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Shiba Inu German Shepherd Mix: All You Need to Know

Shiba Inu and German Shepherd

Mixed dog breeds have become a lot more common over the past couple of decades. One such example is the Shiba Inu German Shepherd. Here’s everything you need to know about this unusual mix.

Shiba Inu German Shepherds are a medium-sized breed with a lifespan of 7 to 15 years. They are highly active, intelligent, loyal animals that can make a great companion to the right owner. Considered high-maintenance dogs, they are best suited to seasoned dog owners who can ensure they get enough exercise, training, and follow a proper care routine.

There is a lot to know before you decide to bring a Shiba Inu German Shepherd into your life. To ensure that you are the right type of person who can properly care for this dog, keep reading.

We will take a look at the history and characteristics of the two breeds, care, expectations, and controversy associated with Shiba Shepherds.

History of Shiba Inus

Shiba Inus are a Japanese dog breed known for their hunting abilities. They were first bred to catch small animals or flush out birds. Today, they are companion dogs and the most popular breed in Japan.

Since being brought to America just 60 years ago, they are becoming increasingly common in America as well. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, they are the 44th most popular dog breed.

During the Second World War, bomb raids in Japan caused so many of these pups to die that they nearly became extinct. It was mostly those Shiba Inus that lived in the countryside away from the action of the war that survived.

They were then put into breeding programs to revitalize the Shiba Inu population. After the war was over, an American soldier brought a Shiba home in 1954.

Twenty-five years after that first pup’s arrival, the first documented Shiba Inu litter was born in America.

History of German Shepherds

Like the Shiba Inu, German Shepherds were also used for a particular application. These European dogs were bred for their ability to herd animals. They were nicknamed shepherd dogs, hence the breed’s name. 

Again, we have a military figure to thank for this breed of dogs. German cavalry leader Captain Max von Stephanitz had a goal to find one type of dog that excelled in bravery, hunting instincts, loyalty, and herding.

His attendance at British dog shows also taught him that he’d need a dog that was also athletic and highly intelligent. 

Eventually, he finally found a wolf-like dog that fit the bill. The dog, named Hektor Linksrhein, is the first of the breed we know today as German Shepherds.

Though industrialization made shepherding dogs obsolete in Eastern Europe during the 1800s, they started to train as military dogs.

German Shepherds aided in the war effort, acting as messengers, rescuers, guards, supply transporters, and Red Cross assistants. 

After World War I had ended, American soldiers brought German Shepherds across the ocean back to North America.

The Shepherds became a popular breed in Europe and America, but many began to suffer from health conditions such as tooth decay and hip dysplasia.

When von Stephanitz realized these brutal outcomes the dogs were facing, he decided to mandate that all German Shepherd breeding dogs were certified as intelligent, healthy, athletic, and well-tempered.

These are many of the characteristics he initially had set out for when discovering this breed. 

Many German Shepherds still live a life similar to their ancestors in the 1800s. They are commonly used to aid the police and military services as K9 service dogs.

Since German Shepherds have such high intellect, physical strength, and training ability, they make the ideal police dog.

As police dogs, German Shepherds are trained to restrain and attack suspects while also putting their lives between potentially dangerous suspects and their human partners.

They can also be trained to sniff out explosives, detect drugs, and find various pieces of evidence at crime scenes.

Police dogs can also be helpful additions to search and rescue teams in which they are trained to find kidnapped, deceased, or missing people.

For more on German Shepherds and their roles as police, rescue, and service dogs, be sure to read the 3 excellent articles that we have written for you linked below:

Why Are German Shepherds Good Police Dogs?

Are German Shepherds Good Service Dogs?

Are German Shepherds Good Emotional Support Dogs?

Characteristics of Shiba Inus and German Shepherds

When it comes to cross-bred dogs or designer dogs, they are typically bred for specific desired traits that will come from mixing two or more breeds.

Here are some of the characteristics that Shiba Inus, German Shepherds, and Shiba Inu German Shepherds possess.

Characteristics of Shiba Inus

Shiba Inu

A typical healthy Shiba Inu is between 13.5 and 16.5 inches (34 and 42 centimeters) tall, weighs between 17 and 23 pounds (7.7 and 10.4 kilograms), and has an average life expectancy of 13 to 16 years. 

Shiba Inus are relatively small but strong dogs with strong senses of sight and smell, which has historically made them keen hunters.

This breed is moderately energetic and requires regular exercise, but these dogs are not often the destructive type. 

The most common coloring for Shiba Inus is black and tan, cream, red, or red sesame, all with white markings. Combined with their expressiveness, Shiba’s colorings make their faces appear fox-like.

Additionally, their coats do not typically mat, so regular brushing is not necessary, though it will minimize the amount of fur that gets spread around your house as they shed. 

In terms of training, they require little guidance when it comes to housebreaking. This, however, should not overshadow the fact that Shibas are not to be trusted off-leash, regardless of training level.

They should never be considered safe in an open, unconfined area. You should even be careful about leaving a door or gate open for a moment too long.

Overall, Shiba Inus are quite healthy dogs. Though this does not mean they are always in perfect health, as they are less prone to a wide range of health issues.

The biggest health concerns in a Shiba’s life are allergies, hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and patella luxation

Characteristics of German Shepherds

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds around, ranking second in popularity with the AKC.

Standing between 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 centimeters) tall and weighing in at an average of 50 to 90 pounds (22.7 to 40.8 kilograms), these dogs are expected to live between 9 to 13 years. 

For an in-depth look at German Shepherd lifespan and what to expect through the years, be sure to read:

How Long Do German Shepherds Live? A Detailed Guide

While they are known and named for their herding abilities, German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent dogs.

They are also loyal, muscular, courageous dogs. This makes Shepherds one of the best breeds all across the table, whether you’re looking for a companion pup or a hard-working canine. 

German Shepherds are such loyal animals that they will willingly put their life on the line for the ones they love. While it may take them a while to come around to new friendships, once they have deemed you worthy of their trust and loyalty, it will never waiver.

The grooming needs of a German Shepherd are a bit more involved than that of a Shiba Inu. The medium-length double coat of his breed requires a brief brushing a couple of times a week.

An extensive period of shedding will occur once or twice annually in which regular brushing will help prevent fur from ending up all over the house.

More on German Shepherd shedding and brushing right here:

Grooming a German Shepherd: All You Need to Know

Do German Shepherds Shed? All You Need to Know

This breed is very active, which means German Shepherds require lots of daily exercise to keep them happy. If they are not given opportunities to be active enough, they will begin to act out.

To keep your pup satisfied and your living room intact, take advantage of the fact that these dogs love swimming, agility, tracking, and even frisbee! The mental stimulation that is associated with these activities is necessary for dogs with their degree of intellect.

Don’t believe us about frisbee? We’d love to prove you wrong! Just check out this informative and well-illustrated article:

Can German Shepherds Play Frisbee?

Tackling obedience training and socialization at a young age will make your job as a dog owner much easier in the long run. German Shepherds will show tremendous results when trained consistently and in a positive manner.

They do not respond well to negative-enforcement or punishment-based training. More on this right here:

How To Socialize Your German Shepherd

A well-bred German Shepherd should be relatively healthy. However, poorly informed breeders may not look into the bulk of health issues that can affect a German Shepherd’s life (more on this shortly). 

For most dogs German Shepherds, the biggest health concern is a case of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV), also referred to as bloat or twisted stomach.

This is a sudden, life-threatening veterinary emergency. Shepherds should also be screened regularly for their hip and elbow health. 

To understand more completely about the joint issues that all German Shepherds may likely face at some point in their lives, especially during their older years, be sure to read the article linked below:

German Shepherd Joint Problems: All You Need to Know

Characteristics of Shiba Inu German Shepherds

Shiba Inu German Shepherds are highly athletic to optimize endurance and power. They are considered medium to large dogs.

Depending on how much they lean towards Shiba Inu genetics or German Shepherd ones, these dogs can stand upwards of 22 inches (56 centimeters) and weigh around 40 to 60 pounds (18.1 to 27.2 kilograms). 

Shiba Shepherd crosses are lean and long while being very muscular, maintaining their Shepherd parentage’s body type.

However, their faces resemble that of a fox – a trait distinct to Shiba Inus – with almond-shaped eyes that are dark brown.

Shiba Inu German Shepherd mixes also bear pointed ears, a characteristic found in both individual breeds. 

Don’t be afraid to let your Shiba Shepherd spend some time outdoors as their medium to long length double coat will keep them well insulated even in colder temperatures.

However, beware if anyone in your household has allergies as these dogs are definitely going to shed! 

Although they can be found in virtually all color combinations, mixes of tan and red are the most common. They’ll typically have black markings on their bodies as well. So, you can expect to be vacuuming up a variety of different fur colors!

Just take a look at this video of a German Shepherd Shiba Inu mix to see for yourself how upbeat and fun these dogs can be for the right owner:

What to Expect From Shiba Inu German Shepherds

When considering a Shiba Shepherd as your canine companion, you’ll need to be sure you can provide the care and lifestyle that they need.

You should also be prepared to deal with any negative health outcomes that this breed is prone to before bringing one home.


Get ready to get some steps in! Shiba Inu German Shepherds are highly athletic dogs who require ample exercise every day. This mixed breed dog will need to get at least 75 minutes of active moment on a daily basis.

This might look like taking your pup to the off-leash (fenced-in) dog park, bringing them along for a run while you cycle, or letting them go for a swim in the lake.

Like all active dogs, make sure you take their athletic needs seriously. If they do not have a chance to release their energy, you might come home to a moody dog chewing up your furniture and acting out on you.

They are also a highly intelligent breed, so they will need lots of mental stimulation. Also, leaving your Shiba Shepherd alone for extended periods will cause them to be very unhappy.

A great way to provide any highly intelligent dog with adequate mental stimulation is by providing them with a puzzle toy. A great example of one such toy is this one made by Outward Hound.

This toy is a full mind and body exercise for you pup, as it requires their mind to think of the solution and their paws and muzzle to unlock the tasty treat reward!

Keeping your pup occupied with an interactive toy like this will also give them a sense of accomplishment, and they will love the praise that you shower on them when they succeed!

While they do not require excessive amounts of attention, they do best when given a task to do, as both GSDs and Shiba Inus were originally bred as working dogs as we have previously discussed.

Be sure to dedicate sufficient time to training your dog since merely letting them run around in the yard will not be satisfying enough for them.

Luckily, Shiba Inu German Shepherd hybrids are not very vocal dogs. They usually will be relatively quiet unless they find barking necessary. T

his, however, does not mean they won’t protect you! These crosses are excellent watchdogs and loyal to their families. No harm will ever be done to you if they have a say in it!

German Shepherds guard by instinct, so with their German Shepherd background, they’re always ready to guard their loved ones. For more on this, be sure to check out this useful article:

Will My German Shepherd Protect Me Without Training?


Keeping Shiba Inu German Shepherds regularly stimulated and active is arguably the most important aspect of their care.

Having them well trained to curb their aggression and territorial nature is also necessary. Socialization at a young age will help avoid unfriendly encounters with strangers. 

Since Shiba Shepherds shed, you will not need to take them to the groomer’s to maintain their fur length, though moderate brushing is necessary.

A product like the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush from Amazon would work well on a Shiba Inu German Shepherd’s coat.

They should also have their nails trimmed monthly to avoid pain or structural issues. This can be done at home using a professional tool like the Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder.

We love this grinder in particular not only because it’s highly effective, but it’s whisper quiet. This helps keep your dog calm during nail maintenance, which can be a highly stressful experience for a lot of dogs.

If you are uncomfortable doing this by yourself, you can always take your pup to the groomers.

As with all dogs, you should always take them to regular veterinary visits in order to ensure that your dog is in optimal health and to catch any potential illness that German Shepherd mixes are prone to as soon as possible. 

Possible Health Concerns

A healthy Shiba Inu German Shepherd can live between 7 and 15 years. Though Shiba Inus are typically quite healthy dogs, poorly-bred German Shepherds are prone to a long list of adverse health outcomes. These include, but are not limited to:

Some ailments a German Shepherd mix may face can be relatively easy to treat and live with, but others can require medical or surgical intervention and seriously impact their quality of life. 

While it’s hard to predict whether your Shiba Shepherd will experience any of these illnesses, it is important to prepare for the worst.

Vet bills can add up in the blink of an eye, and you should always be making decisions in your pup’s best interest, even when they are hard. 

Ideal Family

The ideal families for Shiba Shepherd are well-seasoned dog owners. Since this hybrid is so intelligent, work-driven, and in need of ample training, they are not an ideal breed for first-time canine families. 

Shiba Inu German Shepherds also have naturally high prey drive. To avoid having your pup bring small animals like mice or bunnies into your house, you’ll have to begin training and socializing them at a young age. 

Shiba Shepherds may be wary when you first introduce them to someone new. This means they may be overly protective and guarded until they learn that this person is not a threat to their family.

However, once comfortable around someone they see regularly, these dogs will accept and welcome them.

This breed is compatible with kids, but they are best suited with older children, as they are less likely to annoy this somewhat intolerant breed.

The Controversy of Hybrid Dogs

Many animal lovers and activists are against the concept of specially bred designer dogs. Since there is no official organization representing designer dogs, there are no standards in place for breeding. 

The ethical issue with this is that these breeding dogs may not be properly screened for genetic, health, or personality issues.

In contrast, purebreds are held to a number of different standards put in place by the AKC to ensure the dogs are bred for optimal health and livelihood.

As these breeders do not have any standards to meet and crossbreeds are on the rise in popularity, there is a high risk of breeders not caring for their dogs properly.

Instead, they take on the puppy mill model and exploit their animals to maximize their profits. Should you want to get a Shiba Inu German Shepherd mix, it is very important that you be mindful of this and thoroughly research the breeder that you are considering.

Many also make the unbacked claim that breeding two dogs will result in their offspring bearing the most desirable traits of both parents. Keep in mind though, that there is also an equal risk that the two breeds’ most undesirable traits will be shown instead. 

Final Thoughts

The Shiba Inu German Shepherd breed is a hybrid of two incredible types of dogs.

Both Shiba Inus and German Shepherds are loyal, intelligent, sensory-driven, active breeds, which means their mixed puppies are going to take on similar characteristics.

Shiba Shepherds are a great breed for experienced dog owners who can dedicate time to training them and ensure they get regular exercise every day.

These dogs are a great breed for many dog lovers, as long as their temperament, care routine, ideal family life, and health risks are taken into account.

When paired with the right owners who love and care for them, Shiba Inu German Shepherds are great dogs who can live a long and happy life.