Shiba Inu Corgi Mix: Why We Love the Adorable Shiba Corgi

Mixed breed dogs can make wonderful pets; they are no better or worse than their purebred counterparts.  It is all about the individual dog and also whether their general traits are ones that will mesh well with your lifestyle.

A Shiba Inu Corgi Mix (sometimes referred to as a Corgi Inu or Shiba Corgi) is a mix that is often purposefully bred.  These types of dogs are often referred to as ‘designer dog breeds’ and Corgis specifically have become popular to cross breed with other breeds, like getting mixed with the Siberian Husky.

These breeds are not recognized as official breeds though, and this means that even greater care should be taken if you are considering purchasing a puppy from a breeder.

You should also be aware of the traits of the two breeds that are being crossed as the dog you end up with could have a combination of characteristics from both.

Breed Histories

The Corgi has two distinct individual breeds.  The Pembroke and the Cardigan.  Both of these dogs come from Wales in the United Kingdom, and they have a similar appearance, temperament and size.  In the early days, they were not a separate breed and were used for herding livestock and referred to just as Welsh Corgis.  In 1934 the Kennel Clubs in the UK and US both recognized the growing difference in the two varieties within the breed and they were each recognized in their own right.

Their popularity, particularly that of the Pembroke Corgi, soared as a result of the exposure they gained in the media because they are the favourite breed of Queen Elizabeth II.  The Pembroke was ranked as the 13th most popular breed in the United States by the American Kennel Club in 2018.

The Shiba Inu is widely recognized as being one of the most ancient breeds, with evidence that their lineage goes as far back as 300 b.c.  They were originally used as a hunting dog in Japan; their compact size and athleticism made them ideal for flushing out game.

Despite their history and popularity, the breed almost became extinct during the bombings of World War II and then, consequently, as a result of a devastating spread of the distemper virus.  Luckily the breed survived, and they started to be imported to the United States in the mid 20th century.

The American Kennel Club did not recognize them until 1993, but they continue to grow in popularity.  They are thought to be the most popular breed in Japan, and in 2018 they ranked 44th out of 193 breeds in the United States by the AKC.

Appearance

A Shiba Inu Corgi Mix could be a very quirky looking dog.  You will likely have a medium sized dog.  The Shiba Inu does not usually weigh more than 23 pounds, and the Corgi between 30 and 38 pounds (depending on whether they are the bigger Cardigan or not).

Corgis and the Shiba Inu have thick double coats, and they shed a lot, especially during their annual shedding season. This mix can come in a wide variety of colors too.  Both breeds come in red, and this is the most common coloring of the Shiba Inu.

Shibas also come in black and sesame, black and tan, sesame (red coat with black-tipped hairs), and they also all have Urajiro coloring – a creamy white shade around some parts of their face, body and legs.

Pembroke Corgis come in black and tan, fawn, sable and red colorings.  Cardigans come in even more colors including merles and brindles.  They typically have shaved off tails and have their adorable corgi butts exposed.

Shiba Inus have a more slender physique than a Corgi, with longer legs.  A Corgi tends to be quite stocky with a long back and shorter legs.  The body shape of your Corgi Inu could vary considerably depending on the way the dice falls in terms of their genetics.

And who knows, your dog may end up with a unique Spitz-style, curled over tail that makes the Shiba Inu distinctive too.

Personality Traits

With a Corgi Inu you are likely to get an intelligent, independent, confident and amiable dog.  Their willful nature could mean you will have to be extra diligent and patient with training though.

The Shiba Inu is known for being generally calm, curious, dignified and courageous.  They have a very definite mind of their own, and this can mean they can sometimes be stubborn and headstrong.

They tend to be very loyal and affectionate with their family, but they can be reserved and sometimes even guarded with strangers. They are often better suited to a single dog household as they do not tend to love the company of other dogs.

They are also known for being a generally quiet, non-vocal breed.  You rarely hear a Shiba Inu bark.  They do have a distinctly high pitched and loud yelp that they can produce if unhappy or frightened, and this is often referred to as the ‘Shiba scream’.

Corgis are known for forging strong bonds with their people, especially the Pembroke, and can make extremely affectionate house members.  With proper introductions, they can enjoy the company of other dogs, but they are not a breed that is known for thriving on this, and given the Shibas loner traits, they may be a dog that suits being the only one in the household.

Training

Shibas can be known for becoming protective over items, space or people they perceive as being theirs.  You may need to do some additional training to teach a Corgi Inu that they will be rewarded for voluntarily giving up their prized resource for something else equally as motivating.

If they inherit the trait of not enjoying the company of other dogs, then careful and early socialization will be necessary.  You may need to work on getting your dog to associate other dogs with good things, and that a calm and quiet response to a passing dog will result in them receiving some yummy treats.

A Shiba Inu has a high prey drive and this, combined with their independent nature, means that it can be difficult to achieve a reliable recall.  Unless you are prepared to put a lot of work into it, you may need to keep your dog on a long line unless they are in a very safe, secure and enclosed space.

Corgis can have strong herding instincts, and this is another reason to work on a strong recall, good loose leash walking skills and on helpful distraction techniques. They have been known to chase bikes, cars and even the ankles of excitable running children.

Corgis can also be watchdogs, and they can be territorial over their space if strangers approach.  Unlike the Shiba though, they are usually a lot more vocal about it. If your Corgi Inu inherits this trait, you will need to work on rewarding quiet, alternative behavior.

Exercise

Although both breeds originate from working stock, neither are the highest energy dogs.  They do have moderate exercise requirements though and will not be averse to accompanying their owners on a day hike.

If they do not get decent daily walks, problem behaviors can quickly escalate.  Along with regular physical exercise, you should also make sure that your Corgi Inu is appropriately mentally enriched.  Providing a selection of good interactive treat toys, making time for short training sessions, and allowing them the freedom to sniff on their walks can all help to keep them feeling stimulated.

Grooming

While you will not need to worry about a Shiba Inu Corgi Mix needing to be clipped or getting tangled or matted, regular brushing will help keep their coat and skin in good condition, and it will minimize the amount of hair that is likely to attach to soft furnishings or clothes.  A good vacuum cleaner and a shedding tool like a Furminator will be sensible investments.  They will be a dog that can shed prolifically during their twice-annual moult.

Health

With any mixed breed dogs, they could be prone to developing inheritable conditions from either of the parents.  It is important to be aware of the conditions that both breeds can develop.  If you are buying a puppy, you should also make sure that you go to a responsible breeder.  They will usually have performed health checks on the parents to help minimize the health risks for puppies.

Shiba Inu Health

The Shiba Inu is widely regarded as being a generally very healthy dog.  They do not have as many known inheritable conditions as some other breeds.  Some of the things they can be more prone to include:

Luxating Patella: This is a common hereditary condition across multiple breeds that relates to a loose, slipping knee.  The problem can range in its severity, and, at its worst, surgery is sometimes required.

Eye Problems:  A good breeder will screen for possible congenital and progressive eye conditions.  The Shiba Inu can be prone to a number of eye defects including Glaucoma, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Distichiasis – where hairs grow out of the eyelash area, and this can lead to corneal ulcers.

Allergies:  Shibas can be particularly sensitive to allergies, particularly airborne and food-related ones.  Sometimes these can be managed by eliminating the allergen from the environment or diet, and sometimes medication can help and, in severe cases, immunosuppression therapy is sometimes considered.  This is when a tiny amount of the allergen is injected into the dog regularly in the hope that they will eventually become immune to it.

Corgi Health

Corgis are also susceptible to joint problems like luxating patella and hip dysplasia, and eye problems like Cataracts and PRA.  Detailed below are some other conditions that they can develop.

Back/Spine Issues:  Because of the Corgis confirmation, with an elongated back supported by shorter legs, they can develop back problems.  Degenerative Myelopathy and Intervertebral Disc Disease are more common in this breed than in others.  If your dog has conformation more like the Shiba Inu then this may not be such a problem.

Epilepsy:  Corgis can be more likely to suffer from seizures than many other breeds.  While this can be an extremely distressing experience for the dog and their owner, it can often be managed with changes to lifestyle and medication and is not always a life-limiting condition.

Von Willebrand Disease (VWD):  Because Corgis are prone to this relatively rare condition, good breeders will usually health check the potential parents to make sure that they are not a recessive gene carrier which could mean that the pups would inherit this.  VWD results in the dog not being able to clot their blood efficiently.  This can result in nose bleeds, bleeding gums and extended time for healing.  This is not a curable condition, but it is possible to manage it with medication.

Obesity:  Obesity is a nationwide problem for dogs in today’s society.  The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reported that over 50% of dogs were estimated to be overweight in the United States in 2018.  It is a problem than Corgis are particularly susceptible to.

This means you should carefully portion control, feed a healthy diet, and make sure that your dog is getting appropriate levels of daily exercise.  If your dog becomes obese, it can put additional strain on their joints, cause breathing difficulties, and even cause changes in mood.  Because of the potential spinal problems that a Corgi mix can have, it is even more important to watch their weight.

Nutrition

Every dog should be fed a high quality and carefully portion-controlled diet.  If your dog inherits the Shiba propensity towards allergies, and it is one that is triggered by diet, you may also need to spend some time doing a proper elimination diet (with a limited ingredient food) to work out what food works for your dog without setting off their allergies.  Don’t forget that a true exclusion diet needs to be done for at least 8 to 12 weeks for it to be an accurate measure, and you need to be strict during that time.  It can be useful to take advice from your Vet or a Veterinary Board Certified Canine Nutritionist to help you get this right.

Finding a Shiba Inu Corgi Mix

A Shiba Inu Corgi Mix will likely be an unusual mix to find in need of adoption in your local rescue centre.  If you like either of these breeds though there are breed specific rescues with lots of dogs that require a loving forever home.  Adopting a dog can be hugely rewarding and, even if you can’t get this exact mix, please don’t let this stop you from considering it.

Only purebred dogs will be able to be found through accredited breeders,and this means that, if you decide to buy a puppy, you should do even more research to ensure that your dog is coming from a responsible breeder.  The growth in demand for popular ‘designer’ mixes means that unscrupulous backyard breeders and puppy farms are taking advantage of this.

Some useful tips for making sure you are avoiding supporting this cruel, damaging industry include:

  • Make sure that you see the mum with her puppies in a home environment. If the owner suggests you meet them in some random location to pass you the puppy, sight unseen, run a mile!
  • Your pup should not leave their mother or littermates until they are at least eight weeks old and fully weaned. If they are separated earlier than this, it can negatively impact on their socialization progress and health.
  • A top-notch breeder will have done health checks on the parents to screen for potential inheritable conditions
  • A good breeder will want to know about you, your family and your lifestyle. You should not be offended if they ask you questions about these things.  It is a sign that they want to ensure that their puppies get good homes.
  • Can the breeder provide a veterinary reference? Has the vet checked the mum and her pups?

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a confident, companionable, intelligent, medium-sized dog that has moderate exercise requirements, then the Shiba Inu Corgi Mix could be the right dog for you.

If you aren’t sure that you can handle the independence of the Shiba, there are other great Corgi mixes you may consider, like the labrador corgi mix, the beagle corgi mix, or the ever-popular corgi poo.  All three of these mixed breed designer dogs are popular crosses in today’s market.

They can be strong-willed and may need additional training when it comes to recall and guarding. They may also suit being the only dog in the household.

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