Caring For Your Shiba Inu’s Coat

A Shiba Inu’s coat is truly magnificent and in order to properly care for it you must understand what exactly it does.  The coat has special natural oils on it that keep it clean and odorless.  These oils are also essential in the dog regulating their body temperature.  Their coat will keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Due to the importance of these oils it is imperative that you not bathe your Shiba.  They should be keeping themselves clean and the breed has a natural aversion to getting dirty.  However, if your Shiba does get dirty, then simply take a damp washcloth and wipe it through the coat.  Do not use soap or shampoo, this will strip the coat of its oils.  If you wash your Shiba then you will strip its coat of the oils that keep it clean and your dog will begin to get dirty and develop an odor which will lead to more bathing.  If you bathe the dog too much you will not only have the problem of a dirty, stinky dog, but you will also find yourself dealing with serious health problems as the dog will no longer be able to regulate their body temperature.

What about shedding?  Well, the Shiba Inu has a double layer coat.  The outer coat is made up of coarse hair and is the coat that gives the Shiba their color.  The under coat is a light color and is made up of fluffy fur.  Once or twice a year a Shiba will blow their under coat.  The entire under coat will come off in patches over the course of a few weeks and then will come back in.  During this time it is important to use a slicker brush on your Shiba’s coat in order to help the under coat come off.  This will also prevent it getting all over your house.  Besides this “blowing” a Shiba will only shed about as much as a human does.  However, if you brush your dog regularly it will lead to increased hair loss so we recommend you only brush it when it’s being blown.  Shibas are really quite wonderful at grooming themselves and it is best if you let them.  After all, they have thousands of years of instincts guiding them.  Your job is just to give them a helping hand when they’re shedding and make sure they don’t inadvertently get anything in their coat.

To recap:
-brush with a slicker brush during the once or twice a year that they blow their coat
-don’t bathe unless you want serious health problems; if they get dirty take a damp washcloth to their coat
-only brush when blowing, otherwise their coat will thin and hair loss will begin

In short, the Shiba Inu has the most hassle free coat.  As a Shiba owner you will just have to deal with them blowing their coat once or twice a year (and they will look very skinny, and dare I say funny for a few weeks after) and then just leave the rest up to them.  This way you’ll have a clean, odorless, and healthy dog!