The Shiba Inu Pitbull mix isn’t an “official” crossbreed, and is often a result of accidental mating. It’s an extremely rare hybrid, so rare that there’s barely a comprehensive guide to it anywhere!
As someone who owns a Shiba Inu Pitbull mix, I found the lack of online info extremely frustrating. I want to fix that with this go-to guide, written with the help of personal experience, vet consultations, and professional opinions.
This article discusses everything you need to know about the Shiba Inu Pitbull mix, including:
- Size, weight, and appearance
- Training and exercise
- Grooming needs
- Common health issues
Let’s dive right in!
Shiba Inu Pitbull Mix: A Brief Overview
The Shiba Inu Pitbull mix is an extremely rare hybrid. Breeders of this specific mix are few and far in between, so it’s nearly impossible to purchase them from a licensed breeder. It’s often a result of accidental mating or bad breeding practices.
I adopted my Shiba Inu Pitbull mix from a shelter when she was around two years old. She was rescued from the streets and brought in by good samaritans. She wasn’t aggressive, but she was shy and jumpy. It took her several weeks to get used to my home!
Since there’s little to no background info on Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes, I can’t tell you much of their history. However, there’s a lot that we can divulge from purebred Shiba Inus and Pitbulls.
Shiba Inu: Fierce and Loyal
Shiba Inus are a small-to-medium breed of dog native to Japan. Not to be confused with Akita Inus or Hokkaidos, Shiba Inus were originally bred as hunting dogs. They specialized in hunting wild boar and flushing out birds and small game.
Though smaller than the average hunting dog, Shiba Inus are quick, powerful, and incredibly sturdy. Combined with their distinctive coloring and alert expressions, they appear almost foxlike when hunting. They were a valuable asset to hunters living in the mountainous areas of the Chūbu region, and eventually all of Japan.
During the Meiji Restoration (1868 to 1889), Shiba Inu mixes become popular. Dozens of western dog breeds were imported and crossed with Shiba Inus—and a Pitbull might be one of them. By 1912, almost no pure Shiba remained. It was only in 1928 when hunters and intellectuals showed interest in the protection of the remaining purebred Shiba.
Shiba Inus were first brought to the US in 1954 and were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1992. A year later, they were added to the AKC Non-Sporting Group alongside Poodles, Dalmatians, and Lhasa Apso.
Today, Shiba Inus are among the most popular dog breeds in Japan and the No. 1 companion dog in the country. They’re not as popular in the US, but they’ve captured the hearts of many—the breed ranks 44 out of 197 on the AKC’s list.
Shiba Inus are strong-willed, confident, and lively around people they love and trust. They’re smart, with independent minds. Due to their territorial nature, Shiba Inus aren’t too friendly to strangers and other dogs—especially of the same sex. If bred irresponsibly by a backyard breeder or puppy mill, they may display some aggression.
Pitbull: Affectionate and Playful
Ah, Pitbulls. What’s there to say that hasn’t already been said? They’re intelligent, courageous, and gentle. Despite what their less-than-stellar reputation says, they’re extremely good-natured and won’t attack without reason. And unlike Shiba Inus, they’re people-oriented and affectionate!
Originally, Pitbulls were bred from Old English Bulldogs. When the British Parliament enacted the Cruelty to Animals Act in 1835, the people turned their attention to “ratting”—i.e., hunting or killing rats—and dogfighting. English Bulldogs were too large and bulky for either activity, so breeders created a “smaller” Bulldog type by crossing English Bulldogs with Terriers.
This new breed of dog was called Pitbull, because these dogs were placed in pits to fight and kill rats and other dogs.
These dreadful practices are thankfully long gone. Today, Pitbulls aren’t used for anything more than companionship, guarding, and herding. But the damage was done; their reputation as blood-thirsty, “dangerous” dogs has stuck. This makes them among the most misunderstood dog breeds out there, up there with Rottweilers and Dobermans.
Make no mistake: Pitbulls aren’t a breed for everyone. They’re not for inexperienced owners and those who aren’t willing to invest some time to train and socialize their dogs.
At the end of the day, Pitbulls were bred for violence. Without consistent and firm guidance, Pitbulls may grow aggressive.
Shiba Inu Pitbul Mix Characteristics: Size, Training, and Temperament
Here are the qualities and characteristics to expect when raising a Shiba Inu Pitbull Mix:
Size and Weight
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are medium-sized dogs. Males are normally between 15.5 to 20 inches in height and around 25 to 50 pounds in weight. Females stand from 14.5 to 19 inches in height and around 20 to 40 pounds in weight.
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes look a lot like shorthaired Akitas, except a bit shorter. They’ve inherited some of the Pitbull’s muscularity and the Shiba Inu’s body type and ears.
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes aren’t as “fluffy” as Shiba Inus. They have considerably shorter hair than their Shiba Inu parent but not quite as short and sleek as Pitbull’s. They shed more than Pitbulls, but not more than Shiba Inus.
Like most hybrids, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes share the same coat colors as their parents. Shiba Inus come in red, sesame, black and tan, and cream. Pitbulls come in several varieties of brown, black, white, tan, brindle, and red.
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes have inherited the best attributes of both breeds: they’re just as strong-willing and confident as Shiba Inus, and just as affectionate and gentle as Pitbulls!
Since both breeds have powerful personalities, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes can sometimes be too intense for some owners to handle. They possess incredible intelligence and remarkable physical strength and character.
Their Pitbull side makes them a bit rambunctious and too energetic for their own good, but their Shiba Inu side turns their boisterousness to manageable levels.
Like Shiba Inus, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes have an independent streak. As such, they should never be let off leash outside lest they run off on their own. They can also be quite selfish when it comes to their territory and possessions, so early training and socialization are an absolute must for these dogs.
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are moderate barkers and would only bark when necessary. When they’re unhappy or ask them to do what they don’t want to do, they’re not afraid to let their displeasure be known.
These dogs have inherited the famous “Shiba Inu scream,” a high-pitched whining sound that sounds like a cat’s meow and human baby crying combined. It’s actually quite cute, if not mildly annoying! My Shiba Inu Pitbull mix makes this sound whenever something doesn’t go her way. She rarely ever barks, and only does so when she sniffs out strangers.
Training and Intelligence
Interestingly, Shiba Inus and Pitbulls are close in intelligence. They’re the 93rd and 94th smartest dog breeds respectively. As such, it’s safe to assume that Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes have about the same trainability as either breed.
Though they aren’t quite as intelligent as Poodles or Border Collies, they’re smart enough to learn commands and tricks with relative ease.
Due to their complex temperament, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes need a confident pup parent to lead the way. They need firm, consistent training, which means that they aren’t the best choice for beginners and “lazy” owners. Other than that, they’re fun to train and do well in advanced obedience.
As you might expect from a Shiba Inu and Pitbull hybrid, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are extremely energetic and require daily activity to stay content and healthy. They need to be taken out on walks for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day and regularly partake in mentally stimulating games.
From what I’ve noticed from my dog and other Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes, they absolutely love dog sports. They excel in agility, flyball, and tracking courses where they can show off their strength and speed.
Just be sure to leash them up if you’re not in a fenced-in area because they tend to be a bit too happy-go-lucky. You certainly don’t want your mix to go out on an adventure with you!
Shiba Inu Pitbull Mix Grooming Needs
Unlike pure breed Shiba Inus, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes don’t need a considerable amount of grooming.
They’re double-coated, so they do shed twice a year—once in the spring and once in the fall. They’re moderate shedders the rest of the time, but they need to be brushed daily to keep their coats clean, shiny, and healthy.
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes don’t need to be bathed often. Unless they played in the mud or rolled around dirt, you should only bathe them once or twice every six or so months.
Brush their teeth a few times a week and clip their nails once a month. You’ll know it’s time to clip their nails when you hear the gentle tap-tap-tap of their nails on hard surfaces.
Common Shiba Inu Pitbull Mix Health Issues
Unlike other hybrids, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are generally healthy dogs. However, they can inherit genetic issues unique to either Shiba Inus or Pitbulls. This includes:
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are prone to eye complications, especially as they age. Common eye problems include:
- Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV)
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Most of these issues can lead to blindness if left untreated. Progression differs from pup to pup; some develop slowly, while others progress rapidly.
Surgery is possible but not always effective, so care and prevention are the best medicine. Eye tests should be performed at least once a year as eye problems can develop over time.
Bone And Joint Problems
Both Shiba Inus and Pitbulls are at risk for bone and joint problems, and Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are no exception. In fact, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are more prone to bone and joint problems because they’re a mix of the two breeds.
Due to their high activity level and their powerful build, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are susceptible to ligament tears, hind leg injuries, and knee problems.
One such problem is patella luxation, a displacement of the dog’s kneecap. If the condition isn’t treated early and advances to grade 3 or 4, it can cause considerable pain and discomfort to the dog.
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are also at risk of hip and elbow dysplasia, a disease that can prevent your pup from fully extending her legs. This develops early in life, during growth. Daily supplements and a healthy diet can help prevent and lower the risk of hip and elbow dysplasia.
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes can develop allergies at any age.
Dog allergies fall into two main categories: skin and dietary.
Repeated exposure to offending allergens (i.e., pollen, dust, grass, powdery excretions from pet birds) increases the risk of skin allergies, so avoid these allergens as much as possible.
Food allergies are also common with this breed, especially when it comes to grain or wheat components. Food allergies can disrupt a dog’s digestive system and cause unfavorable symptoms, like vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Though not as popular as other Shiba Inu or Pitbull mixes, Shiba Inu Pitbulls are just as lovable and adorable!
Shiba Inu Pitbulls are the best of both worlds; they’re just as independent as Shiba Inus and just as affectionate as Pitbulls.
They’re good with children when socialized, and the few behavioral issues they have (barking, destructive chewing, aggression, etc.) can be corrected with proper training.
Should You Get a Shiba Inu Pitbull Mix?
Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are a fantastic breed, but they’re only suitable for experienced owners. If you’re planning to buy/adopt this mixed breed, you have to have a firm hand and know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you might find it difficult to control undesirable behaviors.
That said, Shiba Inu Pitbull mixes are amazing family dogs. They get on well with kids and make for great guard dogs. Plus, they’re loyal to boot!