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Like many popular dog breeds, Shiba Inus have fallen victims to the consequences of their popularity.

Many backyard breeders and puppy mills are breeding low quality and unhealthy Shiba Inu pups to fulfill this demand.

Hopefully, more dedicated Shiba Inu preservationist breeders will stop this trend by doing what they can to produce quality, healthy, beautiful - Shiba Inu pups.

If you’re thinking of becoming breeder preservationist - first of all - thank you! Secondly, we’ve created a bunch of articles on breeding Shiba Inus that will hopefully help you on your noble journey.

beautiful red shiba inu

How Often Do Shiba Inus Go Into Heat?

In general Shiba Inus go into heat every six months or so. 

Young females first going into heat may experience irregular cycles in the first year or so. After two years, most females will cycle normally.

As your Shiba gets older, her seasons may slow down or become irregular. However until spayed, she will have heat cycles throughout her life and can get pregnant at any time. 

Older Shiba Inus usually have smaller litters and are at higher risk for pregnancy complications.

Most experienced Shiba Inu breeders set age limits and will  not breed their female Shibas past 6 to 7 years of age.

smelling shiba inu booty

How Long is a Shiba Inu’s Heat Cycle?

A Shiba Inus heat cycle lasts approximately three weeks and can be broken down into four different stages.


The beginning of the heat cycle lasts approximately 7-15 days. Your Shibas vulva will begin to swell with bleeding followed shortly thereafter.

Estrogen levels will peak and follicles will start to develop. Depending on your Shiba’s coat you may or may not be able to see the first signs of swelling.

Your Shiba will start getting the attention of male dogs but is not ready to mate yet.


Estrus is when your Shiba is fertile and ready to accept mating. Bleeding may reduce and or stop. Estrus lasts around 5 to 15 days.

Your Shiba’s vulva will still be enlarged but will show signs of “softening”. Bloody, vulvar discharge will decrease.

Her estrogen levels will be dropping while her progesterone level begin to rise. Vaginal cytology should show predominantly flattened epithelial cells.


The duration of this period varies from 10 to up to 140 days. During diestrus, your Shiba is either pregnant or in a period of rest.

At this stage your female will not longer be receptive to any male advances. Her estrogen levels will be low with her progesterone peaking roughly 3 to 4 weeks after the start of diestrus.

Following a peak, progesterone levels will decline to basal levels by the end of this period.


Anestrus lasts around 6 months and is a period of downtime until your Shiba’s next heat cycle. Your Shiba’s body will use this time to rest the uterus to prepare for the next possible pregnancy.

shiba inu mother and puppies

Caring For Your Shiba During Her Heat Cycle

Shibas in heat will require extra care and attention due the hormonal changes that are happening throughout her body.

It’s important to keep her relaxed as well as entertained to distract her and relieve some of the anxiety she may be feeling.

Because male dogs will be coming on to her and vice versa, it’s important to keep her secure and away from any dogs that could result in an unintentional breeding.

If your Shiba lives indoors the majority of time, you can create a special area for her to contain the bleeding. 

Doggy diapers are also an option to consider.

Be sure she has a secure and comfy area to “nest” and rest during her downtime. Washable potty pads can be used over her bedding.

When Should You Spay Your Shiba Inu?

The decision on if and when you should spay your Shiba Inu requires careful thought.

There are pros and cons to spaying versus not spaying that needs to be considered  before you make your final decision.

Due to the animal overpopulation problem, most veterinarians will advise dog parents to sterilize their dogs at six months of age. There’s also studies to suggest that sterilizing female dogs will reduce the risk for certain types of cancers.

However there’s also emerging evidence of the benefits of keeping your dogs intact longer.


Further Resources on Shiba Inu Breeding:

Shiba Inu Breeding A definitive guide to breed preservation
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