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Shiba Inu & German Shepherd Mix: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Shepherd Inu (German Shepherd x Shiba Inu)

Height: 19–22 inches
Weight: 40–60 pounds
Lifespan: 8–12 years
Colors: Red, black, tan, cream
Suitable for: Very active families and individuals looking for a companion
Temperament: Loyal, protective, loving, watchful, alert

Also known as the Shepherd Inu, the Shiba Inu and German Shepherd cross is a hybrid dog that combines the intelligence and loyalty of the German Shepherd with the potential for stubbornness from the Shiba Inu. They tend to have a strong prey drive, with the Japanese dog having been bred to flush out birds and small game. Both dogs have high energy levels, so you can be sure that yours will be a lively handful and it will need a lot of exercise to keep it active and to prevent unwanted behavior.

As with any hybrid, the temperament and characteristics of the resulting breed can be difficult to predict. Will you benefit from the loyalty and obedience of the German Shepherd, or the rambunctious and awkward stubbornness of the Shiba Inu? Whichever parent breed is dominant, one thing you can be sure of is a lively dog.

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German Shepherd Shiba Inu Mix Puppies


The Shepherd Inu is a hybrid breed. This is usually done to bestow at least some of the beneficial traits of one breed onto the other, to create a dog that is even better suited to a particular application. It also means that the resulting hybrid is not a recognized breed and even when they are rare and difficult to get hold of, like this combination, their price is not as high as a thoroughbred’s.

Because they are not purebred, you may also find them in a local shelter. Adoption costs vary by shelter but are usually a low adoption fee.

The Shiba Inu can be prone to aggression, having been used as a personal protection dog in Japan and having been bred to hunt. The German Shepherd has also been used as a protection dog so you need to take precautions to try and ensure that your puppy will be suited to family life.

Because the breed is not recognized by kennel clubs, it can be difficult to find breeders. Ask other owners and speak to breeders of either parent breed. Look for breed groups on social media and dog forums.

Divider 13 Little-Known Facts About the Shepherd Inu

1. The Shiba Inu Is An Ancient Hunting Dog Breed

The Shiba Inu is one of the most popular breeds in Japan, thanks partially to the breed’s longevity. It was first reared as a hunting breed in around 300 B.C. although its ancestors date back to as early as 7000 B.C. It was bred to hunt birds and small game, flushing them out from their hiding place so that their handlers could better hunt them.

Their history means that the brave and energetic dog has a strong prey drive, and this can translate into aggression. Early socialization is important, and while the breed is known to be quite difficult to train, owners should start training at an early age and keep it up throughout the dog’s life.

2. Both Parent Breeds Nearly Became Extinct

Despite its long history, the Shiba Inu nearly became extinct. During World War II, heavy bombing attacks wiped many of the dogs out, with many of those remaining falling foul of distemper, which is a viral infection. Before this, there had been three types of Shiba Inu: the Mino, the Sanin, and the Shinshu. Extensive breeding programs have helped rescue the breed from the brink of extinction and the modern breed most closely resembles that of the Shinshu variety.

The German Shepherd also faced extinction, this time as a result of World War I. Following the war, many people shunned items that were associated with Germany, and because the breed bore the name German Shepherd, it fell out of favor. In some countries, breeders changed its name to Alsatian. In fact, in the UK it only regained its German Shepherd Dog name in 1977.

This rebranding, combined with the dog’s utility and natural abilities, meant that it also came back from the brink of extinction. It is now one of the most popular breeds in the world and is ranked as the second most popular breed in the USA.

3. The German Shepherd Is a Relatively New Breed

Not just compared to the ancient Shiba Inu, but to many breeds, the German Shepherd breed is still in its infancy. Max von Stephanitz took some of the most successful and intelligent herding dogs and bred them to create what he described as the ultimate herding dog, in the late 19th Century. It gained official recognition in 1899.

It is still used as a working dog, although you are more likely to see a German Shepherd as a police dog or working with armed forces around the world. They are also used privately as personal protection and guard dogs.

The parent breeds of Shiba Inu & German Shepherd Mix
The parent breeds of Shiba Inu & German Shepherd Mix: Left – German Shepherd (Anna Dudkova, Unsplash) | Right – Shiba Inu (FRA v, Pexels)

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Shepherd Inu 🧠

The German Shepherd Shiba Inu is a mix of two breeds. The temperament of your dog depends on which parent breed is dominant, but it also depends on socialization, training, and the temperament of the individual, as well as other factors. They can make excellent family pets, superb working dogs, and great all-around companions, depending on what you are looking for.

It should be noted that this hybrid is not recommended for novice owners. The German Shepherd has long been utilized as a guard dog, while the Shiba Inu is regarded as being prone to aggression. Experienced handlers may be able to get the best from the breed but novice trainers can struggle.

Are Shepherd Inus Good for Families? 🏡

Although the hybrid is considered loyal and loving, there are some reports that this hybrid is prone to aggression. As such, it is not recommended to have one around young children. Although your dog may never pose a threat to your children, they can be wary of strangers. They can also be very protective of their family, which means that they can become alarmed when children are playing with others and the games get particularly loud or boisterous.

If you do get a Shepherd Inu and have a family, ensure that it is well-socialized from a young age and that you have a firm grasp on training. Do not use aggressive training techniques, but you will need to be assertive and masterful. Puppy and training classes are considered beneficial because they teach owners how to train the dog and encourage good behavior. They also allow socialization in an environment with other dog owners.

As a guard dog, this breed is always alert. They are constantly watching and listening for signs of possible danger. This means that they may not be best suited to life in an apartment because they are likely to bark a warning whenever they hear neighbors passing or your neighbors opening their doors.

Do Shepherd Inus Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The German Shepherd can be wary around other dogs. The cross can be territorial and may be protective over items, people, and even areas that they believe belong to them. They may get along with another dog if they are introduced when young, but you should be very wary when introducing them to smaller animals including cats.

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Things to Know When Owning a German Shepherd Shiba Inu:

The Shiba Inu is not ideal for families or owners with other animals, and will not usually do well in an apartment setting. However, it is a lively and energetic dog that does well as a working dog and performs admirably in canine sports including agility. While it might not be the best dog for all potential owners, it could make a loving dog for you. Read on to see what is required if you do take on this impressive hybrid.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

As a high-octane dog, the Shepherd Inu needs a diet to match. Try to ensure at least 20% protein, ideally from a meat source. The exact amount you need to feed depends on age, activity level, and the current and target weight of your dog but you should expect to feed approximately two cups of good quality dry food per day.

Follow manufacturer instructions when feeding wet food, and if you feed a combination diet, then make sure that you adjust the levels of dry and wet food accordingly. Split your pup’s food over two or three meals each day and always ensure that they have access to a supply of fresh drinking water.

Obesity and dehydration are potentially very dangerous for dogs, just as they are for people, so you should monitor their weight and look for symptoms of dehydration if you are concerned.

Exercise 🐕

Both parent breeds are energetic and lively dogs, and this means that your hybrid will have equally high exercise requirements. You will need to provide between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise every day. Some of this can take the form of a decent walk, but you should also look for ways to let your hybrid run around. German Shepherds, in particular, are known for their prowess in canine sports and agility.

In fact, they have a canine sport that was created specifically for them. Schutzhund is designed to test everything from agility to strength and the bond between the dog and handler. Because Schutzhund has been opened up and allows dogs of any breed to enter, you can enroll your Shepherd Inu mix to take part.

Training 🦮

Training can be something of a mixed bag with this hybrid. On the one hand, you have the responsive, alert, and typically obedient German Shepherd. On the other, you have the somewhat stubborn and headstrong Shiba Inu. Depending on which your puppy takes after, you could have a dog that is difficult to train or one that picks up commands quickly and listens when you issue a command.

The German Shepherd is ranked as the third most intelligent dog breed, behind the Border Collie and the Poodle. It can pick up a new command within five repetitions and will respond the first time 95% of the time. It is this responsiveness and intelligence that has seen it employed in so many service roles.

Be assertive and masterful when training. This doesn’t mean that you should be physical or aggressive, however, as this can lead to an aggressive dog.

Grooming ✂️

The Shepherd Inu has a medium-length double coat. It will need brushing at least twice a week throughout the year and will suffer from serious bouts of shedding at least once a year. Regular brushing removes dead hairs and can detangle knots, reducing the amount of shed hair left on sofas and clothes, but there will always be some hairs to deal with.

Because your dog cannot brush its own teeth, you will also have to help ensure good dental hygiene. Brush teeth at least three times a week, ideally starting when your dog is a puppy to get it used to the process.

Finally, you will also need to ensure that your dog’s nails are trimmed regularly. This will usually need doing every 2–3 months, depending on how much time they spend walking and running on hard surfaces. If you struggle to cut nails, you can ask a professional groomer or even your vet to assist with this.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Shepherd Inu is considered a relatively hardy and healthy breed. Proponents of hybrid breeding claim that hybrid vigor reduces the chances of a hybrid from developing the hereditary conditions of either parent, while opponents claim that the hybrid has an increased chance of developing the hereditary diseases of both parent breeds.

German Shepherds are somewhat prone to arthritis, which can be painful and debilitating. As a large breed, they are also more likely to develop joint dysplasia. Shiba Inus are more likely to suffer allergies and eye complaints like glaucoma and cataracts. Look for symptoms of the following conditions and speak to a vet if you are concerned.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hemophilia
  • Panosteitis
Serious Conditions
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Congenital Heart Defect

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Male vs Female

Although the male of this hybrid is likely to be a little heavier and bigger than the female, there aren’t any known character or temperament differences between genders.

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Final Thoughts

The Shepherd Inu, or Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix is a cross between two energetic and lively breeds. It is not recommended for novice owners and, especially if it takes after the Shiba Inu, it can be a challenge to train and socialize. However, it is a loyal and protective breed that enjoys exercise and likes to spend time burning off energy.

As well as its training and socialization requirements, shedding can be something of a challenge, with the breed needing regular brushing and being prone to regular blowout sheds. Before you consider any breed, it is important to consider your current and future circumstances. Adopt where possible and always ensure that you do your due diligence before buying one of these dogs from a breeder, no matter how low their prices or how reasonable their offer.

Featured Image Credit: Mac-leod, Shutterstock

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