Shiba Inu, Japan’s Notable Treasure

Shiba Inu, Japan’s Notable Treasure

A Shiba Inu is an iconic Japanese dog that has been into Japanese people’s hearts for many generations. Now, they are loving from around the world and is considered one of Japan’s national treasures.

I adore Shiba Inus because of how adorable they are no matter their age. Then again, it’s kinda the same for all dogs. However, for Shiba Inus, they’re different from the average dog. They have a different and unique personality that made people drawn to them. They have that special skill that always makes us say “awww…” with their adorable faces they make and the skits we usually see on the Internet.

Not popular than cats, but Shiba Inus is one of the most popular dogs on the internet now. But what do we know about the cute Japanese four-legged friend? So I gathered information to show the facts and information about the Shiba Inu.

Basic Information About Shiba Inu

Let's start by providing some basic information about Shiba Inu dogs such as their historical background and features. The historical background for the dog goes back into historical years of Japan, most specifically in Hokkaido Prefecture. Despite being known for hunting small game, the Shiba Inu is considered the smallest of the six Japanese dogs.

The actual translation of Shiba Inu means “brushwood dog” since they were named after the brushwood bushes where they usually hunt. Many people outside of Japan don’t realize there were used to be three different kinds of Shiba Inus named after the regions they came from:

  • The Mino
  • The Sanin
  • the Shinshu.

For males, the preferred weight for them is about 23lbs whereas for females it’s 17lbs. Even though they don’t look like the most aggressive dogs, their size does help with speed and agility with their well-developed muscles. 

With their alertness and keen senses, they are the perfect dogs to watch over the house and protect the familyTheir height is about 14-17 inches at the shoulder, while their lifespan is a median of 14 years (about 12-16 years).

Near Extinction of the breed

In 1945, Imperial Japan was fighting against the United States. On August 6 and August 9, 1945, the United States use an atomic bomb in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result, the majority of the Shiba Inu was dead because of constant bombing raids during WWII.
Also from distemper, a highly contagious canine viral infection, after Japan surrendered to the US thus ending the war.

Immediately after the war, breeding programs began for the dogs in order for the population to improve. However, since the majority of the Mino and the Sanin were dead during the war, the majority of the Shiba Inus today are from the Shinshu.

Hero of the 2004 Chuuetsu Earthquake - Shiba Called Mari

The 2004 Chuuetsu earthquake happened in October 23rd, 2004 at the Niigata Prefecture.  It has a magnitude of 6.6 and caused a lot of damage in Niigata.

But, there was a true story of a Shiba called Mari that saved her three pups and her elderly owner. She placed the pups in a safe space and woken up the owner that was trapped underneath a fallen cabinet. The owner escaped, and was picked up by the helicopter, but have to leave Mari and her pups behind.

When he returned to his destroyed home, Mari and her pups were still arrive. The 2004 earthquake was a time that cemented Shiba Inus as a Japanese national treasure for years to come.  It has become such a legendary event that it was created into a movie called A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies (or マリと子犬の物語). 

If you like amazing stories, here you can read about underrated Japanese urban legends.

Strengths of Shiba Inus

In addition to their cuteness, there are many more strengths of Shiba Inus that are either well-known or underrated.
For example, they’re known for being extremely loyal to their owners by showing their overall affection to not just the owner itself but their families as well. Because of their keen senses, agility, and alertness, they’re really territorial on their spaces and are one of the best at being watchdogs. They’re also known for being really intelligent and can pick up on commands pretty easily.

Shiba Inus are freethinkers. They often have their own ideas about things, and once they put their minds into something, they’re super resilient and have to make sure it’s done. They are really self-sufficient and can tolerate being alone when owners are out of their homes. 

Challenges of Owning Shiba Inu Dogs

Despite the many strengths Shiba Inus have, there are some challenges you will have to face while owning the dog. Not impossible but not easy.

Shiba Inus are mostly known for being loyal to their owners and families.  However, they’re really skeptical and cautious to strangers. Not just strangers, but other dogs as well. Shiba Inus can be aggressive towards dogs they don’t know personally. So as you can tell, they’re biggest challenges are socialization. Being able to socialize with everyone around them.

Their underrated challenge can be their spoiled mentalityShiba Inus are really intelligent and can pick up on things a lot faster than the average dog. But, if not trained, they’re believed to be the center of the universe and can be a lot harder to train once they get older. They want their owners to recognize them 24/7.

So, they would “yodel” to get the owner’s attention. Not only that, they might be too territorial on their foods and favorite toys. In order for the Shiba Inu to grow up to be a well-trained and friendly adult, they should be trained immediately!! Even when they’re 8 weeks old puppies.

The earlier you trained them, the better they become as adult dogs, and the more tricks they can learn. Also, they should go out more and socialize more. By meeting many different kinds of strangers, they can grow accustomed to being an overall friendly dog to everyone they meet.


Overall, despite doing early training and having the Shiba Inu to socialize more, they’re the best dogs for owners that are planning to have their very first dog. It might take time for it to flourish into a well-trained adult, but the fun and enjoyable times with the dog will be worth a lifetime of great memories.

Since I do want to own a Shiba Inu one day, it’s a big reason as to why a Shiba Inu was an official mascot and logo for Jay Japan. But the only bad thing about me owning a Shiba Inu is I might spoil the puppy almost immediately since they’re super cute and adorable.

In conclusion, Shiba Inus are one of the things that are the heart and soul of Japan and will always be in the hearts for not just all Japanese people, but all dog lovers around the world.

If you enjoy Japan as much as I do, there is an amazing Japan blog that you can check out. It is run by the guys who started Japanko Official and Japan Dailies Instagram accounts. They have some great content and I enjoy reading their posts.



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