Looks can be deceiving, and the Shiba Inu is a prime example. His rather small, compact frame might appear to be on the dainty side, but is actually quite muscular and power-packed. The Shiba Inu is agile, graceful, and has a character all his own.
This popular breed’s toy-like appearance is nicely balanced with intelligence, dignity, and playfulness. With his independent spirit and the attitude of royalty, the Shiba Inu is convinced that he is by far the best, and owners can not help but agree.
Do Shiba Inus shed? Yes. They not only undergo the typical daily shedding of older hairs to make way for the new like other dogs but in the spring and fall, this double-coated breed will also shed their entire undercoat in a process referred to as “blowing their coat.” Regular maintenance will mitigate this.
Shedding is a natural process that can’t be avoided, but knowing what to expect and being armed with some tips can make the experience much less daunting.
Below we will cover everything from day to day shedding, to getting them used to being groomed. Rest assured, if you read this you’ll be ready for taking care of a Shiba!
How To Deal With Them Blowing Their Coat
First things first. What is the difference between normal shedding and blowing their coat?
Day to Day Shedding
Just like people, dogs routinely lose older, worn hair and replace it with new growth. This is an endless cycle as the body continuously works to replenish the coat and keep it healthy. A Shiba Inu’s amount of daily shedding is minimal and is easily dealt with.
Blowing Their Coat
Blowing coat refers to shedding on a much grander scale. During this process, Shiba Inus will gradually shed their fluffy undercoat over the course of three to eight weeks. The top coat will shed a bit during this process as well, but the majority of shedding will come from the undercoat.
Shiba Inus will usually blow their coat once as warmer spring weather approaches and again as winter draws near, although the spring shed will be significantly heavier.
How Much To Expect
A Shiba Inu’s normal, daily shedding most likely will not be noticed that much. After all, it only involves a few hairs at a time. The amount of hair sprinkled over the floor and on furniture and clothing will be about the same as you would expect from any other dog.
On the other hand, when your Shiba Inu blows his coat, you will definitely notice. Tufts and clumps of hair will begin to appear all over the house as the process begins. Your dog will often appear quite ragged looking with patches of loose hair protruding all over his body.
Due to the undercoat’s fluffiness, the billowing mounds of fur seem to be larger than they actually are, but make no mistake about it; there is a lot of fur to deal with. From start to finish, your Shiba Inu may shed enough hair to fill several large trash bags.
Tips For Controlling The Mess
During the blowing coat process, there are two important steps that you can take to manage the piles of fur drifting through your house.
The first step is to get in the habit of brushing your Shiba Inu daily during the seasonal shed. This will not only make him feel better and speed the process up a bit, but it will also help to minimize the amount of hair dropped later on.
The next step is one that will need to be frequently repeated. You guessed it. Vacuuming. The shed hair can often have a good deal of dander (dead skin cells) mixed in which can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Vacuum thoroughly and frequently to cut down on the mess and the allergens.
Some owners of double-coated breeds like the Shiba Inu choose to literally blow the undercoat right off of their dogs by using a forced air drier, a shop vacuum set on blow mode, or even a leaf blower on its lowest setting!
How Often Should They Be Groomed? What Does It Entail?
Keep in mind that the term grooming usually entails other jobs such as bathing, ear cleaning, nail trimming, and tooth brushing, but since shedding is the topic here, brushing will be the focus.
Most of the time, you can get by with brushing your Shiba Inu once every week or two. This will help to rid the coat of any debris or loose hair and to evenly distribute the protective oils. A regular slicker brush is ideal for this job.
During the periods of heavy, seasonal shedding, you will want to brush more frequently and add a couple of additional tools to your arsenal. Brushing at least once a day during coat blow is recommended and will keep the clouds of fur to a minimum.
When your Shiba Inu first shows signs of blowing his coat, initiate the daily brushing routine right away. Begin with either a de-shedding tool or undercoat rake and use short strokes to remove loose hair, being sure that the brush is reaching the skin but not hurting the dog at all.
After removing as much loose hair as possible, finish up with the slicker brush to catch any remaining stray hairs and to give the dog a nice, finished look. Many owners also like to quickly wipe their dog down with a moist cloth to be sure all stray hairs are accounted for.
How To Get Them Started With Grooming
Before launching into a full-blown spa day for your pup, it is generally recommended to accustom him to the various procedures gradually and in a positive way first. The younger the dog is, the better.
Start by getting your dog used to being touched all over, especially his feet. Many Shiba Inu will not care for this very much, but with time and patience, they will adjust.
Allow your Shiba Inu to investigate the different tools and brushes that you plan on using. Acclimate him to the sound of the blow dryer, nail clippers or Dremel tool – anything that will make noise.
Keep the initial sessions short and sweet. Brace yourself for some whining and screaming, because that is just what they do. Reassure him constantly, keep a positive attitude, and reward him when you’re done. That’s all there is to it!
What Does a Professional Grooming Session Cost?
While prices can vary based on location, you can expect to pay between $30 – $65 for a standard full-service package which typically includes bathing, blow-drying, brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and anal gland expression. Additional services such as tooth brushing or flea treatment will usually cost more.
Whether you opt for the standard package or choose a more deluxe version, all grooming sessions should begin with a brief examination to check for any obvious health concerns such as cuts, pests, and eye or ear infections.
A less expensive option is a do-it-yourself facility available at places like Petco. These self-service grooming stations usually have all the equipment and supplies needed ready for you to use, and most facilities have staff available, ready to lend a hand.
How often should I bathe my Shiba Inu?
Because Shiba Inus like to keep themselves clean and their coat actually tends to repel dirt, a bath once every three to four months is usually more than enough. Bathing this breed too frequently can strip the skin and coat of natural protective oils and lead to problems.
How often should I clip my Shiba Inu’s nails?
For most dogs, once every ten days to two weeks should be sufficient. Use either a dog nail clipper or Dremel, always being mindful of the nail’s quick. Frequent walks on concrete sidewalks will naturally wear down the nails, especially on the back paws, and make your job easier.
A Quick Review
While the amount of shed hair drifting around when a Shiba Inu blows his coat can be a tad overwhelming for first-time owners, it can be managed rather easily and is only temporary. Owning a Shiba Inu does involve a bit of mess and extra work, so is it really worth it? Definitely.