With their fox-like faces and high energy, shiba inus are always a conversation starter. Though shibas tend to be shy around new people, their reddish fur and curly-cue tails are cause for celebration. Who can resist these precious pups?
In Japan, shiba inus date back to 6000 B.C. That makes this breed one of the oldest in the world! Back then, their dense fur was perfect protection as they hunted small prey in the forest undergrowth. Now modern companions, this active, old-world dog deserves to look their best.
Here’s what you need to know about grooming a shiba inu.
The shiba inu’s fur comes in either honey or reddish tan with a white underbelly. The shiba’s fur is double-coated, which means it’s very thick—and that means a lot of shedding.
Shiba inu’s have two official “shedding seasons,” fall and spring. Yet, owners quickly realize that shibas shed plenty throughout the year, too. Unless you have a long-coated variety, shibas do not need regular brushing. Long-coated shibas can get matted hair when not brushed regularly, but the traditional Shiba Inu does not have this issue.
When you get around to brushing out their signature tail, be extra gentle. Although the tail looks strong, that’s mostly just because of the dense fur.
If you find yourself covered in fur constantly, brushing them out once or twice a month can help prevent the tufts from floating around your home.
Shiba Inu Grooming
Likely, you’ll probably notice how clean your shiba already is. They’ve even been compared to cats because they spend so much time cleaning themselves.
But one thing that helps the abundance of shedding is to give them a very occasional bath, which helps to loosen fur. An extra bath here or there can help control the amount of shedding during the high-shedding seasons. But don’t go overboard. Too much bathing will alter the thin layer of fat in the skin layers that helps regulate their temperature and skin oil.
A blow dryer or dog-friendly vacuum can also help get rid of dandruff and fleas. Many dogs enjoy the warmth of the blow dryer, as long as it’s set to a medium or low setting and specifically designed for dogs.
When drying off your pet, note that shibas are prone to skin allergies, so keep an eye out for redness or hotspots that may indicate they’re experiencing a reaction to something in their environment. If you notice something, talk to your vet—there are lots of options available for pet allergies.
Beyond The Coat
Beyond brushing out the excess fur, you’ll also need to regularly trim your shiba’s nails. Overgrown nails can damage a dog’s paws, so checking nails regularly is an important part of grooming. Experts suggest starting in puppyhood so dogs get used to the process without feeling nervous. This is also a great opportunity to check out their ears and eyes for any signs of infections or abnormalities.
Should You Give Shiba Inus a Haircut?
No! From corgis to French bulldogs, there are some breeds of dogs that simply don’t need haircuts as others do. Not only because their hair doesn’t grow past a certain length, but because trims are unhealthy for the dog.
Double-coated dogs, in particular, are better left to their own devices. Their hair fights off the extremes of weather, dirt, insects, and bacteria, and shaving it interrupts that process. More specifically, the undercoat regulates the shiba’s body temperature while the topcoat protects them from the elements.
The only time you should shave or trim a shiba is at your vet’s recommendation, usually due to a health issue. As mentioned, this breed is prone to allergies. If they scratch enough to wound themselves, it may be in their best interest to shave parts or all of their hair to apply topical medication or to regrow hair from scratch. Don’t be surprised if their first batch of hair grows back unevenly. The undercoat grows slower than the top-coat and that leads to patchiness.
In other words, your Shiba Inu is perfect as is. Besides a shampoo, brush and blow-dry, a shiba inu’s coat is ready to go!
Need Dog Grooming?
Does your dog need a fresh trim? A groomer can now come to your house! Rover offers dog grooming in select markets. To learn more, please check out our page here.