Shiba Inu Lifespan: How Long Do Shiba Inus Live?

Shiba Inu Lifespan: How Long Do Shiba Inus Live?

Shiba Inu is a Japanese breed that specifically bred for hunting purposes. Shiba Inu was brought to America almost 60 years ago, where it is gaining more popularity day by day due to its confident and bold personality as a sturdy and muscular dog. The origin of this foxlike breed belongs to A.D. 7. 

Therefore, Shiba Inu is considered as one of the oldest domestic breeds of dogs. The breed was of three types from various regions of Japan. But now it is only one size and one standard. Their size falls in between small-medium size dog. 

The average lifespan of the Shiba Inu breed is around 13 to 16 years, which is considerably longer than many larger breeds. Their little size and strong gene pool allow them to live that much longer. Regular vet visits and having a healthy lifestyle can help Shiba Inus to live healthier and longer. The oldest Shiba Inu in the world is a dog called Persuke who lived for 26 years and died peacefully in 2011.

In this article, we will go over how long the Shiba Inus usually live, their common health conditions, and actions you can take to improve their life expectancy.

How Long Do Shiba Inus Usually Live?

Shiba Inus are mostly considered as medium size dogs. Therefore, the average lifespan of Shiba Inu is more or less the same as most medium size dogs.

When it comes to the lifespan of Shiba Inus, it is often said that the average lifespan of a healthy Shiba Inu is around 13 to 16 years. One quick fact is that the lifespan of the Shiba Inu breed alone is noticeably longer than the average lifespan of dogs, which is only 10 to 13 years.

Their long lifespan and lovely personalities make them an outstanding companion dog for families. Their life expectancy can be improved with better healthcare, regular exercise, and regular vet visits.

The oldest Shiba Inu is known as Persuke, who lived for 26 years and died in December 2011. At that time, Shiba Inu was just three years less to be the world’s oldest and long-living dog in the Guinness Book of world records. 

Common Health Problems of Shiba Inus

Health problems are considered as one of the primary factors that decrease the quality of life and life expectancy of dogs. It is also true that many death cases of dogs, including Shiba Inu, are actually caused by health issues.

Like other dogs, your Shiba Inu has a tendency to develop some genetic diseases or disorders, which can significantly decrease the lifespan of your Shiba Inu. These disorders are generally inherited from its parents and most of the disorders are curable.

It is crucial that you spot these diseases at an early stage to increase the chances of successful treatment. Let’s have a look at some of the common health problems that Shiba Inus prone to.

Some of the common health risks related to the Shiba Inu breed are as follows:

  • Glaucoma
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Chylothorax


Glaucoma is an eye disorder that can affect Shiba Inu’s eyes and can make it partially or entirely blind. In this disorder, the fluid builds up in the eyes, which creates an obstacle in front of the eyes. The pressure of fluids slowly destroys the optic nerves in the eye.

There are different types of Glaucoma distinguished by the severity. It is fully treatable and can be treated through some good eye drops and necessary surgeries.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is also an eye disorder that can blind a dog completely by both eyes. It is a degenerative eye disorder in which rod cells in the retina are programmed to die themselves.

As rod cells play an essential role for dogs to see in dim lights, their destruction can make a dog completely blind. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for PRA.

However, many of the genes that cause PRA are identified which enables the development of genetic tests to identify affected dogs. Therefore, this disease can be prevented in the future by careful selection of breeding stock.


Hypothyroidism is a disorder related to thyroid glands. Due to this condition, the thyroid glands don’t produce enough thyroid hormones, which directly deals with the metabolism of your Shiba Inu. It results in a slow metabolism and indigestion problems such as constipation.

Medium to large size breeds and middle age dogs are more prone to this disorder.

These are the common signs of hypothyroidism:

  • Loss or thinning of the fur
  • Dull hair coat
  • Excess shedding
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced activity level
  • Ability to tolerate the cold decreased

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a widespread genetic disorder in dogs. Nearly every dog has a tendency to have hip dysplasia. It is the condition in which the balls and sockets of the hind legs don’t fit in properly. 

The hind leg is affected by this disorder. So, if your Shiba Inu is having discomfort in his legs while walking or sitting, then it’s a sign of having hip dysplasia. Consult your veterinary immediately for the proper treatment.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a disorder in which the ligament in the knee becomes weak and dislocates. It often results in a kneecap shifting in and out of place. The severity of this disorder is different ranges from negligible or mild pain to the need for surgery.

It is a common disorder in most dog breeds, but fortunately, it is not life-threatening. Shiba Inus with this disorder should not be used for breeding because it can be easily passed down to their puppies.


Chylothorax is a condition in which a fluid is gathered inside the chest of a dog, which results in extreme fatigue, difficulty in breathing, lack of appetite, coughing, weakness, and wheezing.

It is commonly treated by a low-fat diet and removing fluid from the chest. In severe cases, surgery is required to cope up with this health concern.

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of a Shiba Inu

Just like humans, the dog’s body is very complex which is made of many parts that work together as a system to help it grows and stays healthy. Therefore, their life expectancies will vary even if they are twins due to the combined genetic and environmental effects.

These are some of the factors affecting the lifespan of a Shiba Inu:

  • Living environment
  • Diet
  • Activity level
  • Family history

Living Environment

Every dog requires a comfortable and safe living environment to grow happily and healthily. For example, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures can put the dogs in danger, especially when the dogs are not able to sustain their normal body temperature.

Exposing to high noise levels can make them frustrated, stressed, and fear. This makes them behave badly which can potentially hurt themselves. Prolonged exposure to loud noises may even cause hearing impairment or even total loss in dogs.


A healthy diet is a significant part of your Shiba Inu’s good health, as I have discussed above. According to dog experts, what you feed your dog is directly related to its life expectancy.

Some scientific studies suggest that dogs feed with home-made raw food live longer than dogs feed with industrially processed food.

Therefore, it is recommended to feed your Shiba Inu a high-quality home-made food with balanced protein and nutrition to enhance its lifespan.

Activity Level

Regular exercise and training also help in prolonging the lifespan of the dogs. It is also a significant factor that directly influences the lifespan of your Shiba Inu.

Shiba Inus may seem like calm and quiet dogs, but they’re actually full of energy. So, if you don’t exercise your Shiba Inu adequately, their energy cannot be released and they may release their energy in some undesirable ways.

Insufficient exercise can cause behavioral problems like digging, barking, or other destructive behaviors which may cause them to hurt themselves easily.

Family History

The family history such as the lifespan and medical history of the parents has a great impact on the overall lifespan of Shiba Inu. Healthy parents tend to produce healthy puppies.

Unhealthy parents can easily pass their faulty genes to their puppies, causing an increased risk of the puppies to develop certain genetic disorders. Hip dysplasia is an example of genetic disorders that can be inherited from parents.

Five Ways to Improve the Lifespan of Shiba Inu

Do you know that one human year is equivalent to seven dog years? In other words, for every day you live, your little companion dog has lived a full week. As a dog lover, we want our dogs to live and stay with us as long as possible.

I’ve prepared and collected some of the best practices and recommendations by dog experts. They are easy to be done and every Shiba Inu owners including first-time owners can do.

These are effective ways to improve the lifespan of Shiba Inu:

  • Regular veterinary visits and keeping up with up-to-date vaccinations
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Healthy living environment
  • Basic dog training programs
  • Healthy lifestyle

Regular Veterinary Visits and Keeping Up With Up-To-Date Vaccinations

Regular visits to veterinary are recommended at least once in a year. You should take your pup to the vet for check-ups and tests. It will not only keep your dog healthy but also help diagnose some genetic diseases at their pre-stages.

It is suitable for your dog’s health that you frequently visit your nearest veterinary. Although they can be expensive, it can ensure a long healthy life of your Shiba Inu.

Furthermore, make sure your dog is vaccinated with all necessary vaccines such as canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. These vaccines help to stimulate their immune system. So that when they are exposed to real diseases, their immune system can recognize and fight them off.

Healthy Living Environment

You must provide a healthy living environment and keep your surroundings clean from any hazardous chemicals such as liquids and detergents because they are toxic to your Shiba Inu. You should keep not only your environment clean inside of your house but also your backyard. 

Dogs depend on their owners to meet their basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. They also depend on us to protect them from pain, injury, suffering, and disease.

We cannot expect dogs to grow healthily and happily if they do not feel safe. Feeling safe allows your Shiba Inu to build good relationships and set the foundation for a long, happy life with him.

Spaying or Neutering

Spaying and neutering mean to eliminate the ovaries from the female Shiba Inu and eliminate the testicles from the male. It increases their lifespan and prevents them from being an unwanted parent.

According to the 2013 State of Pet Health Report released by Banfield Pet Hospital, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than unneutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs.

The reason for increased lifespan is because spaying or neutering reduces certain types of cancer. For example, neutered male dogs eliminate the chances of getting testicular cancer while spayed female dogs have a reduced risk of developing uterine cancer and other reproductive cancers.

Basic Dog Training Programs

Providing basic dog training programs such as obedience training, behavioral training, and agility training is an important key element, especially in the case of Shiba Inu, to prolong their life expectancy.

These training programs not only fulfills the need for exercise but also keeps your Shiba Inu’s brain fresh, excited, and be ready for upcoming challenges.

For example, behavioral training helps to prevent unwanted behaviors and bad habits such as pushing through doors, digging up the yard, fighting other dogs, excessive chewing, and aggression.

It prevents them from getting hurt by any mess or fight. They will learn to know to protect themselves in such situations if properly trained.

Healthy Lifestyle

It includes diet, exercise, and a healthy environment that you must provide to enhance their lifespan. Dogs who live in a healthy lifestyle live longer than those don’t.

These are examples of an unhealthy lifestyle for dogs:

  • Insufficient exercise
  • Imbalanced and unhealthy diet
  • High stresses caused by bad environment
  • Not enough companionship with owners

Final Thoughts 

Shiba Inu is a bold, confident, muscular, and mountainous dog which was specially bred for hunting and small games. They have an average lifespan of medium-sized dogs, which is around 13 to 16 years. They are generally treated like small dogs due to their short legs.

Shiba Inus are serving as a companion dog in Japan and the United States. They are gradually becoming famous as companion dogs in the United States, especially for families with kids and babies. So, if you are looking for a bold and confident companion dog, Shiba Inu can be ideal for you.

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