Shiba Inu Temperament: What It’s Like to Own a Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inu Temperament

The Shiba Inu was originally bred in Japan almost 3,000 years ago. Its original purpose was as a hunting dog for small game and ground-birds. Over time, some people started using this breed to hunt wild boar. During World War II, the Shiba Inu breed faced extinction in Japan. Since then, though, they have surged back in numbers and popularity and is now one of the most popular dogs in Japan.

Much of the Shiba Inu’s popularity comes from its long history in Japan. However, more and more people are buying this breed as a pet because of its personality. The Shiba Inu is a very precocious and energetic dog. This can make for a great companion, as long as you’re up for more outdoor activity time than other dog breeds. The Shiba Inu can be very active and rambunctious, but this energy also translates well into alertness and attentiveness to its owners.

The Shiba Inu is a great dog to own. However, they do take some experience and training before you can get the most out of having one as a pet. Read on to find out more about this popular breed and how to properly anticipate the challenges of owning one.

What It’s Like Owning a Shiba Inu?

The Shiba Inu is a very energetic dog. It requires a lot of outdoor time to run around and burn off some of its energy. However, when your Shiba Inu is outside, it is important to keep it tied to a leash.

This breed was bred as a small game hunting dog and loves to chase after squirrels and other small rodents that might be in your yard.

Owning a Shiba Inu requires socialization training with people and other animals. If you are thinking about buying one, you should be willing to invest in proper training to set you and your Shiba Inu up for a successful relationship.

You should also be prepared to dedicate time to playing and bonding with your Shiba Inu. This dog requires attention to prevent it from acting up out of boredom ad annoyance.

Shiba Inu Temperament


The Shiba Inu is a relatively independent dog. If given a yard with an adequate amount of space to run around and play, it will keep itself entertained for a good amount of time.

If you do not have an enclosed yard or an ample amount of space for your Shiba Inu to run around in, you should dedicate some time each day to taking it for walks and letting it exercise.

If your Shiba Inu misses a day or two of exercise, it is not so energetic that it will be bouncing of the walls. However, you should try and take your Shiba Inu outside daily.

An important thing to remember when taking your ShibaInu outside is to always have it attached to a leash or a lead. Left untethered, a Shiba Inu will heed its instincts and chase after any small animal they spot.

Good Watch Dog

The Shiba Inu’s energetic and alert disposition makes it a great watch dog. This breed is naturally a little suspicious of strangers and is quick to alert its owners to anything that is not normal in the house. This instinct comes from its breeding traits as a small game hunting dog. Noticing small differences in terrain is the Shiba Inu’s specialty.

High Energy

The Shiba Inu breed tends to have a higher energy than most other dog breeds. As a puppy, the ShibaI nu is a rambunctious dog. A young dog of this breed will require daily exercise, either in a securely fenced in yard with ample running space or through daily walks on a leash. Once your ShibaInu grows out of puppyhood, it won’t require daily exercise.

However, providing it with regular activity times will go a long way in improving its physical and mental health.


After Stanley Coren, a reknowned canine psychologist, performed a sweeping intelligence assessment of over 100 breeds of dogs, the Shiba Inu came out as possessing average intelligence. Specifically, the Shiba Inu ranked 93rd out of around 140 dog breeds.

The assessment for intelligence in Coren’s tests, though, were how many repetitions were needed before a dog properly learned to follow a command and the number of times a dog followed a learned command on the first try.

Being labeled as “average intelligence” may not seem impressive. However, the Shiba Inu is wily and clever in its own way. As a small game hunting dog, it knows how to spot subtle differences from the norm, making it a great watchdog.

It also is very responsive to its family. Once you have developed a close bond with your Shiba Inu, they will become very perceptive to your actions and commands.

A Strong Temperament

Shiba Inu dogs have been known to have a rather strong personality and come off as a bit headstrong. This perceived aggressiveness and aloofness has often been likened to the behavior and temperament of cats. However, this behavior stems back to the Shiba Inus breeding.

Bred as a small game hunting dog, it was also bred with the independence and strong will to do its job without the guidance of a human owner.

The ShibaInus aloofness and perceived aggression is not out of malice, it is out of this breed’s desire to have more personal space than other dogs and their inclination to think for themselves. Proper socialization and training while the dog is 16 weeks old or younger can help greatly in making your Shiba Inu more personable.

However, their independent and strong willed nature should not be squashed. These are parts of what make this breed so great. Recognize your Shiba Inus personality and work with it to form a close bond with your pet.

Keeping Him Busy Enough

Shiba Inu puppies can be an energetic handful. When they are young, Shiba Inus require a daily exercise and activity time. In addition to daily walks or yard time, you should engage your Shiba Inu in games or activities to properly socialize it and form a close owner-pet bond.

Once your Shiba Inu grows out of it rambunctious puppy stage, it no longer requires daily exercise, though regular walks or yard time is recommended.

Animal Aggression

Part of the Shiba Inu’s aloof nature is its unwillingness to play with other dogs. Similar to before, some people take this temperament as aggression. However, real aggression is unprovoked and with a malicious intent. When a Shiba Inu reacts poorly to other dogs, it is not unprovoked and the intent is to warn the other dog that it prefers more space.

If socialized properly early on in its life, a Shiba Inu can get along fine with other animals. However, its independent temperament and strong will does not lend well to getting along. It does make a great family dog, though. Once your Shiba Inu is acclimated into your family, they will form close bonds and get along well with every member, including children.

Personality Traits to Be Cautious About

One of the biggest traits to be cautious about when owning a Shiba Inu is its hunting dog instincts. It loves to chase small rodents and animals. A Shiba Inu is also a relentlessly clever dog. If it spots half a chance to escape a leash or a fence in the name of the chase, it will do so quickly. Always have your Shiba Inu on a leash or lead when you take it outside.

Another trait to be cautious about is the Shiba Inu’s aloofness and suspicion when it comes to strangers or other animals. Bred to be independent and strong minded, the Shiba Inu can sometimes be perceived as aggressive.

Socialization and training early on in the dog’s life is a great way to improve its relations to other people and animals. However, it is important to remember that your Shiba Inu’s behavior is not aggression out of malice. It is simply to let others know that it prefers space.

Finally, since the Shiba Inu is so independent and strong-willed, many owners think that in training they should use a strong hand in showing their dog who’s boss. This can easily translate into less than friendly means of training which is sure to produce the opposite result you want.

Be sure to respect your Shiba Inu’s independent nature while using a firm but kind hand in enforcing boundaries as its owner.

How to Manage Shiba Inu Temperament?

As with any dog, proper training and socialization is the key to shaping your Shiba Inu’s temperament. The earlier you get them to training, better results you will see. Be willing to invest in your pet. If you are undertaking the training yourself, be sure to avoid the urge to “dominate” your pet as its owner. That is the quickest way to lose your owner-pet bond.

If you make training fun for your Shiba Inu, it will dive in head first and react well to your commands. This way, your Shiba Inu’s aloofness to others will work in your favor. It will only pay attention to the fun it is having with you and more readily follow your commands. Work with your pet, no against it.

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