What Is an Allergy-Free Dog?
If you have dog allergies but would love a canine friend, you’ve probably heard about hypoallergenic dog breeds. These canines are classified as such because of low shedding and are not likely to trigger an allergic reaction. However, can a dog be completely allergy-free?
No. It’s a myth.
There are breeds that can live with allergy sufferers, but it would be wrong to say that these dogs are totally allergen-free.
The truth is, allergies are caused by a protein found in dog urine, saliva, and dead skin cells (dander). As all dogs urinate, have saliva, and shed dead skin, it’s impossible for a dog to be 100% hypoallergenic.
The good news is that low-shedding dogs don’t release as much dander as heavy-shedding breeds. Hence, are unlikely to cause your allergy symptoms to flare up.
You can learn more about hypoallergenic dogs in our guide on What Is a Hypoallergenic Dog?
The Shiba Inu is a medium-sized dog, originating in Japan, and came to the West just sixty years ago. Shiba Inus have a fox-like appearance and a confident and alert personality.
Shiba Inus have a double coat and come in various colors, including black, tan, and red. These adorable dogs also have white markings, which make their fluffy coats even more striking.
The Shiba Inu has a dense double coat made up of the following:
- Soft and thick undercoat.
- Overcoat covered in straight and stiff hair.
This coat gives your Shiba Inu a fluffy appearance, and they look like a fox-teddy-bear hybrid — you won’t be able to resist stroking a Shiba.
Do Shiba Inus shed a lot? Well, the answer varies depending on who you ask!
Often breed write-ups will describe the Shiba Inu as a moderate shedder, with two heavy shedding periods twice a year. However, Shiba Inu parents say that their dog sheds non-stop all year round, and there is nothing moderate about it!
Like the majority of double-coated dog breeds, Shiba Inus blow their coats in the spring and the fall. This heavy shedding can last up to three weeks, and you can expect to find large clumps of fur and hair everywhere.
If you have dog allergies, the Shiba Inu isn’t a good choice for you. They shed all year round, not just when they blow their coat, and they will release lots of dander wherever they go in your home.
Shedding is natural for all dogs and cannot be completely prevented. However, if you want to try and reduce the amount your Shiba Inu sheds, there are a few things you can do.
1. Brush Regularly
A good brushing routine will help keep your Shiba Inu’s coat under control. You don’t have to brush your pooch every day, once or twice every two weeks or so should be fine.
The Shiba Inu’s fur doesn’t usually become matted due to its stiff texture. However, regular brushing can release loose hairs, and it’s a perfect opportunity for one-on-one bonding time with your furry friend.
To keep as much fur as possible out of your house, brush your Shiba outside. By doing this, their fur can’t become stuck to the carpet and your furniture.
As for seasonal shedding, when your Shiba Inu is blowing their coat, you can and should brush them more frequently. Brushing during this time will help to release the shedding fur more quickly.
2. Use a Deshedding Brush
As well as using a regular grooming brush, deshedding tools can also help to keep your dog’s shedding under control.
A deshedding comb is designed to reach down to your dog’s undercoat and gently pull away as much loose fur as possible. Deshedding tools are safe but must be used with caution, this will ensure you don’t accidentally tug at your pooch’s fur or scrape their skin.
Good quality deshedding tools are also built in such a way as to prevent injury and are very effective at helping to keep heavy shedding at bay.
3. Use a Doggy Blow Dryer
During your Shiba’s heavy shedding season your groomer will become your lifesaver. Your local Poodle parlor will be equipped with blow dryers for bow-wows and powerful blowing tools to remove as much loose fur and dead skin as possible.
However, you could save yourself the time and mileage by investing in your own. You can learn more in our Dog Blow Dryers in-depth guide.
That said, a trip to the groomer can be a fun experience for your furry friend, and you won’t have to deal with the mess afterward.
4. Feed Your Shiba Inu a Healthy Diet
Looking after your Shiba Inu’s coat with brushes and deshedding tools will only get you so far. If you want to stop shedding at the source, you need to take care of your dog’s skin.
The best way to ensure this is to feed them a healthy diet. Dogs need to eat a balanced diet, eating premium kibble that’s high in protein and fats and low in carbohydrates.
Cheap and processed dog food rarely has all the nutrients your dog needs and this will reflect in their skin and coat. If your dog’s skin is dry, the hair roots will not be as strong and are more likely to come loose.
Dog foods containing omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can work wonders for your dog’s skin and coat. These essential fats can keep the skin moisturized and encourage the hair to grow strong, keeping shedding to its natural levels.
The Samoyed is an active breed that has the look of the wild, just like the Shiba Inu. However, Samoyeds have a closer resemblance to a wolf than a fox, but if you like that wild-animal look, this breed is one to consider.
Sammies also have fluffy coats and are often found with thick fur the color of snow. While this breed sheds, they are an exception, in that, this double-coated breed produces hardly any dander. As it’s dander that holds the allergen and not the fur, a Samoyed’s shedding isn’t problematic for people with allergies.
Samoyeds enjoy walks and being active, like the Shiba Inu. However, they’re far more friendly around children and strangers. Their more relaxed temperament may be better for families.
If you want a dog with a foxy appearance, the Basenji is a low-shedding alternative to the Shiba Inu. Basenjis are around the same size as Shiba Inus, only around an inch taller and a pound or so heavier.
The Basenji has a smooth and short coat, which is the same color as the Shiba — orange/red with white markings. However, the difference is that Shibas shed their dense double coat all year round, whereas Basenjis are very mild shedders and won’t cover your house in fur.
Both breeds enjoy time with their owners but often come across as aloof and ignorant around strangers and other animals. Basenjis are more likely to prefer a quiet household and are quite happy to spend time alone.
While they may not look like a fox, Irish Terriers are a medium-sized hypoallergenic dog breed, and are just as adorable as the Shiba Inu. Yet one advantage — Irish Terriers release very little dander — they’re mild shedders.
The good news is, they may not have the fluffy coat of a Shiba, but they do come in a similar orangey color. And, while Irish Terriers don’t have that fluffy appearance, they’re affectionate with their family and will lap up all of your love and attention.
Irish Terriers share the alert and lively nature of the Shiba Inu, and they love long walks and being active too. However, training can be difficult thanks to their independent side, so they also have that in common with the headstrong Shiba Inu.
If you love fox-like dogs, the Shiba Inu is a bold and confident pooch. Yet they won’t be your furry best friend if you have allergies.
We’ve shown you a few of our favorite allergy-friendly breeds. However, why not take a look at our complete list of Medium Hypoallergenic Dogs and see if another pooch catches your attention.
To sum it all up, are Shiba Inus hypoallergenic? Unfortunately, with their dense double coat that both sheds all year round and becomes heavier for the change of seasons, Shiba Inus aren’t an allergy-friendly dog breed.
Are Shiba Inus Easy To Train?
Shiba Inus can be difficult to train and may not be suitable for first-time dog owners. This breed has an independent nature and can be aloof with strangers and other animals. You will need to socialize your Shiba Inu early on and remain patient and consistent with your training methods.
Are Shiba Inus a Good Family Dog?
While this breed is loyal and protective of their owners, they’re not the best dogs to have around children. Shibas enjoy doing things their way and can become impatient with kids. Yet, bear in mind, no dog breed should ever be left alone with young children, even if they’re considered ‘family-friendly.’
Do Shiba Inus Bark a Lot?
No. They will bark when someone is at the door, when they are startled or when they greet you with excitement. However, Shiba Inus are not yappy dogs and will not bark for no reason.
Do Shiba Inus Shed a Lot?
Yes. The Shiba will lose fur all year round and blow their entire undercoat in the spring and fall.
How Often Should I Bathe My Shiba?
Shiba Inus need regular baths to keep their coat in perfect condition. Some owners bathe their Shiba Inu weekly. However, providing you aren’t leaving bath time longer than every six weeks, you should be able to keep your dog clean and their coat healthy.