The Shiba is a small, compact dog. The head is in proportion with the body. The round muzzle has a moderate stop and tapers slightly towards the nose. The tight lips and the nose are black. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The deep-set eyes are triangular in shape and dark in color. The eye rims are black. The erect ears are triangular in shape and small in proportion to the rest of the body. The front legs are straight. Dewclaws may be removed. The high-set tail is thick at the base, curled and carried over the back, either in a ring or with a sickle curve. The coat is double with a soft thick undercoat and a stiff straight outer coat. Coat colors come in red, or red with a little black overlay, black with tan markings, sesame with red markings, all with a cream, buff or gray undercoat. Markings should appear on the cheeks and sides of the muzzle, throat, underside and chest. There may be white on the legs, tip of the tail and above the eyes.