Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Dogs > Does a Shiba Inu Like to Cuddle? Breed Temperament & Bonding Tips

Does a Shiba Inu Like to Cuddle? Breed Temperament & Bonding Tips

Shiba being pet

If there’s one dog that perfectly embodies what a cuddly dog should look like, it’s the Shiba Inu. But did you know that just because a dog looks cuddly, it doesn’t mean that it is cuddly? Surely that’s not the case with Shiba Inus, right?

That’s what we aim to uncover here today. As a general answer, Shiba Inus are not the most cuddly dog around. So, join us as we set out to unveil the cuddle mystery surrounding Shiba Inus. Just thinking about their adorable cheeks and irresistible faces makes us want to squeeze them, so let’s explore their snuggle potential.


Can You Cuddle With Shiba Inu?

To understand a Shiba Inu’s affinity for cuddling, we must first consider their origins. Shibas happen to be one of the most ancient canine breeds. Because of this fact, they exhibit a trace of their wild ancestry in their temperament. And believe it or not, this dash of “wild” often presents a no-cuddle zone.

It’s true—Shiba Inus are not so open to free cuddles. This revered breed often maintains a level of distance from unfamiliar faces. And winning a Shiba’s trust and approval is a process that requires time and patience.

The good news is that the reward, in the end, is absolutely worth the effort. If you can win over your Shiba—which most owners eventually do—you’ll gain access to a world of fluffy cuddles that most dog owners only dream about.

Image Credit: Elena Shvetsova, Shutterstock

divider-dog paw

Guidelines to Nurture a Cuddlier Relationship With Your Shiba

Although Shibas may not show affection through a traditional understanding of cuddling, their unique way of expressing love needs addressing. For fans of these independent furballs, the effort to earn their love and approval becomes a fulfilling journey. And we have the inside track on how to do just that!

Despite their initial hesitation, with time, patience, and the right approach, your Shiba Inu might discover that cuddling isn’t as bad as it seems. Here are some tips to gently guide your Shiba toward a cuddlier bond:

1. Take It Slow

Never force your Shiba into uncomfortable situations. If your pet appears distressed with excessive handling, go slow. Start with brief moments of attention, coupled with ample positive reinforcement, like praise or treats.

Owner is feeding the shiba inu puppy at the park
Image By: UvGroup, Shutterstock

2. Incorporate Cuddling With Favorite Activities

If your Shiba relishes treats, use them along with short cuddle sessions. If playtime is what your Shiba cherishes, intertwine it with cuddling. These associations might help your pet embrace the notion of cuddling with more comfort.

3. Mind Their Sensitivities

Shiba Inus are known for their sensitivity. Watch for signs that something may be causing discomfort, be it noises, certain locations, or specific objects. Keep these potential triggers at bay during cuddle sessions to create a more relaxed environment.

Your goal is to get your Shiba comfortable with the idea and act of cuddling. If you can do that, you’ll be one step closer to free, inviting cuddles.

Shiba Inu puppy bored at home
Image By: Mark Pesah, Shutterstock

4. Early and Comprehensive Socialization

Start socializing your Shiba Inu at an early age and expose them to a variety of experiences. This will help them become more comfortable around others and may increase their acceptance of cuddling.

5. Obedience Training

Teach your Shiba commands and behaviors that encourage positive interactions and trust-building. Trust is the key to your Shibas heart (and cuddles).

Female throwing a ball and training her shiba inu dog
Image By: Beatriz Vera, Shutterstock

6. Daily Mental and Physical Stimulation

Engage your Shiba in stimulating activities to keep them content and more receptive to bonding. Shibas need ample activity throughout the day. A lack of it can lead to negative behavior.

7. Recognize Ideal Cuddle Opportunities

Identify the times when your Shiba is most relaxed, such as naptime or after vigorous play. These moments are prime cuddle opportunities.

Lastly, consider developing a specific cue, such as “Cuddle time!” to help your Shiba understand when it’s time to snuggle. If you’re doing everything right, this cue should excite your Shiba to come cuddle.



As cute as they may be, Shiba Inus might not be the poster pups for cuddling. But if you’re patient, gentle, and understanding, you can nurture a beautiful bond that even involves a few cherished cuddles.

Remember, every Shiba is unique, and so is their relationship with cuddling. Embrace it, and there’s a good chance they’ll embrace you.

Featured Image Credit: Elena Shvetsova, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets