If you've been thinking of welcoming a Shiba Inu into your home and life - hopefully you've already done all the research about the in's and outs of this special dog.
The irresistibly cute and viral Shiba pictures and videos have caught the adoration and attention from admirers all across the globe.
Unfortunately, this attention has caused a spike in interest in Shiba Inu puppies from those who know very little about the breed.
This demand causes a chain reaction that leads to a rise in backyard breeders and puppy mill Shibas that often suffer from a range of issues.
You shouldn't get a dog simply because of popularity. Remember the Taco Bell commercial and the rise in Chihuahua popularity?
A dog is living sentient being that has special needs. Certain breeds of dogs have much different needs than others.
Do you want a Shiba because you believe you can offer the best environment and lifestyle that will allow the dog to thrive?
Not sure? Read on find out.
# 1 - Where? Oh Where Will Your Shiba Inu Come From?
4-month old Shiba Inu puppy bred responsibly:
Quality Shiba Inu puppies from reputable Shiba Inu breeders are hard to come by.
Unfortunately, that's the main reason SO MANY unsuspecting new Shiba Inu owners get their pup from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder.
Don't. I repeat.
Don't do that.
You won't find a quality Shiba Inu puppy at the "pet store", Craig's List, or some online "puppy store".
What you will likely find is a puppy that is likely to have physical, genetic, and mental defects that will affect the dog for the rest of their life.
You will be also supporting the insidiously cruel world of "puppies for profit" - a world where parent dogs silently suffer in their own form of Hell at the mercy of greedy breeders.
Puppies from backyard breeders (byb's) and mills are often low quality specimens of the breed that often have anxiety and aggression issues due to their upbringing and environment.
To put it frankly and unapologetically - you'll get an "ugly" Shiba Inu puppy.
Physically ugly, because the breeder could care less about breed standards and health testing.
Morally ugly, because it was forced into this world for profit while causing suffering to their adult parents.
Intellectually ugly, because it was "purchased" by owners who did not do proper research and instead put their needs and desires ("OH, I must get a Shiba Inu now♥♥!!") - above the health of sentient living beings.
Don't be that type of owner. If you can't afford or wait to get an ethically bred Shiba Inu puppy - adopt.
If you find this advice harsh - it's meant to be as puppy mills and backyard breeders is a harsh reality that will only get worse without awareness.
# 2 - Wrong Reasons For Wanting a Shiba Inu
All of us have been guilty at choosing something just because it's so pretty or soooo cute.
As Shiba Inus rise in popularity, more and more potential new dog owners are drawn to the breed due their looks and "curb appeal".
However Shiba Inus are simply not cute faces.
They're a unique breed of dog that requires an owner to thoroughly understand their personality, traits, and needs.
All to often, Shiba Inus wind up in shelters because the new owners realized all too quickly that looks aren't everything.
A Shiba is not.
Is not a typical affection loving, uber sweet and playful dog like a typical Lab or Golden Retriever. Of course there are exceptions to the rule but this is a well-known fact among those knowledgeable about the breed.
So if you want a affectionate, playful and attentive dog a Shiba Inu should not be in your top 10.
# 3 - Shibas Need a LOT of Training and Socialization
The personality traits of a typical Shiba Inu can make training a challenge.
They are known to be stubborn, aloof, and NOT eager to please.
For this reason, many Shiba owners simply give up on training and believe their Shiba is untrainable.
This is not true and the lack of training causes a plethora of issues such as anxiety, aggression, resource guarding and escape risks.
For these very reasons, Shiba Inu actually need more training than most dogs. And this training and socialization should start at an early age (6 - 8 weeks).
Socializing an Shiba puppy is the most important period of the dog's life and doing so will take time (lots of it), patience, and perseverance.
So basically, a Shiba Inu puppy is not for someone who can't spend an extraordinary amount of time during it's puppy hood for socialization and training.
As you already probably witnesses on viral videos, without proper socialization, Shibas can become very difficult to handle.
Routine tasks such as bathing, nail clipping, and vet visits can be horrific for both Shiba and owner. This is not right and just shows that the owner has failed to address a serious issue that will have lifelong implications - for both dog and human family
Shibas are also not for those who are new to dog obedience. management and training procedures.
A Shiba is an intelligent and keen dog who deserves an owner that understand the nuanced dynamics of this stoic breed of dog.
# 4 - Having Enough Funds To Care For a Shiba Inu
I've heard of many stories where new Shiba owners save up all their money to purchase a quality bred Shiba pup only to have little budget left for the "other stuff".
And that "other stuff" can quickly add up.
Veterinarian care, quality nutrition, boarding toys, bedding, accessories, training...
And what if there's a medical emergency? Will your Shiba Inu have pet insurance or will you have no problem covering a possible four-figure medical bill?
Considering all these factors - you need to have enough in your budget to cover all the daily basics plus all the additional things you'll need.
After, that you need to make sure you have enough emergency funds for the year to cover a possible medical emergency ($2,000 - $3,000)
If you don't have enough for a medical emergency and still plan on acquiring a Shiba or any dog - dog insurance may be right for you.
It'll give you piece of mind and ensure that your Shiba can get the best medical care possible.
# 5 - Having a Shiba Inu Safe Environment
Being that Shiba Inu were once small game hunters, many Shiba retain some of that ingrained prey drive.
That's great for those who want help with mice patrol but bad for those that do not have properly contained home environments for the dogs.
Those considering a Shiba will need to have a safe and secure home that a Shiba cannot escape from.
Gates, double doors, locks. Basically the works in terms of containing your Shiba safely.
A bolting Shiba is likely to be a fast Shiba, and i've heard too many stories of owners tragically losing their Shibas due to a forgotten door or gate being left opened.
In terms of temperature, Shibas prefer cooler environments due to their plush double coat. If you do live in a hot environment, you must take extra steps to ensure that your Shiba does not overheat at all times of the day.
# 6 - Fur. Just Fur.
The double coat of a Shiba Inu will bring a lot of "oohs and ahhhs" from admirers.
And it'll also bring a lot fur into your life.
A Shiba Inu is a Spitz dog with a plush undercoat that completely "blows" twice a year.
During this magical coat blowing period, their fur will be everywhere. On your clothes, in the carpet, and many times in your food.
Those that have "neat freak" issues or allergies will need to take this into consideration.
Brushing the Shiba's coat during coat blow, and vacuuming often will thankfully keep the shedding under relative control.
Other than that, the shedding during the rest of the year is not bad at all.
# 7 - Attitude
We've covered Shiba Inu training and temperament already but for some reason although attitude technically falls under temperament - I decided that it needed it's own spot light.
A Shiba Inus attitude is a very special trait.
I along with many Shiba owners admit that they have never come across an attitude as that of a Shiba.
Sometimes this attitude will make you cringe, yell, curse, and fume.
Yet other times, this attitude will make your heart melt with adoration, laugh with no abandon, and cry with endless tears.
Yes, a Shibas attitude is something only true fanciers understand, enjoy and "deal with".
For those new to Shiba Inus, this attitude can cause problems.
The Shiba may not easily abide to your wishes or show affection and appreciation when necessary.
And remember training. Oh, it's going to take a lot of training and socialization to ensure your Shiba grow to be a well-adjusted and obedient dog.
So don't even think of a Shiba, if stubbornness, aloofness, and attitude could be a concern for you.
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