Adopting a Shiba

So you’re looking to adopt a smol, super cute, Shiba Inu? That’s fantastic! We are totally on the Shiba Hype Squad and always suggest the breed to anyone who is looking for a pup… and then we emphasize the amount of research required before adopting a Shiba. That’s when most people end up choosing a different breed, but that’s not you! You’re still here! You’re still reading! Let’s do this!

The first thing you need to do is understand the Shiba.


Strong-Willed & Stubborn

Shiba Inu dogs have a reputation of being stubborn and they sure live up to it. This breed will test your patience in all aspects of pet ownership. The best way around this is to be smarter than your Shiba. You will constantly have to think of new ways to train your Shiba as they will explore just as many ways to get their way. Positive reinforcement is key as they will rarely respond to punishment or negative reinforcement due to their stubborn nature. In the past, Schuri has stood his ground for hours until we eventually tricked him into thinking he got his way.



Intelligent & Curious

This breed is the definition of an intelligent dog. They are constantly observing, interpreting, and judging you. Shibas are always willing to learn, as long as it is on their terms, which usually ends up being a transaction of food. They learn tricks very quickly but also bore easily, so they need to be taught many tricks to keep their minds stimulated. We recommend looking into dog food dispenser puzzles and wobblers to exercise their mind before every meal. These toys teach them how to problem-solve, and prevents them from curiously problem-solving their way through your home’s baseboards! Always remember, a mentally stimulated Shiba is a happy Shiba!

High Prey Drive

The prey drive of a Shiba Inu is like none other. Originally bred to hunt small game in Japan, the Shiba retains this strong trait. It’s very important to understand what this means for you as you need to plan on how you’ll be able to satisfy their need to hunt. Some people use laser pointers but your pup may experience laser pointer syndrome so we don’t recommend using one. Instead, we recommend using a flirt pole. You’ll also need to teach them obedience training – when it is and isn’t okay to hunt, especially during controlled walks so your Shiba doesn’t dislocate your shoulder from a sudden leap.

Shiba Inu Checklist

  • Poop Bags – Grab scented ones. You’ll thank me later.
  • Harness/Collar – There are pros and cons to each choice. Research and make an educated decision.
  • Leash – We recommend getting 2 fixed-length leashes to start. A strong 6 ft leash for controlled walks and a 30 ft leash for recall training and controlled play.
  • Food from Breeder – You’ll want to continue feeding your puppy the same diet that your breeder had them on. Puppy nutrition is no joke, consult with your vet when you are thinking about changing it.
  • Treats from Breeder – Like food, you’ll want to continue feeding your puppy the same treats, and slowly introducing new treats later on.
  • Clicker – Helps with marking correct behavior right before a reward
  • Lightweight Indoor Leash – Catching a Shiba puppy is hilariously difficult. Having a small leash to grab on when they run is invaluable.
  • Celery/Carrots – These make a fantastic low-calorie treat for training. Starting them early on vegetables means they won’t be picky eaters later on…. maybe.
  • Grooming Comb – For everyday use. Get those tangles out to maintain a stunning coat!
  • Furminator – You won’t need to use this until your pup starts to blow their coat, but you’ll need it eventually.
  • Shampoo/Conditioner – Go for organic brands and bathe your pup once a month.
  • Dog Wipes – Great to use after every walk. This builds trust with your Shiba once they understand you are keeping them clean.
  • Dog Toothbrush/Chicken Flavor Toothpaste – You’ll want to attempt brushing your pup’s teeth daily. Practice by just letting them chew on it. Never use finger brushes.
  • Nail Clipper – Unless you want to pay exorbitant amounts of money for the 15 seconds it takes your vet to clip your pup’s nails, I highly suggest learning to do it yourself.
  • Dremel – To round out the nails so that they don’t cut through your hands after you clip them. Ouch!
  • Exercise Pen – 36″ height at the very least. Anything less and your Shiba pup will jump over it by 3 months!
  • Resizable Wire Crate – Crate training and being able to adjust the size of their safety zone as they get older.
  • Waterproof Cushion – This will be placed in the crate so your Shiba is comfortable. A waterproof one is key for any accidents!
  • Doggie Bed – Your pup should have a place to relax outside of the crate and pen.

Where to get a Shiba Inu?!

There are many ways to get yourself one of Japan’s national treasures! As with all things, there are two sides. Good, responsible ways and shady, impatient, sometimes inhumane ways. Let’s go through them shall we? Center/Humane Society – You are going to be the hero of a Shiba that you adopt as a rescue. If you are interested in adopting a Shiba in this manner, please take your time to think about it. There will usually be some kind of issue that you need to address or accept when rescuing. There is no point in adopting a rescue unless you are absolutely certain you will love them unconditionally and be willing to work on or accept any issues that they have. Being rehomed once is hard enough, so help them find their forever-home with you!

Canadian Kennel Club/American Kennel Club approved Breeders/Reputable Breeders – This one is the most expensive option but also the safest. Pedigree and temperament are very important subjects when it comes to proper breeding, and it matters even more with this outspoken breed. Reputable breeders will not only breed for good temperament, but they will do their best to match the pup’s personality with potential owners. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, waitlists with reputable breeders are very long, but honestly well worth the wait.

Kijiji/Craigslist/eBay – This is something you want to avoid at all costs. Buying your Shiba from the classifieds is like Pandora’s Box. You have no idea what the pedigree or temperament of the puppy really is, even if you are allowed to meet the parents. Vital information can be withheld from you like medical history, owner history, or behavioral issues. Since the pandemic started, there has been a rise in puppy flippers, and these resellers do not care about you or the well-being of the dog. Lastly, there is a chance that you will be purchasing your puppy from a puppy mill which is the most disgusting thing in the pet breeding world.

Backyard Breeders – There is a lot of debate with this option. You may find yourself dealing with a backyard breeder when looking for a dog on classifieds. Some would argue that there are some respectable, well-educated breeders on classifieds. While that may be true, the extra work lies with you to make sure that the breeder you are dealing with knows what they are doing and doesn’t take any shortcuts. For starters, you should make sure the puppies have their papers, completed vet checks, initial vaccines, known pedigree, and that you are able to see the parents, breeding facilities, and where the puppies are initially brought up.

Moar Information PLox?

You can go into a pretty deep rabbit hole looking for credible information in order to prepare yourself for Shiba adoption. Here is a list of links that we truly feel helped us with our own preparations for Schuri!

My First Shiba – This is your one-stop-shop for everything Shiba. Most of our initial research started here. They don’t update their content often though, probably because it’s mostly complete.

GTA Shiba Squad – A Facebook group that we joined prior to Schuri coming home. This group is specifically for Shibas located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada but is open for anyone to join. There is plenty of information on the posts and there are many people willing to help and answer any questions to new potential owners. We highly recommend joining a local Shiba Facebook group in your area!

Want us to Add Something Specific Here?

Let us know! We will be updating this page regularly to make it into a 1 stop shop for prospective Shiba adopters! Let us know on our Reddit if you have any comments or suggestions regarding anything on this page!