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They’re both adorable. They both look like somewhat like a fox. They’re both smart as whips. But when it comes to the Shiba Inu vs Akita dog breeds, what are the differences?

Medium-sized dogs are great for families, and both the Shiba Inu and Akita puppy can grow up to be great companions. So, if you’re looking to bring a wonder-dog home, these breeds should be high on your list of considered tail-waggers.

Continue reading to explore the differences between a Shiba Inu and Akita dog breeds.

Shiba Inu Vs Akita Dog Breed: What Are The Similarities Between These Breeds?

The Shiba Inu and Akita are both Spitz dog breeds and look quite alike, with facial features similar to those of the fox. They are two of Japan’s native dog breeds, which include:shiba inu dog | Ultimate Pet Nutrition

  • Shiba
  • Akita
  • Hokkaido
  • Kai
  • Tosa
  • Shikoku1,2

akita inu dog | Ultimate Pet NutritionNow, both breeds share these similar traits:

  • Highly intelligent
  • Affectionate
  • Independent-minded
  • Can be stubborn
  • Coat (length, type and pattern)
  • Body and tail shape

And because they were both hunting dogs at one point in time, they do each have a strong predatory instinct for hunting smaller prey, like rabbits and cats. Speaking of cats, Shiba Inu and Akita breeds can be a little OCD about cleaning themselves — they’re like cats in that way.3

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Shiba Inu Vs Akita Dog Breed: Differences In Personality Traits

Of course, there are several important differences between these dogs. For starters, the Shiba Inu is more likely than the Akita to be friendly with other humans and pups. That’s not to say they’re not incredibly friendly to all of the members of their family, but the Akita is not a natural friend of cats, kids, and strangers. The Akita dog protects its family. Because of its fighting dog background, it can be aggressive toward other dogs.4 The Shiba Inu, on the other hand, is often more tolerant of other dogs.

akita inu dog running | Ultimate Pet NutritionAnd if you live in a smaller space or a shared environment — like in an apartment building — the Shiba Inu is better suited to adapt. The Akita needs space to run and roam. Note that some apartment communities won’t allow these breeds on the premises. Make sure and check with your landlord before renting a home that might not allow either type of pup. Furthermore, the Akita doesn’t like to be left alone.

But let’s get real: If you are a first-time pet owner looking for your first furbaby… these breeds might not be for you. They tend to be a little more high-maintenance than other types of dogs. Why? Because even though these pooches pick up commands easily enough, they might select when (or not) to obey them.5

That said, take note that both the Shiba Inu and Akita require a strong trainer. And kennel training is recommended for these breeds. Both breeds will only really trust an owner who can establish themselves as the “pack leader.” Do you have what it takes? Of course, dog parenting classes may help you if you don’t consider yourself a natural pack leader.6,7

All told, Shiba Inus are likely the easier of the two breeds to raise. They just have less of a tendency to bark at strangers or howl. And Shiba Inus aren’t quite the escape artists Akitas can be.

Shiba Inu Vs Akita Dog Breed: Differences In Physical Traits

Now, when it comes to physical differences, size is the greatest factor. The Akita is one of the larger dogs in terms of Japanese breeds. Conversely, though, the Shiba Inu is one of the smaller Japanese breeds.

While the Akita usually stands anywhere between 24 and 48 inches tall, the Shiba Inu stands at around 13 to 17 inches. And as far as weight is concerned, Akitas can weigh between 70 to 130 pounds while the Shiba Inu only weighs up to 23 pounds.8,9

One more big physical difference: drool. The Shiba just won’t do it. But the Akita is the king of drooling.10

Health, Exercise, Grooming, And Life Expectancy For These Animals

One more hard truth: The Shiba Inu is will likely live longer than the Akita. Generally speaking, a Shiba Inu might live to be around 16 years of age. The Akita, however, will likely only live to be around 12 years of age.11,12

shiba inu pack of dogs | Ultimate Pet NutritionOf course, while both breeds are known for significant shedding, the Shiba Inu sheds less for one reason and one reason only — they are the smaller dog, therefore they have less to shed. And grooming to help shedding by another person can be tough for the Akita — who doesn’t always play well with strangers.

When it comes to the health of these breeds, it’s important to know that Akitas happen to be more prone to conditions like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. These deformities form in the bone and around the joints.13

Another potential health issue both pups may face is progressive retinal atrophy. Dogs with progressive retinal atrophy will eventually lose their eyesight because of the degeneration of the retina. Breeds that are predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy are:

  • Akita
  • Miniature poodle
  • Cocker spaniel
  • Tibetan terrier
  • Samoyed
  • Dachshunds
  • Labrador retriever
  • Papillion14,15

The sad truth is that many breeds are genetically prone to certain health conditions. That being said, it shouldn’t discourage you from introducing an Akita or Shibu Inu into the family. Proper diet and veterinary care can go a long way in ensuring the health of your pup.

Shiba Inu Vs Akita Inu:

akita and shiba inu dogs | Ultimate Pet NutritionIn the end, both the Akita and the Shiba Inu are independent thinkers. Both are generally affectionate in their own homes, but the Shiba Inu may be friendlier to newcomers. Like with human beings, personalities tend to differ from dog to dog. And so much of a dog’s demeanor comes from the owner’s treatment of the dog — so if you’re a trustworthy and kind pack leader, you’ll likely raise a great pooch, no matter the breed.

But again, do your due diligence when selecting a Shiba Inu or Akita for your family. These breeds have been around for centuries and really are tried-and-true companion dogs.

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