Some dog owners mistakenly believe that their shibas cannot be guardian dogs. The reasons are their inoffensive look, medium size, and adaptability to home environments. Despite having an adorable appearance and friendly manners, shibas are good guard dogs as well.

Shibas inu are typically family pets because their role as companions is wonderful, making them the most popular dogs in Japan. This breed looks like a fox and is very intelligent, fast, and strong. Shibas are also the face of a famous cryptocurrency called Dogecoin.

What Is a Guard Dog?

A guard dog is trained to protect owners, houses, facilities, and farms from strangers, intruders, threats, and wild animals. Guard dogs can either be big or medium-sized. They must be alert, vigilant, and have good sight to perform the task of guarding effectively.

If any unusual activity is detected, they have to bark loudly so that people become aware of this situation quickly. Protective dogs should never back down and are expected to deal with confrontational and difficult situations.

Devotion, loyalty, fearlessness, agility, and strength are very relevant features of guard dogs too.

History of Shibas

Originally used for hunting birds and wild boar, this breed dates back to the 3rd century BC. At that time they used to move through the undergrowth to scare prey away. In this way, hunters could easily catch them with nets or arrows.

One theory claims that their name derives from this action. "Shiba" in Japanese means "bushes" or "thickets", while "Inu" translates as "dog".

For hundreds of years, these dogs lived in the rural regions of Japan. It was not until the 20th century that they became known to the rest of the world. The Shiba Inu almost disappeared at the end of World War II due to the harsh conditions in which Japan was left after the war.

Fortunately, from the 1960s onwards, breeding programs began to be established to prevent their extinction. Today they are highly valued not only in Japan but also in other countries such as Australia and the USA.

Temperament of Shibas

It is a loyal, devoted, and attentive dog to all members of the household. It gets on well with small children, provided they have grown up together and know how to treat a pet properly.

Respect for its space is essential for a Shiba Inu, as it will zealously protect its toys, food, and territory within the house.

On the other hand, they tend to be quite stubborn and therefore difficult to train. Their sense of independence and territorial instinct means that they are not always willing to please you. You will have to be patient to train them correctly.

For this reason, it is not a good idea to adopt one Shiba inu to inexperienced people or with a too permissive personality.

With strangers, they are quite distrustful and surly, so they are good protectors of both their family and home. Their dominant nature may also lead them to attack other dogs, especially if the males are not neutered.

Physical Traits of Shibas

The Shiba Inu has a compact, harmonious and muscular body. The neck is relatively short and of considerable thickness. The back is strong and powerful, very straight between the shoulders and the base of the tail.

They have a deep chest and the belly is well tucked up. The legs are short and straight, with toes close together, similar to cats. The tail is thick and carried curled over the back.

The size of the skull is in proportion to the rest of the body. The broad, flat, slightly wrinkled forehead stands out. The eyes, which offer an expression of concentration and confidence, are triangular and moderately deep-set.

The muzzle is round, not very long, and ends in a dark nose, while the jaws are vigorous in appearance. The ears are small and triangular.

The coat of the Shiba Inu has a double coat: a soft, rich undercoat and a straight, stiff outer coat. The coat is usually shorter on the face, ears, and legs, while the tail grows quite long and brush-like.

Health Issues of Shibas

Shibas are normally associated with a disease called Chylothorax. This condition consists of fluid accumulation in the intrathoracic area, which can lead to malignant lesions and cancerous tumours.

Other maladies with high incidence in this breed are progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, and epileptic seizures. Finally, they can be affected by patellar luxations of the knees and hip dysplasias. Both conditions are hereditary and can severely limit their mobility.


It is senseless to ask yourself “are shibas good guard dogs?”. Shibas have what it takes to be a good guard dog.

Their temperament, physical traits, and other features are suitable to fulfill this role. They can protect their owners and bark when an intruder breaks into the house or something weird is happening.

However, training a Shiba takes a lot of time and effort as this breed may be stubborn and ignore the owner’s authority. Thus, the aid of a professional will be needed depending on the attitude of your pet.