What Is A Mame Shiba Inu?

A Mame Shiba Inu is a Shiba Inu dog that has been intentionally bred to be smaller. But why? Breeders who intentionally breed dogs that are "off standard" generally do so simply for profit. They know that miniaturizing a dog breed can be quite profitable because small dogs are often seen as cute and "hard to resist".

​To reputable Shiba Inu breeders, breeding Mame or Miniature Shiba Inus is highly frowned upon. Breeding a Shiba Inu to be smaller does nothing for the betterment of the breed.

Mame Shiba Inus will never be recognized by Shiba Inu breed clubs or Shiba Inu associations. This fact means that those who breed Mame Shiba Inus often don't care about health or temperament considerations. 

​This makes the Mame Shiba Inu a popular target for backyard breeders and puppy mills. This results in Shiba Inu puppies that often suffer from health issues - both physically and mentally.

What Does Mame Shiba Inu Mean?

In​ Japanese, mame translates to beans. So Mame Shiba Inus are "bean-sized" dogs. Instead of Mame, some use the term mini or miniature Shiba Inus. 

mame shiba inu size comparison

- via Taro The Shiba

How Big Are Mame Shiba Inus?

Mame Shiba Inus are typically bred to be about 35 - 50% smaller than standard Shiba Inu sizes. Therefore a full grown male Mame Shiba Inu will weigh roughly 10 - 14 pounds and be about 11" tall in height. Female Mame Shiba Inus will be a little smaller.

Where Did Mame Shibas Come From?

The general consensus is that breeding of Mame Shiba Inu started in Japan. For many years, small dogs have been highly coveted in Japan. Dogs such as Chihuahua's and Toy Poodles became hot sellers in the puppy market.

This opened up the market for backyard and money hungry dog breeders to begin breeding Shiba Inus to be smaller. There have been cases where breeders would purposely starve puppies to decrease size. Some have even mixed Shiba Inus with smaller toy breeds to decrease size. 

Dog preservation societies in Japan absolutely refuse to recognize Mame Shiba Inus as a separate breed. The NIPPO dog organization will not knowingly allow Mame Shiba Inus to be registered as Shiba Inus.

Should I Get A Mame Shiba Inu?

We here at My First Shiba Inu do not advocate purchasing Mame Shiba Inus. Instead, we recommend either rescuing a Shiba Inu or purchasing a Shiba Inu that has been bred by a reputable breeder that does stringent health and temperament testing. This breeder should also be involved in showing their dogs at shows - a good sign that the breeder is reputable.

​Shiba Inu are already beautiful dogs with a great history and lineage. It would be utterly disrespectful to "shrink" this breed just to make them cuter. If you want a smaller, cute dog, look into getting a Pomeranian instead.

​Like earlier mentioned, those who breed Mame Shiba Inu do so mainly for profit. They like the fact that there is no regulation for these non-recognized dog breeds. These types of breeders are usually inexperienced backyard breeder types or worse - puppy mills.

Please do not support animal cruelty by purchasing dogs from puppy mills - they are much more common that you think.