It’s hard to deny the allure of Shiba Inu puppies.
I mean... They are just too stinkin’ cute!
Now while there’s nothing wrong with excessive cuteness - there are definitely problems that can arise when a dog breed is over-popularized
Remember the Taco Bell Dog?
Or if you’re older, Spud McKenzie?
And now for Pete's sake, it's the Doge coin and Elon Musk craze driving up demand for Shiba Inus!
When dog breeds are over-popularized, the demand for these dogs sky rocket.
And unfortunately, since reputable, quality breeders cannot just pop out more magical Shiba puppies out of the air - other entities will take advantage of the demand to detrimental results.
Enter Puppy Mills....
Puppy mills LOVE capitalizing on trending dogs and will gladly pick up the slack and churn out puppy after puppy after puppy.
And when this happens, the consequences can be severe.
Puppy mill dogs endure a horrible existence in cramped and unsanitary, prison-like cages with little to any human interaction.
The puppies born in puppy mills are often plagued with both health and mental deficiencies that last for the duration of their lives.
Furthermore, puppy mill breeders care much more about profit versus the quality and looks of the dog once they reach adulthood.
They know that all young puppies are “cute” and easy to sell to uninformed dog owners.
So not only will puppy mill Shiba Inus likely have health and mental issues - they’ll also very likely not conform to Shiba Inu standards.
Bluntly put - at no fault of their own - they’ll not be very good looking as adults.
Puppy mill Shiba Inu puppies often look like "kind of" liked Shibas mixed with something else. These puppies commonly have disproportionate body measurements.
They’re often scrawny looking with wrong coloring and markings - leading ther owners to take to forums and ask “why” their Shiba doesn’t look quite “Shiba”?
And this fact alone does a terrible injustice to the Shiba Inu breed.
The answer to these owner's question is this - they didn’t get their Shiba from a reputable breeder and most likely got their Shiba from a terrible breeder.
And that’s exactly why I made an effort to write this article.
My main goal is to help you, TO NOT be one of those new Shiba Inu owners.
Examples of Shiba Inus conforming to standards:
Questions To Reputable Shiba Inu Breeders:
Q: When screening a potential Shiba Inu puppy parent, what are the most important considerations?
A:"First. Do they have a fenced yard? And equal to that is someone home all day? Nothing worst then getting a puppy and crating it all day. I am firm about that. None of this “oh I will walk it every day” as that does not give the puppy any chance for a happy life."
- AKC Breeder of Merit Laura Perkinson - Taichung Shibas
Questions To Reputable Shiba Inu Breeders:
Q: What is the most challenging issue in terms of Shiba Inu health?
A:" Right now, I feel it's Glaucoma. I've read reports that in Japan, 70 percent of their Shibas are carriers. I'm seeing more and more on social media having eyes removed. There is no cure besides eye removal. There is research starting at UPenn to find the DNA marker and I encourage everyone who cares about the future of our breed to donate.
- AKC Preservation Breeder of Merit Susanne Ozasa - Jogoso Shiba Inu
Where To Start....
BEFORE getting to the list of seven steps to find a Shiba Inu puppy, take the time to read the following important information:
First off, you seriously need to determine if you are even ready and qualified to become a new dog owner.
Do you have the finances, time, environment, and commitment to bring another living being into your life for the next 12 - 16 years?
Are you ready for sleepless nights, endless pooping, peeing, and crying that a new puppy will gift you with?
And will you always be there for your adult Shiba through sickness and in health - whether it be an unsettled tummy or a serious illness requiring serious finances?
Really. It’s a lot to think about, so take your time.
Once you’re certain that you have the commitment, resources, and environment to bring home a Shiba Inu puppy, it’s time for just a bit more education....
Where NEVER To Get a Shiba Inu Puppy
Reputable Shiba Inu breeders rarely, if ever, need to “advertise” their puppies.
It’s actually the opposite.
Due to rising popularity of the Shiba Inu breed - no thanks to Dogecoin - there's simply not enough quality Shiba Inu puppies available to meet the demand - not even close.
Potential Shiba Inu parents are the ones signing up on waitlists that are sometimes over one to years long and hope they’ll have what it takes to pass a breeder’s initial screening once their names get called on the waitlist.
Suzanne Ozasa of Jogoso Shiba Inu is one of the top Shiba Inu breeders in the United States and explains it like this:
"No, there are not enough reputable Shiba Inu breeders to even make a dent in the current demand. Many smaller breeders I know starting out love their dogs very much and keep them for life. Once they are past breeding age, the new breeder has too many dogs and can’t breed anymore until those original breeding dogs pass away. Breeders with a lot of dogs have to live somewhere that allows it. The times of big time kennels and breeders are gone. I don’t know an answer and feel reputable, responsible breeders will be penalized by the irresponsible breeders whose dogs end up in shelters."
Avoid The Following:
- Pet Stores
- Facebook Marketplace
- Facebook pages that advertise puppies
- ANY Internet website advertising puppies
- Backyard breeders (BYB)
Pet stores present a tempting option for those in a rush to find a Shiba Inu puppy.
It’s understandably difficult to resist that “astronomically adorable puppy in the window”.
However, it’s important to understand that 90% or more of puppies from pet stores come from puppy mills.
In addition to paying a high price for a pet store puppy that's likely to have future health and emotional problems - you're also contributing to both cruelty and pet over-population by supporting the ever churning puppy mill machine.
Craigslist can already be an “iffy” venue to purchase basic household things like a lawnmower.
Imagine the risks you’ll face in purchasing a puppy there?
In addition, Craigslist has a policy prohibiting the selling of pets. But this doesn’t stop the unscrupulous sellers from finding a way around the policy.
They simply change the ad and use the term “rehoming” to find their next target.
Remember, reputable breeders don’t “advertise” their puppies. Rather they carefully screen potential candidates to ensure that their precious offspring will have a safe, loving, and suitable home.
Internet Websites Selling Puppies
This is the absolute worst place to consider purchasing a Shiba Inu puppy.
In fact, these types of sites should be outlawed.
Internet sites selling puppies sell puppies from puppy mills.
If you purchase a puppy from a puppy mill you are not only supporting animal cruelty - you are also buying an inferiorly bred puppy that will likely to suffer long term health and emotional problems.
Just. Don’t. Do. It.
If you have the mentality that believes that “these puppies deserve homes too” - you’re absolutely right.
However, by purchasing a puppy, you’ll simply allow the vicious cycle to continue.
Instead, efforts need to be focused on eliminating puppy mills and rescuing the parents and puppies from a pitiful life full of misery, abuse, and neglect.
Dogs deserve way better than this.
Facebook Marketplace / Dedicated Facebook “Puppy” Pages
The same reason you’d avoid Internet sites / Craigslist is the same reason to avoid Facebook Marketplace / dedicated puppy pages.
Using Facebook pages to sell puppies is a relatively new and attractive venue for puppy mills and backyard breeders.
The ease of use and "always on" visibility of Facebook pages has the ability to lure Facebook users into impulse buying a puppy.
A backyard breeder can have similar characteristics to a puppy mill depending on the the amount of dogs they have and the conditions that the dogs are kept in.
Backyard breeders typically have very little knowledge about the highly technical aspects of puppy breeding and instead breed puppies for reasons that include:
- They just want to “try” having one litter because they believe having two purebred dogs is all that’s required.
- They want to breed to make what they “think” is an easy side income.
- They’d like to show their children the “miracle of life”.
But the problem with backyard breeders is that:
- They don’t have the experience of knowledge of breed standards and conformation
- They don’t genetically screen the parents for health, inbreeding issues
- They don’t have contracts that can protect buyers
- They don’t typically screen potential buyers for home suitability
- They produce low quality specimens that do nothing to improve the breed adding to issue of pet overpopulation and abandonment
- They tend to over breed their females without giving her time to recover and live a healthy, happy life.
- Veterinary care, quality nutrition, training is the least of their worries.
At this point, it’s easy to understand why finding a quality Shiba Inu pup is an arduous and time consuming ordeal.
However the effort and patience is completely worth it in the long run.
A Grey Area - "Boutique" Breeders
A boutique breeder is usually defined as a smaller scale breeding operation that focuses on quality - not quantity.
Boutique dog breeders may sometimes get confused as backyard breeders so it’s best to be careful and not accuse any smaller scale breeder as backyard breeder until you know all the facts.
Boutique breeders usually have only a few dogs that they selectively breed every so often.
While some boutique breeders may show their dogs and have earned titles for their dogs - some boutique breeders just starting out - may not.
And that's the reason why purchasing a puppy from a boutique breeder falls in a grey area category.
It’s also in a grey area because some clever backyard breeders may describe themselves as boutique breeders.
So be careful.
You could very well find a wonderful boutique breeder that produces beautiful puppies - just be sure they can prove they’re not backyard breeders. (ask for references, test their knowledge, etc).
Can You Afford Caring For a Shiba Inu?
Deciding on purchasing a purebred dog comes with substantial costs - especially for quality specimens from reputable and ethical breeders.
Expect to pay around $2,000 for a “pet home” Shiba Inu puppy, and around $3,500 - $5,000 for a “show / breeding” quality Shiba Inu puppy.
If those figures startle you already - that’s just the beginning.
You’ll also need to set aside a sufficient budget for quality food / supplements, veterinarian care, toys, crates, pens, collars, leashes, harnesses, puppy pads, dog beds, puppy sitting (for times when you are busy), obedience training… The list can get quite extensive.
In addition to fixed monthly costs, you’ll also need to make sure you have enough funds to cover any medical emergencies that could happen without warning.
Emergency veterinary bills can be substantial and can run into the thousands.
Do You Have The Time / Commitment To Welcome a New Shiba Inu Puppy??
Caring for a Shiba Inu puppy - or any puppy - is not only a LOT of work, it’s also a huge time commitment.
For at least the first few months, someone should always be at home with the puppy.
Young puppies need round the clock care that includes feeding, interacting, cleaning, and training.
The first few months of a puppy’s critical development period is an important learning period for the puppy.
It’s basically a make it or break it time.
This is the time where you have the ability to decrease and even eliminate the possibility of problem behaviors such as aggression, anxiety, fear, and destructiveness.
Renowned dog trainer, Jean Donaldson advises new puppy owners to go "overboard" during this critical window of time because doing so will help ensure that your puppy becomes a well-adjusted, and most importantly, an emotionally sound, happy adult.
Do You Fully Understand The Nature of the Shiba Inu Dog Breed??
You’ve probably heard that Shiba Inus are not for everyone.
And it’s for good reason
Shiba Inus can be willful dogs and may not be good matches for new or novice dog parents.
Being a basal dog breed, many Shibas still display wilder characteristics than their more domesticated counterparts.
Because of this, a Shiba Inu parent needs to spend additional time and resources into socializing and training a young Shiba puppy.
Improperly socialized Shiba Inus have increased risk of the following:
- Aggression issues
- Anxiety, fear, and mental issues
- Escape risk
- Difficulty with basic things such as bathing, nail clipping, vet visits
Additionally, Shiba Inus tend to be aloof dogs that may surprise an unexpecting new dog parent that thinks all dogs are friendly like Labs.
While there are super sociable Shiba Inus out there, the majority of Shibas are independent and not the most cuddly of dogs.
In fact Shiba Inus are often described as cat-like. They share similar behavioral traits such as being fastidious, judgey, and entitled.
Step # 1 - Start researching potential breeders
As expected, the first step involves even MORE research.
We have an informal listing of trusted Shiba Inu breeders on our website that can be found here. Other places to find breeders online include the official AKC site, and the Shibas.org website.
Start taking notes and bookmark the websites that you find promising.
Other potential ways to find Shiba Inu breeders include:
- Researching regional Shiba Inu groups (fanciers / official clubs, etc)
- Attending local dog shows
- Attending breed specific clubs / fanciers
- Attending dog events such as agility, obedience,
- Asking a trusted veterinarian
- Asking breeders for references (oftentimes, reputable breeders will not have puppies available for extended periods of time and are not accepting applicants to their waitlist. However, most will be happy to point you to other breeders that they are familiar with)
Now, make a list of the breeders you found and include as much details as you can about their breeding program and their policies.
Step # 2 - Study Your Notes - Shortlist
With your list of potential breeders, it's time to dig a bit deeper.
Visit the websites and social media pages of the breeder to learn more about the history of the breeder's breeding program.
Make sure to note achievements such as:
- AKC Breeder of Merit
- Recognition / wins at dog shows
- Recognition / wins at other dog events (obedience, agility, coursing, etc)
Take notes on what types of policies each breeder has especially on such things as who'll they sell their puppies too. Some breeders may only sell their puppies to owners within a certain radius of them.
Remove any breeders from the list that raise any red flags.
Carefully study the quality of the breeder's dogs. Do they conform nicely to Shiba Inu standards? Do they look happy, healthy, well cared for?
Now with you trimmed down list of potential breeders, move on to the next step.
Step # 3 - Prepare Questions To Ask The Breeder
Prepare a list of any questions that'd you'd like to ask the breeder.
Think about all aspects of bringing home a Shiba, from first being considered as a potential buyer (qualifications, etc) to after you bring the puppy home. (care, training, food, etc.)
Here's a Pdf of questions to ask your breeder.
Step # 4 - Reach Out To The Breeder
To put out a good first impression, it’s recommended that you call the breeder by phone to show that you are serious in your inquiry.
Better yet, before calling each breeder, prepare something to ask or tell the breeder that’ll show the breeder that you went the extra mile and did your homework.
It could be something like mentioning a recent accolade the breeder received, and / or complementing one of the breeder’s top dogs.
If no one answers, leave a message and send an additional email inquiring about puppies. Be sure to personalize the email as well and be as detailed as possible - the longer the better.
Breeders take their craft seriously and don’t appreciate one sentence inquiries like: “have any puppies available?”
If you’re fortunate to have the breeder answer your first call, proceed to introduce yourself and your interest in Shiba Inu puppies.
If the breeder does have puppies available or are accepting waitlist applicants, proceed to ask the questions earlier prepared.
Let the breeder know beforehand that you have quite a lot of questions to ask and if they have the time at the moment to answer.
When you’re done with your questions, the breeder will likely want to ask you questions as well.
If at this point, you feel good about the breeder and his / her policies, request an appointment to see the breeder home and dogs if possible.
In your spreadsheet / notes, record your initial impressions about the breeder and any other important details to consider.
Repeat this same process with the rest of the breeders on your list.
Since it’s a relatively time consuming process, don’t feel you have to reach out to everyone all at once.
Step # 5 - Vist The Breeder
Things are finally getting a bit more exciting when you finally get a chance to meet some Shibas.
Be sure to arrive at the breeder’s residence on time and if you feel like it - bring a little something to the breeder as a gesture showing that you appreciate the breeder’s time.
Things to look for at the breeder’s residence:
- Where do the dogs live? Is the area clean, spacious
- What is the condition of the breeder’s residence? Is it safe, well-maintained, clean,
- How do the Shiba Inus look? Healthy, happy, clean, etc?
- What kind of temperament do the Shibas possess? Calm, excited, aggressive, anxious?
At the end of the visit, thank the breeder for their time and let them know, you’ll get back to them when you make your final decision.
Even if you decide not to go with that particular breeder, be sure to send them a note as a courtesy.
Step # 6 - Filter Down The List To The Best Prospects
Finally getting closer to the finish line!
If you’ve done everything correctly until this point, you should have a few great breeder prospects to choose from.
Take your time and go through all of your notes, references, and photos to determine which breeder fills in the most requirements from your checklist.
At the same time, be sure you have a good chance of qualifying to even purchase a puppy from the breeder - though you probably would know this from your earlier communications with the breeder.
Step # 7 - Your Final Choice!
When you and your family feel confident about your choice in breeders, contact the breeder (preferably by both phone and email (to have a written record) to let them know.
If you’re lucky and do meet the breeder's requirements as a new Shiba puppy owner, the breeder may have a puppy available or have a wait list that is not too deep.
Remember, even if the waitlist is long, all of the effort and research you’ve done to this point is confirmation that you’ve made a great decision - and the wait will be worth it in the long run.
The breeder will likely ask for a deposit which is sometimes refundable but sometimes is not. Be sure you understand their policy.
Next it’s time for you to go through the breeder’s puppy contract carefully.
Make sure to email the breeder with any questions about the contract until you’re crystal clear about the expectations you have from the breeder as well as what the breeder will expect on your part.
The Finish Line...(Sort Of)
Congratulations! Hopefully, you’re on the path to welcoming a new Shiba Inu puppy to your household in the future.
But you’re not done yet.
Now, it’s time to PREPARE your home to welcome the little potato!
But don’t worry, our website is full of information to help you in every step of the process.
A perfect place to start would be Shiba Inu puppy development.
Best wishes for a wonderful future with your new puppy!
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