A Tale of The Shiba Inu Tail

beautiful shiba inu tail

The Shiba Inu  is a lucky dog that has many attractive physical characteristics. They have a well-proportioned body, adorable face, beautiful coats, and yes, a glorious tail.

The Shiba Inu tail is a defining characteristic of the Shiba Inu breed that makes the Shiba Inu stand apart from other dog breeds. Many people who are not familiar with the Shiba Inu breed simply ask “What is the dog with the curled tail called?”

Tails For Different Purposes

Dog’s tails comes in many different sizes, shapes, and positions. Dog tail types included, brush, otter, straight, curled, taper, whip, plum, sickle, snap, carrot, tuft, gay, saber…

That’s a lot of tail types. Specific tail types are used by dogs for specific purposes such as acting as a rudder for swimming dogs, or acting as visual sight to help hunters sight their pack of hunting dogs.

shiba inu dog in snowEssentially tails tell a lot about a dog’s genetic and ancestral history. By examining your dog’s tail, you can determine some fascinating facts about your dog’s history.

The Curled Shiba Inu Tail

Shiba Inu tails are classified as curled tails. A curled tail – sometimes called ring rail –  is a dog tail that curls upward towards the back to form a small curl.

Northern, cold weather breeds like the Shiba Inu, Akita, and Siberian Husky have curled or sickle shaped tails that actually help them retain body heat and keep warm during the harsh winters.

When sleeping, these dogs curl up tightly and their sickle or curly tail curls over their exposed face and nose to keep these sensitive body parts less exposed and warm.

The Sickle Shaped Shiba Inu Tail

Some Shiba Inus have a “sickle” tail which also curls towards the back, but not as much a regular curled / ring tail. A sickle tail was more common in the Mino Shiba – an earlier line of Shiba dog.

The sickle tail is the single phenotypical characteristic that appears to separate dogs from wolves. A sickle tail is not a common type of dog tail and is only found in small percentage of purebred dog lines. One of the most recognized breeds that have sickle tails are Huskies.

While sickle tail Shiba Inus are permissible in the show ring according to AKC standards, the curled Shiba Inu tail is the most desirable. In Shiba Inu’s there are generally four types or subsets of curled tail types. The four types are the single curl, the double curl, the high, tight tail, and the slack tail.

The Perfect Shiba Inu Tail Characteristics

The single curled tail is the preferable tail for Shiba Inus.  A Shiba Inu’s single curled tail should have a thick tail vertebrae and be dignified, and powerful.  The hair on a Shiba Inu’s tail should be slightly longer than the rest of the Shiba Inu coat. When the Shiba Inu tail is extended it should reach right up the hocks. Curling to the right or left is both acceptable – though a Shiba Inu tail curling to the left is the most common.

nice looking shiba inu dogThe single curled tail should appear relaxed, fluidly curved, and flexible. These Shiba Inu tail features gives the Shiba Inu balance, mobility and grace when on the move. Aesthetically, the proper single curl tail portrays the Shiba Inu as calm but fiercely confident.

A Shiba Inu with a thin, weak tail is a serious fault. It does not represent the strength and essence of a properly bred Shiba Inu that follows the rigorous standards of NIPPO, or the Japanese version of the AKC.

Hope you enjoyed and learned something from this tale of “tails”. The knowledge you learned here will give you some insightful information to share with your dog loving pals.






***My First Shiba Inu does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help our readers better understand their dogs; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance.