How Friendly And Affectionate Shiba Inus Can Be (Answered)


shiba inu cuddling with person

While Faith, my Shiba Inu, is very loving and affectionate that wasn’t the impression I got when researching the breed. She even loves meeting strangers.

Shiba inus are independent and cat like when it comes to the amount and type of affection they display. While most Shibas are happy spending quiet quality time in the same room as you, some prefer to cuddle with you. Their unique personality and bond with you makes the difference.

Understanding Faith may be a bit of an outlier she isn’t the only one. I wondered how “far” from the norm she really was and started doing some research, the results of which I’ve detailed below.

How Affectionate Shiba Inus Really Are

The answer here depends on a number of things, but the biggest one being “who” you want your Shiba Inu to be affectionate with.

Most Shiba Inus love their owners and can be territorial if not properly socialized, leading to most not being a fan of strangers. But that isn’t the case with every Shiba Inu.

Some will be friendly with friends, family, or people on the street they’ve never met, but won’t nuzzle up to or cuddle with them. It really depends on your individual Shiba.

Each Shiba Inu has their own unique personality, experiences, preferences, and so on just like us.

For example:

My shiba inu, Faith, absolutely loves meeting strangers. She can never meet enough people, even to the point where she’ll usually ignore their pet’s and go straight for them. But that’s definitely not the norm.

She is very affectionate, loving, loves to cuddle, and is very social. A large part of that was her upbringing, where I made sure she got the chance to meet and socialize with other people and pets, but it’s also just who she is.

She’s been like this since I got her at 8 weeks old and has yet to fail bolting straight towards somebody she doesn’t know to meet them.

But, again, that isn’t like “most” Shiba Inus.

The majority tend to stay close to the people they were raised by and their closest relationships:

  • That could be you and your spouse as their owner.
  • Your brothers, sisters, or parents who lived with you at the time.
  • Or even that close friend or two that came around every couple weeks while they were growing up.

Personality and social skills play a heavy role in how affectionate a Shiba Inu will be, but that’s also not set in stone. You, or really anybody, can work on building and strengthening a bond with them over time. More on that later.

While Shiba Inus as a whole are labeled “cat-like” with their affection or “prefer to be left alone”, that’s a broad label given to the breed, that don’t always fit the individual.

Let’s go over some common questions people have regarding a Shiba Inu’s love and affection in no particular order:

Are Shiba Inus Not Affectionate?

Yes and no. Just like you, me, and many other people, we all have different amounts and ways of showing our love, empathy, compassion, and so on.

Most Shiba Inus are generally cold or standoffish to people they’ve never met, strangers. And the same can be true for their owners, if you don’t work on building a bond with them. They will be excited to see you when you get home, but after a few minutes they’ll go off to do their own thing.

But this isn’t the case for all Shiba Inus. While you’ll hear and read about owners with pet’s that don’t care to do anything but lay around and ignore them, you’ll also run into owners who’s Shiba Inus refuse to leave their side.

Do Shibas Like Affection?

Yes, just like other pets Shiba Inus love getting attention, affection, and love from people. But for some it depends on who it is.

Shiba Inus are loving and loyal pets to their owners, remaining devoted for a lifetime. Each individual Shiba Inu and owner showing their love, affection, and loyalty in their own unique way. For some it’ll be licks, others it’ll be cuddles, and for some it’ll be quiet quality time in the same room.

Some Shibas will heavily prefer their owners, and nobody else, while others, like mine, can’t wait to meet new people to love on. Just like how you and me are different, each Shiba Inu is unique in their types and amounts of affection they want. Along with who they are getting said affection from.

Can Shiba Inus Be Friendly?

A well-bred and socialized Shiba Inu will be friendly and affectionate to their owners while usually tolerating or being friendly towards others.

Shiba Inus have their own thoughts and ideas. While most will be warry of strangers, others will run headfirst at one to meet them. The majority will keep to themselves and tolerate new people, some will want nothing to do with them, and the rest can’t wait to meet their new friend.

Properly socializing your Shiba Inu is important for many reasons, but one is reducing stress and potential aggression towards others. While on average Shiba Inus may not like strangers, properly socializing them and improve that to an extent.

Each Shiba Inu has their own personality and way of looking at things. Some love meeting people, other won’t, and the rest are more than willing to learn how to be friendly to others.

Do Shiba Inus Like To Cuddle?

Shiba Inus are called “cat like” for their style of attention and affection. Just like a cat, Shiba Inus prefer to do things on their own terms for what they perceive as an adequate amount of time. While some Shiba Inus will cuddle for varying amounts of time, it also depends on who they are with.

Some Shiba Inus cuddle with their owners for hours on end. Others may be fine with a few minutes here and there. While other’s don’t want anything to do with it. Each Shiba Inu is different.

But, on average, they won’t nuzzle up to you and cuddle for hours and hours like other dog breeds.

Are Shibas Clingy?

Shiba Inus are typically loyal but independent. Making them, on average, far less clingy than other dog breeds, like labs or cocker spaniels. While this “independent style” is preferred by some pet owners, it’s not for everyone. Shiba Inus aren’t the consistent cuddlier most pet owners are looking for.

While some Shiba Inu’s love to cuddle with their owners, it’s not the norm. Most prefer to spend some quality time with their owners here or there, then go off and do their own thing.

Can Shiba Inus Be Loving?

Just like cats, Shiba Inus can be very affectionate on their own terms and schedule. While most Shibas won’t lay in your lap or sit next to you, they do very much love and care about their owner. But just like a cat, they have their own way of displaying that love and affection.

Licks, cuddles, belly rubs, airplane ears, and wagging tails are just some of the many way’s Shiba Inus display their love and affection for you.

The more time you spend with your Shiba Inu, the stronger your guy’s bond will be. Which can, slowly over time, make them more affectionate.

Do Shiba Inus Get Attached?

Shiba Inus, like other dog breeds, build a strong bond of love, trust, and become attached to their owner. But unlike other dogs who typically wag their tails constantly, cuddle up to you, and never leave your side. Shiba Inus display that love and attachment in their own unique ways.

Each Shiba Inu has different preferences. Some love to cuddle, others will lick you nonstop, and the rest may prefer to spend quiet quality time in the same room.

Pay attention to what your Shiba inu does when around you. Each pet shows their love and attachment differently.

Are Shibas Sensitive?

Of course, every person and pet have their own likes and dislikes just like you and me.

Shiba Inus are intelligent, perceptive, quick to learn, have their own thoughts and opinions. They pick up on issues at home and are sensitive to negative behaviors or training methods. While Shiba Inus love and trust their owner, that bond and trust they have with you can be damaged and broken.

Trust and communication are crucial for any relationship, and the bond and relationship you build with your Shiba Inu is no different.

If you are constantly playing, walking, or giving them affection they respond positively. Strengthening your guy’s bond. But, if you are contently focusing on the negative things by yelling or hitting them, you break that trust and bond between the two of you.

Do Shibas Like Being Alone?

Shiba Inus, while independent, still require attention, play, and exercise just like other dogs. They are cat-like in many ways, but they don’t like being forgotten or abandoned for extended periods throughout the day.

Being away from home due to work is perfectly fine, but each pet and work shift is different. 8 Hours is the typical sweet spot for “daily” alone time for Shiba Inus.

A Shiba Inu can wait between walks or bathroom breaks around 8 hours when they are adults, that time is much shorter while they are still puppies. If you are going to be working a 10 or 12+ hour shift, you need to find and schedule some kind of help to check on and walk your pet before you get home.

Do Shiba Inus Get Separation Anxiety?

Shiba Inus are smart and love their owners dearly, which can lead to separation anxiety. They’ll learn when you are getting ready for work and start stressing out, or even be fine until they’ve been alone for several minutes or hours. That stress usually drives them to develop destructive copping habits.

While these destructive behaviors are expensive for you, they’re also dangerous for your Shiba Inu. If you come home and find torn up pillows, shoes, curtains, or so on it may be time to start creating them before work.

Does Gender Play A Role?

Male Shiba Inus on average tend to be more social and friendly than females, they are also typically more aggressive. Do to their more “easy going” nature, males are recommended more for first time owners of the breed.

Female Shiba Inus are generally more aloof or cautious of strangers when compared to male Shiba Inus. Meaning they’ll, on average, take more time to warm up to people they’ve just met.

While female Shiba Inus aren’t as aggressive as their male counterparts, both gender require regular training and social interactions. Both males and females will calm down some and become less aggressive or assertive after being fixed.

Now That I Understand Shiba Inu Affection, Can I Improve It?

shiba inu laying under blanket near a person

While your unique pet’s personality and experience with others determine how friendly or affectionate they are, there is “some” room for potential improvement.

Just like how you slowly met, bonded, and became closer with your friends. You can do the same with your Shiba Inu.

Shibas are smart, perceptive, but can be sensitive. They are also very loving, loyal, and affectionate towards their owners.

Building and strengthening that bond slowly over time “may” make your Shiba Inu more affectionate. It really depends on them and what they want to do. Shibas are like cats when it comes to both their way of displaying affection and the amount of affection they are willing to share with you.

While few have worked on that bond and succeeded at making their Shiba more affectionate, most will fail. You, your personality, the time and effort you put in, along with your Shiba’s personality, and level of interest all play a role.

There are several different ways to bond with your Shiba Inu, but time and consistency play the biggest roles.

Regular play time, walks, communication, and paying attention to their wants and needs build their trust and interest in you. Regular training is a major help as well, it shows you want the two of you to work together.

Taking time out of your day to make sure they are happy, healthy, and safe matters to them, and they will notice. Some may be lucky and start seeing some quick wins and changes. Other’s with more independent or stubborn dogs may not see any “progress” for some time.

While you can improve the bond you have with your Shiba Inu you can’t really improve or change the way they show their affection.

Some shiba inu’s love to cuddle, and may start seeking you out to cuddle more frequently or for longer durations. Others prefer laying down or playing with a toy in the same room as you, for quiet quality time together.

Just like how some people love or don’t care for hugs, some Shiba Inus love or don’t care for cuddling. You can’t force anybody or any pet to do something they don’t like, and you should avoid it when possible.

Forcing your pet to do something they don’t actively enjoy can stress them out and slowly tarnish the bond they have with you.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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