Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: What’s The Difference?

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: What’s The Difference?

Petchao.com is supported by readers, and when you buy something we recommend, we may get an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Read more here.

Are you considering Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu for your next furry friend? Find out what you can expect with both dog breeds in this article! 

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu video:

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Origin

The Akita and Shiba Inu both have a rich history in Japan! Now let’s look closer at how different their origin histories are and what these dogs were initially used for in Japan.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: History

Learning about Akita and Shiba Inu’s past will not only help you understand more about their personalities. It will also teach you about the cause of their differences.

A dog’s history can reveal a lot about what you can expect from them as a family companion. It is an essential part of your doggy research.

Japanese Akita History

Do Akitas like to swim

The Akita dog originated in the snowy and rural lands of Odate, Akita Prefecture, a mountainous region of Japan.

Akitas were used for hunting and guarding purposes. They were powerful enough to hunt animals such as wild boar, elk, and Ussuri brown bears.

This breed in the 1600s was involved in dogfighting, which at the time was popular in Japan. From the 1500s into the 1800s, the Akita served as companions for samurai.

The Akita is described as the most faithful dog breed, as proven by Hachiko, a famous Akita who waited for his owner’s return for nine years until his death.

Shiba Inu History

Shiba’s original purpose was to hunt small game. Evidence found from around 300 BC describes ancient Japanese families living with a small Shiba-like dog with a thick coat and a curved tail.

Because Shibas are small and agile, they are very successful hunters in the thick bush. They are mainly used for hunting rabbits, hares, foxes, and wild poultry.

The Shiba Inu breed is to the Japanese what the Labrador is to the Americans – the most popular dog breed in their family.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Popularity

Both the Akita and Shiba Inu are among the world’s most popular. However, Shiba Inu is more popular than the Akita as a pet. No longer used primarily as a hunting dog, the Shiba is now adopted as a friendly pet in Japan and other countries.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Size

japanese akita vs shiba inu

The main difference between Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu is their size. Akitas are much bigger than Shiba Inus. In both breeds, female dogs are likely to be smaller than males.

Akita will grow to 64–69 cm (25–27 in) tall and weigh 27–42 kg (60–92 lb) when fully grown.

Shiba is only 35-43 cm (14-17 in) tall and weighs 8-10 kg (18-22 lb).

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Coat Types

Both Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu have a thick double coat that gives them a Teddy Bear look.

Their coat has two layers with distinct functions. The dense undercoat supplies excellent insulation, protecting them from the cold and the heat. Furthermore, the outer coat is made of long rough hair that repels moisture and protects them from the elements.

Their standard coat is short, but some dogs may have long hair due to recessive genes.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Colors

akita inu vs shiba inu

Japanese Akita has four coat color options: red fawn, brindlewhite, and sesame.

Shiba Inu’s coat colors come in four different shades: red, black and tan, sesame and cream.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Appearance

The Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu are both Spitz-type dogs, so they are quite similar in their appearance and have a more foxy look.

They have a foxy-shaped head, triangular ears, and a pointed muzzle. Shiba Inu dogs tend to have a slightly longer snout. Along with their deep chest, fluffy coats, bright eyes, and tails curl up over the backs.

However, Akitas are much larger and more muscular than Shiba Inu. Therefore, Akitas look more powerful and majestic while Shiba Inu looks cuter and friendlier.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Life Expectancy

The Shiba Inu lives longer than the Akita. It is simply due to their size rather than health. The larger the dog, the shorter its life expectancy.

The Japanese Akita has an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years, while the average lifespan of a Shiba Inu is between 12 and 15 years.

If you seek a large dog breed to be around for a long time, the Akita has one of the longest.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Temperament

akita inu vs shiba inu

Temperament is an essential factor you should consider when choosing a new dog to bring home. Let’s take a closer look at the characters of these two Japanese breeds.

Akita Temperament

The temperament of an Akita is fearless and extremely loyal. The story about Hachiko proved their loyalty and devotion to the families.

And as we know from their guarding and hunting background, Akitas are excellent guard dogs. They are big but not loud. Akitas only bark when necessary. As a result, they serve as effective early warning signals.

They are devoted to their family but naturally wary of strangers and need to be supervised when introduced to new people or pets. Akitas hate to live in groups and rather be alone and never back down from any challenge.

Shiba Inu Temperament

The temperament of Shiba Inu is good-natured, alert, and bold. They are all very affectionate and love to be with their family. But the Shiba Inu is more independent than the Akita.

Shiba Inus also have a hunting background like Akitas. Therefore, they can have strong chase and aggressive instincts. As protective breeds, they are suspicious and aloof of strangers.

When it comes to dog parks, if Shiba Inu is socialized well, it will not be a problem for them to play with other dogs. Nevertheless, the Akita can be agitated by other dogs, even if they are well socialized. This is specific to each Akita, so make sure to introduce them to other dogs early in their lives.

Shiba Inu is also known for being quite vocal. So if you are looking for a quiet dog, Akita will be a better choice.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Health

japanese akita and shiba inu

Here are some health issues you need to know before bringing home a large breed like the Akita:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia 
  • Myasthenia Gravis 
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Uveodermatologic syndrome 
  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus
  • Von Willebrand disease

Although Shiba Inus do not have all of the issues that large dogs do, there are still some health issues you should be aware of:

  • Atopy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cataract

Some of these health problems can be found during a health check, so ensure you find a reputable breeder who can provide a health certificate.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Exercise

japanese akita vs shiba inu

A surprising fact is that Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu require the same amount of exercise. They will need around an hour of walking per day to keep them happy and healthy.

However, don’t let puppies play on hard surfaces. They should avoid jumping or jogging on these surfaces until at least two years old when their joints are fully formed.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Training

Both Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu are headstrong dogs and tricky to train. Compared to the Shiba Inu, who is more independent, the Akita is easier to train because they are eager to please their owner.

Positive reinforcement is the most effective dog training method for them. Thankfully, both are motivated by objects, praise, and food. So use all three to encourage them to join you in training sessions. To avoid boredom, keep this session short and fun.

Furthermore, they both require early socialization to ensure that they grow up to be polite and pleasant dogs, especially Akita dogs.

Whatever your dog’s breed is, training is a must if you want to eliminate bad behavior and create the obedient, well-behaved dog of your dreams. You can choose suitable online classes from these 20 reputable SpiritDog Training courses to learn how to “successfully” train your canine using science-based positive methods, or grab the free guide below.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Shedding and Grooming

japanese akita and shiba inu

Both Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu have thick double coats that shed moderately throughout the year. They shed their undercoat (blow coat) heavily twice per year for about 3-4 weeks.

They need to be brushed two to three times a week. During shedding season, you should brush them daily to control their shedding.

Besides, they also need bathing every three months or more if your dog plays in a mud puddle or something smelly. Trim their nails once a month and clean their ears weekly.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu – Which breed makes a better pet?

Overall, both the Japanese Akita and the Shiba Inu are pretty similar dogs. They are loving, protective, and reliable and share many of the same physical characteristics.

The main difference between the Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu is their size. Akita is much bigger than Shiba Inu! Besides, Akita is a quiet dog, while Shiba Inu is a loud, vocal breed.

Both are amazing dogs who will make excellent family pets.

Neither of these breeds is better than the other! We only choose a dog based on personal preference and suitability to our home and family.

And before you leave, check out our best new puppy resource for new dog parents below ⇓

minimalist puppy checklist

Readers Also Liked:

Thanks for Reading

Enjoyed this post? Share it with your networks.

Leave a Feedback!