Have you ever met someone with a Shiba Inu? I went a long time without ever meeting one, but a friend of mine brought home a Shiba Inu puppy in college and I fell in love!
Typically, I stick to my favorite bully breeds like my current American Bulldog, Bruce. However, this pup sold me on the Shiba Inu breed.
My friend’s new puppy was incredibly smart and was the perfect balance of ornery and sweet. She did have one quality that I noticed was unlike any dog I have ever seen, and that was her shedding.
By the way, hi dog moms and dads! My name is Bri, and I have owned a good number of different dog breeds from Mastiffs to Shitzus.
I rescued Bruce almost four years ago now and I have to admit, the bully breed has stolen my heart! However, I am a lover of all dogs so I would not turn any away.
Back to what I was saying, the Shiba Inu I met was a serious shedder. Her owner loved her anyway, but he was definitely overwhelmed by the amount of dog hair he was dealing with!
That being said, I wanted to put together a shedding guide for the Shiba Inu breed so pet owners everywhere could be more informed before bringing one home.
This is not in any way meant to deter you from the breed, but only to help you be more prepared!
We will cover a brief history of the Shiba Inu, then we will get into some details about their coats and shedding traits.
We will also cover some health concerns to look out for as well as some tips and tools that could be helpful in maintaining their shedding.
Let’s start from the top with the history of the breed!
History of the Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu breed has been around since the ancient days of 300 B.C. That sounds so crazy, but it is true! They were experienced and valuable hunters in the Japanese mountains.
Shiba actually is Japanese for “brushwood” which could either be referring to their original habitat or the red color of their fur.
The word Inu is Japanese for “dog,” so put it all together and you have the Brushwood Dog!
They came to America with a military family in the 1950’s and have been growing in popularity ever since, but they are well known as one of Japan’s most common companions.
What is a Shiba Inu’s Coat Like?
The Shiba Inu has a very thick, fluffy coat that is reddish in color and most of them have white coloring on their bellies, chest and chins.
They do not get matted fur, but they do shed heavily so frequent brushing is important.
We will get more into grooming later.
Do Shiba Inus Shed? How Much?
Yes. Very much so, yes. In fact, under the grooming section on the American Kennel Club’s website, the very first sentence reads, and I quote “Shibas shed – a lot.”
If that does not answer that question for you, this might. Shiba Inus have been said to shed twice a year during shedding season (again, we will cover that later), but those who know the breed say those seasons last 6 months each.
The American Kennel Club also ranks this breed as seasonal to frequent shedders, and rightly so! This is one of those breeds that if you pet them, you will see pet hair collecting in your hands.
When do Shiba Inus Shed the Most?
All dogs have similar traits when it comes to how much they shed and when they shed the most. These factors include:
Time of year
This is the most significant factor that will influence how much a dog sheds. There are two times in a year that are called shedding seasons.
Shedding season takes place during the transition from summer to winter and again from winter to summer. During these times, dogs are getting rid of their coats to make room for the next one to grow in.
Again, most Shiba Inu owners have said that while shedding season happens twice in a year, those seasons tend to last a long time.
That is why grooming is so important, but we will talk about that in a different section.
Stage of life
Many dogs show different shedding traits throughout their life. The most common one is when they lose their puppy coat and grow in their adult coat.
While they are losing that puppy coat, you will most likely notice heavier shedding than normal. This is natural so don’t panic!
The same thing happens when dogs get older. Senior dogs tend to shed more than adult dogs, which is a normal part of the aging process.
Diet and exercise
Diet and exercise makes a huge difference in a dog’s overall health, which includes their skin and coats.
Without the right nutrients to support their skin, a dog’s fur can become dry and brittle and shed more than normal.
Same goes for exercise! Health starts from the inside out. If a dog is over or underweight, the rest of their body will show signs of decreasing health.
A big indicator can often be excess shedding!
Skin conditions and pests
This one might seem obvious but we will cover it anyway. Dogs are often subject to multiple skin conditions.
The most common affliction is seasonal allergies. Bruce gets allergies much like people do, with red, itchy skin and red, water eyes (poor baby).
Allergies can cause dogs to itch more, which will often result in excess shedding. However, other skin conditions like mange and alopecia are a little more complicated and can also result in hair loss.
Pests such as fleas and ticks can have a similar affect. These pests cause dogs to itch and lick more than normal, which can lead to excess shedding as well.
These pests can also be responsible for some of those skin conditions, like mange caused by mites. Keep an eye out for scratching and licking as these are signs that your pup is being bugged (get it?).
How to Combat Shiba Inu Shedding
I have said it before and I will say it again, shedding is healthy. Shedding is supposed to happen and nobody should try to keep a dog from shedding.
That being said, there is not much you can do to slow down a Shiba Inu’s shedding. However, you absolutely can control it and manage it.
Grooming is always your best friend when it comes to shedding. It will not decrease the amount they shed, but it can help redirect that dead fur so it does not end up all over your home or your clothes.
Shiba Inus should be brushed at least once a week, maybe more often during shedding season.
Another helpful tip for this particular breed is to use a hair dryer or a shop vacuum to gently blow the loose and dead fur out of their coat.
I tried this with Bruce and almost lost my shop vac hose, but if you can make it work, I am sure it would be super helpful!
If you do try this method, make sure you ease into it and put your hairdryer on a cool setting so it does not get too hot for them or scare them.
Baths are not needed on a regular basis, but they can be helpful to get that loose fur out now and then. Once they are all cleaned up, make sure their fur is completely dry before you brush them out.
If you brush their fur when it is wet, it can pull on their fur which can be uncomfortable or even hurt them which is obviously not what any of us want!
Tools and Equipment to Help Combat Shiba Inu Shedding
I like to suggest three items that are the holy grail for all pet owners. These three items include a brush, a lint roller and a vacuum.
Just because it was mentioned earlier, I will also suggest the shop vacuum that we use because it works really well!
For brushes, you want to find one that is specifically made for de-shedding. I highly recommend the Furminator brush, which is what we use on Bruce.
This brush is gentle, but effective. It grabs that undercoat and really gets out all the loose and dead fur without hurting the dog. Bruce thinks he is getting a nice belly and back scratch so he loves it!
As far as lint rollers go, there are so many out there and they are all pretty similar so you can’t really go wrong with any of them.
However, if you are anything like me you probably recognize how wasteful traditional lint rollers are.
It takes me several sheets of a traditional lint roller before I get all the dog hair off of my clothes, and I try to be environmentally conscientious whenever I can.
That being said, I found the Magik Brush lint brush that I really like!
It is double sided and reusable, so you are not needing to refill it all the time and are not throwing away a ton of plastic sheets! It works on everything too. I use it in my car and on my furniture!
Lastly, I’ll share the two vacuums I use to keep my house free of dog hair (for a day or two). The first is a typical home vacuum from Dyson that is great for pet hair.
It comes apart in a few pieces so it is super easy to carry around the house and gets into tight corners to get all the dog hair. It is also cordless which makes it even easier!
The other vacuum is our shop vac. Like I said, I do not use this on Bruce because he tries to demolish it, but it is a great shop vac non the less so it might benefit you and your Shiba Inu!
We have the DeWALT 6 Gallon vacuum and we love it. It also is super helpful for getting all the dog hair out of the carpet in our cars!
Health Considerations in Shiba Inu Shedding
Unfortunately, excess shedding in any dog breed is usually not a good sign. It can be caused by something minor such as allergies, but it is also often a sign of something more serious.
Internal issues like cancer often show first symptoms of hair loss. The same can be said about other internal problems like organ diseases or malfunctions.
It is extremely important to take note of your dog’s shedding traits throughout their life.
This can help you recognize when something is out of the norm for your pup, which could even help save their life one day!
Final Thoughts: Do Shiba Inus Shed?
As a dog lover, it is hard for me to tell a person to be careful when choosing a dog. If it were me, I would bring home every dog that I met (trust me I have tried and my husband just loves it).
However, it is important to make sure any dog you bring home is the right fit for you, your family and the dog!
You want to give the pup the best life you can, so do some research before you bring one home.
As for the Shiba Inu, these pups are some of the friendliest and most loyal ones you can find. However, Shiba Inus shed a ton.
If you or someone in your home is allergic to dogs, you might want to reconsider bringing home a Shiba Inu.
However, if you are okay with allergy medicine or if you are one of the lucky ones who do not have allergies, these babies would make a great companion in any home!
Hopefully this information helps you learn a little more about Shiba Inus and their shedding traits.
Thank you for reading do Shiba Inus shed, Happy Pup Parenting!