Shiba Inu review

Negative reviews


I had a shiba as my first dog and I do not recommend it. Shibas are incredibly intelligent and stubborn, which makes them very difficult to handle.

Neutral reviews


The Shiba Inu, you see, is very challenging to raise and train. A bold, high-spirited "big dog in a small body," he must always be kept on-leash, for he has a high prey drive and quick reflexes and will pursue anything that moves. He can outrun and outdodge any human....and frequently does, for he has an independent spirit. Shibas are true runners.


Shiba Inus are active go-getters who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored, which they usually express by destructive chewing. No breed should be left alone all day, but this breed is especially likely to make you aware of that fact!


Many Shiba Inus are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. To keep your Shiba Inu in, a 6- to 8-foot fence is recommended, and it should NOT be chain link or anything else climbable. Some Shibas can go over anything and require a covered outdoor pen. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks, not a flimsy latch.


My 1 year old Shiba is very dependent and loves getting my attention! Not all Shibas are independent and catlike... she was also my first dog and was super easy to train (potty trained in 2 weeks) and I don't have to brush her fur every day lmao she grooms herself. They are such loving dogs and shouldn't be compared to cats.

Christopher Ellis

Shibas are not hard to train, you just can't be a fat couch potatoe. They are extremely smart,m and pick things up quickly.

Andrew Smith

Shiba Inus would make great pets despite being a very stubborn and aloof dog to raise.


Shibas have a ton of energy when they’re young. As a puppy, Hoju used to just spend hours running sprints around our apartment. We would take him to the park and he would just explode—he especially liked to provoke dogs five times his size. Shibas also aren’t really off-leash dogs, so if you take them to public parks, you really shouldn’t allow them off-leash unless the spaces are enclosed or there’s enough space that you’re away from streets. Having an enclosed backyard helps a lot.


I have a Shiba Inu and while he is aloof, ie. he doesn't jump on my lap for cuddles all the time, he still requires a decent amount of attention. Shiba Inus are intelligent dogs, so they get bored easily and you can't entertain them just by throwing over a ball. I wouldn't say he's completely independent -- he's actually pretty attached to me and generally enjoys following me wherever I go and staying in my room because he's always on the look for something 'interesting'. But he is usually doing his own thing 80% of the time, which involves chewing on a deer antler and random chew toys. A bored Shiba is something you don't want to let out of your sight because again, it is an intelligent and curious dog so it'll find ways to cause some destruction that you probably didn't anticipate.

I've only had him so I don't know what it's like with other dogs. Perhaps he is more independent. My usual routine when I get home is a long walk, and then he settles down with his favorite chew and generally stays in my room and goes to town on it until his next walk before bed. The only thing is that for chew toys that've lost their novelty (usually within 1 - 2 days), I have to create interest in it for him by playing with him a little and he'll regain interest for maybe an hour.


I just recently adopted a shiba, by accident more than anything because he was a stray that we wound up foster failing. They're are not cat-like in independence where you can leave them at home all day and they're fine with it. They tend to be independent as in they are not shadow dogs that need to follow you around the house and aren't overly affectionate or overly eager to please or as biddable. As mentioned more than once, they are still 100% dog, and as such are pack animals and are not going to do any better than any other breed would if you are away most of the day. Also this is purely anecdotal, but you mentioned wanting a dog who will show love and joy when you get home...our shiba is very attached to me but has yet to ever greet me at the door with our other dogs. Every dog is different but in general they are very "give affection on their own terms" type dogs.


I know a lot of first timers who have had success with Shibas. Interesting dogs. Very catty. They absolutely will not be forced to do anything (this has a lot of people experienced in shepherds, retrievers and the like banging their heads against the wall) but respond well to clicker training.

One thing of note is that these dogs are pretty much never totally reliable off leash. That's primitive breeds for you. So if that is a deal breaker for you, best to move along.


My husband and I are first time dog owners and have a shiba. He was 2.5 years old when we got him and have had him for almost 2 years now. I think the most important thing if you want a shiba, is to find a reputable breeder or shiba rescue. is a great place to start searching for a breeder or shiba rescue, and most breeders can provide insight or recommendations on other breeders you may be interested in. Please do your research on reputable breeders and how to spot back yard breeders (BYB) or puppy mills, some can be very deceptive. Training is also really important. I didn't find training our shiba to be that difficult. He's very food motivated and responds really well to positive reinforcement, so it was all about being consistent in our training. It just takes time and patience. He is still a shiba though and can be very stubborn if he doesn't want to do something. I really suggest signing up for training classes if you get a shiba/dog. Also, others have mentioned this, shibas are not off-leash dogs. If they are in an un-fenced area, they cannot be allowed to roam free. They will run and possibly not come back. There are rare exceptions, but unfortunately, this is very uncommon. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.


I've had many dogs in my life and a Shiba is a VERY different breed. They can be quiet which is good but they are incredibly wayward and stubborn. They do this "Immovable Force" sit when they don't want to walk anymore. And the biggest thing to consider is that they are ESCAPE ARTISTS. You wont get the full picture until you have one but believe me I've seen mine watch me go inside and then ninja dig under a fence and go off on an adventure. If you can handle those issues then get one. But as always, the best advice is; Go to a pound and find a mid size dog that suits your abilities and time. They are amazing but a lot more work than say a Labrador.


My roommate's first dog is a shiba inu. She's kind of ignorant about dog stuff, really more of a cat person, but that worked out for her since shibas are pretty cat-like (especially the one she ended up with). It worked out fine for her because this particular shiba's personality and energy are very suitable for her (plus she had me to come to if she had questions). She got her as an adult from a shelter so she didn't have to deal with puppy antics or gambling on what her personality would be like once she finished maturing.

I think as long as you know the dog you're getting, you should be fine. Training isn't really different for them than any other breed, but consistency is a little more important because they were not bred to be particularly biddable/apt to work with humans. They're typically a bit more independent and aloof, but of course they're all a little different. If you get an adult from a rescue then you at least have an idea of the dog's temperament/energy/likes/dislikes, especially if they're kept in a foster home. I think that would be a better route than a puppy from a good breeder simply because raising puppies is a whole 'nother beast. But if you do go the breeder route you definitely want to choose a good one that breeds for health/temperament and allows you to come meet the parents or other relatives. The cream colored shibas are kind of frowned upon because it's not a standard color and they tend to have issues, so I would maybe avoid those.

Edit: Your reasons for wanting a shiba aren't the best, so it wouldn't hurt to consider other breeds and think more about temperament/energy levels. My roommate's shiba is pretty attached to my roommate but loyalty is a foreign word to her. She's a sweet dog but is also a very typical shiba in that she does what she wants when she wants if there's something in it for her. My general consensus is that shibas aren't the best choice for a first dog, but my roommate is an example that it can work out. If what you want is a dog-shaped cat and are very committed to reward-based training (these dogs do not handle punishment well, they will not hesitate to blow you off).


I got a Shiba after having no dog for years and yes, I can imagine he is much more challenging than lab or a golden but it's different. He is incredibly alert and notices when things aren't where they should be (motorcycle parked in the wrong area, box in the shared hallway), a great watch dog, very loyal and affectionate to a select few, easy to teach tricks to and always able to make me laugh. He's also crazy smart, cautious around strangers, vocal, and not easy to train. You can, of course, get any dog as your first dog, just be aware of what you are getting into. It's imperative when dealing with them that you have consistency, boundaries, and are not the type to be embarrassed or frazzled. At the worst time in public you will get the scream, or the alligator roll at the end of the leash, or the "we aren't going anywhere" trick and you have to be able to deal with it in a way that shows the dog you aren't giving into his bad behavior. Do your research then go back and do more. Check out the rescues and see what's available.

Positive reviews


The Shiba Inu is a good family dog, as long as he is raised properly and receives training and proper socialization when he's young. He gets along with children who treat him kindly and respectfully. As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child. Early training and socialization go a long way in helping the Shiba Inu get along with other dogs and animals, but it's not a guarantee. He can be aggressive toward other dogs and he will chase animals he perceives as prey. Training and keeping him on leash are the best ways to manage the Shiba Inu with other dogs and animals.

Mark Seavey

Love my sheba!