For the days where life feels like an endless black void and the news cycle is absolutely insane, there’s one small way that I can cope: shiba inus.
Many of my friends and colleagues know about my unhealthy obsession with shibas. I have a large photo library on my phone cataloging shiba inus in every possible mood and attire, which I employ frequently in text and chat messages to convey my emotion or state of being. Angry shibas. Satisfied shibas. Shibas wearing glasses. Shibas dressed like nuns. There’s truly a shiba for every occasion.
This library, of course, wasn’t built in a day. I follow what feels like close to 80 shiba inu accounts on Instagram, most of them from Japan, the homeland of this magical being. (Did you know that shibas almost got wiped out during WWII? NOOO!) I’ve gotten to the point where I can identify most of them from a photo alone, because believe it or not, shibas are wonderfully unique animals who are not afraid to let their personalities shine through. If they could tell us all to go screw ourselves, they would.
Here are 13 of my favorite shiba accounts on Instagram. You’re welcome.
Kabosu (Japanese for “grapefruit”) is the OG shiba inu. A picture of her smiling cryptically into the camera has transformed her into a global meme, and most people only know her as doge. But Kabosu lives a charmed retirement life in a Japanese village with two cats and owners who take her boating when the weather’s nice. She recently recovered from vestibular disease and is stronger than ever at the ripe age of 14.
In a country full of shiba inus, Maru may be the most popular of them all. He first came to national attention in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami; reeling from a collective tragedy, people found themselves cheered up by his wide grin. Maru is a big boi who towers over other shibas when he encounters them in the streets. His owner runs a small shop in Tokyo dedicated to selling Maru-themed souvenirs, like pillows and stationery.
Lily is the most beautiful shiba I’ve ever seen. How can a dog be beautiful, you ask? Take a look for yourself. Check out her Instagram if you have an urgent need to see dogs wearing kimonos.
@Unihalo is actually a shared account between two dogs, Uni the shiba and Halo the toy poodle, but Uni is clearly the star. You may have come across pictures of Uni, dangling in a red swing and over the moon about it. Unfortunately, she recently lost one eye to glaucoma, but she hasn’t let that stop her from enjoying a fulfilling life.
This darling duo is living out the childhood of my dreams in Paris. Philo (human) and Pompon (dog) are best friends who go everywhere together, and their adventures are chronicled by Philo’s parents, who own an adorable atelier (workshop). Unfortunately Pompon is getting on in years and has lost most of his hearing and vision, but for now, life is sweet.
Speaking of charmed existences, young Kaito lives in the alpine region of Tyrol, Austria. With every weekend comes a hiking adventure and a glimpse into the stunning natural beauty of Austria.
Kabosu will always be the OG meme shiba, but newcomer Balltze is killing it rn. This Hong Kong-based shiba is the inspiration behind the “Cheems” phenomenon.
Shibas already have shit-eating grins to begin with, but this little guy really takes it to a whole other level. His entire face is a pained mockery of our incompetence. This is the same face my dad pulled when he found out I was averaging a C in high school physics.
Silly human, your leash has no power here. Hana-chan will not bend to your will. Not even if his face turns into smooshy bread.
Speaking of judgmental shibas, Himari is not amused by your shenanigans and thinks you’d better get back to work before he puts you on a performance improvement plan. The loss of one of his eyes has only intensified his disdain for you.
Ginjiro the shiba has two very important responsibilities: watching over his human siblings, ages 5 and 3, and napping.
To help this trio of shiba brothers interact with the outside world at their heart’s content, their owner carved three windows into the wall just for them. This home in Nagasaki has become a popular tourist destination.
And if you thought three shibas were a lot… try four! These four girls belong to a yoga instructor based in Hong Kong. The cream shiba marches to the beat of their own drum, but that’s how I feel, too, tbh.