The Shiba Inu is a small dog with lots of character, like all Japanese dogs. Due to the breed’s strong temperament, it is not necessarily suitable for everyone. Find out all there is to know about the Shiba Inu with our comprehensive guide.

What are the Pros of the Shiba Inu's Temperament?

The Shiba Inu has a lot of great qualities to offer. However, keep in mind that the breed standard offers general advice regarding the breed and that every dog is unique with its own personality. If you’re looking for a specific temperament or quality in your puppy, ask your dog breeder for advice. Breeders know their puppies best and will be able to help you choose the one that suits you and your family.


Although known to be fearful and suspicious, the Shiba Inu can actually be very protective if the situation requires. A Shiba won't hesitate to stand up for its family if necessary, despite the small size of the breed. However, due to their diminutive dimensions, Shibas don’t make very good watchdogs, but can be good as alert dogs.


The Shiba Inu has an unfair reputation for not being very affectionate. In reality, it all depends on how well trained your Shiba is during its youth. An owner who is unfamiliar with the breed or who is violent towards their dog will be unable to gain its trust. On the other hand, a master who is able to be both gentle and firm will forge a deep, lasting bond with their Shiba Inu.


The Shiba Inu is an intelligent and fairly cunning dog breed, often compared to a sly fox for both its looks and personality. Shibas have high intellectual capabilities that an owner needs to know how to channel properly. Although stubborn at times, the Shiba Inu is perfectly capable of obedience if you know how to use patience and moderation. These dogs will only obey commands that make sense to them.


This little Japanese spitz has a rather calm nature, that makes for a great, well-rounded companion dog. Shibas are known to bark sometimes, but not excessively. As such, the Shiba Inu is suited to living in an apartment, because it's not at risk of disturbing the neighbours. Be careful, however, calm does not mean this dog breed is not energetic or athletic! In fact, the Shiba Inu needs regular exercise to feel perfectly comfortable in body and mind.


Get 30 days of pet food at

- 50%

Delivered right to your home. No strings attached

What are the Cons of the Shiba Inu's Temperament?

All dogs have some less flattering traits which need to be understood and handled accordingly. The Shiba Inu, like its cousin the Akita Inu, is growing in popularity, but future adopters should be aware that this dog breed is not necessarily for everyone. Before deciding to adopt a Shiba, there are several things you need to know about. After all, the Shiba Inu is both a primitive dog breed and a spitz.


As a primitive dog breed that was originally bred as a hunting dog, the Shiba Inu has retained its strong hunting instinct. These dogs often run off to pursue a trail without a thought for anything else. As such, your Shiba Inu must be well trained to come back when you call in order to avoid your pooch straying too far, even if obedience is not always a guarantee.

Suspicious of Strangers

The Shiba Inu is well known for being highly suspicious of strangers. This dog breed will not trust just anyone and can even be quite fierce with people or animals it doesn’t know. This can be a good thing if you’re looking for an alert dog to let you know of intruders. On the other hand, if your Shiba is poorly socialised, they could sometimes be aggressive. 

Difficult to Train

The Shiba Inu dog breed is also known to be quite difficult to train. This is important to be aware of and means the breed is not normally recommended for first-time owners. Training a Shiba Inu requires a solid understanding of the breed and of dog training. However, proper training and socialisation are essential to ensure that any dog grows up safely and serenely in its surroundings. Don’t hesitate to use a professional dog trainer if you feel like you need help with training your pup.


The Shiba Inu, like any good hunter, is sometimes a runaway dog. It can be difficult for a Shiba to stop and think of anything else once it’s hot on the trail of exciting prey. This particular character flaw can seriously affect your Shiba Inu’s life expectancy, as it makes them more vulnerable than most to accidents. If you have a garden, be sure to secure it properly to prevent your pooch from escaping. Out in public, don’t let your Shiba Inu off the lead unless you’re certain they will come back when called. You can, however, take your pooch to a dog park, so long as it’s properly enclosed.

Change more than just your pet food,

change your philosophy


Discover our food


Understand the concept


Better and cheaper than your favourite premium brand, compare now