Shiba Inu - Appearance & Grooming

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Shiba Inu

Appearance

The smallest of the Japanese breeds, the Shiba Inu is a compact little dog with thick hair who resembles a miniature Akita. The eyes are uniquely triangular in shape, dark and small, and are windows into the good nature of the Shiba Inu's soul. The nose is black. Teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The tail is set high and curled over the back in typical Spitz fashion. They come in colors of orange-red, urajiro, which is a cream to white ventral color, and sesame. Some individuals may sport white marks on the tail tip, forelegs and/or hind legs. All colors should have urajiro markings on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the sides and underneath the muzzle, throat, inside the legs, on the abdomen, and around the vent area.

Size and Weight

Mature males should ideally stand 14.5 to 16.5 inches at the withers and weigh approximately 23 pounds. Females should stand from 13.5 to 15.5 inches and weigh 17 pounds. They are slightly longer than they are tall, and the proper height to length ratio for males is 10:11 and for females, slightly longer.

Coat and Color

The Shiba Inu wears a thick double coat that is made up of a straight and stiff topcoat and a softer undercoat. They shed year round and blow coat twice per year. They come in colors of orange-red, urajiro, which is a cream to white ventral color, and sesame. Sesame dogs have a red background with black-tipped hair. Some individuals may sport white marks on the tail tip, forelegs and/or hind legs. All colors should have urajiro markings on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the sides and underneath the muzzle, throat, inside the legs, on the abdomen, and around the vent area.

Grooming Needs

The Shiba Inu is farily low maintenance in the grooming department. Naturally clean and odor-free dogs, the Shiba Inu only needs a bath as needed. Over-bathing can cause the skin and coat to dry out. Once per quarter is usually enough for this breed. The coat should be brushed once per week to remove dead hair and daily during shedding season.

Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally.

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