If you’re considering a ShibaInu as your service animal, there’s a lot you need to know!Affectionate, loyal and alert, these mighty half-pint pups make the perfect emotional support animal (ESA.) They may be a little headstrong which can be difficult to train through, or even dress them in their ESA vest; their clever and playful nature makes up for it.If you’re interested in learning more about Japan’s smallest yet oldest Spitz, keep reading.


ShibaInus are the smallest in their familial breed. But, don’t let their size fool you!Bred initially to flush out birds and small game for hunters, the Shiba is in a class of their own. Having well-developed muscles and felineesque agility they make great active companions. Males usually have an average height of 15 inches, while femalesare a bit smaller averaging at about 14 inches. Falling into AKC standards, these medium-sized dogs won’t exceed 25 pounds.

With attentive perky, prick ears and a playfully curled tail, these naturally breed animals are adorable. Their fox-like coat comes in a few color variants, too; red, black, tan, sesame, and cream.Shiba’s also have what the Japanese call “urajiro” or “countershading,” which refers to the white markings along their underside. The urajiro of your Shiba is what makes him or her so unique.


The Japaneseuse three words to describe their Shiba breeds: Kan-i, Ryosei, and Soboku. Kan-idescribes their bold spirit and mental agility. Ryosei means they have a gentle disposition and good nature. Soboku is their keen alertness and docile temperament.

Like all breeds, ShibaInus do have areas that could be improved upon through training. Owners should be diligent in working on their Shiba’s socialization as pups. Training good canine manners is easier and more effective when it starts at a young age. A little stubborn and a natural guard, patiently working through these behaviors will help hone in on the qualities you are looking for; theKan-i, Ryosei, and Soboku. Your puppy pal will be on their way to becoming a strong, dependable partner wearing an ESA dog vest.


Natural escape artists, these roaming dogs are best suited to homes with a fenced yard. With a natural inclination to flush out small wildlife, they’re always ready to chase squirrels, birds, and even the neighborhood’s stray cat. It’s important to keep your Shiba well fed with high-quality food that’ll keep them nourished and healthy. As active as they are, it’s important not to overfeed any pet so limit meal times to twice daily instead of roaming meals all night.

This breed has a heavy semiannual shed. Referred to as “blow” coat, think of it like a snowstorm hitting all your furniture and clothing. You can help your pup through their shed by gently plucking the undercoat of your fur baby. It’s painless and will help control the spread of that shed – which can amount to enough to make three pillows! Nail-trimming is a must too, and you’ll know it’s time by that click-click-clack against the floor.

With the right early training, ShibaInuscan become dependable service dogs, and make for a beautiful companion. If you’re interested in learning more about them and how to train them for an ESA vest, ask a trainer specializing in this breed to help you out.