Shiba Inus tail curl to keep their body heat, primarily for colder climate regions. Apart from keeping their body heated up, the Shiba Inu tail helps to keep the body warm during cold seasons.
The curly nature of the Shiba Inu tail often raises concern among most people as it hardly strengthens. Therefore, you may end up asking yourself, why do Shiba Inus have curly tails?
This article takes you through some of the reasons why Shiba Inus have a curly tail and additional insights on Shibas ability to uncurl their tails.
Table of Contents
Why Do Shiba Inus Have Curly Tails?
Shiba Inus and other northern cold-weather dog breeds have curly tails to help their bodies retain heat and keep warm during harsh winter.
In addition, the tail has an additional purpose when the Shiba is asleep. It curves over the exposed face region to protect the eyes and other sensitive areas.
The Shiba Inu tail has a curved shape, also known as sickle-shaped, which remains like that for most of its lifetime.
Shiba Inu tail slightly uncurls when they sleep but curls immediately they wake up. The sickle tail curves towards the back.
Due to its curling nature, Shiba Inus appear to have their tail down when walking. FYI, the sickle cell trait is the trait that appears to separate the dog from wolves.
In addition, only purebred dog lines have sickle cell-shaped tails. In the Shiba Inu, the sickle-shaped tail is one of the most desirable features of the breed.
Do All Shiba Inus Have Curly Tails?
All purebred Shiba Inus must have curly tails. However, not all Shiba Inus have curly tails, but a greater percentage of Shibas have their tails curling to the back.
The curling tail is known to be one of the identifiable features to tell a purebred Shiba Inu. Nevertheless, the Shiba Inu tail isn’t always curled.
It sometimes stretches when your canine friend falls asleep. In most cases, they uncurl the tail and have it cover their facial region.
In addition, Shiba Inus have curly tails to protect against the harsh winters. With the tail curled, they don’t lose a lot of heat, thus keeping the body warm.
While some Shiba Inus have curled tails, others have sickle tails. Both are desirable features for Shiba Inus and must curl up to the Shibas spins.
Nevertheless, Shiba Inus with straight tails aren’t abnormal or sick. They’re okay, only that they differ slightly from the curly gene.
Having a Shiba Inu without a curly tail is not a health issue. So, there’s no reason for concern or need to visit the vet for additional information.
The curly tail identifies Shiba Inus from most other dogs and makes them unique.
Why Do Shiba Inus Tail Curl?
Shiba Inus tail curves naturally, so it’s a genetic phenomenon. It’s part of their boy structure and genetic composition.
The Shiba Inu tail, an extension of the spine, does not assume the same shape as the spine. The tail curves to the top and remains like that for the rest of your Shibas lifetime.
It is advisable to agree that the Shiba Inu tail curves naturally. Also, since the Northern areas experience extremely cold weather, the curling tail helps to retain body heat.
They don’t let heat loss like the straight-shaped tails. The tail decreases the surface area exposed to open air by curling to prevent heat loss.
Can Shiba Inus Uncurl Their Tails?
Shiba Inus can uncurl their tails, especially when they fall asleep. If you’re keen, when your Shiba Inus is asleep, they often have the tail cover the facial region.
So, when most Shibas sleep, they uncurl their tail from the usually curling position. However, they don’t uncurl it even when wagging during other times.
So, the tail remains curled for almost their entire lifetime. There is often no need to uncurl their tails as it was meant to serve their purposes when curled.
That said, don’t expect the Shiba Inu tail to uncurl like that of other dogs. Even in fear, the Shiba Inus tail usually remains curled but goes slightly between the hind legs.
Unlike Shiba Inus, other dogs have their entire tail go between the hind legs when they’re in fear. This isn’t the case for Shiba Inu.
While still young, Shiba Inus can uncurl their tails and even spend time with the tail in a straight position.
However, as they age, Shibas lose the ability to uncurl their tail completely. So, the only remaining time they uncurl the tail is sleeping.
Which Is the Standard Shiba Inu Tail Curl?
The standard and preferable Shiba Inu tail curl is the single curl. It manifests as a curled tail with a powerful and dignified tail vertebra.
In addition, the hair around and on the tail area should be more than in other body parts. The tail should have slightly longer hair.
If your Shiba is among the ones with an extended tail, it should reach the hocks. The tail can curl in both directions.
I’ve come across people worrying about the side their Shiba Inu tail curls, and always happy to let them know there’s no standard side toward which their Shibas tail should curl towards.
However, most Shibas have their tails curling to the left; thus, most people call it the standard curl.
The Shiba Inu single curling tail should be relaxed and not stiff. Also, it should be flexible and wag a little bit with a fluid curve.
Researchers argue that the curling Shiba Inu tail and its position give the breed enough body balance and ease morbidity.
When on the chase, Shibas needed a body balance to maneuver in bushy areas. Therefore, a curling tail prevents injuries, especially during hunting.
The tail also has an aesthetic purpose, portraying the Shibas curling crown of confidence. It also portrays the breed as a confident and fierce one.
That said, watch out for Shibas with a thin tail that has no longer hair than the body areas. Do this primarily when searching for an adult Shib to adopt in shelters.
Shiba Inus with a weak tail without longer fur or the curl is considered a severe fault. So, Shibas without a hairy tails are hardly accepted in dog show rings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes Shiba Inus Tails to Curl?
Shiba Inus tails curl to reduce heat loss and maintain the body’s warmth. The breed was purposely bred in colder areas, thus the reason for the curling tail.
However, there are some Shiba Inus with a straight tail. These are considered severe defects.
Are Shiba Inus Tails Always Curled?
Shiba Inus tails aren’t always curled. They stretch when your canine friend is asleep to cover sensitive facial parts.
Nevertheless, your Shibas tail will always remain curled most times when they are doing other activities.
Why Does Shibas Tail Go Down?
Shiba Inus tail goes down under lonely situations or when they’re sad. This makes your canine friend carry their tail lowly.
In addition, your dog may be sick as it’s not normal for them to carry their tails down.
The Wrap-Up on Why Do Shiba Inus Have Curly Tails
Shiba Inus naturally have a curly tail that protects the body from heat loss during harsh winters. The tail also acts as a source of balance and eases morbidity.
The curly tail is the breed’s standard and severe preference point. Shiba Inus without curly tails are considered a serious defect of the breed.
Therefore, if you’re looking to adopt a Shiba Inu from a shelter, this is something you may want to look at when selecting your fur friend.
Therefore, curly tails in Shiba Inu aren’t a defect. It’s one of the identifiable features of a purebred Shiba Inus.