Advice on Finding a Shiba Inu

Someone asked for my advice on finding a Shiba Inu, so here it is!

Many dog lovers will recommend that you adopt a rescue. The reasoning goes: Why buy a puppy when there are so many abandoned dogs in need of a loving home?

I actually do not recommend a rescue, if you are dead set on a Shiba Inu and you are a first time dog owner. With a rescue, there is a great deal of uncertainty. You do not know how it was raised, socialized, trained, or bred. You also do not know of any health risks. I think this uncertainty is more manageable with other dog breeds than a Shiba Inu. You have to be realistic about your own ability to raise and train a potentially difficult dog. An improperly socialized Shiba may require rehabilitation, and you need to be prepared for that possibility. Cesar Millan certainly makes dog training/rehabilitation look easy on TV, but even he took Marley for himself to deal with (ep. on March 28, 2008). Raising a dog is a skill that you learn from experience, not from reading or watching. Therefore, if you have plenty of experience with dogs, especially primitive breeds (Siberian Husky, Basenji, Chow-Chow, Akita, or Alaskan Malamute), then by all means, go ahead and consider adopting a rescue.

Otherwise, I recommend finding a reputable breeder. The first place to look is: Next, look at regional clubs:

I found Loki’s breeder on the webpage of the Shiba Club of Southern California. But now that the webpage no longer exists.

Loki’s breeder is Kari-on Akitas. As the name implies, she breeds Akitas as well as Shibas. She is located in the dessert in Southern California. She also boards and grooms dogs. I highly recommend her.

I have also heard good things about Copperdot Shibas (Northern California) and Jogoso Shibas(Southern California), but I have no experience with either of them.

Breeders are a good source for both puppies and adults. As you may have noticed, I looked for a young adult for our second dog, not a puppy.

Lastly, I’ll state the obvious, just in case it isn’t obvious, don’t buy a puppy from a pet store, at least not in the U.S. Puppies in pet stores are supplied by puppy mills. Dogs from puppy mills are not necessarily of good health and are not necessarily treated humanely.

P.S. I do believe that it is theoretically possible to mass produce puppies in a humane way. The problem isn’t the mass production part, it’s the humane part. I have heard that in Japan, it is common and acceptable to buy a shiba at a pet store. These pet stores are supplied by good breeders and the industry is well-regulated, possibly by the government.


Monkey said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Loki and Co! Wish you all the best!

The Shiba said...

Cortez was a retired show dog by the age of 3, due to his attitude in the ring. Although our family is very well educated in huskies and malamutes, shibas are still different. Getting an older dog from a reputable breeder was the best choice. He had been lovingly cared for, well bred, excellent health, and trained. If one is patient, often breeders will let go of their older dogs to keep their expenses down. I recommend this way if you are able to resist the cuteness of the baby shiba.

Mika said...

I'm glad to hear that you had a good experience with your breeder. Mommy and daddy have been looking for an akita breeder in Southern California that is recommended. They're still debating between getting another shiba or an akita, but knowing that they breed both there, and you had good experiences with them, I'll tell mommy and daddy to look there. Thank you very much!

tien. said...

Oh wow, we also got our shiba (Idgie) from Darryl at Kari-On! She was really great, very knowledgeable, very patient, and most of all, asked US good questions to make sure pup would be placed in a good home. I completely agree with you that a good breeder is the way to go if you are getting a dog like a shiba inu for the first time.

And while I am here - thank you for your website! I started reading it the few months before we got Idgie; it has been so helpful to us.

Anonymous said...

Hi i'm 14 and i'm thinking about getting a shiba. i was wondering if you could give me some tips. this will be my first dog and im not sure what to do. any info would be helpful~

i love your blog it's fun to read and your shiba is soo cute!

<3 i am thinking about getting one from a breeder but i don't know how much one would cost! and one question thats really buggin me is male or female? anywayz thanks! i realy love your blog and its been one of the most helpful sites i've found so far!!!

i need tons of info! about everything!


Anonymous said...

I do not recommend Copperdots Shibas. Her beautiful Shibas and high ranking experience caught my attention. I met the breeder and she was not personable at all. When I contacted her she just stated her prices. I got a bad feeling both times. Other breeders usually ask questions to get to know who their pups are going to and make a good match. I checked with several owners and they all say the same thing. Let me put it this way, she cares about looks and money...not temperment. I've got inside info that she is not all that ethical. If a shiba in our area is aggressive, it's likely from her lines. I don't want to get into detail but, tragedies have resulted from this. Also don't go to icewindfarm in new jersey. despite their cute website, they are like a puppy mill, charge way more than any other breeders and have paypal on their in they don't care who you are only that you cough up the dough. Not to mention their dogs don't even look right. My advice is, whoever you choose, get to know them as much as possible and make an educated decision. Good luck

Julie Nguyen said...

^^ What this person said is true!

I e-mailed her about 5-8 questions asking about her dogs, environment, what she would recommend, etc. & all I got in response was two sentences... Summary:

Our puppies are $1500. I can put you on the waiting list if you make a deposit.

That's all she said! If she didn't want to answer any of my questions (because maybe she didn't have time to respond to such a long e-mail) she should have told me to call her instead.

I'm looking for a very personable breeder that is willing to answer all my questions & to ask me questions to make sure the puppy is going to the right home. I've been searching all over online for the perfect shiba inu breeder in California (preferably socal), so if anyone knows of one please post!

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