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Shiba Inus are well-known for their adorable, squishy full cheeks and cute, “kawaii” face.

So cute, that it’s natural for one to want to squeeze and cuddle the bejeezus out one!

Unfortunately Shibas are definitely not the cuddliest dog on this planet and most would prefer Covid-19 type distance measures to those they’re not familiar with. 

Even Shiba Inu owners know and accept the fact that Shibas tend to take life on - “on their own  terms'' - which may or may not include cuddling.

are shiba inus affectionate

Why Do Some Shibas Hate Cuddling?

Shiba Inus are one of the most primitive dog breeds that exist today.

This one fact can explain a lot in terms of why Shiba Inus are not naturally cuddly like more domesticated dog breeds such as Labs and Goldens.

Shibas are simply a bit “wilder”.

This means Shibas are naturally more cautious, aloof, and less affectionate dogs.

Most Shiba Inus will not be overly friendly to new people / strangers, etc.

It takes time to earn a Shiba’s trust and more importantly, “their approval”.

That’s actually something that makes Shibas so endearing to their fans.

Although Shibas are hard to get, once you get the love and approval of a Shiba - it makes the patience and effort more than worth it. So much more.

shiba inu grinning funny face

Tips To Make Your Shiba Inu "Cuddlier"

Just because your Shiba may not be a cuddle bug now, there’s still a chance that with time and patience your Shiba will discover that cuddling isn’t as bad it seems.

It’s important never to force your Shiba to be in uncomfortable situations. 

If you Shiba is uncomfortable with excessive handling you need to proceed slowly with small bits of attention accompanied by tons of positive reinforcements like praise and treats.

If your Shiba is a foodie, try using treats along with small short cuddle sessions.

Likewise, if your Shiba likes playtime, incorporate play with cuddling as well.

cream shiba inu

Shibas can be sensitive dogs so look for signs of things that could be possibly causing discomfort such as noises, certain places, objects, etc.

When you discover any of these triggers, be sure to prevent the triggers to be noticed during cuddle sessions.

Here are more important tips to promote a more “cuddly’ relationship with your Shiba:

  • Early and comprehensive socialization
  • Obedience training
  • Daily mental and physical stimulation
  • Taking advantage of times when snuggling is more tolerated, e.g. night, naptime, after a vigorous play, exercise session
  • Designate a “cuddle cue” - such as “cuddle time”, “hug”, etc
two Shiba INus relaxing together on the couch

How Do Shiba Inus Show Love?

Just because your Shiba may not be the most affectionate dog on the planet, that doesn’t mean your Shiba doesn’t love you to pieces.

Since Shibas are more primitive dogs, they simply don’t have the instinct to spend a lot of time snuggling and cuddling.

Instead less domesticated dogs tend to be more serious and focused on more important things with an instinct to protect their pack and their resources. 

Shiba Inus will show their owners love and respect simply with their “presence”. 

If your Shiba always wants to be near or at least in a short proximity from you, that means your Shiba Inu, at the minimum, likes you. You know how they say, love can take time.

If however you notice that your Shiba is intentionally avoiding you, this may be a sign that you need to work on bonding and trust a bit more. 

long hair shiba inu sticking out tongue

Long-Haired or “Wooly” Shibas Are Likely a “Cuddlier” Bunch

Long-haired Shibas, also known as “Woolies” are Shibas that have a longer outer coat that is not breed standard.

Reputable breeders would never purposely breed to produce long-haired Shibas but occasionally long-haired pups do get born even with careful planning and DNA testing.

Many seasoned Shiba Inu breeders share the same sentiment that long-haired Shibas are usually much friendlier compared to a typical Shiba.

Genetics is likely one of the reasons for this.

Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for a friendly and cuddlier Shiba Inu, a long-haired Shiba would be a great choice if you have the opportunity to find one in a need of a good home.

shiba inu sleeping

Final Thoughts

Although Shibas aren’t the cuddliest dogs ever - they’re still likely one of the cutest dogs ever for sure.

Earning a coveted cuddle takes patience, respect, and proper socialization and training.

Although the challenge is real - the reward is more than worth it.

Happy cuddling!

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