make quite the mess if you do not keep up with the brushing.
24. They Have a Tendency to be Aggressive Toward Other Dogs
When it comes to other dogs, its territorial nature and a need to assert dominance come into play. Again, something that can be trained out of the dog’s behavior.
Disasters happen when an owner isn’t equipped with the information, the skill, or the will, to remove these undesirable traits from its temperament.
25. Can be Destructive When Left to their Own Devices
Shiba Inus can get bored. When they do, they have a tendency to let you know it by finding things played with that they shouldn’t have touched. Excess pent up energy is one of the largest reasons why dogs destroy things.
Shiba Inus are energetic dogs. If they don’t have this energy exercised out of them, they will exhibit their more destructive side.
26. Shibas Can be Weary of Unfamiliar Faces
Shiba Inus are friendly and loving to the family, but when it comes to socializing with unfamiliar faces, they become more on the standoffish side. Not necessarily aggressive, but they’ll let people know to keep their distance.
This can pose to be a problem when this behavior is allowed to continue.
27. Not Easily Contained
This breed is admirably athletic and clever. However, this isn’t always a welcomed or good thing to have to deal with. Shiba Inus are notorious for having no fenced yard that can contain them.
If there’s any way to get out, it will. This comes to the dismay of owners unaware of their fantastic ability to jump over common fencing.
28. It Might Ignore Your Commands if Focused on Something
If a Shiba Inu wants to run, it will run no matter how you try to convince it to come back to you. If there is anything that catches its attention, it will focus on it.
This is one area where its history as a hunter catches up with it. That, combined with its independent nature, can make this a dog that is best at the end of a leash in most outdoor unfenced situations.
29. They Have an Affinity toward the Dramatic
The antics of this breed, when it isn’t getting its way, is nearly as well-known as its beautiful appearance. They tend to throw a temper tantrum, making all kinds of interesting noises until they are reprimanded or get their way.
Though some people think this is cute behavior, others would most definitely consider it a con.
Though they are independent dogs overall, some suffer from separation anxiety, which can be dramatically put on display. This can happen if the dog owners switch up their schedule, not around when the dog expects them to be there.
30. Territorial Behavior is Not Uncommon
Their property is their responsibility as far as the dog is concerned. And this territorial behavior can become the root of a few different problems down the road if it isn’t trained out of the dog.
31. Not Recommended with Boisterous Young Children
A Shiba Inu does fine with a young child or children who are calm and not often obnoxious. But high-strung small children can rub this breed the wrong way.
I hate to keep saying it, but the same is true with a cat. That’s the mindset one should have when thinking of mixing this dog with the company of a child- what would a cat do?
32. Can be Possessive of Food or Toys
Just as Shiba Inus are possessive over their owners and property, they harbor the same mentality over their food and toys. It belongs to them, and they don’t like to share.
This can be a point of aggression with other dogs or even people if not taken care of early in the dog’s life.
33. An Expensive Breed when Purchased by Reputable Breeders
Unfortunately, this is an expensive breed. You can pay anywhere between $1,200 to $3,000 for a purebred Shiba Inu with a good pedigree.
Though it isn’t as expensive as other breeds, it’s a con here because many people often pay for these dogs and wind up sending them to shelters due to lack of knowledge.
A Usual but Necessary Caveat
Training, training, training!
All of the above greatly hinges on how it’s raised, how it’s trained, and how it’s treated. Every undesirable trait that rests within the Shiba Inu skillset can be trained out of the dog for the most part.
On the other side of the coin, the positives that come with the dog can be wiped out by an ill-equipped owner. Ill-equipped could mean an unwillingness to recognize the breed’s nature and not being strict with proper training.
Shiba Inus are a gorgeous dog that has been consistently growing in popularity. However, never let the popularity of a breed put blinders on you if you’re looking for a family dog.
I hope this article about the Shiba Inu pros and cons helps you remove those blinders and figure out whether or not a Shiba Inu is the right dog for you.