Dog Facts

Do Shiba Inus Shed? The Truth About This Breed’s Grooming Needs

by Alison Page

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Do Shiba Inus shed? Is a Shiba Inu hypoallergenic? That’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of welcoming one of these gorgeous dogs into your family.

Yes! The Shiba Inu has a thick double coat that sheds constantly all year round, especially in spring and fall, when the dog “blows” his coat. So, you’ll need to have plenty of time to devote to grooming your pet and not be afraid to use your vacuum cleaner regularly!

Read this guide to learn about grooming this heavy-shedding breed and what to do when your Shiba Inu is blowing his coat.

Do Shiba Inus Shed?

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The Shiba Inu was originally bred to hunt in Japan, the dog’s country of origin. This dog is the smallest of the six Spitz breeds, and its name literally means “brushwood dog” since it was originally used to flush game from dense undergrowth.

To protect the dogs from brambles and low-growing branches and to keep them warm in harsh weather, Shiba Inus have thick double coats comprising a short, wooly undercoat and an outer coat of longer, water-resistant guard hairs.

The dog’s fluffy undercoat acts as a layer of insulation, keeping him warm in cold weather and cooler in the summer.

When Is the Shiba Inu Shedding Season?

Shiba Inus shed constantly, but their main shedding seasons are in the spring and fall, when the dog changes its coat for the summer and winter, respectively.

Unfortunately, from an owner’s perspective, these dogs shed or “blow” their undercoats once in spring when the weather warms up and again in fall when the coat is changed for a thicker, warmer one.

Seasonal extreme shedding takes around three weeks to complete, and your furry friend will need lots of brushing during that time. The bad news is that the Shiba Inu sheds pretty much constantly all year around, so you need to enjoy brushing your pet and vacuuming, too!

Is a Shiba Inu Hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, the Shiba Inu is not the dog for you if you or any of your household are pet allergy sufferers. However, it’s not the dog’s luxuriant fur and constant shedding that triggers a reaction in someone with a pet allergy, but the dander that comes off the dog with the shed hair.

Dander is made up of loose and dead skin cells, urine, and dried saliva that’s left behind when the dog grooms himself. Dander contains certain proteins that trigger an allergic reaction when inhaled by a sufferer.

The dog sheds dander and hair with dander attached to it as the animal moves around your home. The dander is incredibly light and floats up into the air whenever someone walks across the room or sits on a chair where the dander has settled.

As soon as an allergy sufferer takes a breath, they inhale the dander, and the allergy cycle begins.

Shiba Inu Grooming Tips and Advice

Shiba Inu dog in a bright pink harness

You can keep your Shiba’s extreme shedding under control to some extent with diligent grooming. Here are some tips on how to keep your pup’s coat pristine and your vacuum cleaner in the closet!

1. Brush Your Dog Every Day!

One surefire way to keep shed hair to a minimum is to brush your Shiba Inu every day, especially when during heavy shedding seasons.

My German Shepherd Border Collie crossbreed had an incredibly thick coat that needed serious amounts of brushing to keep her excessive shedding in control, especially during the semi-annual shedding seasons. When she was blowing her coat, I sometimes had to brush her from her head to the tip of her tail twice a day!

Regular brushing is also an excellent way of bonding with your furry friend!

2. Use the Correct Brush

One of the best ways of minimizing your double-coated dog’s excessive shedding is to daily brushing with the correct types of brushes.

Double-coats benefit from a Furminator kind of brush, especially during coat-blowing episodes. These brushes have a clipper-style blade that pulls out any loose fur from the undercoat without damaging the guard hairs of the outer coat.

A slicker brush is also essential to remove loose hair and prevent tangles and mats in your Shiba Inu coat. Finish grooming your pet by using a bristle brush to lift any remaining stray hairs from the top of his coat.

3. Limit Bathtimes

Little Shiba Inu Dog in Water

Although it can be tempting to bathe your Shiba Inu frequently to remove loose and dead hairs, we don’t recommend that.

Too many baths can cause the fur to dry out and can also cause irritated skin and skin allergies, which is most unpleasant for your dog. Ideally, you only need to bathe your Shiba twice a month or so. That said, an extra bath won’t do any harm if your pet gets absolutely filthy!

Always use proper dog shampoo and coat conditioner when bathing your canine companion. Human cosmetics and detergents are much too harsh for a dog’s skin and can cause irritation, allergies, and even excess hair loss.

4. Take Your Shiba Inu to a Pro Groomer

If you’re inexperienced in dog ownership, you might find it easier to take your Shiba to a professional dog groomer during the shedding seasons to deal with your Shiba’s hair from scratch.

Professional groomers are experienced in brushing many different breeds of dogs and can be a boon to pet parents who aren’t confident in dealing with their pet’s undercoat. Your groomer can keep your dog’s coat shiny and matt-free during the shedding season and provide you with all the advice you need on keeping it looking that way between visits.

5. Use the Correct Products on Your Shiba’s Coat

Shiba Inu on the grooming table

As mentioned earlier, you must never use human shampoo, soap, shower gel, or detergents on your dog! Your dog’s skin is more alkaline than a human’s, with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.2, whereas your skin’s pH is between 4.7 and 5.75. Using human products on your dog could cause skin irritation and even trigger allergies.

High-quality shampoo for canines is designed to get rid of dirt and mud that your dog might have picked up during a walk in the park, while conditioners lock in moisture to keep your Shiba’s skin supple and his coat soft and shiny. You can also buy detanglers that help to prevent matting.

6. Give Your Dog a Coat Supplement

You can help to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy by feeding him an appropriate vitamin supplement. Coat supplements typically offer other health benefits for your canine companion, such as cognitive, cardiac, and immune support, especially since many of them contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

That’s good news for Shiba Inus since they can sometimes suffer from skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis, that can cause severe itching and flaking. So, by giving your dog a coat supplement, you’re also helping to prevent other health conditions from affecting your pet in the future.

7. Feed Your Shiba a Breed-Appropriate Dog Food

Did you know that the food you give your Shiba can heavily influence his coat health? Although shedding is perfectly normal for this breed, the diet you feed your pet could make the fur shed more or faster than normal.

Some lower-quality diets can make the coat dull and brittle, making it more likely to break and shed. So, we recommend feeding your dog a protein-rich diet with plenty of meat for fish as the main ingredient, as well as veggies for fiber and fats for energy and a healthy coat and skin.

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Should I Clip My Shiba Inu’s Coat?

Although it might be tempting to try to stop your dog shedding by having his coat clipped, a Shiba Inu’s coat should never be clipped or shaved unless he has severely matted hair.

A Shiba Inu’s coat doesn’t grow especially long, and you can seriously damage your dog’s coat if you shave it or trim it.


In this part of our guide, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Shiba Inu shedding.

Q: Do Shiba Inus shed?

A: Shiba Inus typically shed heavily twice a year, having a shedding season in spring and fall.

A: Are Shiba Inus heavy shedders?

A: Shiba Inus have a thick double coat that sheds pretty much constantly and very heavily twice a year in spring and fall.

Q: Are Shiba Inus hypoallergenic?

A: Since Shiba Inus have thick coats that shed heavily, they are not considered to be hypoallergenic dogs.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide to the beautiful Shiba Inu’s shedding habit? If you did, please take a moment to share this article with other Shiba fans!

The Shiba Inu is definitely not a hypoallergenic breed! These gorgeous dogs shed all year around and twice very heavily in spring and fall. So, you must be prepared to spend time brushing your Shiba to keep his soft, fluffy coat in good condition and free from mats.

Don’t be tempted to bathe your dog too frequently, visit a professional groomer during shedding season, and feed your dog a breed-specific diet and a coat supplement to help promote supple skin and a healthy coat.

How do you cope when your Shiba Inu blows his coat? Tell us in the comments box below!

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