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Home > Dogs > Is a Shiba Inu a Good Guard Dog? Breed Temperament & Alternatives

Is a Shiba Inu a Good Guard Dog? Breed Temperament & Alternatives

shiba inu dog walking with his owner

Shiba Inus have a lot going for them; they’re smart as a whip, faithful, and very in tune with their environment, but how would they fare as guard dogs? Taking into account common Shiba Inu characteristics, these dogs are more likely to make better watchdogs than guard dogs.

Read on to find out why.


Watchdog vs Guard Dog: What’s the Difference?

First of all, it’s essential to understand what exactly a watchdog and a guard dog do and how their roles are different. In a nutshell, a watchdog simply barks very loudly to let you know that there’s a potential intruder lurking about. Breeds of all sizes can make excellent watchdogs, including Shiba Inus, as long as they have an alert nature.

On the other hand, a guard dog is often large in size and physically imposing. The role of a properly-trained guard dog is to protect people and property by scaring away potential threats rather than by attacking.

This could be achieved by growling, barking, baring teeth, and intimidating the threatening presence with size and power. If the intruder enters the property or moves to attack in spite of the dog’s warnings, the guard dog might proceed to attack or incapacitate that intruder.

shiba inu dog wearing leash looking at the side
Image By: MitchyPQ, Shutterstock

What Is an Attack Dog?

An attack dog has a different role to watch dogs and guard dogs. These dogs are often trained by law enforcement organizations and the military to attack or incapacitate either on command or by sight. Attack dogs that have received proper training only attack when necessary and are very well-rounded and obedient to their trainer.

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Are Shiba Inus Good Guard Dogs?

While Shiba Inus have the traits necessary to make fantastic watchdogs, they’re less likely to be effective guard dogs. Though Shiba Inus are often very alert and have distinctive, piercing, and/or sharp barks and a natural wariness of strangers, they’re not very large and may not be physically imposing enough to deter the most determined intruders.

Furthermore, guard dogs should be highly responsive to training to ensure they turn out well-rounded, and Shiba Inus are famously independent and strong-willed. This doesn’t mean they can’t be trained, but it does mean that training them can be more of a challenge.

These dogs are also renowned escape artists. According to the American Kennel Club, Shiba Inus aren’t very reliable when it comes to free-roaming, no matter how well you train them. If you leave a door open by accident and the Shiba slips out, it’s possible that they just run without looking back.

Therefore, if, for example, you let your Shiba Inu out into the yard to scare off an intruder, there’s no guarantee they won’t just slip out of the gate and escape. Taking everything into account, these traits don’t make for the most reliable guard dog.

All that said, some intruders may be deterred by a protective Shiba Inu, as they might be by any dog that growls, barks, or bares teeth at them.

two shiba inu dog resting
Image By: MitchyPQ, Shutterstock

Which Dog Breeds Are the Best Guard Dogs?

If you’re considering honing your dog’s guardianship skills, it’s important to remember that proper training and socialization are key to developing a well-rounded dog. The American Kennel Club compiled a list of the best guard dog breeds based on common breed traits like fearlessness, loyalty, alertness, intuition, and strength.


Final Thoughts

To recap, though Shiba Inus are loyal, watchful, and alert, there is no guarantee they’d make effective guard dogs against intruders, largely due to their smaller size and the fact that they can be challenging to train.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t take away from the Shiba Inu’s natural protectiveness, sensitivity, and alertness, and these traits are likely to make Shiba Inus great watchdogs that will sound the alarm loudly and clearly if they’re suspicious of something or someone.

Featured Image Credit: ikate25, Shutterstock

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