Shiba Inu or 'Shiba' are a short-haired, small-sized dog breed. They are loyal, independent and loving companions who carry themselves with confidence and often some stubbornness. Their independence can sometimes make them hard to train, but if you can assert your dominance as alpha, they will respect you and be your loyal follower. They have, in recent years, been the subject of many memes and are often referred to online as 'Doges'.


During the first 4 weeks of your Shiba's life, they should spend most of their time with their mother and litter-mates. It is highly unusual for the puppy's owner to care for them during this time and is best left to a responsible, reputable breeder. Your puppy's body will double in weight as their muscles, organs and bones develop.

Nutrition During the neonatal stage, your Shiba puppy will get most of their nutrition from their mother's milk. At around 4 weeks you may wish to introduce a mush of minced protein such as beef, but always consult your vet first before changing your puppy's diet at this stage.
Health During this time it is important to monitor your Shiba for any infections, diseases or birth defects. Puppies are unable to urinate or defecate by themselves initially, so their mother helps them but may additionally require your assistance.

Keep your vet's contact details close by and educate yourself thoroughly on this stage of puppy development. By the end of this period, your puppy will be mobile and will explore the world mouth first — be sure to keep choking hazards and toxic foods out of their reach.
Behaviour During most of this time your Shiba puppy will be asleep or inactive, but they will soon be playing with their brothers and sisters. After 3-4 weeks they will go through as much sensory development as a human baby does in a few months. It is important to avoid disturbing the puppies' mother as she will be likely be protective, but some interaction with the young pups is normal so they become used to human touch.


When you take your Shiba Inu puppy home (usually at around 8 weeks) you should provide them with lots of stimulation and affection. This is a formative time for your puppy and will be when they learn to walk, play, bite, hold their bladder, and interact with others. If you have other pets or children who visit regularly, you should introduce them to your puppy early, as poorly socialised Shibas can sometimes be aggressive when older.


Nutrition During the weaning stage, you should slowly introduce into their diet a nutritionally complete dog food which is appropriate to your Shiba's small size and young age. Feed your puppy small meals to avoid discomfort after meals. You should also familiarise yourself with lists of toxic foods and plants to avoid — a Shiba can entertain themselves up to a certain point in an adequately large yard, but without toys or friends they may search for things to eat.
Health During this time you should provide your puppy with a small, shallow bowl of clean water and refresh the contents frequently. Make sure that your Shiba Inu puppy becomes accustomed to nail clipping as the breed is notorious for disliking their paws being touched. Shiba's are otherwise very low maintenance and frequent bathing is discouraged as this can destroy the natural waterproofing in their coat.
Behaviour Due to the changes in their environment, your Shiba Inu puppy will be under a significant amount of stress. It's important that you provide lots of attention and affection, as well as socialise your puppy thoroughly to avoid them barking later in life. One positive aspect of Shiba Inu puppies is that they toilet train themselves —remarkably, by 5 weeks of age they will hold their bladder all night to avoid ruining their sleeping area.


By the time your Shiba reaches puppyhood their personality will be well developed, so you will have an alert and independant friend who loves to cuddle at night. Your Shiba Inu puppy will bond closely with your family, especially children, but make sure to socialise them with strangers or they may become overly protective of you.


Nutrition Your Shiba puppy's diet should be based around a high quality, nutritionally complete puppy food. You may also wish to introduce them to fresh, lean raw meat — however, don't feed your puppy any meat you would not feed to a fellow human being. It is important that you monitor your puppy's weight, size and activity level as Shiba puppies who are active will require more food than those who are more lazy.
Health Shiba Inu puppies are low maintenance, only requiring weekly brushing and rare baths as they keep themselves very clean. They have relatively few genetic problems to speak of, but a surprising number are affected by breathing and eye problems. After around 8 weeks your puppy will be due for some vaccinations, so they will need a checkup at the vet and to arrange for boosters after that.
Behaviour Shiba Inu are intelligent, active and highly independent. They were bred to hunt small mammals and birds in the mountains of Japan, so they cannot ever be trusted with small animals as they will be treated like prey. Shiba's generally do not get along with other dogs they don't already live with, so be sure to frequently socialise them with your friend's dogs while your puppy is young. Due to their instincts as independent hunters, you can never ever let your Shiba puppy off the leash, leave a door open, or leave them unattended in an unfenced area — they will run away without exception.

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