Can Shiba Inus Be Affectionate? All About Shibas Love Nature.


One of the cutest and most awesome looking dogs in the world must be the Shiba Inu. They look like foxes with super soft fur and those adorable eyes and facial expressions. While any sane human would feel an immense amount of affection with these dogs, will they return it? Or is the Shiba Inu simply too aloof to show affection to their owners?

The level and way that a Shiba Inu will show you affection will be based upon two primary things. That of their breed genetics, the things that hundreds perhaps even thousands of generations of Shiba Inus have been bred for. And how you the owner socializes and interacts with them when they’re young and adults.

While we can’t control the Shibas breed nature, not unless we’re breeders at least, we do however have some control of how we interact and train them.

But first, let’s get into what Shibas are known for in their personality by the people who know them best, the Japanese.

Japanese Description Of The Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu was originally bred in Japan long ago for hunting birds. It is one of the oldest breeds of dog, perhaps ranging in the thousands of years. Scientists often refer to it as a primal breed meaning that it is one of a hand full of breeds that are probably very similar in genetic makeup to that of the first dogs.

The Japanese like to use three words to describe the inner spirit of the Shiba Inu.

  • Kan-i: This Japanese word describes in its simplicity the confidence, bravery, and boldness of the Shiba Inu. These traits would be meaningless however without also being accompanied by composure and mental fortitude. So, in a nutshell, this means that a Shiba Inu should have a brave bold nature but it shouldn’t be taken to the level of mindless violence but should be restrained and become more powerful through its restraint.
  • Ryosei: This refers to a Shiba Inu having the traits of being of a friendly nature combined with strong loyalty and charm. If there is anything that can be said for sure about the Shiba Inu it is that they are an extremely loyal dog. Many people even believe that Shibas could be considered to be one master dogs and will give their loyalty to only one person. This may not be completely true for all Shibas but they definitely will be very attached to those people lucky enough to be considered part of their family.
  • Sobuku: The meaning of this word is that the Shiba has an inner essence composure of a modest spirit. You could say a beauty without flash, dignified in appearance and character.

Just seeing from these three Japanese words we see that of course Shiba Inus are affectionate but this affection is one that is not given without having first earned their respect. It’s not a silly kind of affection freely given to anyone but posses a dignity that because of it can only shine through all the stronger and more magnificently.

Three Reasons That A Shiba Inu May Not Be That Affectionate

While all Shiba Inus are affectionate in one way or another depending upon your personality they may not appear as affectionate as you would want them to be.

There are three primary reasons for this. One is the Shiba’s independent nature that was bred into them over thousands of years. The second reason is that they are a very high energy dog, they may simply be too wiggly to really calm down and show you some affection. Then the third reason is if they weren’t properly socialized as puppies and maybe not getting good socialization and training later as adults. This is the part that you as their owner have some control over.

Shibas Were Bred To Be Independant

Shibas were originally bred by the Japanese to hunt birds. Hunting birds as a dog as you might imagine requires a lot of energy and an independent mindset. Birds are such fast creatures that a dog hunting them can’t always be waiting around for a specific command from their master. They have to be able to see the context their in and make their own decisions on the fly.

This creates a very independently minded dog. So Shibas always have their own plans and ideas of what needs to be done and when. They’re not going to wait around for you to come up with the fun of life. They will take it into their own paws.

While this does not exclude Shibas from being affectionate it does mean that they may be too busy with their own ideas of fun to just sit still while you lethargically pet them. You kinda gotta work a bit for their affection.

Shibas Are Very Energetic Dogs

The Shiba Inu has a lot of energy. It’s probably one of the first things that their owners notice about them. When you’re overflowing with energy, it can be amazingly hard to sit down and love on your owners. You just feel way too wiggly, your tails wagging and you have balls to chase and things to bark at.

This is a little glimpse into the mind of a high energy Shiba Inu. So one thing you can do is make sure that your Shiba is getting enough exercise. Take them out for a nice walk every once in a while.

Or play a vigorous of catch, fetch or chase. This will help your little Shiba burn off some excess energy and will help them to love you more than ever before.

Your Shiba Might Be Scared And Skittish

Sometimes your Shiba might not be showing you a lot of affection because they’re skittish and afraid. This can happen if they weren’t taken around enough dogs, people and different places when they were little puppies. The first 4 months of their life is the most important time for their socialization if you miss this window of time its not the end of the world but you will need to do some more work to socialize your dog.

When socializing your dog if they have some issues with skittishness and fear the most important thing to remember is small steps and lots of patience.

Slowly introduce your dog to new experiences that are just a little bit outside of their comfort zone. Try to avoid anything negative and make sure that the experience is positive. And you’re going to have to be very patient.

How Do Shiba Inus Show Their Affection?

So how is it that Shibas show their affection to people? There are many ways that Shibas can show their affection and it will vary based upon each of their own unique personalities.

  • Shibas are prolific lickers: Probably the main way that Shiba Inus show their love and affection is through licking. Many Shiba owners know that a Shiba will gladly give you a bath in kisses. Some people may not like dogs licking you, just to let you know a dog’s tongue is actually anti-bacterial so they don’t have any germs if that’s the case then you might need to change your perspective cause Shiba Inus like to lick you.
  • Enthusiastically greeting you when you come home: No matter how aloof your Shiba is, they will always greet you with wagging tails of joy when you return from a faraway voyage. Even when your voyage was just to go to the corner store for a carton of milk. It won’t make any difference to your Shiba, they will still greet as if you have been gone for days.

Don’t Confuse Affection With Obedience

Now sometimes people confuse a dog’s affection level with obedience. Mistaking obedience for affection. Shibas are not at all obedient dogs, now this doesn’t mean that you cant train a Shiba but they will never have that easy obedience that you might find in some other breeds of dogs like german shepherds.

A Shiba can be extremely loving of you but they probably won’t always be listening to you. They will have selective hearing and will only hear you when they want to or if you’re clever and have something that they’re interested in.

How To Get A Shiba To Be More Affectionate

While some of your Shibas affection levels will be determined by their breed genetics there are some things that you can do to maximize your Shibas affection for you.

  • Spend more time with your Shiba: If you’ve ever heard of the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder, well this doesn’t work with Shibas. Many owners have reported that as they spent more time with their Shibas that they became more affectionate and open to cuddling. So the most important thing you can do for you and your Shibas to bond is to spend as much time together as you can.
  • Be patient: Sometimes a Shiba Inu can take a little bit of time to completely warm up to someone. Just talk to them in an affectionate voice and give them love and treats. They may not respond immediately but with a bit of patience, they will come around in time.
  • Think about getting a mixed breed: This will obviously not work if you already have your Shiba Inu. However, if you don’t and worried that they will be too aloof towards you one thing you might try is to get a Shiba Inu that has been mixed with a more naturally affectionate breed. Lots of owners have reported that mixed breed Shibas tend to be more affectionate and cuddly than purebred.

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