shiba inu akita

What are the differences between an Akita Inu and a Shiba Inu?

Differentiating between Akita Inu and a Shiba Inu is confusing for those deciding to keep a pet dog for the first time. However, they both look similar in their looks but acquire very different features and characteristics. Here we have tried to discuss and identify in detail similarities and differences between Akita Inu and Shiba Inu dog breeds.

So, if you decide to keep a pet dog for the first time or are already a pet owner of any of these breeds, this article will help you and be a guide for you. You can also refer this article to your friends or relatives who keep Shiba Inu and Akita Inu dogs as pets, so they get help in getting more information about their pets.  

Similarities between an Akita Inu and a Shiba Inu:

Breed type:

Both Akita Inu and Shiba Inu are Japan’s native dog breeds and look quite alike with facial features. This is because both species were hunting species for small animals, and they were excellent hunters Shiba Inu for small animals like rabbits and cats, and Akita for large animals like deers and boars. Therefore they both are highly intelligent and obey the owners. They also have a good sense of harm and are highly alert. However, Akita Inus are bigger than Shiba Inu, but both have almost the same characteristics. The research also shows that these breeds were used in the military and for fighting purposes. And that is because they are very attentive to instructions, obey the trainer, and loyal to the owner. 

Name of Both breeds Akita Inu and Shiba Inu 

The Inu in Shiba and Akita means Dog in Japanese. At the same time, the Shiba and Akita are the names of these dogs. Shiba means brown-red type fur similar to the red trunk woods in the mountains. Shiba Inus are the dogs that usually hunt in these mountains. Therefore, they are named “Shiba” on their brown-red type fur. Name Akita comes from the story behind it.  A dog named Hachiko went to greet his friend Akita at the Shibuya train station for more than ten years. So after the death of this Hachiko dog, the statue was also made beside the Shibuya train station. Also, the dog breed was named Akita. Akita Inu also means Akitas Dog. Akita is also known as the Matagi breed, one of the oldest native dogs in history. 

Size of Shiba Inu and Akita Inu:

The most apparent difference between these dogs is size. Akita Inus are much more prominent in size than the Shiba Inu. Shiba Inus, when fully matured, will gain height between 26 to 28 inches tall with a weight gain of almost 100 to 130 pounds. On the other hand, The Shiba Inu will reach a height of almost between 15 to 18 inches with a weight gain of 20 to 23 pounds on average. Due to the bigger size and more space needed for Akita Inus, Native people mostly have Shiba Inu as a pet dog as the sizes are small in Japanese culture. Females are mostly smaller and gain less weight than males in both Shiba Inu and Akita Inu breeds.

Color of Shiba Inu and Akita Inu: 

The Skins of both breeds, Akita Inu and Shiba Inu, are thick fur-coated which need care and attention to maintain. Shiba Inu will have red tan or dark wood brown color, but yes, not all the same it will have off-white color marking on its leg, chest, tail, and under its face near the neck. The Akita has many more coat colors, including brindle, black, red, fawn, and silver, with a black and white facial mask. 

The appearance of Akita Inu and Shiba Inu:

Akita Inu will look like an elder brother of Shiba Inu; Both have Fox-shaped heads and pointy triangle ears. Along with their deep chest and curly wheel tails. You can easily differentiate between them from their sizes, and if you are a dog lover, you can easily differentiate with colors. The Akita Inus looks more like a wolf, and its face is a little square in shape due to the thick fur coat on the neck. Both breeds have double coats and will require consistent grooming.

Temperament In Shiba Inu and Akita Inu: 

Family Protector, Loyal, Brave, Devoted, Attentive and Alert to danger, Independent and Decision maker, are some of the good characteristics of Akita Inu. And due to these characters, they could be used for hunting and watch guards. Along with that, you should also keep in mind that they are so protective of a family that sometimes they will alert other dogs or people nearer to you or playing with you. They can easily sense danger and quickly take needed actions on their own. 
The same characters are for Shiba Inu. Also, They are quiet, affectionate, energetic, and playful. You will need to spend a lot of time with him playing in gardens as they are too active. You can easily rely on both dogs when it comes to taking care of kids or family members.  With a good sense of smell, they can find things easily which you hide from them. The best thing is that both dogs are their owners’ attention seekers and protect them from all harm and dangers. 

Aggression in Akita Inu and Shiba Inu: 

Both pets have a history of hunting and used as guards and military purposes, so they both have high aggression and anger. If you want your pet to be affectionate and playful and avoid anger and aggression, you must train them from a younger age. Also, they are more likely to make friends and be companions of those animals and people who are with them from a younger age. Once they are matured, it will take time and effort to make friends with other dogs, animals, kids, or people. Aggression and anger keep them a good watchdog or guard dog and are fully trusted as a family protector. 

Training of Akita Inu and Shiba Inu: 

Every pet needs training, whether dog, cat, birds, chicken, or ducks. If you want Shiba Inu and Akita Inu to be good companions and home pets, you must provide plenty of time in training from a young age. Both dogs can be trained very well if given proper attention and diet. Shiba Inus are much more challenging to train than Akita Inus, as they like to do things their way. Also, they will need training to be done in a playful and enjoyable environment. They are interested in little sessions and are more inclined to objects and people for their training. 

You must be attentive and more involved with them in their training period. So, if you are a person who cannot give more time and attention, these dogs are not for you, or it will be harder for you to train them. Akita Inu need more lengthy sessions and are mild to food objects in their training. They are more likely to be trained formally and are very attentive to instructions. As they are loyal and always want to please their master or owner. They are easier to train than Shiba Inu. Akita Inu, Due to its more prominent size, people on the streets are more conscious. This means that you will need to give more street training to your dog.

However, both dogs are highly motivated and energetic, and you can train them with food, objects, and praise as rewards. However, you have to keep in mind that they may not react the same in sudden situations and may take their own decisions when they feel in serious danger.  Shiba Inus are more sensitive and don’t like to be left alone for a longer time. They will be eager to see you once a day and impatiently wait for you to arrive from work. They also get depressed and aggressive if they don’t find their owner around them for a longer time. 

Exercise and Health of Shiba Inu and Akita Inu: 

You should always be concerned about two things, excessive fats, and weak joints. And to avoid these two problems, you will need to take health care of your dog by exercise. Give time for everyday exercise and activities that will help you keep your dog healthy and active. Otherwise, if they are kept in a small place and don’t have much space to roam around, they will quickly gain weight. This may cause serious health problems and laziness to dogs. But also be aware that too much exercise is not suitable for both Akita Inu and Shiba Inus health, as this can give stress and weakness to their joints. So try to be balanced in diet and exercise for the perfect health of your dog. Also, visit a vet and provide time to time checkups and diagnoses for your dogs.

To maintain good health, you will also need regular bathing, shedding, and grooming. Shedding and grooming twice a week and bathing once in two months will be perfect for Akita Inu and Shiba Inu. Also, provide cleaning of ears and nails and teeth, also clip the nails when needed. 

Health issues you can face with AkitaInus are malformed joints, blindness, an autoimmune disease affecting muscles and nerves, clotting disorder, an autoimmune disease-causing loss of pigment in the skin, inflamed eyes, gastric dilation. On the other hand, problems you can face with Shiba Inus are food allergies, dislocated kneecaps, hip dysplasia, diseases affecting the brain and organs, and eye disorders. However, you can easily avoid these with a healthy diet, exercise, and regular checkups.


Akita Inus and Shiba Inus are both beautiful dogs. They have become one of the best families. The differences only meant that they are different in the types and environments they need. You can keep any of them according to your preference and choice, but you will be happy to have a fantastic pet if you are a good trainer. You can spend many years and be safe and protective with both of the breeds. They tend to be a perfect home pet for families living in urban or rural areas, small or large families. Let us know which one you prefer from Akita Inu and Shiba Inu and why you choose them as a pet companion.

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