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Hello dog owners! I am in love with two dog breeds and in distress over which is best for me. I'm not planning on getting a dog yet, but in two or three years I do. I've done a lot of research on the temperaments and exercise requirements and all of that, but I'm unsure over which would be best. I am 19 years old and in college, and by the time I'm a junior or senior (in a house) I would want to get my dog. I'll be in school for 6 or 7 total years, and depending on where my schooling takes me, there is a chance I would have to live in an apartment down the line. I know neither dog are suggested for an apartment, but I am an athlete and would be sure to have them exercised adequately. Would a husky be okay in an apartment for a year or two as long as I made sure to get the energy out? Even though a shiba inu may be better in apartment, I know they are notoriously stubborn and I'm technically a first time dog owner (although my family has had dogs my whole life). My family has two west highland white terriers, just over two years old (I helped with puppyhood).
Because I'm in college and on a dog-friendly campus, I would be able to walk either dog in public and socialize them well. I go to school in New Hampshire so either dog should be happy in the cool climate.
I'm looking for insight on which would work better for my particular situation, and I appreciate any and all help.
Thank you!
 

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I think due to your lifestyle and being a first time dog owner, a husky would be a very bad choice. Huskies are terrible apartment dogs, and in fact many are banned from apartments because of their tendency to howl. They need excessive exercise and can be very difficult dogs to live with. "Adequate exercise" for normal dogs is still not enough for a husky. These dogs were bred to run 10-50 miles a day. They can also be very destructive and loud when kept alone all day. I saw SO many huskies (usually young ones) come into the first shelter I worked at because people underestimated how hard they were to care for. I think if you really want a husky wait until you're in a private home with a more predictable schedule and some more dog/training experience under your belt.

Shibas actually make good apartment/city dogs. I don't know where you heard they don't but they're very popular in cities for a reason. They ARE stubborn and aloof, I daresay catlike. They're not the kind of personality most people look for when they desire in a dog (super lovey and friendly, excitable, silly, etc.) There's a quiet dignity to Asian breeds. I actually think a Shiba would fit your situation rather well as long as those are the qualities you want.

What was your reasoning for picking these breeds by the way? Have you ever spent any time with Huskies and Shibas?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've spent time with both Huskies and Shibas and really loved them in their own unique way. I live an athletic lifestyle and I want a companion to go running/hiking/adventuring with. I really just love the look of both dogs and temperaments, I like the high energy of the husky and the fact that they're very friendly and outgoing, conversely I like the shibas reservedness and smarts. There would be only a very small chance of me living in an apartment, and if I end up getting a husky I probably would stray from apartment living altogether. I would make sure to not leave either dog alone all day, for example between classes and stuff I would be around all day. When I'm working full time I would hire a dog walker to exercise him during the day, while I do before and after work.
Apartment "possibility" aside, why would a husky be a very bad choice for me? I'm not leaning in that direction, but I thought it would make more sense because I'm a first time dog owner. Shibas are very stubborn and have been known to be aggressive if not trained/socialized perfectly, so I thought it would take more work for me as a first time dog owner.
 

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If anything I'm curious as to why you think a Shiba would be harder to handle than a Husky. It's basically stubbornness vs. crazy energy levels, potential destructiveness, high prey drive, difficult to leash train, a lot of strength and a considerably larger animal. A larger dog with a higher energy level means they're harder and more dangerous to take care of for anyone nonetheless a first time dog owner. Huskies can be very aggressive when not well socialized and I would also call them a bit of a "pushy" breed. They have some characteristics that some people might call "Dominant". They're also capable of doing a lot more damage than a Shiba if they do bite. Shibas may be considered "snappy" but Huskies are an intense breed that need someone with dog experience to train them or else they're kind of insane. Siberian Huskies (which are the type people typically mean when they say the generic term) also have a tendency to be a bit...neurotic in general. Many mushers in Alaska never even put them on their teams for that reason! I was shocked when I heard that from a friend who worked with sled dogs but she would shake her head at our shelter Sibes' behavior and personalities. Stubbornness doesn't necessarily mean Shibas are insurmountable for a new dog owner. I'll also add that I'm a dog trainer who has owned multiple dogs and worked in shelters...and I would never want to own a husky. They're the type of dog, similar to a Border Collie or Anatolian Shepherd. If you have one, you need to be experienced with dogs, and it should have something to do, or else you should be a very specific lifestyle that properly suits that dog.

I'm also considering the fact you're a very young college student that will have commitments to classes, possibly a part time job and probably wants to have at least a semi-active social life. It's very difficult to keep a dog as high maintenance as a husky if you have a busy life. You said you're athletic too so if that includes any sports, that leaves even less time for your dog.

If you are willing to absolutely dedicate your life to the dog, then a husky might be doable. But I think that would probably take a lot away from the rest of your life, especially since you're just starting one for yourself. I now have a rather intense dog (Cattle dog mix) and she takes up SO much of my life. If I didn't have my mother to spend time with her when I was busy I'd be spending a lot of money on walkers and daycare. Also, you do have to consider that dog walkers can be expensive. You'd probably be spending at LEAST $400 a month on a dog walker, if not more. I'm trying not to come across as preachy or mean, because I'm just trying to explain my point (and sometimes internet can make things sound negative). But can you see why a husky isn't the best choice? I'm also very adamant about telling people things like this because like I said, I've seen way too many young huskies getting surrendered to shelters, and just as many badly mannered, underexercised and potentially dangerous huskies with homes.
 
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I do agree with traciek88. I don't really recommend a husky as first time dog, there a lot of dog, and do also have a bit of a stuborn streak. As you know they can be very very vocal and quite smart dogs. I agree that it might be better to wait, since there is even a possibility that you could end up living in a apartment or renting there is always that large chance that you will have to live somewhere that wont allow huskies.
I personally don't really recommend shiba's as first time dogs either, mostly because of their stubbornness can be a bit much for people, especially first time owners. A lot of (though not all and depends on the individual), Nordic and Asian breeds are a bit more for lack of better words on the intense side.
Out of the two though if you really wanted to get one of these two, I would suggest the shiba.

Just out of curiosity are there any other breeds you like? Maybe you could ask some one you know that has a husky or shiba to pet sit for awhile to get more a sense what its like living with both breeds.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you both for the responses and the input, I'm prepared to be dedicated to my dog and put a fair amount of time into him. From what I've seen on various websites they say that Siberian Huskies are more friendly and "nicer" than shibas and are easier to manage, but the size concern for a first time owner I guess will put me the other way. I'm really glad I asked this because a lot of the information online is very generic and sometimes not correct. For example it said online that Huskies are generally submissive while Shibas are more dominant, so accurate information from you guys is definitely appreciated.
(Almost) everything about these two breeds I like in their own respects, ranging from their beautiful coat to their lack of dog smell. I actually like the high prey drive, it won't be fun to stay on leash all the time but it's really cool to see strong instincts.

As for other dog breeds, I briefly thought about a german shepherd but dismissed it because of the size, and they're better working and having a job/ a lot of mental stimulation.
I've had Westies all my life, so I want something a bit bigger and something that can do well in the cold. I want a companion, but I don't necessarily need the constant attention. I love the look of spitz dogs. Do either of you have any suggestions about other types of dogs I should look into? I know a shiba isn't a great first dog but I've wanted one for years already at this point, but I'm open to looking into other options.
 

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For example it said online that Huskies are generally submissive while Shibas are more dominant, so accurate information from you guys is definitely appreciated.
(Almost) everything about these two breeds I like in their own respects, ranging from their beautiful coat to their lack of dog smell. I actually like the high prey drive, it won't be fun to stay on leash all the time but it's really cool to see strong instincts.
If you see anything that directly said dogs are "dominant" and "Submissive" be VERY cautious of it. No dog is always dominant or always submissive, nonetheless a whole breed of dogs always submissive or dominant! Those things are descriptions how someone behaves in a situation, not every situation. The whole dominance/alpha theory has been completely disproven. So if you see anything like that best look elsewhere for advice. I think the thing about Huskies being "Friendlier" is that they are more friendly to new people than Shibas. Shibas generally don't care about the existence of any humans other than the ones they live with. That being said, they are often very loving WITH those people. So it's just that a husky's more "normal" doggy presentation with tail wagging, enjoying petting, general excitement, is what makes people say they're nicer.

I agree that it's fascinating to see dogs do what they're "made" to do in hunting. There's something primal and thrilling about it. But speaking as someone who currently has a dog with a high prey drive...it's not cool when they "prey" they're chasing is the neighbor's cat. It's one thing if the prey drive is specifically towards things no one cares much about or can't get sued for the dog killing--like squirrels, rats, rabbits, birds (unless someone owns them as a pet of course!). Dogs with high prey drives also tend to run after their prey, and away from you. Huskies are probably one of the breeds I'd say are very likely to run off, and be hard to catch. And one other thing about prey drive with larger dogs is that sometimes they might see not only the neighbor's cat as prey, but your mom's Maltese or Chihuahua as well. This is why you should never let large and small dogs mix in a dog park.

In terms of spitz dogs, they're usually not the easiest breeds. The Asian ones tend to be aloof and stubborn, and the Nordic ones typically have crazy hard drive. But in terms of spitz types I would definitely recommend the American Eskimo Dog. They're beautiful, very trainable, enjoy a long romp, smart, usually friendly and make excellent companions, as well as service and therapy dogs. They come in 3 sizes and don't exceed a medium size. I would say that they're a better breed to start with. There's actually someone else on this board that just asked about Eskies as well. And if you like dogs like this be prepared for everything you own to be covered in massive amounts of fur! You could knit sweaters out of it, literally.
 

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No problem, I think your best bet for getting good info and real experiences is to find some breed specific forums. Those can give you a sense of what people do and deal with on a daily basis with these dogs, and what works and doesn't work for their dogs.

I don't know to much about them but what about American Eskimo's or Samoyeds? Correct me if I'm wrong but I think those two are some of the more "bidable" spitz/Nordic breeds. Just keep in mind to as with any spitz breed there will be a good amount of grooming involved. Again spitz breeds aren't my forte but those are the breeds that come to mind.
Even a lab would be a great running and hiking buddy, they have a good amount of energy but not overwhelming.
A couple of other things I wanted to add, don't forget it can get relatively hot/humid in NH so that's something to be mindful of when you have double coated dogs.
The other thing I thought was just worth mentioning is, lots of shelter dogs could fit your criteria if its something your interested in. They even have breed specific shelters.

The other thing I forgot to add about huskies, I would wait until you have your own home. That way you don't have to worry about breed restrictions, and will have a bit more predictable schedual. When you are ready for a husky if you look into some shelters or breed specific rescues you might be able to find a lower medium ish engery adult husky. And since a lot of times your going to get tired faster then the dog, biking or scootering with them can be a great way to let them just run and you can keep up with them for longer.
I follow some channels on youtube that have huskies, GoneToTheSnowDogs and PressRecord. Especially with the first one, which is all about the dogs, you can learn a lot about huskies. They might be helpful if its something your interested in.
 
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I'm very okay with not having an "easy" dog to train, and I'll be sure to socialize my dog with other dogs and people as much as possible from a young age to minimize any aggression towards people or dogs. I know the prey drive won't ever go away, but they should get an understanding of what is okay and what isn't, while I make sure to stay at a dog park with bigger dogs around.
I don't actually like the look of American Eskimo Dogs, I'd like to have a dog that will look kind of intimidating. I don't know exactly but I'm looking for a certain type of appearance in my dog, not like a puff ball.
In the future I plan on going on overnight hikes or backpacking trips and I'd love to have a companion that can go 10+ miles of harsh terrain and love it. I feel like if the shiba were a bit bigger I wouldn't even think about a different type of dog
 

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If you don't like fluffy so much maybe a Norwegian Elkhound. They're a medium sized hardy breed and not very fluffy but also have a Nordic look about them. But it's not so important to have an intimidating looking dog, as just one that will actually protect you, and only protect you when you actually need to be protected. My dog Stella is absolutely gorgeous, and adorable. We get compliments all the time, and she's very friendly. But if someone tries to hurt me or another dog did? She would have their throat. And on the opposite side of the coin you could have a "scary" looking dog that's an absolute cupcake and wimp. Oh, the Finnish Spitz might be worth a look as well. Also, all these types of dogs are usually VERY barky. And like Sabina suggested, try looking at shelters. You might find a dog that suits everything you want.
 
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Thank you both so much for all the help, I'll research more into Norwegian Elkhound- beautiful dogs and definitely an option against the shiba. I'll wait until I have a consistent living situation and routine until I get a husky, besides it'll probably do better with a playmate. So excited to become a dog owner in the future, and while theres nothing wrong with small dogs, it'll be great to have a real companion I can adventure with.
 

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Between the norwegian elkhound and finish spitz I would suggest the finish spitz. Although I think NE's are more common in NH.
 

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(Forgot to finish and fix my previous post)

From my limited knoladge about norwiegan elkhounds, they can be a little hard headed but are smart. I think they might be a good fit. I think thereis also a rescue and few breeders in new england, not sure if there are any speficaly in nh though. I deffinitly think you will be hard pressed to find a rescue or breeder of finish spits in nh mostly because it not a common breed and spitz's as far as I know aren't super common other then huskies and malamutes in nh, but I could be wrong.
Good luck :)
 
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I've had my Shiba for 12 years now and he was actually my first dog. I got him at 4 months from a breeder. I've always lived in an apartment which seemed to suit him fine and his energy levels always matched mine. If I wanted to be lazy, he would be lazy with me. If I wanted to go on a 3 hour hike, he was right there behind me.

I can see how Shibas are not a good first time dog, I think I lucked out with his temperament. He has always been relatively chill since puppyhood (unlike my pitbull puppy right now) but I did end up reading a lot of dog training books/internet articles to get him to where he is now. He is definitely stubborn and aloof, very independent but a super quick learner. He is extremely obedient, quiet (doesn't bark at all), not aggressive and very friendly. However, I have run into MANY MANY Shibas that are very shy, skittish, aloof and aggressive. So aggressive that the owner has to walk on the opposite side of the street if I'm walking by with my Shiba. It really comes down to consistent and constant training. I had a lot of friends babysit/visit him when he was young.

I'm part of a Shiba Facebook group and half the people on there have very very cuddly Shibas, while the other half (I'm part of that half) have Shibas that don't like it. My Shiba will actually tolerate it for maybe 20 minutes and then he'll squirm out of my arms and walk away. :(

Good luck, hope you find your perfect dog! :)
 

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Oh and I forgot to add that Shibas are very good escape artists. Mine used to escape the yard or run out the door (if someone else was home and I wasn't). It wasn't until he was older and more obedient that when he established that this was his home that he didn't run out the door anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've liked shibas for a while as well, I'll definitely have to consider them as well as Norwegian Elkhounds. I just emailed a reputable seeming breeder about my situation and asked if they would be a good fit for me as well as advice. If I think apartment living might be on my horizon I think I'll definitely side with the shiba, however if I'm able to acquire a home and will be going on more trips I'd side with the Elkhound.
Thank you!
 
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