Shiba Inu Temperament – The Good and the Bad

The Good of Shiba Inus

1. A Shiba Inu is a beautiful, spitz dog. You will get many compliments and turn many heads while walking next to a Shiba. Get used to hearing, “He/She looks just like a FOX!”. In fact, it is this foxy look that often gets Shibas into trouble. Many people fall in love with his look but are not equipped to handle his larger than life personality.

2. A Shiba Inu is a dog that is more like a cat. Shibas are independent and clean. My Shiba spends a fair amount of time not just grooming himself, but also helping to groom my Siberian Husky. Shibas are extremely easy to housebreak. My Shiba was housetrained when we got him at 10 weeks old.

3. A Shiba Inu is a good watch dog. Shibas do not bark much; but when there are strange people or strange noises around the house they will bark to alert you.

4. A Shiba is graceful and agile. Shibas can leap tall fences in a single bound and can scale walls like Spiderman. They are great hiking buddies, and can easily learn and conquer an agility course. A Shiba running is a sight to behold and a Shiba at play is poetry in motion.

5. A Shiba is extremely intelligent. Shibas can learn many commands and they can learn them very quickly. Shibas can also quickly figure out complex interactive toys and puzzles.

6. A Shiba is small in body but has an enormous personality. My Shiba always surprises me, makes me laugh, challenges me, and keeps me on my toes.

The Bad of Shiba Inus

1. A Shiba Inu is bold, strong willed, and stubborn. Shibas have a “Never give up, Never surrender” attitude. They will not back down from a challenge and will often fight back when they perceive a threat. Because of this, many owners face aggression issues with their Shiba, including resource guarding, dog aggression, and people aggression. To successfully live with a Shiba, you must be extremely patient and have a good sense of humor. Work with a Shiba’s innate personality and use it motivate him in the right direction. Reward based techniques work best with Shibas.

A Shiba will hand you many lemons, which is good if you like lemonade. Otherwise, just cut one up and squirt it on his muzzle. ~~ [ just a joke! ]

2. A Shiba Inu has a sly, roguish, kind of intelligence. Shibas will do whatever they want if they can get away with it. If they can’t get away with it, they will figure out another way to get away with it. When they are caught with their nose in the cookie jar, they will give you the innocent “what did I do?” look and then come over and lick your hand. Once you turn your back, they are back in the cookie jar.

3. A Shiba Inu is like the evil, black, Spiderman. Shibas are capable of great feats of agility but if untrained, they will use it to destroy and cause great havoc in the household. If bored and lonely, they will escape by jumping over or burrowing under your fence. They can squeeze through small holes, bite through leashes, and achieve amazing great escapes that will make Houdini proud.

4. A Shiba is a drama queen. Shibas will whine, mope and act like it is the end of the world when they are hurt or think that they are hurt. My Shiba acts like he is close to death’s door even for small things like getting grass stuck between his teeth. Woe be to you, woe be to your vet, and woe be to anyone who tries to help. Shibas are extremely touchy when in this state, and may snap and bite at anyone who comes near them.

5. A Shiba is an accomplished singer. Shibas don’t bark much but they have a wide range of vocal stylings. The most well known is the Shiba-scream, which is a high pitched, loud scream that will make your blood curdle and make your neighbors call 9-1-1. Shibas will quickly learn to use this scream against you if you let them.

6. A Shiba knows that he is royalty. Shibas want their subjects close enough to serve them but not too close as to sully their royal persons. As a result, handling a Shiba (e.g. cutting nails, bathing, or a vet examination) can be tough work.

7. A Shiba pretends not to understand the word “obedience”. Shibas think that you should be obedient to them, not the other way around. If you want them to do something for you, you had better make them a good offer.