Congratulations on Your New Shiba!
You have just decided to make a Shiba Inu your companion dog, but you have not yet named it. Naming your dog is important, as a short but memorable name can help you when you are giving dog commands or when the dog goes through puppy training.
After all, it is easier to say “Sit” to a dog whose name is easy to pronounce, or to call a dog with a positive and shorter name, than to try to sound out a name that is unique but challenging to say. So what are the best names to give your new Shiba Inu?
Shiba Inu: Brief Background
People choose dog names based on a dog’s looks, personality, or background. But still — choosing a name for your Shiba companion dog may be a challenge.
Not only does the Shiba Inu have an interesting background (it comes from Japan), but it does not regularly bark like other dogs. Instead, it may scream when in distress or whine when trying to communicate. Also, the Shiba’s appearance is quite striking. Its coat may be cream-and-white, reddish-orange, or black sesame. Moreover, the dog may display white markings on its forelegs, hind legs, or chest.
Key major personality traits include alertness, a spirited nature, and a strong will and determination. Therefore, any or all of the above information may influence the name you choose for your companion dog and pet.
If you want to read more about the Shiba Inu, check out our Shiba Inu Breed Guide.
Because of the dog’s Japanese heritage, some Shiba owners choose to call their dog a Japanese name. Let’s begin with some male Japanese names to consider for your new Shiba.
If Your Shiba is a Male:
One name that is unique that is easy to say is Aki (ah-kee). This name in Japanese translates to the English words, bright and autumn. Therefore, you might name your Shiba Inu “Aki” for its intelligence (bright) or because of its reddish-orange coat (the color of autumn leaves).
Or, the dog’s generous nature may lead you to call your companion dog Hiro (hee-roh). This name may get confused with the word, “Hero.”
But you can consider the two names as interchangeable.
Hiroshi (hee-roh-shee) also means “generous,” if you prefer that moniker.
Some other notable suggestions:
Haruto – sun flying
Hinata – sunflower / facing towards the sun
Ichiro – first son
Itsuki – timber trees
Jiro – second son
Kenichi – strong, healthy first son
Kenji – strong, healthy second son
Kichiro – lucky son
Kiyoshi – purity
Kouta – great peace
Kyo – cooperation
Nori – to rule
Ren – lotus / love
Riku – land
Ryo – refreshing, cool
Shinji – true second son
Taichi – large first son
Toshi – wise
Yamato – great harmony
Yoshi – lucky / righteous
Yuki – happiness / snow
Yukio – blessed hero
If Your Shiba is a Female:
If your Inu is a girl, you might consider the Japanese name of Emiko (uh-mee-koh), which means beautiful blessing.
Another name to consider is Haru (hah-roo), which means spring. If your puppy was born in the spring, this may be a good moniker to choose.
Maiko (mai-koh) is yet another cute name to consider, with the word meaning “child of dance,” in Japanese.
Some people who have reddish Inus might call their boy dog Rusty or call a girl Inu Rosy. Because they resemble a teddy bear or a fox, some Shiba Inus are called Teddy (for a boy) or Foxy (for a girl).
Some other notable suggestions:
Aiko – child of love
Airi – love jasmine
Akemi – bright beautiful
Akiko – bright child
Akira – bright / clear
Asami – morning beauty
Chika – scatter flowers
Hanako – flower child
Dog Naming Guidelines
To name your puppy, it helps to follow certain dog naming rules. These rules will make it simpler to choose the ideal name for your Shiba companion dog.
Select a Name that Ends in a Vowel
If you call your dog with a vowel-ending name, it makes it easier for the dog to understand you. A dog hears at a higher frequency than humans, so calling it by a name with an ending vowel sound makes it simple to get its attention.
Try to Stick to Two Syllables
Again, stick to shorter names that are easy to pronounce. If you call your dog a long, drawn-out name, you will end up having to shorten it. It just makes it too difficult to get your Shiba to mind or to obey basic dog commands.
Try to think up a two-syllable name, something that you don’t mind constantly repeating. While some longer names are cute, they can get to be a hassle if you need to call your dog repeatedly.
A good way to test the new name of your companion dog is to repeat it several times. If you can say it over and over without getting annoyed, you’ve picked the right name.
Don’t Rhyme with a Command
Don’t select a companion dog name that rhymes with one of the basic dog commands, unless you want to confuse your dog during puppy training. For example, it might be difficult to get a dog to mind, if you say, “Roll over Rover.”
It can be equally confusing to say “Stay Ray,” or, even worse, “Stay Shay.” The dog might not understand why you keep saying its name, even if it is a little varied.
So, think twice before you pick a name that rhymes with one of the basic dog commands, such as Sly, Clay, Trey, Jo (“No”), or Bo.
Avoid Names with a Negative Connotation
While Demon, Diablo, or Fang may suit a ferocious looking dog, they still are names that should not be reserved for a companion dog. After all, who wants to pet sit a Shiba Inu whose name is Banshee, even if the dog is not fierce or mean? Choose a positive name, so you can provide positive reinforcement when performing dog obedience training at home or in another setting.
Make Sure the Name is Distinct
If you have two Shiba Inu dogs, or you have another pet in the house, make sure each pet has a distinctly different name. If the names sound too much alike, you may skew communications.
For example, Baby and Bluebell, even though they start with the same consonant, are fine. However, don’t name two pets by similar names, such as Dot and Spot or Hugo and Cujo. Rhyming or trying to rhyme the names can lead to confusion when calling pets or issuing dog commands.
Think of Your Dog’s Unique Personality First
Naming a Shiba Inu is easier if you think first about its personality. After all the Shiba has a strong personality, so it may be easier to name your dog using this approach.
For example, you might call your Shiba the name Kaito (kai-toh), which means to soar or fly. This name might relate to the dog’s agile personality. While you might think “Kaito” might get confused with the command “No,” you don’t have to worry if the name is two syllables.
So What Will You Name Your Shiba?
What do you think is a good name for a Shiba Inu? Hopefully, the above information will give you some naming tips that will help in the name selection process.
At the end of the day, name your Shiba what you like and what you feel good with. Go with your instinct when naming your dog and keep the name short and memorable.