The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the Japanese dog breeds. Agile, lively, and robust, this Spitz has a very particular and immediately recognisable build. Find out more about the unique characteristics of the Shiba below.

Shiba Inu Size 

The difference in size between male and female Shibas is fairly minimal. An adult male Shiba Inu will measure between 35 and 43cm at the withers, while a female will measure between 33 and 41cm at the withers. As such, your reason for choosing between puppies should be based solely on personal preference. Also, take into account the Shiba Inu's temperament to find the right puppy for you. The aesthetic criterion should always be last on your list.

Although small, the Shiba Inu is a muscular and resilient dog breed. Shibas need to run and exercise every day to feel happy and fulfilled. There are many suitable canine disciplines for a Shiba Inu: canicross, for example, is a great way to have fun with your Shiba while allowing them to stretch their legs.

Shiba Inu Weight

The Shiba Inu is a lightweight dog. Again, there is minimal difference between males and females. Males weigh between 8 and 11kg in adulthood, compared to 6 to 9kg for females. This small size makes travelling with this dog breed quite easy. However, before you leave for a trip, be sure to research the conditions for transporting animals on a train or plane and make your arrangements well in advance.


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Shiba Inu Growth

The growth period of the Shiba Inu can be divided into two very distinct phases. First, a phase of rapid growth until your pup reaches 8 or 9 months old. Then, a phase of more stable sustained growth until around a year, when this dog breed reaches adult size. Like all small dogs, the Shiba Inu matures much faster than larger breeds, such as the Bernese Mountain Dog or the Cane Corso.

Growth is a critical time for all puppies, no matter the breed or size. Their bodies are growing and changing constantly. During this time, it’s important to avoid overexerting your four-legged friend, as you could risk them developing serious joint problems, such as hip or elbow dysplasia. So don’t let your pup climb the stairs or engage in especially intense or sustained physical activity.

Shiba Inu Colours

The Shiba Inu has a hard, straight, and short outer coat, with a soft, dense undercoat. This short coat does not require a lot of maintenance: brushing two to three times a week outside of shedding periods will suffice.

The breed standard for the Shiba Inu, as established by The Kennel Club, accepts four main colourways: Red; Red Sesame; Black and Tan; and White.

  • Red: An intense, clear shade of red.

  • Red Sesame: Red with black overlay. The black guard hairs cannot cover less than 25% or more than 50% of the normal red area.  

  • Black and Tan: A dull shade of black with a bronze cast and tan markings on the eyes, cheeks, ears, legs, and tail.

  • White: A white outer coat tinged with red or grey and a white undercoat. Although not accepted by some breed standards, such as the FCI and the American Kennel Club, white Shiba Inus are permitted by The British Kennel Club.

One of the most recognisable characteristics of the Shiba Inu is its urajiro markings. Urajiro is a cream to white ventral colour required on all coat colours on the eyes, cheeks, under the jaw, forechest, underparts, and underside of the tail and legs. On some Shibas, this white marking can resemble the shape of a bow-tie. It makes the Shiba Inu look like a fox, an animal to which the breed is often compared. Urajiro markings are also found on the Akita Inu.

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