mini poodles are a good choice. my old boss had a black and white parti poodle. she was a great dog. if you have more questions re: poodles specifically watch for ltlgto to come on. he breeds and shows them.
I have a Toy Poodle, he's the best. When I got him he was 1lb 7oz and I was scared he wouldn't get much bigger, that was way too small, I was afraid he was going to get hurt. Now he's about 8lb, about 1 - 2 lb over weight (fat, not bigger than he's supposed to be LOL) He's a bit too barky but he's very lovable and cuddly!
I'd never recommend a shiba inu for someone who's an inexperienced dog owner. IMHO they're very similar to miniature akitas in temperament, and I'd never recommend an Akita to an inexperienced owner either. They're very strong willed, they have dominant personalities too. Not to say they're not great dogs, but they're a lot of dog in a little body.
What type of lifestyle do you have? Do you live in an apartment or house? Do you want a dog that likes to be carried around all the time or do you want a dog that is more independent? Are you home a lot? Also, climate. Is it hot where you live or cold? Do you have kids? I think all of these play a role in picking a dog. Course, there are exceptions. Like the kids thing. I had a chihuahua and I have toddlers. I could never leave her alone with them, but they were very gentle with her and I never had any problems. But some people do not think Chihuahuas make good pets around children. Something that might help is think of all the things you want in a dog and then call a vet and ask their opinion. Maybe even call a few. Given their suggestions, find a dog breed book and read up the breeds they suggest. Good luck! :)