Phew, this website is a labor of love and largely a one-woman show so unless indicated, all articles written by J.Tsukamoto
Shiba Inus have kinda been the "it" dog for a while now.
Propulsed into fame due to internet memes, kawaii culture, and dogecoin - everyone seems to dream of one day owning a Shiba Inu.
However, finding a healthy and well-bred Shiba Inu is unfortunately no easy task.
There's simply not enough ethical breeders of Shiba Inus out there.
This results in unknowing new owners getting Shiba Inus from puppy mills and low quality breeders.
And the results are usually disastrous and heartbreaking for the suffering it causes to innocent dogs.
In addition to not having enough supply of properly-bred Shiba Inus, there are numerous reasons why Shibas won't be the best fit for everyone.
Read on to learn more.
# 1 - Not Especially Friendly
One of the things us humans love about dogs is how good they make us feel about ourselves.
Dog lovers love meeting new dogs that are friendly and happy to make our acquaintance as well.
Shiba Inus are not these types of dogs.
Now of course there are exceptions to this rule, but overall most typical Shiba Inus are aloof when meeting new people and sometimes new dogs as well.
This has to do with the fact that Shiba Inus are primitive dogs that are actually the dogs closest genetically to gray wolves!
So instead of being lap dogs for centuries like Shih Tzu’s, Shibas have only recently become accustomed to the perks of domesticated life.
In general, friendlier and more sociable Shiba Inus come from knowledgeable breeders that consider temperament when making breeding decisions.
On the other hand, Shiba Inus with aggression and other behavioral issues come from bad breeders and / or puppy mills.
This is something to consider If you’re really serious about getting a Shiba Inu in the future.
But if you prefer a dog that loves to adorn you with affection and worship, there are many other dogs that can do a better job at that.
# 2 - Not as "Smol" As You May Think!
Many people are surprised that Shiba Inus are bigger than they appear in pictures and videos on the Internet.
So if you’re looking for a truly small, lap dog that you can sneak in just about everywhere, a Shiba Inu is not for you.
Some Shiba Inus can push 30 to 40 pounds though the breed standard calls for Shibas to be closer to the 20 pound range.
What about Mame Shiba Inus?
I wrote a dedicated article on this topic years back.
In a nutshell, Mame Shiba Inus are not recognized by any reputable dog organizations in the world.
In fact the NIPPO dog organization discourages the breeding of Mame Shibas as it goes against the standards of what a Shiba Inu is supposed to be.
Most breeders of mame breeders are not reputable and just in it for profit.
# 3 - Not Suited For First Time Dog Owners
If you’ve never had a dog in your life than a Shiba Inu probably shouldn’t be your first choice.
Because of their stubbornness, they are harder to obedience than other more agreeable dogs.
Also, new dog owners will not be equipped with the knowledge and experience to handle, train, and discipline primitive breeds.
Shiba Inus need assertive owners that they can look up to, respect, and trust.
They are also sensitive dogs and will not respond to improper training methods.
Additionally, since Shiba Inus are primitive dogs, puppy socialization is absolutely crucial in preparing the Shiba Inu to be a well-adjusted family member.
First time dog owners don’t have experience in this critical task and therefore should choose dogs that can get away with less comprehensive socialization.
Shiba’s need the best possible.
# 4 - "Spoiled" Shiba is an Understatement
Shiba Inus are high up there when it comes to being divas of the dog world.
A typical well-bred Shiba Inu has a healthy dose of self-esteem and is definitely not a dog that is eager to please.
A Shiba Inu owner must accept this and learn how to happily coexist with their furry and fussy friend.
This usually involves working around a particular Shiba Inus likes and dislikes.
Some Shiba Inu like to get out and walk. Some definitely don’t.
Some Shiba Inus will demand to eat everything and often. (Be careful of overfeeding).
Some Shibas are picky and require their food to be prepared and presented to them in a particular fashion.
Some Shiba Inus have specific potty requirements - and if you don’t fulfill these requirements - they aren’t going.
You get the gist of this one……
# 5 - Not That Fond of Balls and Water
If you’re looking for a ball-crazy, water loving pup that loves fetching and playing - keep looking.
Shiba Inus are not especially fond of fetching and the novelty of repeatedly bringing back a ball to their owner quickly loses appeal. Eventually, something clicks and they realize there’s no point in it.
Most Shibas are not too keen on water activities . Bathing a Shiba Inu can tricky enough already!
So if fetching, and toy, water enthusiasm is on top of your list, look into Labs, or Spaniels instead.
Most Shibas would prefer to be onlookers on the sidelines instead. Of course so long as the sidelines is comfortable and well stocked.
Although some Shibas may be open to the possibility of floating in calm waters if the mood strikes them.
#6 - Shiba Inus Put the "Ama" in the Drama!
“Ama gonna let you know I’m NOT happy!”
Shiba are notorious for being overly dramatic at times.
Especially during a grooming session they are not exactly thrilled about.
And they often express this drama in agonizing high-pitched screaming and shrieking a.k.a. “The Shiba Scream”.
Shiba Inus are the kind of dogs that think highly of themselves and when they don’t like something, they want to make sure you know it.
However, you can prevent a lot of these issues with proper early socialization.
Consistent socialization can do wonders for any dog especially Shiba Inus who need that extra taming of their embedded primitive tendencies.
But be warned that while socialized Shibas are grooming tolerant, they’ll still overreact to other things in dramatic fashion… like having a hair stuck in their butt while pooping of if you accidentally step on their furr.
#7 - Shed and Shed. And Shed.
Shiba Inus are double-coated and shed their undercoat throughout the year. Twice a year though, they totally “blow” their entire undercoat.
This means if you have a Shiba Inu - you will also have a lot of fur in your future. A lot.
This means you’ll be on the hook for more vacuuming, cleaning, and grooming duties.
And even then, be prepared to share your environment with your Shiba Inu and a lot of fur.
This is something to consider if black is your preferred color for wardrobe or home furnishings.
But hope is still not lost, because of course you can opt for a black and tan Shiba.
#8 - Shibas Are Escape Artists
Many, many moons ago Shiba Inus were used by the Japanese for small game hunting.
You know birds, fowl, bunny rabbits, etc.
This means that coupled with a Shibas already slightly primitive nature, modern Shiba Inus may still exhibit hunting tendencies.
Which means, untrained Shiba Inus can be a flight risk.
They are known to be bolters when something scintillating captures their attention. Shibas are also known to be escape artists.
Being Shibas, they’re probably wondering if the grass is greener on the other side
Shiba Inus need owners that are proficient in obedience training and socialization to reduce this risk.
Escaped Shiba Inus often get hurt, killed, or lost forever.
Owners of Shiba Inu should ideally have a completely secured and fenced yard.
Additional safeguards such as double door systems and gates should also be used.
# 9 - Shiba Inus are Expensive and Not Easy To Get
Shiba Inus are relatively new to the United States so there’s a definite lack in established breeders that are ethical and reputable.
This results in waiting lists that sometimes go over a year.
The costs for well-bred Shiba Inus is high. This is because reputable breeders spend a ton of money in producing healthy puppies. This include health tests, DNA, tests, vet visits, comfortable housing, good food.
Most well-breed Shiba Inus currently cost around $3-$4k.
And regarding the low-cost Shibas that you can find easily online of puppy selling sites, FB marketplace, Craigslist, etc. - don’t even think about it.
These poorly bred puppies almost always face lifetime health issues and furthermore, they rarely even look nor behave like Shiba Inus because the breeders who breed them could give a rat’s ass about conforming to standards.
Most poorly-bred Shiba puppies suffer from temperament issues like aggression, fear, and anxiety.
Please don’t support bad breeding.
If you want a Shiba Inu, you need to find one in a responsible way regardless if you don’t plan to show your dog or breed.
That’s not an excuse to buy a discount-priced Shiba.
If you can’t afford a well-bred Shiba Inu, it’s best to adopt or rescue instead.
#10 - Rising Popularity Increases Puppy Mills and Bad Breeding Programs
The final reason for you not to get a Shiba Inu sort of continues where #9 left off.
You should not get a Shiba Inu if you are not prepared or able to purchase a puppy in an ethical and responsible manner.
You just should not do that.
Because if you are getting a Shiba Inu just because it’s cute, and popular, and oh so trendy… but you don’t have the patience nor finances to purchase a well-bred puppy..
What are the only alternative options?
With a bit of research, you’ll learn that unknowing new Shiba Inu owners often turn to backyard breeders and puppy mills to find Shiba Inu puppies.
And this means, bad backyard breeders are getting rewarded for breeding dogs of inferior quality and health.
While at the same time subjecting innocent adult dogs to cruel conditions.
The adult Shiba Inu parents of badly bred pups are often held in horrid conditions with little regard to their welfare and well-being.
This is a cruel and vicious cycle that needs to be stopped.
And the only way to stop it is awareness and education.
To anyone that claims that it’s okay to get a “cheap / or discount” Shiba because they aren’t planning to attend dog shows or breed:
The universal truth is no, it’s not okay.
If you are enabling suffering and encouraging the breeding of unfit and unhealthy dogs - no, it’s definitely not okay.
If you can’t afford a responsibly-bred Shiba Inu then your best option is to rescue and adopt.
It’s as simple as that.
Peace and Shiba love to all.
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