Shiba Inu vs Husky: Complete Breed Comparison With Photos

In this guide we’ll break down the differences between the shiba inu vs husky, as well as the similarities, to see how these two dogs compare.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the similarities and differences between the shiba inu and husky before we get into an overview of each breed.

An infographic summarising the shiba inu vs husky

Shiba Inu Quick Overview

Shiba inus are a hunting breed that originates from Japan. They are one of 6 spitz breeds that are native to Japan, and the smallest of them as well.

Shiba inus are small to medium-sized dogs, with a lot of modern shiba inus bred to be on the small end of the spectrum.

They are highly intelligent and very playful and make great companion dogs.

Shiba inus are actually quite commonly bred with huskies. You can learn more about this crossbreed in our guide here.

Siberian Husky Quick Overview

Huskies were bred by the Chukchi people of Siberia to assist with pulling sleds over long distances.

Huskies have a pack mentality and were not used for guarding or hunting, but rather as a functional part of a pack to work.

Huskies retain a large capacity for exercise due to this and like to be around other dogs due to their pack mentality.

They are very intelligent but difficult to train as they can be stubborn and independent.

They have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming and are not suited for being left alone as they will get bored easily and can develop destructive behaviors.

Shiba Inu vs Husky Appearance

Before we get into all the minor differences, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first.

Shiba inu vs siberian husky comparison graphic

Shiba inus and huskies obviously look very different. Huskies have a wolf-life appearance, whereas shiba inus look more like teddy bears or foxes.

Differences Between Shiba Inus And Huskies

Let’s take a look at the other factors that set shiba inus and huskies apart.


There is a clear size difference between shiba inus and huskies:

Technically speaking huskies are classed as medium-sized dogs while shiba inus are small to medium-sized dogs.

Compatibility With Other Dogs

Huskies are more compatible with other dogs due to their pack nature.

Shiba inus, on the other hand, have to be the dominant dog in the household which can cause problems and friction with other dogs.

There are of course exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, shibas will require more training and socialization to get along with other dogs.

Exercise Requirements

Given the husky’s background, it’s no surprise that they need a lot of exercise.

You should ideally exercise your husky for 2 hours per day, and they are capable of much more if trained properly (over 100 miles per day!).

Shiba inus can also exercise a lot, and become irritable if they are not exercised enough, but they are not on the same level as the husky.

Shiba inus thrive with around 1 hour of exercise per day, which is still a respectable amount.

Similarities Between Shiba Inu And Huskies

There are actually a surprising number of similarities between the shiba inu and husky.

Working Background

Huskies and shiba inus both have working backgrounds.

Huskies were originally bred by the Chukchi people of Siberia to pull sleds over long distances in packs. Shiba inus, on the other hand, originate from Japan where they were used primarily for small game and ground bird hunting.

This is the primary reason why both of these dogs require a lot of mental stimulation and exercise; they are used to having an active role to fulfil.


Huskies and shiba inus are both commonly called ‘drama queens’, and for good reason.

Both breeds are very vocal and will let you know if something is wrong or displeasing them.

When you combine this with how intelligent they are, it makes for dogs that can quickly rule over their owners rather than the other way around.

Independent & Difficult To Train

Both huskies and shiba inus are notoriously hard to train.

This stems from the fact that they are not particularly interested in pleasing their owners and are quite independent. If you’ve ever heard of these breeds being compared to cats, you’ll know exactly what this is talking about.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible to train these breeds, it is just a lot more effort than other breeds that thrive in pleasing their owners (think border collies, for example).

Escape Artists

Huskies and shiba inus are notorious escape artists.

This means they will try to escape where they can. If you leave them outside and your fence is either not big enough or can be dug underneath, you better believe they will try to get out of it.

This comes from their intelligence and nature. They love to explore and are very curious breeds.

There’s also a good chance that they might spot a small animal and run after it without giving it a second thought.

Prey Drive

Shiba inus clearly have a strong prey drive due to their origins as hunting dogs, but huskies also have a high prey drive despite primarily being used for pulling sleds.

This means that both breeds are prone to chasing off after small animals without a second thought, and it’s why you should really consider using a leash when in an unsecured outside location.

It’s also why both breeds are not ideal for households with carts or other small dogs or animals.

While you can have success with it, you need to put in the work to train and socialize them, ideally from a young age.

Double Coats

Shiba inus and huskies have thick double coats designed to keep them warm in harsh environments and also cool when it becomes warm.

A double coat is essentially a coat that is made of two layers; one short dense undercoat layer and one long topcoat.

Double-coated breeds require regular grooming and even more so when they are blowing coat, which is the process of transferring from their winter to summer coat.

Average Lifespan & Health

Shiba inus and huskies are quite healthy breeds, both having an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years old.

In Summary

Shiba inus and huskies actually share a lot of the same personality traits, and are quite difficult to train due to a combination of their intelligence and lack of motivation to please their owners.

For this reason, they need experienced owners who know how to train them properly and can assert themselves as leader.

Huskies are more work as they are larger and need more exercise, whereas shiba inus are smaller and require less exercise.

Huskies tend to get along with other dogs and children better, but shiba inus are also capable given the right training and support.

Want to see more husky breed comparisons? Check out some of our others here:

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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