Are Shiba Inus Good Apartment Dogs? Here is What You Should Know

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Shiba Inus have a long history of being used for flushing out birds and small game from hiding. For a long time, the breed was used for hunting wild boar. Over the years, that has changed with more people now keeping them at home. So, the question is, are Shiba Inus good apartment dogs?

Before you can decide to pick this dog breed for your apartment, it is best if you learnt more about it below. We look at what makes Shiba Inu dog breed popular and how to care for it. Let us get into the guide already.

Shiba Inu History

The Shiba Inu breed has its roots in Japan where it was bred primarily for hunting small game and birds. As for how it got its name, there are several theories surrounding it. Some claim that the word Shiba means brushwood meaning they were named after the environment they used to hunt in for the small game. The other theory is that the word Shiba also means small size.

During the second world war, Japan was worst hit meaning most of the dogs too were affected. Even those that survived the war did not fare on well. After a couple of years, there were those who brought the dogs to the western countries. It is how we ended up with such dog breeds right now.

The first recorded case of Shiba Inu dog in America was in 1954. It is now a common dog in most homes as people love it for the size, temperament, and many other features as we will get to see below.

Size and Personality

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The sizes can vary with males being larger. Males will have a height of 14.5 to 16.5 inches and weighing 23 pounds. As for the females, they stand at 13.5 to 15.5 inches and weigh around 17 pounds.

When it comes to the personality, we can confidently claim that a well-bred Shiba Inu dog will be good-natured, bold, and alert. The strong will and confidence of the dog makes it popular among many people who need such dogs.

We also found out that the dog is loyal and quite affectionate towards his family. They can still be suspicious of any strangers.

Even though it can be friendly, Shiba Inu dogs do not share well. They can often stand guard and aggressive where necessary towards someone touching their food and toys. At this point, it is easy to see that it would not play well with other dogs and pets.

Training is essential for this dog, but sometimes responding can be something you wish it could be better. Sometimes you might call it and it does not come.

The temperament of this breed is largely affected by several factors such as training, heredity, and socialization.

Just like most dogs, this breed also needs early socialization. The early exposure to sights, sounds, people, and experiences should help it have a better relationship with humans and other pets. With the right training, it can be a nice dog to welcome your visitors rather than the opposite.

The Health

Shiba Inus are healthy dogs, however they can also be affected by some common health problems. Once you understand these common health issues, then you can know how better to care for your pet. Below are some of the common health problems that are likely to affect Shiba Inu dogs.


Most dogs will face some kind of allergy in their lifetime and so is Shiba Inu breed. The main types of allergies your dog will face include food allergies, contact allergies, and inhalant allergies.

Food allergies are as a result of feeding the wrong food to your dog. They can easily be treated by eliminating the foods that affect the dog. The contact allergies are caused by topical substance that comes into contact with the dog’s skin. This can be flea powder, dog shampoos, and many other chemicals.


This is a condition that leads to the accumulation of a fluid inside the dog’s chest cavity. With the accumulation of this fluid, it becomes harder for the dog to breath. You will also notice that the dog keeps on coughing, has a decreased appetite, and cases of lethargy arise. The condition is often caused by an underlying condition. So, it is best to visit a vet to understand why it is happening.

To treat Chylothorax, the vet will remove the fluid from the chest cavity. The dog will also be placed on a low-fat diet. In serious cases, surgery might be necessary.


Yes, glaucoma is also common in dogs. With glaucoma, there is an increased pressure in the dog’s eyes. This can arise through hereditary or there is a fluid decrease in the eyes. The symptoms of this condition include the dog having vision loss and sometimes pain. The treatment depends on the type of glaucoma. Mostly, eye drops are necessary to relieve the pressure.


Cancer symptoms in dogs include having an abnormal swelling of a bump or the dog having sores that do not heal. Also, the dog might have trouble breathing. Just like it is in humans, if the cancer is caught early, it can be managed. The treatment for cancer includes chemotherapy, medication, and surgery.


The epilepsy condition is often inherited. With epilepsy, the dog will experience mild to severe seizures. The seizures in dogs will include things such as the dog behaving as if something is chasing it, hiding, staggering and more. Whenever a seizure happens in a dog, it can be frightening to watch. Make sure that the dog gets the right medical attention whenever this happens.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a heritable condition where the thighbone does not fit correctly into the hip joint. When this happens, the dog will experience pain while walking and getting up. The discomfort can be evident in your dog as you will notice it limping when walking. You should consider taking it to the vet for routine check to identify hip dysplasia before it becomes serious. With early treatment, your dog can still lead a normal life.

Caring Tips

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Shiba Inus are best suited for a fenced home or apartment. This is because the dog is highly active so, you might find it wandering off without you noticing. When you have a fenced yard, the dog can easily roam around in the backyard without much of a problem.

Socialization is crucial for this breed. If the dog is not socialized, it tends to become timid and sometimes quarrelsome. You should then consider exposing it to different people, experiences, sights, and sounds when it is still young. Having enough socialization makes the Shiba Inu grow up as a good-natured dog.

Shiba Inu dogs love to chase small animals around the home. So, if you have cats, this might trigger the prey drive. Always keep it on a leash when you have it outdoors so that it does not chase other small animals around.

We should point out that Shiba Inus do not love being restrained. It should then be priority to leash train this dog to get used to being restrained. It might take some time, but the dog gets used to the leash after a couple of weeks.

We recommend that you consider puppy obedience classes. This is to help with the stimulation and socialization of the dog. Also, it helps the dog get used to training faster. You can always focus on other types of training such as crate training once the dog is of the right age.

As part of caring for it, just make sure that it also has a nice place to sleep and relax. Keep such an environment clean to avoid any possible outbreak of disease in the pet.


Feeding your dog with high quality food is important. It is not just about the food quality, but also the amount. We recommend that the daily amount should be ½ to 1.5 cups of dry food per day. This amount should be divided into two meals.

The amount of food that your dog eats will depend on metabolism, activity level, age, size, and build. So, take your time to understand the food needs of your dog to make sure it is getting the right amount. Talk to a vet where necessary to know what to feed the dog depending on its age.

Quality food can bring a lot of difference to how your dog looks and grows. It is recommended that you stick to quality food to ensure that the pet is well-nourished.

Do not overfeed your pet as it can lead to cases of obesity. What you can do is to measure the food ensuring that the dog eats the right amount each time. More exercise and less food can help to keep the dog in shape.


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Shiba Inus come with a thick double coat giving them a teddy bear look. The outer coat of the dog is straight and still while the undercoat is thick and soft. As for shedding, the breed sheds moderately throughout the year and heavily twice a year during the shedding season.

What about the color? Shiba Inus have several colors for the coats. Such include orange-red, sesame, and urajiro colors. Sometimes it is possible to see them having white marking on the tail, hind and forelegs.

When it comes to grooming, Shina inus is fairly easy to maintain. It is a naturally odor-free and clean dog to own. You just need to do regular cleaning once a week to remove the dead hair. This weekly brushing is also important for distributing the oils around the body.

Bathing more often is necessary. This does not mean you over-bath the dog. As this can lead to drying out the coat and skin. Many owners would bath the dog breed every three to four months.

Brushing their teeth is also important. You need to brush their teeth twice or thrice a week. This helps to remove any tartar build up over the days. Daily brushing can be awesome, but we all know that is not the easiest thing to do.

Consider trimming the nails of the dog twice a month. The trimming of nails helps to prevent any painful tears when the nails get caught up in the carpet.

How it Relates to Children and Other Pets

Of course, we also have to consider how the dog relates to children and other pets. We find that Shiba Inu is quite a good dog for the whole family. So long as you raise it properly and give it the right training and socialization, it grows into a great dog. It is able to get along with the children who need to treat is kindly and respectfully.

Just like when keeping other dog breeds, you should teach your children to approach the dog correctly. You should always supervise such interactions to avoid the dog biting the children. Some kids might pull the dog’s hair agitating it. The last thing you would want is for the dog to get aggressive against your child.

Also, proper training is necessary if you want to keep it in the apartment. The last thing you want is for the dog to keep barking while at home. This can irritate your neighbors.


  • This breed is independent and clean. This is something many would want to see in their dog breeds.
  • It can be a good watchdog to alert you when it notices something strange
  • The dog is graceful, high energy, and agile
  • Many find it easy to train Shiba Inu dogs


  • It can be stubborn at times. This is evident as sometimes it can refuse to respond to commands
  • The breed can easily wander off if you do not keep it on a leash

In Summary

So, are Shiba Inus good apartment dogs? The breed is medium in size and can easily fit in your apartment without having to make a lot of changes. As a result, it can be a good dog for an apartment. However, you should consider taking it outdoors for walks more often. The aim is to help the dog remain in shape and better at various activities.