You may recognize the Shiba Inu from when it captured the internet’s collective attention back in 2010 with the popular “Doge” meme.
Since then, the popularity of this breed has been steadily increasing, but this spitz breed actually has a long history that dates all the way back to 300 B.C. Japan.
If you’re one of the many people who’ve come to love this mighty breed and are looking for more information on what it actually takes to care for one, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we will provide you with the initial costs of owning a Shiba Inu, including the price of the dog itself, as well as the dog’s accessories and the necessary paperwork.
We’ll also discuss some factors that can affect the price of a Shiba Inu, and then finally, we’ll provide you with some sites where you can buy a Shiba Inu if you do decide that you can manage the cost.
Purchasing a Shiba Inu
Puppyspot sells male and female Shiba Inu puppies ranging from 3-9 weeks old. The puppies are up to date with vaccinations and come with a health certificate. They are also registered with various registries like ACA, APRI, and AKC. You can choose from among the different Shiba Inu colorations, which we’ll discuss more below.
The Shiba Inu prices range from $2,250 to $3,100.
The American Kennel Club Marketplace also sells puppies that are up to date with vaccinations and includes a health certificate. Prices start as low as $800 for limited registration and $1,000 for full registration of an 8-week old female.
While it is sometimes cheaper to purchase a puppy from a pet store or puppy mill, these places often do not follow ethical breeding practices, which can result in dogs with health problems and poor temperaments.
We recommend only purchasing from qualified breeds. This will not only help ensure that the dog you receive is healthy and purebred, but your money will go to support ethical breeding guidelines.
A Deeper Look into the Cost of a Shiba Inu
Above, we provided you with sites where you can buy a Shiba Inu, and you might have spotted that the prices were given in ranges. Here we will provide you with factors that affect the price, but note that these factors can be very subjective and will affect the price in varying degrees.
The first and easiest factor to see is coloration. Shiba Inus can be red, black and tan, sesame, or sometimes cream.
Although the cream coloration is perfectly acceptable in the British Kennel Club breed standard, the American Kennel Club considers this a major fault, so cream colored pups are relatively cheaper.
The red coloration fetches higher prices because it’s the most popular coloring. The red coloration of the Shiba Inu in the “Doge” meme has probably contributed to this coloration’s popularity.
Other factors may only be visible to the breeder. A reputable breeder may notice a behavioral or physical issue in the dog and decide to discontinue breeding that certain lineage and sell the puppies cheaper.
The breeder may also decide that the dog is not of dog show quality and price it lower even though the dog technically has no defects. This is highly subjective and may just come down to the breeder not liking the markings of the puppy.
Another factor is the registration of the dog. The American Kennel Club has two different registrations for dog owners: full and limited registrations.
A full AKC registration is needed if you plan on entering the dog in a conformation show or breeding it.
Show dogs well exhibit the characteristics of a certain breed such as body proportion and coloration. A show quality dog must be a perfect example of not only how its breed should look, but how it should behave as well.
If you plan on breeding the dog, you can also register its litters with the AKC.
A limited AKC registration will still allow you to enter in some AKC events like the popular agility and obedience trials. However, if you decide to breed your dog, a limited registration will not allow you to register the litter with the AKC.
This system is designed to protect the breed and breeding lines from puppy mills and backyard breeders who use registration to legitimize their operation.
However, these lines that are not controlled can result in dogs that may be smaller or larger, have non-conforming features, or have health problems, either from poor conditions or irresponsible breeding practices.
What Is Included?
When you buy a Shiba Inu from a reputable breeder, it will come with a registration certificate and a health certificate (if it doesn’t, you may want to reevaluate your choice of breeder). The dog will also usually be up to date with vaccinations and deworming.
Depending on its age when you buy it, you may have to continue with the remaining shots. Some breeders will cover the cost of the rest of the vaccinations in what they charge you for the puppy, but others do not.
Other One Time Expenses for Shiba Inus
- Crate and Shelter Costs
Pet dogs are usually given freedom to roam around the household.
However, crates are necessary for addressing dog issues such as potty training and destructive biting. The crate may also be used when transporting your pet to and from the veterinarian.
Many dogs also simply like having their own space to get away and feel like their crate is their den.
If you have a puppy, it is a good idea to buy a crate that will be correct for its size when it becomes an adult. Dividers can be used to limit the available space until your puppy grows into their crate.
For reference, a 30”x21”x24” single-door steel dog crate with a carry handle, rubber “roller” feet, plastic pan bottom, divider, and slide bolt latches will cost around $40.
It’s also a good idea to have a non-slip mat that you can use on the floor, couch, or crate, or in the car to protect these surfaces from dander, dirt, and fur, as well as to provide a comfortable place for your dog to lie down.
A washable, soft fleece bed mat will cost about $30.
Veterinarians and other dog health professionals recommend stainless steel food and water bowls because ceramic bowls may contain lead in the glaze, while plastic bowls are conducive to bacterial growth.
A pair of 32-ounce stainless steel bowls with rubber bases to protect your floors and prevent the bowls from slipping costs around $10.
- Dog Accessories
A classic leash costs about $12, but simpler options cost less. We do not recommend purchasing bungee cord-type leashes, as they can teach a dog to pull harder while walking.
A dog harness with 2 leash attachment points, a padded chest and belly panel, and 4 points of adjustment will cost $40. Collars are usually less expensive, between $10 and $30, but prices vary widely based on material and decorations.
To identify your pet in case it gets lost, your pet will need to wear a personalized stainless-steel pet id tag which usually costs $10 or less. However, one disadvantage of tags is that they can fall off or be removed, so you should also have your pet microchipped in case their tag gets lost.
A microchip is a small RFID transponder placed under the skin of your dog that, when scanned by a veterinarian, provides your name and contact information so that you can be told where your dog is.
It does not need to be replaced and will function throughout your dog’s lifespan. Having your pet microchipped costs between $20 and $50 depending on your location and veterinary provider.
- License and Permits
Common papers necessary for dog owners are registration certificates and health certificates. The registration certificate is proof that the dog is registered in a recognized registry, ensuring that its pedigree is well documented. A basic registration to the American Kennel Club will cost $35.
The health certificate is signed by an accredited veterinarian after examining your pet to ensure that it is free of infectious diseases and that its vaccinations are up to date. The consultation and vaccinations may cost up to $300.
Recurring Costs of Owning a Shiba Inu
- Food Costs
You can create a homemade diet for your Shiba Inu by using meat or meat products as your primary ingredient. However, this can be expensive if you do not have a raw food co-op near you. Only Natural Pet does offer an inexpensive raw food line, which is a great option if you’re interested in raw feeding.
A 30-pound bag of healthy, high-quality grain-free dog food made from real meat, vegetables, and fruits with prebiotics, omega fatty acids, and a vitamin and mineral premix can cost around $50.
We do not recommend feeding your dog a grain-free dog food unless they have an allergy to grain, which is actually quite rare. Grains are a high-quality option for carbohydrates in your dog’s diet. In many cases, grain-free foods do not actually contain more meat, but instead include ingredients such as potatoes and peas, which can be harmful to a dog’s health.
An 8-ounce pack of freeze-dried treats that is grain and gluten-free and is made from beef liver or chicken breast costs around $15. Treats should not comprise more than 10% of the dog’s caloric needs. Break the treats into smaller pieces so you can give your dog treats more often without overfeeding, as well as get your treats to go farther.
There is a huge variety of food and treats available, so you can find plenty of options that are more or less expensive. If your dog has special dietary needs, you may find that you have to buy more expensive dog foods.
However, price does not always indicate quality. Talk to your vet to determine the best dog food for your dog’s health that’s also easier on your budget.
- Hygiene Costs
To maintain dental health, brushing with dog-specific toothpaste and toothbrush 2-3 times a week is recommended. A 3.5-ounce tube of enzymatic dog toothpaste with a triple-headed toothbrush will cost about $10.
The Shiba Inu does not need to bathe often; 1 bath every 3-4 months will be sufficient. A 20-ounce bottle of natural moisturizing shampoo with a non-toxic, soapless formula made from certified vegan organic ingredients will cost around $15.
Shiba Inus have two layers of coats that need brushing once or twice a week. A self-cleaning slicker brush to remove mats, tangles, knots, loose hair, dander, and trapped dirt will cost about $15. For general grooming, a double-sided pin and bristle brush will suffice. This will typically cost less than $20.
If the dog cannot file its nails on its surroundings, then you will have to trim it once or twice a month. Dog nail clippers with a safety guard to prevent over-cutting and a nail file will usually cost $15 or less.
If you accidentally cut the quick during clipping or for other superficial cuts, styptic powder will be useful in stopping the bleeding. A 1.5-ounce bottle will usually cost less than $10.
If you don’t feel confident trimming your dog’s nails, you can have a professional do it for you for about $10. You can also have your dog professionally bathed and brushed, usually for around $40 to $50.
When outside the house, accidental messes are common. A pack of 100 Earth-friendly, hypoallergenic, and unscented dog wipes with conditioning ingredients will generally cost under $15.
- Medical Costs
Aside from wellness checks that cost around $50, the repetitive cost from the vet will come from vaccinations shots and boosters. These vaccines start at 6 to 8 weeks and given every 3 to 4 weeks until they are 16 to 17 weeks old.
A generic pattern is DA2P ($15 to $35), Bordetella ($12 to $35), and Canine Influenza Virus ($20 to $40) at 6 to 8 weeks old. These will be repeated again at 9 to 12 weeks of age.
At 12 to 16 weeks old, the puppy may be given DA2P, Bordetella, Rabies ($20 to $25), Leptospirosis (around $35), and Lyme (around $35) vaccinations.
At 15 to 17 weeks of age, the DA2P booster, Lepto booster, and Lyme booster may be administered.
You should consult your vet about the yearly vaccine schedule for your pet.
Heartworm tests will cost around $30 and 1 year worth of medication will typically cost less than $10. Heartworm preventive medication may be started at 8 weeks old, so testing may not be necessary.
Roundworm or hookworm deworming can cost around $20, while tapeworm deworming will cost about $35. These ailments are common among puppies.
Unfortunately, the Shiba Inu breed is prone to glaucoma and hip dysplasia.
The cost of surgery varies depending on several factors such as the skill of the veterinary surgeon and your location, but for illustrative purposes, diode laser for glaucoma treatment could cost $1300, cataract removal can cost up to $3700, and hip dysplasia can cost from $1700 to $4500.
These problems are uncommon but are very expensive, so it is a good idea to set up a pet fund where you put away money every month to lighten the financial burden if you ever encounter these emergencies.
You may also want to consider pet insurance, which can cost about $45 per month for accident and illness coverage, or around $15 per month for accident only coverage.
There are many controversies regarding spaying and neutering, but if you opt to have your pet altered, it will generally cost up to $300. Speak to your vet about when to best alter your pet, which depends on your pet’s history, gender, and current condition. Some dogs will benefit from being spayed or neutered before puberty, while it might be best for others to wait.
Interactive food toys are a good choice for this dog breed because of their high intelligence. They will have to think about how to obtain the treats inside, which will wear them out mentally and physically. A durable, natural rubber chew toy that can be stuffed with treats will cost about $5.
Like with food, however, there are toys available across a variety of price points. You may want to try inexpensive options of a few different types to see what interests your dog the most.
Paying attention to your dog’s behavior can also give you hints about which toys they might like.
For example, if your Shiba Inu tends to chew on things you’d rather they didn’t, you can provide them chew toys with similar textures as an alternative. If your dog likes to run off with throw pillows, get them some stuffed toys of their own.
Buyer’s Tips and Guides
Finally, let’s finish up with some general information to help you find a great Shiba Inu.
For one, please avoid non-reputable breeders. Like we discussed before, some breeders are more interested in making money than animal welfare and may produce puppies that not only don’t meet breed standards but are also be very unhealthy.
Improperly bred dogs may have serious medical problems such as hip dysplasia or glaucoma that are common in this breed but are prevented by proper breeding and control of the breeding lines. These diseases will not only increase your medical bills and may make insuring your dog impossible, but your dog will also suffer because of its conditions.
Our discussion in this article has been primarily centered on puppies, but you may also choose to obtain an adult Shiba Inu.
This breed is a victim of its own popularity. Owners like the exotic nature of the dog, but when they realize that it has a strong, independent personality, they decide that this breed is not for them.
Good breeders will accept the unwanted dog back, but for those who bought from non-reputable ones, the only option is for the dog to be sent to a shelter.
However, many people actually prefer adopting adult dogs because they aren’t as rambunctious as puppies, don’t need as care as frequently, and are often already housebroken.
If you are willing, you can rehome a Shiba Inu adult so it can live out the rest of its days in happiness.