We have two Shibas a male and a female both we got at the Humane Society a year and a half apart. Both dogs love to sleep on the bed with us and our female is a cuddler. both dogs are well behaved and clowns, all though the male likes to get into things. We love our Shibas and would'nt trade them for anything in the world.
Well I just found out today that my little girl, Brandy, whom I rescued as a 8-month old puppy from my a**hole neighbors 6 months ago, is a shiba. I've had a dozen dogs in my life, most of them for at least a decade, and most of them were 50-80 lb. mixed breeds. Then today a woman at the dog park asked me how I liked my shiba, which I had never heard of. I've always just gotten my dogs from the Humane Society or the homeless guy at the 7-11 or in one case from a Dumpster behind the supermarket. But Brandy lived behind me and was left outside all day (in S. Florida, during the summer) with one little bowl of water, and a bowl of food when they remembered to feed her, 24/7. I of course fell in love with her at first sight and started jumping over the fence to water and feed her, and I even dognapped her a few times during the summer rainstorms when she'd howl at 3 a.m. Then last fall I lost my 14-yr. old chow/shepherd mix to a stroke, and a few months later the jerkoffs got foreclosed upon, and by then Brandy was with me more often than not, so she moved in for good. And she looked quite a bit like Jessie, the chow/shep, except smaller, so I just thought she was some kind of mix. Maybe because of the trauma of her first months or maybe it's just her, but she is the friendliest dog I've ever had. She has never even growled at another dog, and we're at the dog park 2-4 times a week. They've humped her, snapped at her, even bitten her (not seriously) and she'll just roll over on her back or paw at them, like, "let's play!" Whenever anyone comes to our house she jumps up and "dances" around like she couldn't wait to see them, and when I come back from being gone even 15 minutes you'd think I was gone all day. I also have a 10-yr. old, 100 lb., very mellow hound dog mix (whom another neighbor deserted 3 years ago) and they seem to understand each other perfectly. She can even get him to play for 15-minute stretches at a time, which no one could do before. He, of course, is in love with her, like everyone else seems to be.
But it's not paradise. She chews everything, but mostly the things that I seem to spend time with, as if she's curious about what holds my interest in these strange little boxes with paper inside (I have, I mean, I had, over 1000 books), and these funny little rectangular smelly things (I also had about 30 pairs of shoes) and this string-looking stuff that plugs into the wall (computer and cell phone attachments). Plus, she's trying to figure out why I need this soft stuff (that she doesn't) after peeing, but hey, it sure is fun to unroll and chew. And when she first got hip to the fact that I had to be absent (work) for part of most days, she didn't like that at all! She chewed away the baseboard, the wooden paneling, and even part of the wooden door, but (of course) always looked like a newborn angel when I arrived home to find pillows shredded, pages of (expensive hardcover) books scattered, clothing and toilet paper strewn around, and bits of wooden chips all over the house. Yes, I've spanked her (adorable) butt and yelled at her (gorgeous) face and scolded her to no end, and even tried the silent treatment, but 10 minutes later, she's up in my lap, nuzzling my neck, and what can I do? She's just curious, and wants to know how and why things in her world work, and what I'm up to that's so interesting. One other quirk of hers that I've never seen in another dog: She "hugs" me. She will put her head in between my neck and shoulder and just stay that way, not moving, for up to 2 minutes. I find this amazing! Or she'll just lay on my stomach with her head on my chest and not move. Maybe I'm projecting, but she seems to only do this right after she's been fed or when it's bedtime; kinda like, "Thanks, Mom!"
I must say to people contemplating getting a shibu, mine has been a lot of work, a little aggravation, but nothing at all compared to the love & companionship she's given me. Bless those a**holes behind me!!
I've only lived with one Shiba, but she's a piece of cake. After reading all the comments here and elsewhere about socialization issues, when I brought her home as a pup I was firm, but gentle and loving. I have NEVER raised my voice to her or been rough. I exposed her to new situations constantly - motorcycling shopping, malls, horse shows etc. and she responded by being a perfect lady in EVERY situation.
She is one of the most affectionate and easy dogs I've ever shared my life with. She is, indeed, very sensitive and intuitive. She radiates a joy for life - and loves to play.
She is obedient, clean, friendly with strangers in all situations and extremely well behaved. Smart as all get out too!
She is an Alpha animal and herds my two pugs, who are older than she is. She does not scrap, but she let's her displeasure be known when they raid her food dish or steal her toys. The pugs know better than to test her. However, she will gladly share her food dish with our Bengal Cat and does not bother our Macaws, who free-range on perches/trees in the bird room.
I used to breed and show American Staffordshire Terriers, which is truly a delightful breed. However, the Am/Staff's urges are far more difficult to control than my Shiba, who I can literally bring around simply by pressing my index finger on her shoulder. She has always known intuitively that means to cease her behavior - whether guarding or herding - immediately.
I'm totally smitten with this breed and only wish I'd learned about them decades ago.
Never-again, I have a few questions..By chance is your Shiba an only dog? What sort of time is he left alone? Is he always indoors? Our Shiba would be an absolute nightmare if he was an only dog, left alone at home indoors without company and things to watch and smell and hear. When our boy is at home he either has to be left out side if the weather is suitable or inside with the other dogs with the TV on, and food aggression is a problem with any dominant natured dog who is not comfortable in the family pecking order. We have found the Shiba's to be the least food aggressive of our multitude of rescued dogs over the years.
Shibas are not a normal dog in any way. We find the simple affirmative training is the trick. No drills. No yelling. And with our boy the food rewards don't work. The best reward is to leave him to his own thing when he gets it right. Repetitive intense training just creates resistance. I spend a lot of time ignoring him too. He only gets attention when he does not insist on it. He's very much Mum's according to him, so I've used this to my advantage. If I want him to do something, I get between him and Mum and as smart as these guys are, he'll pretty much do anything I ask so I will let him go to Mum. That is the best reward for him:))
Shibas are very much individuals, arrogant, egotistical, self opinionated, and all things that go with being a "wild" dog.. I so often call the current boy the most egotistical snot bag I've ever met. Shibas own everything.. If it's theirs, its theirs, If its yours, it's theirs, if it belongs to the cat or the neighbours kids it actually belongs to the Shiba.
They are certainly not a toy breed......They are more like a cross between a malamute/husky and a blue heeler. Not an easy job, but if you like a challenge, have plenty of time, and like your animals to be their own person and have their own identity, and DON"T expect them to be any sort of stereo type or status symbol, Go for a Shiba..
Have a read of the book "Marley and Me".. Add to that the Shiba scream, and temper tantrums, and that's pretty much what you can expect for the first 8-10yrs of your Shibas life. You'll love it.
It is never boring living with any Shiba, they spend their life aiming at being the centre of the world.
I've owned many dogs, and considered myself a reasonably capable trainer - until I got a Shiba. He's very bright, and understands quickly what I want of him; while obedience is not his strong point, if he sees that there's something in it for him, he'll play along. He's been clicker-trained for all the basic stuff and is an excellent loose-lead walker, and very friendly with people and dogs we meet outside.
BUT when things are not to his liking it's like a switch has been flipped and a completely different dog emerges, one that growls, snarls and bites. He's extremely food-aggressive, and so far none of the usual techniques (feeding by hand, feeding one morsel at a time, etc) seem to be working. At times he misses his meal completely simply because the sight of someone approaching with a bowl of food sends him into a snarling frenzy. I could understand him being possessive of the food once he's got it - but why attack the person who's about to bring him something scrumptious?
He's also the most destructive dog I have ever owned, chewing on furniture, doors, walls, rugs and his crate and bedding, despite having lots of chew toys that he is given in rotation to prevent boredom.
I would never choose a Shiba again.
LOL - My Shiba is the same way with cheese!
Yeah it is too bad about Shibas and their nerves. I think it partly comes from being a guard dog. My Shiba seems to always be on alert, and I learned the other day not to touch him while he is in a deep sleep because that totally freaked him out.
feisty - check
moody - check
My Shiba sounds like your tan, but also with cheese and nerves :)
I've read a dozen articles about Shiba Inus and found this to be very entertaining. I love it from start to finish. I have two Shiba Inus, one tan and one black with white and brown markings. They are both extremely different from one another. I can't say enough about my Black w/tan Shiba. Loyal, loving, stops everything when hears the word cheese. He's very smart and listens to me well. I do have problems with walking him and having him in the car. He is a very nervous dog. My tan Shiba is anything but feisty, moody, but easy to walk and take on long drives.