The Shiba Inu is one of the oldest and at the same time the smallest breed originating from Japan. Shibas are very intelligent, bold, agile, energetic, inquisitive, and good-natured dogs. They are friendly and affectionate with family kids and family, but alertative toward other dogs and intruders.
Most of these dogs died during the World War II bombings and from infectious viral diseases, so in the years that followed, breeding programs were launched that greatly helped the number of the breed specimens to recover.
Do Shiba Inus Have Health Issues?
The average life expectancy of Shiba Inus is up to 15 years. This breed is generally healthy, but there are a few health issues that these dogs are more prone to than other breeds.
The health issues that Shiba Inus are susceptible to are the following:
- Skin problems: demodectic mange, uveodermatologic syndrome/”VKH Syndrome”
- Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, arthritis, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation
- Eye problems: cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), distichiasis, persistent pupillary membrane (PPM)
- Ear problems: ear infections, ear mites
- Dental problems: dental disease, malocclusion (overbite, underbite), oligodontia, misaligned teeth
- Heart defects
- Bleeding Disorders: von Willebrand’s disease, thrombocytopenia
- Respiratory issues: chylothorax
- Hormonal problems: hypothyroidism, hyperadrenalism, Addison’s disease
- Neurological diseases: neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL)
- Reproductive issues: pyometra
- Bacterial and viral infections: distemper, parvo, rabies
- Hyperkalemia (high potassium levels)
The above-mentioned health issues are not ranked according to any special criteria, which means that there is no higher risk for diseases that are at the top of the list and vice versa.
It is not possible to predict if any of the above-mentioned health problems will occur in every Shiba Inu. What you can do to get as a healthy dog as possible is going to a reputable breeder who will provide you with documentation certifying that the puppy’s parents are free of hip dysplasia and other hereditary diseases.
Shiba Inus are hunters by nature, so they need to be provided with a proper amount of daily workouts and walks during which they should be on a leash. They are also protective and very territorial in terms of living space, toys, and items, so you need to start early with socialization if you want your puppy to grow into a friendly and non-aggressive dog.
Shibas are prone to obesity. The food should be in line with their age and health condition. Their coat and teeth require regular brushing.