The Shiba Inu dogs are a beloved breed for millions of people across the globe – dog owners and aspiring dog owners alike. There are lots of reasons to love Shiba Inus – their adorable looks, their impressive intelligence, as well as their dignified temperament. The not insignificant amounts of fur they can shed, however – that’s not a trait most people like.   

In other words – yes, Shiba Inu dogs shed. Like any other dog breed with a double coat – i.e. with a lower fur coat underneath their smooth upper coat – Shiba Inus shed seasonally.

Why do Shiba Inus shed?

Dogs shed their fur seasonally for the same reason we too loose more hair in certain times of the year – that’s how both theirs and our bodies have evolved. Shedding is important because it allows for older fur and hairs to be replaced with new ones. And the reason this tends to happen more commonly during certain seasons is that the body prepares itself for the weather change that’s about to happen.

When do Shiba Inus shed the most?

Like most other dogs or even just mammals in general, Shiba Inu dogs shed mostly in the first 2-3 weeks of spring and the first 2-3 weeks of autumn. However, Shiba Inus tend to shed very sparingly throughout the rest of the year, so much so that you may not even notice any shedding for about 46 of the 52 weeks of the year. That is if you care for their coat well enough throughout the year – if you don’t give your dog’s coat what it needs, you can expect much more dog hair all year long.

Additionally, when spring and fall start for you depends on where you live. According to the standard astronomical seasons, spring in the northern hemisphere starts with the spring equinox (20 March) and autumn starts with the fall equinox (23 September). However, a lot of countries use the meteorological seasons which go more like this:

 Northern hemisphereSouthern hemisphere
Spring1 March1 September
Autumn1 September1 March

Of course, wherever you live, chances are that your Shiba Inu dog doesn’t know how to read a calendar. However, their seasonal shedding will start roughly at the start of each meteorological spring and fall, so start getting ready at the end of February and August.

What can you do during this seasonal shedding?

Also called “blowing coat”, during this period the Shiba Inu dogs expel a great deal of fur, mostly from their lower coat. When brushing and combing your dog’s coat you can expect to see intimidating quantities of dog hairs coming off. Don’t be alarmed – this is normal when a dog’s blowing its coat.

To help your dog feel better during this period, as well as to keep your home as clean as possible, here are several steps you can take:

  • Brush and comb your dog’s hair daily during the seasonal shedding periods. Loose hairs can be quite irritating for a dog so doing this should feel nice for your pup as well, especially if you turn it into a fun joint activity. If you miss even a single brushing during the blowing coat period you can expect to find your entire floor covered in dog hairs on the very next day.
  • Bathe your dog once or twice a month. This goes all throughout the year but it’s especially important to bathe your dog well before the start of the seasonal shedding. Shiba Inu dogs are generally quite hygienic and will try to take care of their own fur as well as they can, but a nice monthly bath with a quality shampoo and conditioner will have a very positive effect too.
  • It’s also a good idea to trim your dog’s hair before the seasonal shedding begins. This will make it easier for you to brush your Shiba Inu, it will make it easier for the dog to clean itself, and it will also make life easier for your canine friend as a whole as there will be less entangled hairs and itching.

What are some of the worrisome causes for your Shiba Inu’s shedding?

Of course, while shedding is normal for a breed such as Shiba Inu, there are many possible reasons why it could be the sign of a problem. If your dog is shedding at the beginning of spring and fall, worrying is probably unwarranted. However, if you see your Shiba Inu shedding excessively in another time of year, exploring the causes of the shedding can be very important or, sometimes – even life-changing.

  • Flea allergies – if there are fleas in or around your home, or simply in the dog park where you take your Shiba Inu for a walk, it’d be very easy for your dog to develop flea allergies. Fleas, as well as certain other insect pests,  can cause such severe skin irritations that your dog might start shedding as a result of them. To make sure that doesn’t happen, check your dog’s coat and skin for such problems daily.  
  • Infections – there are many different reasons why your dog’s skin might get infected. From the pests we mentioned above, through simple physical trauma, to underlying internal problems. Either way, a severe skin infection can cause a lot of problems and discomfort for your dog when left unchecked, all the way to shedding or even bigger issues.  
  • Malnutrition – a dog’s coat and fur are an expression of its overall health much like our skin is for us. If you’re not feeding your dog well and with high-quality food, chances are that its diet will lack certain vitamins, minerals, and other vital ingredients. This will lead to a worsening of the coat’s condition – less color, less luster, uneven patches, as well as shedding or even bigger problems.
  • Stress – in dogs as in people, intense stress can lead to hair loss.  There are many things that can stress a dog out – moving to a new place, the loss of a family member, the introduction of a new family member, a health problem, separation anxiety, and more.
  • Poor hygiene – above, we recommended what you should do to help keep your dog’s shedding in control. Below we’ll give you more general tips and advices as well, and maintaining good hygiene is definitely in both those lists. Poor hygiene can lead to the development of many skin infections and inflammations, which, in turn, typically result in shedding among other things.  
  • More severe health problems such as skin cancer. Of course, while most of the problems we’ve listed above can be viewed as mild and easily treatable, at least in the beginning, there is also always the risk of a much more severe problem. There’s a myriad of devastating health issues, both internal and external, that you’ll need to keep an eye on because shedding is the least of the problems they can cause.

What can you do to make sure that your Shiba Inu’s coat is always in the best possible condition?

Taking care of your Shiba Inu’s coat while its shedding is very important, however, it’s just as vital to do so throughout the rest of the year as well. If you don’t take good care for your pup’s fur it will shed in much more than just 4-6 weeks of the year, it will be in a much worse overall condition than it could be, and it can easily develop a lot of unpleasant conditions. Here are the main steps you should take all year long to make sure your dog and its fur are always in their best possible condition:

  • Grooming – When your Shiba Inu is not in a period of seasonal shedding, daily brushing is not required, however, weekly brushing is still very good. It will help clean your dog’s fur, it will remove some random entangled hairs, it will improve blood circulation, plus it’s a nice bonding experience.
  • Use good collars, harnesses, and other such equipment – synthetic, ill-made or just overly tight collars and harnesses can cause a lot of skin irritations. Whatever equipment you use, make sure it’s of great quality.
  • Use only high-quality dog shampoo and conditioners. Subpar dog shampoos can be a huge problem for dogs with sensitive skin – so much so that it’s better not to use them at all. As with the previous point – you want to be certain that whatever you use is always good for your dog.
  • Proper nutrition – as we mentioned, depriving your Shiba Inu of important minerals and vitamins can be devastating for its fur and for its health, in general.
  • Hydration is vital – as with nutrition, good hydration is very important for your dog’s coat and health. It’s surprising to some but it’s very easy to dehydrate a dog and a lot of people do that constantly – by not cleaning the dog’s bowl daily and just refilling it, a dog owner can seriously dehydrate their pup.
  • Exercise – yes, running through the dog park can get your Shiba Inu’s coat quite dirty and messy, but good exercise is also very important for your dog’s overall health, and – by extension – skin and coat health as well.