Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More


Nicole Cosgrove

The Imo Inu is a medium sized mixed dog being the cross of a Shiba Inu and an American Eskimo Dog. She is also called an Eskinu, Shiba-mos, American Eskimo Dog/Shiba Inu Mix. She takes part in competitive obedience and agility and has a life span of 12 to 15 years.
Here is the Imo Inu at a Glance
Average height Up to 20 inches
Average weight 20 to 40 pounds
Coat type Harsh, rough, thick
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Low to moderate
Shedding Low to Moderate
Brushing Two to three times a week, when shedding starts brush daily
Touchiness Fairly sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? If more like the Shiba very tolerant to being alone, if more like the American Eskimo low tolerance!
Barking Occasional
Tolerance to Heat Moderate
Tolerance to Cold Very good
Good Family Pet? Very good
Good with Children? Good to very good with socialization, better if raised with them
Good with other Dogs? Good to very good with socialization
Good with other Pets? Good to very good with socialization
A roamer or Wanderer? Above average
A Good Apartment Dweller? Very good
Good Pet for new Owner? Good
Trainability Moderate – can be independent and need firm handling
Exercise Needs Fairly active
Tendency to get Fat Low to moderate
Major Health Concerns Chylothorax, eye problems, cancer, epilepsy, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
Other Health Concerns Allergies, hip dysplasia, tail chasing
Life Span 12 to 15 years
Average new Puppy Price $300 to $900
Average Annual Medical Expense $450 to $550
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $355 to $450

Where does the Imo Inu come from?

The Imo Inu is an example of a designer dog, a trend that has occurred in the last twenty years where mixed breeds are deliberately created, some making sense and some not! With the majority of these dogs we do not know who intentionally bred the first and why. It is important when looking at mixed breeds to avoid puppy mills and other disreputable breeders as they have been quick to jump on this trend to make money selling dogs they have no care for and sadly many of whom are not healthy. To get a sense of what the Imo Inu comes from we can look at the history and personality of the parent breeds.

The American Eskimo Dog

Not much is known about the origins of the American Eskimo Dog before the 18th century. Immigrants in the States from Germany brought with them a small white Spitz like dog, which were called American Spitz dogs for a while. He was a companion dog but was also used as an entertainer by places like traveling circuses where he did well because he was able to learn tricks so well and because he stood out with his white coat. In 1917 he was renamed to the American Eskimo Dog though we do not know why!

Today he is still clever and trainable and enjoys showing off tricks. He has a lot of energy and loves to play and needs lots of exercise. He is a good watchdog being wary of strangers and if he does not get enough mental and physical stimulation he can become poorly behaved. He does have a strong will so needs a firm trainer with confidence. He is a great family dog but does not do well left alone for a long time.

The Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu comes from Japan and was bred to be a hunting dog for those hunting smaller game and birds. World War II was a tough time for him as many died in the bombing and those that survived suffered from distemper. Breeding programs had to be established to save the breed. He was first brought to America in 1954.

He is an alert dog, confident and sometimes stubborn. He is a good family dog being affectionate and loyal but is suspicious of strangers, making him a good watchdog. He is not a good sharer so do not expect him to share toys, food and so on and make sure children know this about him. He does not get on well with other animals or dogs, the former he sees as prey to chase. He is smart and can be trained but often even when trained he will decide whether to follow a command or not!


The Imo Inu is a bold, energetic and independent dog who always seems to be happy and loves to play and be active. She is intelligent and loyal and eager to please making her fairly easy to train as long as you can be firm during those stubborn moments! She loves attention and being a central part of the family and is a very social dog. She is a lot of fun and has the odd inclination to licking everything!

What does an Imo Inu look like

She is a medium sized dog weighing 20 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 20 inches tall. She has a stout look with a wedge shaped head and fairly muscular body. Her face has dark almond eyes, a triangle black nose and ears that are erect and triangular also. Her coat is harsh, thick and tends to be heavier near the neck. Her tail bows above her behind and is plumed and common colors are black, golden, white, gray, tan and brown.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Imo Inu need to be?

She needs to be fairly active and have regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. She would enjoy trips to the dog park, two brisk walks a day, going for a jog even with you. She should get at least an hour possible two, a day of exercise and play time.

Does she train quickly?

She is fairly easy to train as long as you can establish yourself as pack leader in a firm, positive and consistent manner. She has an independent streak that means she will try to be willful unless you have made it clear you are pack leader and she has to obey you. Early socialization and training are vital for all dogs as it is the best way to get a well rounded and great dog. The Imo Inu tends to be a perfectionist and details are important to her. When she is learning she will make she gets it exactly so.

Living with an Imo Inu

How much grooming is needed?

She does have a thick coat and there will be some shedding, which will get worse during the seasonal shedding times. Brush it daily to help avoid matting and remove some loose hairs and you will have to vacuum after her daily too. Trim her nails when they get too long taking care not to cut too low as there are nerves and blood vessels in there. Her teeth should be brushed at least three times a week and her ears wiped and checked once a week. When it comes to bathing her just do it when she is looking or smelling quite dirty and use a dog shampoo only.

What is she like with children and other animals?

With socialization and training she is good to very good with children, she plays with them and is affectionate towards them. Since she loves to play and so do they it is a good match! Just teach them things they should not be doing with any dog like tail or ear pulling or messing with her food. She tends to see smaller animals as prey to chase but gets on usually well with other dogs.

General information

She will need to be fed 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of good quality dry dog food split into two meals a day. She loves the snow and is much better in cooler climates than warm ones. If you live where the summer months get hot keep her inside more, make sure she has water all the time and let her sleep on your bathroom tiled floor where it is nice and cool. She does bark occasionally.

Health Concerns

Health issues that may come up if you own an Imo Inu are ones she may inherit from her parents including Chylothorax, eye problems, cancer, epilepsy, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Allergies, hip dysplasia and tail chasing. To have a better chance at having a healthy dog ask to see health clearances from the breeder and buy only from good breeders.

Costs involved in owning an Imo Inu

A puppy of this mixed breed will cost between $300 to $900. Other costs for medical tests, shots, deworming, chipping and spaying and for a crate, carrier and collar and leash come to $455 – $500. Average annual medical expenses for pet insurance, check ups, vaccinations and flea prevention come to $450 to $550. Average annual non-medical expense for food, toys, treats, license and training come to $355 to $450.


Looking for a Imo Inu Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

This is a lovely dog suitable for apartment living as long as she can still get enough outside time. She would be best suited to an owner who knows how to establish themselves as pack leader, and since she does shed some you need to be prepared and accepting of this too! She will be loyal, fun and a great addition to your family.

Featured Image Credit: 1, 2.

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.