Are Shiba Inus Good With Kids? [Is This Breed Child Friendly?]

Moth with son and daughter playing with a Shiba Inu

Are Shibas good with kids? This is a crucial question that a family thinking of this breed needs to ask. Most dogs can be great with children if given the proper training and socialization, but when it comes to Shiba Inus there are many things you need to think about. They have a very high energy level combined with strong prey instincts. These traits could cause conflicts between a Shiba Inu and a family with kids. How good the relationship will be, will ultimately come down to the personality of the kid and parents.

So, are Shiba Inus good with kids? Shiba Inus are very independent dogs, which can make them difficult to train. While this can cause problems, Shibas are also good family dogs known for their loving devotion. A properly trained and socialized Shiba can do very well with kids as long as they treat him with kindness and respect.

Shiba Inus are cute adorable dogs that have grown in popularity in recent years. It probably has something to do with their fox-like appearance, as well as their quirky personality. Independent and temperamental they were originally bred in Japan as bird hunting dogs. This can give them a predatory instinct that does not always mix well with children or other family pets.

This is why training and socialization becomes so important for this breed. While Shibas can become excellent childhood friends to kids, this will only be so if both dog and child are trained on how to interact with each other.

A lot depends upon your abilities as a dog owner and the personality and ages of your kids. Older children will get along best with a Shiba Inu, but with young kids, you need to be much more careful.

Here are some of the types of families where Shibas will be the best fit:

  • Families that are okay with a more aloof dog: While Shibas can be affectionate they are usually not as cuddly as many other breeds. Shiba Inus can be quite aloof and almost cat-like at times. So it’s something important to keep in mind if you were hoping for a dog that your kids could cuddle with.
  • Physically active families: Here is where the Shiba Inu with their high energy will really shine. Daily exercise is important for these dogs as without it they could become bored and destructive.
  • Families that have experience with owning dogs: Shiba Inus are not good family dogs for first-time dog owners. They can be quite stubborn and fussy. While they are cute looking, training them can be very hard. But yet this is a breed that must be trained especially if there are children in the household.

Here are some types of families that should strongly consider not getting a Shiba Inu:

  • Families with other small pets: While it’s not impossible for a Shiba to get along with other family pets, due to their predatory instincts it can be very difficult. This breed will have a tough time understanding that small pets are not prey.
  • Families that want a very well-trained dog: Shibas can and should receive basic training especially when kids are involved. But you do need to lower your expectations for this breed and understand that they are probably not going to be the most well-behaved dog in the world. People who like owning Shibas usually appreciate them for their strong independent spirit. Which is a personality trait that doesn’t usually mesh well with exceptional obedience.

I have researched this question carefully and present to you all the information I could find on how to ensure your Shiba Inu and kids get on well with each other. So that you all can be a laughing happy furry family together.

Are Shiba Inus Kid-Friendly?

Shibas can vary based upon their individual personalities on whether they are kid-friendly. Some do better with kids than others. The main determining factor is whether they have been socialized around children and whether they have received proper training.

Socialization is very important. A dog that has grown up around children from when they are puppies, will do much better than one that didn’t. Try to introduce your Shiba Inu puppy to kids as soon as possible. It will help reduce problems later on when they’re bigger.

A child’s personality and age are important as well. Shiba Inus don’t like to be harassed or to be around a lot of loud noises, they will get along best with quieter respectful kids.

Kids should be taught how to behave around the Shiba. A child who knows to treat a dog well and not merely as a toy will get along best with this breed.

How Are Shibas Around Older Children?

Older kids and Shibas can easily become best friends. Generally, the older a child is the better they will get along with this type of dog. This is because they have a better ability to discern the dog’s moods and to treat them respectfully. Being able to read this dog’s body language can be important to having a good relationship with them.

Training Shiba Inus is crucial and at a certain age, which varies from child to child, the kids can get involved with the training. This will make the dog more respectful of the kid and allow them to listen and obey them better. Things like this will only improve the relationship and are the best way to ensure harmony.

Plus involving your older kid in the Shibas care can be a way of teaching the child to have responsibility. As well as teaching them basic dog skills that could serve them well with any future pets. Just make sure that they are old enough to have good discernment and understand how to treat the dog well.

Are Shibas Good With Young Children?

Shibas and young kids will struggle to get along. Very young kids will be tempted to do things such as pulling the dog’s tail, poke them with their fingers, and just all around bothering them. Shiba Inus have little tolerance for such things and may respond with aggression.

Now, this is not to say that Shibas and youngsters can never get along. Only that you have to be much more careful as parents. Never leave a Shiba Inu and a young kid alone together without supervision. If you can’t watch them both then you need to make sure that they are separated. Shibas are generally not aggressive dogs but if they feel threatened or harassed they can lash out and this can happen very quickly.

Make sure that you establish with your young children very basic ground rules that they must follow when interacting with the dog. Things like never throw things at them, pull on their tail, take away their food, or wake them up suddenly from sleep.

Are Shiba Inus Dangerous to Kids?

Shiba Inus are generally not dangerous to kids. But there are certain behaviors you should watch out for. Shibas can be very territorial and they are energetic dogs. This combination could lead to unfortunate accidents without proper precautions.

Harm could occur due to aggression or accidentally. For example, a kid could try to take away the dog’s food or favorite toy. While not all of them would, Some Shibas might respond to such a thing by biting or simply growling. Either thing would be upsetting for the kid or even dangerous.

A child could also be hurt simply by the Shiba playing around, especially younger kids. Shiba Inus can have lots of energy and they have to express it. This is usually done through running and jumping. A small tyke could get knocked over quite easily and the dog just wanted to roughhouse.

In addition, a kid could easily be dangerous to the dog. This can be especially true for younger children but an older kid could hurt the dog as well. Shibas are not very big, so, therefore, a kid trying to climb on their back could do some real damage to their spine. Also if any kids decided to throw an object at the dog, or poke them in a sensitive area such as the eyes. Of course, hitting or kicking is a real possibility especially if the child has emotional issues that can lead them to act out physically.

It is for these reasons that I highly recommend that, unless you trust that your kid is old enough not do any of these things, Shiba Inus and young children should never be left alone togather.

To have more questins about pontential shiba aggression check out this article. All about Shiba Inu aggression and what to do about it.

How to Train Your Shiba Inu for Kids?

Training a Shiba for kids can be very challenging. With perseverance, you will succeed though. Due to their stubbornness, you need to use positive reinforcement training along with great consistency. The most important things are to give them bite inhibition training, training them not to jump, and reducing food and toy aggression.

Socializing a Shiba around kids should be done as well. From the moment that you get them as a puppy you should try to introduce them to as many kids as possible. The more the better. Make it a goal that within the first month that you have them, that you introduce them to at least 50 different people.

Dog parks can help a lot with both training and socialization. a lot of people might have a hard time introducing their dog to that many people, at a dog park though you can easily meet that many people over the course of several visits. Some of the people will be kids, which will help your Shiba Inu develop good relations with them. Just have the children give your dog their favorite treats, this will help your Shiba have good feelings toward them.

Due to their stubbornness and difficulty to train, I highly recommend that you take your Shiba Inu to a professional trainer. They will be able to observe both you and your Shibas behavior up close and give good pointers. Ultimately they will be able to help you more in this domain than any article. If your children are older then get them involved in the training as well. It can teach them good lifelong dog skills.

How Should Kids Be Taught to Behave Around Shiba Inus

With a dog as fussy as a Shiba Inu, it becomes very important that you make sure that your kids follow certain rules when around them.

  • Never let your kids pull on the Shiba Inus tail or any other body parts: While some Shibas can be tolerant, they are generally rather fussy dogs. With their independent nature, they can have strict limits that should never be crossed. A kid pulling on their body definitely fits these criteria.
  • Dogs should never be woken suddenly from slumber: Kids often like to surprise their parents with funny things like shouting in their ear while sleeping or leaping atop them. Don’t ever let them do this with a Shiba however as they could lash out before they know what’s what.
  • Kids should never throw things or yell at the Shiba: Any object thrown at a dog could hurt them badly. While hopefully, this is unlikely you should make sure that your kids understand this rule before their allowed to interact with the Shiba Inu.

Are Shiba Inus Good With Babies and Toddlers?

Shibas are usually not the best dogs to have around babies and toddlers. It’s not that they will be super aggressive or anything and try to attack them. It has more to do with the fact that babies old enough to move around on their own may do something to the dog that upsets them.

Make sure that any interaction between the dog and the baby are heavily supervised. Never leave a young baby alone with the Shiba Inu. You never know what might happen even if you just leave for a moment to answer the phone.

You should also strongly consider getting a strong baby gate so that you can better separate the young child and the Shiba Inu for when your attention is distracted. I don’t mean to scare you, Shibas are usually very lovable dogs to all members of the family. But still, they are a territorial animal and babies don’t know any better, so it’s best to take maximum precautions.


Shiba Inus do get along well with kids, especially if the children are older and the dog is well trained. Any dog should be properly socialized around kids from a young age, this is especially important with Shibas. Younger children will have a more difficult relationship with this breed. As they may not yet have developed the necessary self-control to treat the dog with respect.

While it can be difficult, training your Shiba is very important. A well-trained Shiba Inu can make an amazing family dog but a poorly trained one could bring a lot of problems. I would recommend that you take your dog to professional dog training classes due to their inherent stubbornness. A professional dog trainer will make taking care of your Shiba much easier and enjoyable.

Shiba Inus are rarely dangerous. But kids should be supervised when around the dog. Due to their high energy, this breed may be prone to accidentally knocking down a child. so take them for regular walks to burn off some of the excitability, so that they wil be calmer.

Make sure your children understand some basic rules about how the Shiba Inu is to be treated. These are great dogs but like any pet, if they are abused or mistreated can become aggressive. Babies and toddlers should never be left alone with Shiba Inus. Both for the baby’s protection as well as the dogs.

Train your Shiba Inu and your kids well on how both should interact with each other and you should end up with one of the most cutest furry companions your family has ever had.

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