Shiba Inu Chihuahua Mix (Shiba Chi)-Physical Look, Lifespan and Temperament

Shiba Inu Chihuahua Mix

Here’s a quick question: what do you get when you mix Japanese with Mexican flavors? Something vibrant, spicy, and dignified at the same time, is the right answer. But is there such a thing? Yes, there is. And no, it’s not similar to going to Taco Bell to order sushi. You’ll be shown out the door faster than you can say Jiminy Cricket.

When a Shiba Inu (Japanese) and a Chihuahua (Mexican) go out on a hot date the result is the Shiba Chi. This is a designer dog of an exceptional pedigree. It is independent yet loyal to a fault. It fills the place with joy but it can be a handful at times.

As with most designer dogs that are the product of purebreds, you never know what you’ll get. Will the puppy get the temperament of the Chihuahua or be as cool, calm, and collected as its Shiba Inu parent? And how do you take care of it? So many questions that need an immediate answer. Something that I’m only too happy to oblige. Read on to get your answers.

Physical Characteristics (Size and Physical Look)

The Chihuahua is a small dog that’s a direct descendent of the Techichi, a dog that was bred by the Toltec empire in Mexico before Cortez invaded and annihilated that civilization. The Shiba Inu is a moderately large dog that prospered in the Japanese mountain areas as a hunting and guard dog.

How your Shiba Chi looks depends on which parent genes dominate. But one thing is for sure, your designer dog will be on the small size. As a general rule, Shiba Chi’s follow the Chihuahua side of the family in matters pertaining to their looks and size.

As for weight, the dog will be between 8 and 12 pounds on a good day and reach 12 inches from nose to tail. Its coat varies and the length of its hair varies as well. Long-haired Shiba Chi’s don’t enjoy the cold weather as their Shiba Inu parents do.

The mixed-breed will look more like a Chihuahua than a Shiba Inu. It won’t win beauty contests no matter how lax their standards. Yes, it is an ugly dog and no amount of grooming or dressing up will change that.


Thanks to the longevity of both its purebred parents, a Shiba Chi can live for long years that might reach 20 years. Shiba Inus live between 12 and 15 years while Chihuahuas have a more varied lifespan that stretches from 12 to 20 years.

If you take care of your Shiba Chi and give it all the vaccinations, take it to the vet for regular checks and make sure it has a healthy diet, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t live long and prosper reaching the ripe age of 20 (140 in dog years.)

Since this designer dog breed is relatively new, statistics regarding the average age are lacking. Yet we base our estimate on the parents’ average age. So far no Shiba Chi has made it pas 20 years.

Grooming Needs

How much grooming your Shiba Chi needs depends on its coat. It’s true Shiba Inus have double coats with gorgeous fur, but they are clean dogs. They don’t play in the mud or get their fur dirty. They also spend hours cleaning themselves. In other words, they hardly need your attention to make them look pretty.

Chihuahuas have shorter hair which doesn’t require much grooming either. However, a Shiba Chi with long hair is a different story. It doesn’t pay attention to its grooming taking after its Chihuahua parent. So you’ll need to run a hairbrush to untangle all those hair knots.

You also need to brush their teeth about 3 times a week to give them fresh breath and prevent dental decay. Nails need to be clipped regularly as well since they tend to scratch and leave scars. And don’t forget to clean their ears. As for baths, they hardly need them unless they’re very dirty.


You know how they say that life is a box of chocolate and you never know what you’ll get? It works the same way with designer dogs as well. Whether your Shiba Chi will turn out to be a feisty and ferocious dog that loathes strangers or a docile and sweet dog that loves to cuddle and curl in your lap for a nap is a matter of chance.

That’s the problem with mix breeds. To know what exactly you’re getting requires you to do some investigative work in the lineage of the dog’s parents. Even if they were purebreds, you’d still need to know their family history.

This problem gets more obvious if you get your designer dog from dog mills or an amateur who breeds them in their backyards. So it’s always safer to get your designer dog from a licensed breeder who keeps a chart of the family tree of the dog.

Exercise Needs

Unlike Shiba Inus which take their exercising regimens seriously, Chihuahuas are more laid back and on the lazy side. Your Chihuahua doesn’t need a daily walk and it’s just happy to cuddle with you on the couch and watch Netflix for hours.

Since the Shiba Chi takes after its Chihuahua in temperament and looks, it too won’t drag you out every day for an exercise. Often times it will not even venture out to the backyard to stretch its short legs. It’s not a high-maintenance dog and you won’t have to get out of your way to satisfy its needs for activity.

That doesn’t mean you should lock up the Shiba Chi and ignore its need for activity and fresh air. A few times a week you still need to take the dog out for a walk. But they’re short leisurely walks though. Nothing strenuous that will leave your heart pumping.

Health Risks

Mix breeds are considered double jeopardy dogs. That’s because they get more than their average share of health risks thanks to the different breeds they descend from. It’s like a mixed bag of health conditions.

Because neither Shiba Inus nor Chihuahuas are native to the US, they, and their mix breed, can develop health issues that may or not have to do with the climate, diet, and lifestyle they lead. Some of these serious health risks include:

  • Heart conditions especially heart murmur.
  • Eye issues notably cataract and glaucoma.
  • Bone problems including molera which is a soft spot in the dog’s skull.
  • Patellar luxation.
  • Dental issues such as rotten teeth and gum disease.

While many of these health risks can be avoided with proper hygiene and getting vaccinated, other issues such as health conditions need to be monitored and discovered early. It is recommended you take your Shiba Chi for regular health checks at least once a year.


As it takes after its Chihuahua parent, your Shiba Chi will usually follow the same diet and eating patterns that the Chihuahua does. This means that their food will mainly be based around proteins and veggies or packaged dog food.

Rice and fish or seaweed are not required the same way you’d feed a Shiba Inu. Your Shiba Chi doesn’t need large portions thanks to its small size and quiet lifestyle. An adult Shiba Chi that weighs anything between 8 and 12 pounds would need around a half cup of food every day.

The dog doesn’t need to eat it all at once. That’s a recipe for obesity. Rather, you should drop some food in its bowl 3 times a day. Puppies need a more free eating style which means you leave the food in the bowl and they’d go and nibble whenever they feel like it.

Are Shiba Inu Chihuahua Mixes Protective?

Not as much as you’d like them to. Chihuahuas and their ancient ancestors the Techichi were mainly raised as companion dogs. They lacked the size or temperament to be guard dogs. This is in direct contrast to the Shiba Inu which are natural-born athletes, hunters, and guards.

As a result, your Shiba Chi isn’t the type of dog you can rely on to save your neck when someone breaks into your house. As you crawl under the bed and call 911, you’ll most likely find your Shiba Chi already hiding in the corner.

This is not the type of breed to stand between you and danger. It’s the first to beat it out of a sketchy situation and it doesn’t feel any remorse about abandoning you. Most likely it needs your protection more than it can offer any.

How Much Does a Shiba Inu Chihuahua Mix Cost?

This depends on where you get your Shiba Chi. Since both Shiba Inus and Chihuahua are both readily available, breeding the Shiba Chi isn’t that hard or rare. That said, most breeders who breed this designer dog are not licensed or qualified to do so.

This means that it’s a made to order kind of breed and you can expect to fork out anything between $1,000 and $1,500 to get one of those puppies. Once you’ve made this investment, however, keeping and maintaining the dog isn’t that expensive.

Food-wise, you’ll not invest more than $20 a week on premium food since the dog doesn’t eat that much. Visits to the vet depend on your local vet. Grooming and other accessories won’t cost you much either. This is a low-maintenance dog through and through.

Is a Shiba Inu Chihuahua Mix Right for Me?

Based on the features we discussed above, you can tell if this is the right do for you or not. If you’re looking for an outdoorsy dog that will keep you company during your hikes and hunting trips, you’d better look for another breed.

A Shiba Chi is a homey type of dog. It doesn’t make a fuss, bark, or turn the place upside down. It’s a low-key puppy that is happy to spend hours by your side on the couch without demanding extravagant attention or barking to go out for its daily bout of exercises.

In general, your Shiba Chi is the best companion for someone who prefers the indoors. It’s easy to groom and maintain and doesn’t cost a fortune to grow. Another advantage of this breed is its long life which it gets from both of its parents.

Best Climate for a Shiba Inu Chihuahua Mix

Despite the Chihuahua’s Mexican heritage and getting used to hot weather, the Shiba Chi may not take to warm climates just as easily. This is not a foregone conclusion, however. It all depends on its coat.

If the Shiba Chi has a double coat with long hair then it has more of its Shiba Inu parent than the Chihuahua one. Warm climates would become exceptionally bothersome to a small dog with such long hair and an undercoating. It would prefer cooler climates and winter months would be a blessing for such a dog.

If the dog has short hair then it would prefer the summer months over the cold and snowy winters. When picking your Shiba Chi, make sure it has the right coating for the climate in your region.

The Attention a Shiba Inu Chihuahua Mix Needs

On a scale from one to ten where one is the fully independent and lone-wolf type and ten is the needy and clingy type, your Shiba Chi falls somewhere in the middle. As we said it’s a dog only too happy to sit by your side or curl up in your lap and sleep for hours.

And while it is not a demanding dog and won’t exhaust you with its tantrums or requests, it still prefers to have your attention and company than being alone. That is something that most dogs share. Unlike cats, puppies delight in the company of humans and can’t wait for you to get back from work to smother you with their love.

Treats and toys have an amazing effect on this grateful breed. They’re loyal to their owners but might snub strangers and people they don’t know well.

Compatibility with Kids

Unlike the Shiba Inu which are rough around the edges and don’t get along well with small children, the Shiba Chi is adorable with kids. Its small size makes it the perfect companion to children of all ages.

These cuddly dogs are quite sociable and have a strong bond with their owners. This includes the children in the house as well. Even if they treat strangers with indifference, Shiba Chi’s are always up for a game or a cuddle with the household. You can leave your kids with a Shiba Chi without worrying about the kind of antics they are up to.

Compatibility with Other Animals

As with children, Shiba Chi’s get along rather well with other pets. As long as the other pets are not especially mean or aggressive, a Shiba Chi is open for friendship with all kinds of animals even the reclusive and aloof cat.

It helps if you bring the Shiba Chi as a puppy into the house which allows it to get familiar with the other pets in the house. While an adult designer dog will hesitate to make friends with a bulldog, for example, the Shiba Chi puppy is not biased and everyone is welcome to its large and ever-expanding social circle of friends and acquaintances.

Sometimes this affability can get them into trouble as they try to befriend larger animals such as the proud Akita. In that case, you need to keep an eye on your pup for its own safety.

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