Shiba Inu vs. German Shepherd: Similarities and Differences

Shiba Inu vs German ShepherdWhen it comes to finding a furry family member there are many breed options out there. If you are looking for a fluffy dog with a decent energy level, both the Shiba Inu and the German Shepard will be on the list. While there are multiple similarities between these two breeds, they also have their own unique qualities as well. 


Differences and Similarities 

While these two dogs share certain physical characteristics, it is actually their personalities that share more similarities. Despite these similarities, the German Shepherd and the Shiba Inu are vastly different as well. In order to decide if one of these types of dogs is the right fit for you, and if so which one, we need to break down these differences and similarities further. 


For some people looking to add a dog to the family, the amount of drool is a huge concern. Luckily neither the Shiba Inu nor the German Shepherd are large droolers. However, what they lack in drool they make up for in fur.

When it comes to shedding, both of these breeds deserve a gold metal. Thankfully neither of these dogs needs constant grooming but frequent brushing is recommended. Twice a year both the Shiba Inu and the German Shepherd will blow their coats. During this time be ready for constant fur tumbleweeds. 

Barking is another quality to take into consideration. German Shepherds are fantastic guard dogs. As such they are liable to bark, especially if people are coming onto their property. Shiba Inus are also decent guard dogs and may bark as well. However, the Shiba Inu has their own signature sound. These dogs are well known for their dramatic Shiba scream. This scream is a sound they make when they are put in situations they dislike or are anxious about. These ear piercing shrieks can often be heard at the veterinary office, especially when it comes to the dreaded nail trim.

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The Shiba Inu and the German Shepherd both have the ability to be very apprehensive dogs. For this reason it is essential for both of them to be properly socialized and trained. Lack of socialization can potentially lead to aggression in these breeds.

See also: Shiba Inu vs Basenji

German Shepherds are very protective dogs, both of their owners and their possessions such as food and toys. This possessiveness can lead to lash out at other dogs or at people who may be encroaching on them without their consent.

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While Shiba Inus can also be nervous dogs, they are usually most apprehensive about new people or places. This breed is known for being less adaptable and may attack people if they are not comfortable. Training and socialization to both a plethora of people and situations at a young age can help curb this. 

While training is essential for Shiba Inus they tend to be very stubborn dogs. This stubborn streak can make training more difficult for owners. On the other hand the German Shepherd is extremely willing to please and therefore much easier to train.

While both of these dogs have high energy levels, the German Shepherd once again comes out on top with a higher energy need. They will continue wanting to run and play long after the Shiba Inu will call it a day and head to the couch for some well earned snuggle time. 

Along with their extreme energy reserves, German Shepherds also need more mental stimulation. With this being said, both the Shepherd and the Shiba Inu need quite a bit of mental stimulation to keep them happy. If these needs aren’t met they are liable to develop behavioral issues, including becoming destructive. Boredom is not your friend when it comes to these two dog breeds. 

Even though both of these breeds have needs when it comes to socialization, energy levels and mental stimulation, they are very loving dogs. Both the Shepherd and the Shiba Inu are affectionate dogs and love to cuddle with their owners. If supplied with training and support, both of these breeds can be great with people and children. Either one of these dogs can make wonderful additions to the family. 

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Shiba Inus are the smaller of these two breeds. They normally weigh around 20 pounds and stand up to 16.5 inches tall. The small stature helps them be more agile which was necessary for their original job of flushing out birds and small animals for hunters. 

German Shepherds are much larger and can weigh up to 90 pounds. The big males can reach 26 inches tall at the shoulders. This breed was originally bred for herding but has since branched out into many other avenues. These include police work, military dogs and other service dogs.

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While the German Shepherd is the larger of these two breeds, they unfortunately have the smaller lifespan. In most cases, larger dogs sadly have shorter life expectancies compared to the smaller breeds.. A German Shepherd’s typical lifespan reaches at most 12 years. The smaller Shiba Inu however can live up to 16 years.

German Shepherds and Shiba Inus: Which One is Best for You?

When it comes to making a decision about which one of these fun and loving dogs is best for you it is important to take a few things into account. For example, your housing and work situation. If you live in a small apartment, the large German Shepherd may be a less ideal candidate for you. Likewise if you have a very busy work life it is important to decide if you have the ability to meet a German Shepherd’s energy requirements. In these cases a Shiba Inu may be a better fit for you.

On the other hand if you are new to having a dog and are concerned about the ability to train them appropriately, the stubborn Shiba Inu may be too much to handle. Or perhaps you are in the opposite situation and want a dog that you can train to be a working dog. If so, then a German Shepherd may be a better fit for your needs.

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Can German Shepherds and Shiba Inus Get Along?

So you can’t decide between the big, sweet German Shepherd and the little firecracker Shiba Inu. Now what? Well the best answer is to get both, as long as these two high energy pups can get along. While both of these dogs have the potential to be great house mates, they are also nervous breeds. For this reason if you do choose to get both, it is extremely important to train and socialize them to many other dogs so they are comfortable. This will make it easier for them to interact safely. 

If you can handle double trouble when it comes to puppies, getting both of these dogs as young pups can be the most ideal route.. That way they can grow, learn and train together. This will help ensure that they will be lifelong friends.