Considered the smallest and oldest of Japan’s canines, DNA research has shown the Shiba is one of the closest relatives to the Asian wolf. It originated in that country’s mountainous regions and was used to hunt game which included boar, rabbit, and bird. The hunting technique involved locating, flushing, and driving the game back to the hunter – not pointing, setting, or retrieving. The native Japanese breeds were all considered one breed at one time, divided by size and colour.


With its keen senses, legendary cunning and quicksilver agility, the Shiba is a friendly, outgoing companion and excellent watchdog. The breed possesses a spirited boldness and independent nature, and requires mental challenges. Learns easily, but not motivated to obey. Not a good off-leash dog, as their innate prey drive often overrides learned behaviour.

Activity Level

This nimble and agile breed has a lot of energy. Its small size makes it suitable for any dwelling but requires daily exercise of a somewhat strenuous nature.


The Shiba stands about 14-16 in (36-41 cm) in height. The average weight should be 17-23 lb (8-10 kg).


The Shiba’s outer coat is stiff, straight, harsh and short. The guard hairs stand off from the body. The undercoat is thick and soft.


The accepted colors are red, sesame (red with black tips) and black & tan – all with ‘urajiro’ – creamy white markings on cheeks, throat, legs and underside of body.


The coat needs only regular brushing. During the twice yearly shed, a bath and vigourous brushing speeds up the process. While not hypo-allergenic, the somewhat dry coat/skin is less aggravating to some sensitivities.

Canadian Kennel Club

To see the complete Canadian Kennel Club standard of the Shiba Inu, click on the following link: Standard CCC / CKC