Can Shiba Inus Run Long Distances? (Explained and Helpful Guide)

Can Shiba Inus Run Long Distances

Shiba Inus never seem to tire out so you may be tempted to take them with you the next time you go out for a long run. However, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe to do this, and what precautions you should take.

Most Shiba Inus can run long distances without any major issues. But they will require some training and you need to be aware of some things to watch out for.

Shiba Inus are a fascinating breed of dog who loves their exercise. It’s really quite spectacular how far and fast they can run when they’re properly trained.

Shiba Inu’s Running History

Purpose-Bred for Endurance

Japanese hunters have valued the Shiba Inu for its energy and agility for thousands of years, especially for its swift running over rough terrain. The Shiba Inu’s skill and stamina in long-distance running, especially through dense brush and uneven landscapes to chase birds, rabbits, and boar, are unmatched by most breeds.

Ancestral Hunting Role Required Running Speed and Staying Power

  • Shiba Inus used their extraordinary endurance to fulfill distinct roles for the hunter:
  • Shiba Inus perform quick sprints and zigzags to startle hidden games, allowing hunters to ensnare them.
  • During pursuit, Shiba Inus tirelessly track prey that has fled into the wilderness, often covering several miles.
  • In retrieval, Shiba Inus fetch downed birds and small animals from any distance, bringing them back to the hunter.

During week-long mountain hunts, Shiba Inus had to maintain pace for extended periods, showing remarkable tenacity and resilience.

Built for Life as a Running Hunter

Everything about the Shiba Inu’s size and build optimized them for their role as hunters on the move:

  • Their light, narrow frame enables Shiba Inus to run quickly through dense underbrush.
  • Shiba Inus’ lean muscles offer strength, speed, and endurance, essential for sustained exertion.
  • Their compact paws, equipped with thick pads, help Shiba Inus traverse rough natural terrain.
  • The Shiba Inu’s double coat provides protection from harsh outdoor conditions during runs.

Should You Run Long Distances With Your Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inus love to run and be active and will happily exercise with you for yours. However, it seems Shiba Inus might prefer shorter sprints over a long-distance continuous run. That being said, as long as they are in good health and have been trained, they typically enjoy running long distances.

How Fast Can A Shiba Inu Run?

Some Shiba Inus over the age of one have been clocked in at running up to 25 – 30 mph fairly comfortably. How long they can keep up that speed depends mostly on how often they train, how old they are, and their overall physical condition.

How Far Can A Shiba Inu Run?

As mentioned earlier Shiba Inus seem to prefer shorter periods of sprinting and general exercise over running for long periods of time. But a healthy Shiba Inu can run three to five miles quite easily.

Things You Should Watch Out for Before You Run Long Distances With Your Shiba Inu

Before you take your Shiba Inu out for a long-distance run — especially if you haven’t trained or exercised with them on a regular basis — you should take into consideration their overall health and how the distance running will affect them.

Here are a few questions you need to know the answers to before you set out on a run:

Is There A Problem With Your Shiba Inu’s Heart?

Shiba Inus aren’t a breed prone to heart issues, but any breed of dog can be born with heart issues or problems, and any dog may develop a heart issue as they age.

You should always have your Shiba Inu checked out by a veterinarian regularly, but especially if you plan to change up their exercise routine.

Is There A Problem With Your Shiba Inu’s Vision?

Shiba Inus are prone to eye issues — especially glaucoma — which can be managed with proper treatment. Other eye issues which you could notice in your Shiba Inu can be cataracts and other degenerative conditions.

But if their eye issues are not treated, or progressively get worse over time, you may see your Shiba Inu’s behavior change.

These eye issues — especially if left untreated — can potentially cause your Shiba Inu to lose their vision. If this happens you may notice your Shiba Inu retreating a bit more from certain situations, slowing down, and using their other senses, such as smell, more.

They will likely not want to do any activities, such as running, if their vision is impaired in any way. And yes, they know and trust you, but they still likely won’t be comfortable running fast if they can not see.

When Should You Consult A Veterinarian?

Just like how most humans should check with their doctors before switching up their exercise plans, there are a few circumstances you should consult with a veterinarian before you start running long distances with your Shiba Inu:

Change In Routine. You should consult with a veterinarian before you start or drastically change your Shiba Inu’s exercise routine in any way.

Suspected Health Issues. If you’ve noticed your Shiba Inu acting strange, sleeping more often, limping, whining, or exhibiting any other behavior different from the norm, it may be because they are suffering from a health issue and/or be in pain. Have them checked out.

They Are More Than A Few Years Old. Although you shouldn’t make your new Shiba Inu puppy run long distances, you should try to start training your dog while they’re fairly young. If you have never run long distances before with your Shiba Inu and they are already mid-age or older it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to ensure they’re in tip-top shape before starting such a strenuous exercise.

Keeping Your Shiba Inu Safe on A Run

Once you get the go-ahead from your veterinarian there are still a few things you’ll need before you head out on that long run with your Shiba Inu:

Protect Their Paw Pads.

If you plan to have your dog run on asphalt, cement, or any other hard surface for all, or even half of your long run you need to protect the sensitive paw pads!

You can acclimate their paw pads to get used to the hard surfaces by alternating running on hard surfaces and grass or another softer trail — working up to them being able to handle running on hard surfaces longer.

You can also get special dog shoes or paw protectors for them to wear — but you should get these fitted properly at a specialty store. If you have improper fitting dog shoes your dog’s paws may chafe or they could trip.

Invest In A Good Halter/Leash.

Even if you have trained your Shiba Inu to stay close or come when you call if you’re going to be out on a long run you never know when you could run into danger in the form of a car, other animals, or other hazards you may not see coming up.

It’s best to get your dog fitted with a harness with a long, retractable leash and a padded handle to keep you in control, and both of you safe and comfortable.

Bring Water.

Just as it’s important for you to stay hydrated during a long run, your dog certainly needs to be hydrated too! Dogs are unable to sweat, and since Shiba Inus have double-coat fur they can be extra prone to overheating and becoming dehydrated. Hydrate both yourself and your dog regularly — and be extra vigilant during hot weather.

Should Shiba Inus Avoid Lots of Intense Exercise At One Time?

If they are healthy, properly trained, kept hydrated, and seem to be happy after a long run there shouldn’t be any issues exercising intensely with your Shiba Inu on a regular basis.

Keep a close eye on them — after intense exercise they should be tired, but not unable to be roused. And always watch closely for signs of discomfort or dehydration after exercise.

How Long Can A Shiba Inu Run or Exercise At One Time?

Generally, about an hour of exercise isn’t a problem for most Shiba Inus — but watch your dog’s response to your runs and adjust the time up or down if you need to.

How Much Exercise Should My Shiba Inu Get?

Shiba Inus do require more exercise than other breeds of dogs, and signs show they actually do prefer one or two longer sessions over shorter sessions sprinkled throughout the day. As mentioned, generally about an hour of exercise is what most Shiba Inus want and need.

Health Problems Associated With Running Long Distances

As mentioned above, Shiba Inus can develop issues with their heart and vision over time so watch out for these. But they can also develop hip, leg, or foot pain from continually running long distances and often just as part of getting older, just as humans can. Watch to make sure your dog is showing no signs of discomfort before or after a run.

How to Train A Shiba Inu to Run With You?

Once your Shiba Inu is about a year old you can expect them to start keeping up with you on long runs as long as you train them properly:

Start Slowly.

If you take your Shiba Inu out for a long run without any prior running experience they could get injured. So, start by going for shorter runs — like 10 or 20 minutes — and working up to longer periods every few weeks or so.

Monitor Your Dog.

You should be watching your Shiba Inu for any changes in their behavior or signs of dehydration or discomfort, but when you’re just starting out this is extremely important.

If your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy going for runs or seems lethargic or uncomfortable following the run, you may want to consider going for shorter runs or choosing a different exercise to do with your Shiba Inu.

You Might Also Like:

Scroll to Top