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Breed Comparison: Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu (2024)

Last updated on February 22nd, 2024 at 10:29 pm

Have you ever thought about whether the “Doge” meme dog and the faithful Hachiko are of the same breed? While both the Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu hail from Japan and share a similar spitz-type appearance, these pups are distinct breeds with unique personalities and needs.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of these beloved canines, exploring their similarities and differences in terms of size, temperament, grooming needs, and more. After reading, you can decide which of these furballs is right for you.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: History and origin

Akita Inu:

  • Hailing from the mountainous regions of Japan, the Akita has a rich history dating back centuries. Originally bred as hunting companions for nobility, they tackled formidable prey like bears, wild boar, and even elk.
  • A symbol of loyalty and courage, the Akita gained international fame thanks to the heartwarming story of Hachiko, a dog who waited faithfully for his deceased owner at the train station for years.
  • Declared a national treasure of Japan in 1931, the breed faced near extinction during World War II but was thankfully revived through dedicated breeding efforts.

Shiba Inu:

  • Nicknamed the “brushwood dog” for their role in flushing out small game in the mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu boasts an ancient lineage.
  • Evidence suggests their existence as early as 300 BC, depicted in ancient pottery and drawings.
  • Unlike the Akita, the Shiba primarily served as a companion and guard dog for commoners throughout Japanese history.
  • Modern-day popularity: Their unique “Doge” internet meme status and playful personality have made them a beloved breed worldwide.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Size and appearance

japanese akita vs shiba inu

Akita Inu:

  • A true giant: Standing at 24-28 inches tall and weighing up to 130 pounds, the Akita exudes an air of majesty and power.
  • Double coat: Featuring a dense undercoat and a harsh outer coat, the Akita requires regular brushing, especially during shedding seasons.
  • Color variations: Akitas come in a variety of colors, including red, brindle, white, and even a combination of these.

Shiba Inu:

  • Compact and athletic: Standing at 13.5-16.5 inches tall and weighing around 23 pounds, the Shiba Inu is a smaller, agile breed.
  • Double coat: Similar to the Akita, the Shiba Inu has a thick undercoat and a harsh outer coat that needs regular brushing.
  • Color palette: Shibas primarily come in black & tan, cream, red, and sesame.

Key differences:

  • Size: The Akita is significantly larger and heavier than the Shiba Inu.
  • Head shape: The Akita has a broader head with a triangular shape, while the Shiba Inu has a more fox-like, wedge-shaped head.
  • Tail: The Akita’s tail curls over their back, while the Shiba Inu’s tail curls up or to the side.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Temperament and personality

Akita Inu:

  • Loyal and devoted: Akitas form strong bonds with their families and are known for their unwavering loyalty.
  • Dignified and reserved: They tend to be calm and composed but wary of strangers and require proper socialization.
  • Independent streak: While trainable, Akitas might be stubborn and require patience and positive reinforcement methods.
  • Strong guardian instinct: Their protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs, but early socialization is crucial to prevent potential issues with reactivity.

Shiba Inu:

  • Alert and playful: Shibas are known for their energetic and curious nature, enjoying playtime and outdoor adventures.
  • Independent and stubborn: They can be challenging to train, requiring consistent and positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Cat-like tendencies: Shibas are known for their grooming habits and independent spirit, sometimes displaying aloofness towards strangers.
  • Potential for dominance: Early socialization and training are essential to prevent dominance issues, especially with other dogs.

Key differences:

  • Energy level: Akitas are generally calmer, while Shibas are more energetic and playful.
  • Trainability: Akitas are easier to train compared to the independent and stubborn Shiba Inu.
  • Socialization needs: Both breeds require proper socialization, but Akitas might be more wary of strangers due to their guardian instinct.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Energy level and exercise needs

japanese akita vs shiba inu

Akita Inu:

  • Moderate energy level: While not as high-energy as some breeds, Akitas still require daily exercise to stay physically and mentally stimulated.
  • Ideal activities: Brisk walks, playtime in a secure yard, and occasional jogging (for adults over two years old) can fulfill their needs.
  • Important considerations: Akitas can be prone to overheating, so avoid strenuous exercise during hot weather.

Shiba Inu:

  • Moderate to high energy level: Shibas are known for their playful spirit and enjoy engaging in activities that challenge their minds and bodies.
  • Ideal activities: Daily walks, interactive playtime, and stimulating mental games like puzzle feeders are essential for their well-being.
  • Off-leash caution: Due to their strong prey drive, Shibas should be kept on leash during walks and playtime in open spaces.

Key differences:

  • Overall energy level: Shibas generally require more exercise than Akitas.
  • Exercise intensity: Shibas might enjoy shorter bursts of high-energy activities, while Akitas prefer longer walks and moderate exercise.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Trainability and intelligence

Akita Inu:

  • Intelligent and eager to please: Akitas respond well to positive reinforcement methods and consistent training.
  • Independent streak: They can be stubborn at times, requiring patience and a firm but gentle approach.

Shiba Inu:

  • Independent thinkers: Shibas are known for their strong personalities and can be challenging to train.
  • Positive reinforcement is key: Reward-based training methods are essential to motivate and engage these intelligent dogs.
  • Stubborn streak: Consistent training and patience are crucial to overcoming their independent nature.

Key differences:

  • Trainability: Akitas are generally considered easier to train than independent and stubborn Shiba Inus.
  • Training methods: Both breeds respond well to positive reinforcement, but Shibas might require even more patience and consistency.
  • Socialization needs: Early socialization is vital for both breeds, but Akitas might require more focused efforts due to the potential wariness of strangers.

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free online dog training workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs

Etc.

Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Grooming needs

japanese akita vs shiba inu

Akita Inu:

  • Heavy shedder: Akitas shed heavily twice a year and moderately throughout the year. Regular brushing is crucial to manage shedding and prevent matting.
  • Brushing frequency: Brushing 2-3 times per week during non-shedding periods and daily during shedding seasons is recommended.
  • Bathing: Frequent bathing is not necessary and can even strip their coat of natural oils. Bathe them only when truly dirty, using a dog-specific shampoo and conditioner.
  • Additional needs: Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and regular dental care are essential for overall health.

Shiba Inu:

  • Moderate shedder: Shibas shed moderately year-round but experience heavy shedding twice a year. Consistent brushing helps control shedding and maintain a healthy coat.
  • Brushing frequency: Brushing 1-2 times per week is recommended, with increased frequency during shedding seasons.
  • Bathing: Similar to Akitas, frequent bathing is not advised. Bathe them only when necessary, using a gentle dog shampoo and conditioner.
  • Additional needs: Similar to Akitas, regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care are crucial for their well-being.

Key differences:

  • Shedding level: Akitas are generally heavier shedders compared to Shibas.
  • Brushing frequency: Akitas might require slightly more frequent brushing during non-shedding periods.
  • Bathing needs: Both breeds only require occasional baths.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Lifespan and health

Akita Inu:

  • Average lifespan: 10-13 years
  • Common health concerns: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune diseases.

Shiba Inu:

  • Average lifespan: 13-16 years
  • Common health concerns: Luxating patella, allergies, and eye problems.

Key differences:

  • Lifespan: Shibas generally live slightly longer than Akitas.
  • Health concerns: Both breeds are prone to certain orthopedic conditions, but Akitas might be more susceptible to bloat and autoimmune diseases, while Shibas are more likely to experience allergies and eye issues.

Japanese Akita vs Shiba Inu: Suitability for different lifestyles

Choosing between an Akita and a Shiba Inu ultimately depends on your individual lifestyle and preferences. Here’s a breakdown of their suitability for different living situations:

Akita Inu:

  • Ideal for: Families with older children, experienced dog owners seeking a loyal companion, and individuals with spacious living areas and access to secure outdoor spaces.
  • Less suited for: Apartments due to their size and potential for barking, first-time dog owners due to their independent streak, households with small children or other pets without proper socialization.

Shiba Inu:

  • Ideal for: Active individuals or families seeking a playful and energetic companion, those living in apartments or smaller homes, and experienced dog owners comfortable with independent and stubborn personalities.
  • Less suited for: First-time dog owners due to their independent nature and potential training challenges, individuals seeking a highly trainable and biddable dog, households with small children or other pets without proper socialization and supervision.

Key considerations:

  • Living space: Akitas require more space due to their larger size, while Shibas can adapt well to apartments with proper exercise.
  • Activity level: Akitas have moderate energy needs, while Shibas require more daily exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Experience level: Akitas are generally easier to train, while Shibas can be challenging for first-time owners.
  • Family dynamics: Both breeds require proper socialization with children and other pets to ensure a harmonious household.

Conclusion

japanese akita vs shiba inu

When it comes to choosing between Akitas and Shibas, it all boils down to your lifestyle and preferences. If you’re an experienced owner with plenty of space and want a loyal companion, Akitas might be the right choice for you. But if you’re an active person living in an apartment and want a playful and energetic partner, Shibas could be the perfect fit. But remember, being a responsible pet owner means doing your research, understanding your pet’s needs, and making sure they get the love, training, and care they need to be happy and healthy throughout their lives.

Becoming a dog parent is one of the most memorable moments of life. But before bringing your new best friend home, it’s vital to have all the right things to make sure the adoption is really smooth and makes them feel right. You may feel overwhelmed by tons of puppy products on sale and not sure what items your puppy actually needs. That’s why we’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started.

About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

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