Are you looking at the Shiba Inu as a potential next pet? Good choice. Loyal, good-natured, and affectionate in temperament; these are dogs who possess many great qualities. But how big does your average Shiba Inu get? What can you expect in terms of their final size? I spent some time researching this Japanese Spitz. I’ll be sharing all that I found in regards to their measurements and proportions here today.
So, how big do Shiba Inus get? Shiba Inus typically stand at around 13 to 17 inches tall and weighs between 17 and 23lbs, on average. They tend to reach their full adult size by 14 months of age, with males typically being slightly larger than their female counterparts. Either way, they are classified as a small to medium breed, being the smallest of the Spitz breeds native to Japan.
Shiba Inus are a popular dog that people often mistake for other breeds. Because of this, there are some misconceptions over their prospective size.
The AKC (American Kernel Club) describes the Shiba Inu as a “little but well-muscled dog”, which has a lot to do with the fact that they were originally bred to hunt and to work in the mountainous landscapes of Japan.
It comes as no surprise that these dogs are therefore high energy, while also being alert and agile.
So, if you are serious about taking this dog in, you’re going to need to consider their exercise.
This is particularly true if you do not have much space outside for them to stretch their legs and get in some activity.
Due to their musculature and relative strength; leash training will come in handy too!
Let us now take a closer look at the average height, weight, and size of both male and female Shiba Inus.
We’ll also be looking at some important aspects of their growth, such as when you can expect them to reach their full adult size and those factors that influence how big they will become!
Average Height, Weight And Size Of A Shiba Inu
The average size of a Shiba Inu is influenced greatly by their sex.
Males tend to be a little larger than females, standing between 14 and 17 inches (around 35 to 43 cm) tall and weighing between 17-24 pounds (8-11 kilos).
On average, female Shiba’s tend to be a little smaller than their male counterparts.
The average female reaches between 13 and 15 inches (around 33 5o 38 cm) in height and weighs around 15-19 pounds (7-9 kilos).
Beyond just their physical size, males and females are also distinctly different in appearance.
Males are seen as somewhat more masculine without coarseness, whereas females have a feminine appearance without having weakness of structure.
Are Shiba Inus Considered Small Or Medium Dogs?
Officially, Shiba Inus are considered a medium-sized dog. Although, you will also see them sometimes described as small-to-medium.
Of course, whether or not a dog is considered small or large is a matter of perspective.
If you are someone who has only ever raised mastiffs, like The Tibetan that can stand at 26″ and weight over 150 pounds, or other tall breeds like the Great Pyrenees – the Shiba Inu is going to come across as rather small.
Likewise, if you are only used to little pocket-sized pooches, or have even seen a Teacup Pomeranian, a Shiba is going to be pretty big.
There are also cases of misclassification of the Shiba Inu, as they have a close resemblance to other Spitz dogs native to Japan.
Perhaps the most closely related and often is with Akitas, whom while they look similar, there are some major differences, including their size.
Akitas are a much larger dogs that will tower over Shibas in their adulthood.
How Long Does It Take For A Shiba Inu To Become Full-Grown?
Shiba Inus are expected to reach their full adult size by the age of 12-14 months. As such, they do the majority of their growth rather quickly.
This estimation is different between individual dogs of the breed, though.
There are some Shibas that might take a little longer, while others may go through a major growth spurt early on and stop growing by the time they reach half a year in age.
Let us now take a closer look at some typical growth rates of the breed:
Typical Growth Of A Male Shiba Inu
- The weight of a male Shiba Inu at 3 months will likely be between 7 and 48 pounds.
- At 6 months, they will likely weigh between 13 and 18 lbs (pounds).
- At 1 year, a male Shiba Inu will likely weigh between 18 and 24 lbs (pounds).
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Growth Of A Female Shiba Inu
- The weight of a female Shiba Inu at 3 months will likely be between 6 and 8 lbs (pounds).
- At 6 months, they will likely weigh between 11 and 15 lbs (pounds).
- At 1 year, a female Shiba Inu will likely be weigh between 16 and 19 lbs (pounds).
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As you can see, their range is relatively close together; the biggest Shibas are not drastically different than that of the smallest.
Nevertheless, they will grow quite a bit from the size that you take them home as a puppy.
If you believe that your dog is growing somewhat slower than the average – do not worry.
With a lifespan of between 12 and 15 years, there is certainly more than enough time for them to reach their potential.
Equally, you can always contact your vet to ensure that your dog is healthy, free from any health complications affecting their growth, and that they are on course to meet their size.
You’ll also need to ensure that you are feeding your Shiba a proper diet; high in protein and of the highest quality that you can afford.
What Factors Contribute To A Shiba Inus Size?
Of course, not every Shiba will be exactly the same size.
While it’s easy to expect a few pounds or inches in between individuals, you may be surprised to know that there can be some pretty huge differences depending on your dog.
While it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly why your Shiba is much smaller (or bigger) than expected, there are a few different factors to consider:
Male Shibas tend to be slightly bigger than female Shibas.
While this is not always the case with certain individuals, this is often observed on a larger, overall scale.
Don’t be surprised if your male Shiba is larger than his female siblings in the end.
Generally, comparing individuals to their siblings (or parents/ grandparents) is a great way to gauge your dog’s expected size.
If all of their relatives tend to fall on the larger side – it’s a good bet that your Shiba will also be a little bigger.
The same can be said for a lot of traits such as color, personality, and even diseases.
So, when looking at potential breeders, you’ll want to ask questions about the lineage of the dogs.
Be sure to only go through reputable breeders, whom will be registered and using legitimate and safe breeding practices. A good place to start is with the AKC puppy finder.
While this also falls under the lines of genetics, the exact breed of your dog is an important thing to consider.
Breeds indicate a lot of what we are to expect from the appearance of our dog.
Consider it like this – you wouldn’t think a long line of chihuahuas is going to produce a puppy the size of a Great Dane? No.
While this may seem pretty straightforward with purebreds, there are some extra surprises that come with mixed breeds.
You can end up with the puppy looking exactly like one of the parents or, more often, an interesting crossover between the two.
It’s no doubt you’ve seen an adorable picture of German shepherds with corgi bodies or golden retrievers with pointy ears.
If your Shiba Inu is a mix, there is no telling what you can expect.
This is especially true if your dog came from a rescue center or shelter that isn’t aware of your dog’s family history. You may end up with a surprise!
Even if you have a purebred Shiba Inu, there is a chance they can inherit mutations that impact their size.
For example, a Shiba can experience dwarfism.
Even health conditions not directly relating to growth factors can impact the size of your Shiba.
If your Shiba is not getting enough nutrition, this can be reflected if they fail to put on sufficient size.
It is important to be aware of the importance of nutrition in the formative years of the Shiba’s life.
They need the building materials to developing their bones, musculature, and frame.
Sometimes, a lack of nutrition or damage due to illnesses early in life can be irreversible.
Equally, even if you give your Shiba the best life possible, sometimes you will not be able to fix what happened before you came into the picture.
This dog is known to suffer from hip dysplasia and patellar luxation – causing both pain, swelling, and arthritis. This will of course affect the stature of your dog.
So it’s important to watch out for these conditions early on and contact a vet if you suspect something is up.
Remember, being too small is not the only sign of poor health.
Letting your dog put on too much weight is equally problematic.
While chubby dogs make for some cute photos, being overweight can lead to a lot of further health conditions – such as diabetes.
It also places a lot of strain on their bodies; it can impact both their physical and emotional health, cutting off years of their lifespan or making them feel irritable at all times.
You want to make sure that they are an ideal weight. Even if you are doing all the right things, something may be wrong.
Inability to lose weight may be a sign of a serious medical condition that requires treatment or other interventions.
If there is ever any question about what this means – again, you should take your dog to a vet.
Of course, every Shiba is its own dog.
There are some differences in any physical or emotional traits which are just unexplainable.
Just like how we are not carbon copies of our parents and siblings, dogs are their own person and will not always be a perfect replica of their parents.
There are so many influences (biologically and environmentally) that are beyond our control.
This is why it’s important to always prepare for the unexpected when taking home a dog. You’ll never truly know exactly how they are going to develop.
What Do Shiba Inus Look Like When Fully Grown?
Adult Shiba Inus look similar in appearance to that of a Wolf mixed with a Fox. They possess erect ears, squinty eyes, and have a thick double coat that gives them a teddy-bear look.
Adult Shibas do not look too unfamiliar with what they look like at their puppy stage.
Generally, they stay around the same color, although the lightening or darkening of the hair is not so uncommon.
Most of them sport that classic golden fur with a white underbelly.
Sometimes, they will lose the dark coloration around their noses, ears, or eyebrows.
Of course, there are several different colorations that exist, and you can even find black Shibas or ones that are entirely white.
You can get a rough idea of what to expect from their coloration by looking at their parents.
Although they will become more evenly proportioned and “grow into” their bodies a bit better, Shibas are pretty stout and have stocky bodies with thick necks.
Their ears are small and pointed up. While some puppies have droopy ears, by the time they are adults, most Shibas will have ears that remain erect all the time.
Their fur stays rather plush, and it won’t grow too excessively long. Their tails will get much fluffier, though, and curve at the end.
Shiba Inus are often described differently.
Sometimes you’ll see them listed as small dogs, other-times medium. I’ve ever seen them described as small-to-medium.
Either way, the breed standard states and classifies them as medium-sized.
This is not a large dog by any stretch, however, and you are not going to need the kind of space you would need for much larger dogs.
That being said, they are an active and energetic breed; so having some outside space for them to run and play will do you and your dog a lot of good.
All in all, The Shiba combines athleticism with practicality.
They are not too challenging to take in the car, while they will also be keen and willing to go out with you on a hike.
They’re relatively strong though, so you will need to consider who is in charge of the harness and ensure they are trained not to pull!
All in all, the Shiba Inu makes a terrific dog to own.
Like any other breed socialization and training is a must. They are strong-willed and confident in temperament, so need to be shown who is boss.
In doing so, you’ll have a loyal and affectionate dog; willing to protect you through their natural suspicion of strangers.
Just be sure you can afford them though!
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I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.