Akita vs Shiba Inu – The Ultimate Breed Comparison!

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Both the Shiba Inu and the Akita Inu dog breeds have seen steady increase in their popularity over the last few years and although there are a number of similarities between the two, there are also plenty of differences. Although both of the breeds are from Japanese dog lines that can trace their routes back to ancient Japan, due to the developments in transportation, both of the breeds have managed to gain solid popularity all around the world with more and more people looking to potentially add one of the breeds to their family.

This is where we are hoping to come in and help any of our readers who are considering adding either an Akita Inu or a Shiba Inu to their families. We are seeing more and more people reaching out and asking for a dedicated Shiba Inu vs Akita Inu comparison article we have decided to make this the subject of today’s article. Our hope is that we will be able to help any of our readers who are considering either of the breeds choose the correct breed for them and their situation.

Throughout our Shiba Inu vs Akita Inu comparison, we are going to be taking a look at the main factors to consider to try and help ensure that you are able to get the best breed for your needs and that your new dog will be able to live a long and happy life. We see many people going with larger dogs such as the Akita when they live in smaller apartments with the dog often ending up unhappy with a Shiba Inu potentially have been a better fit. On top of this, we will be covering the exercise and grooming requirements of both of the dog breeds as well as their recommended diet to try and give you a good idea of what to expect.

The Appearance Of The Dog Breeds

The two breeds actually have a large number of similarities between them when it comes to their appearance from their thick coat, curled tail, facial structure, and coloring has a number of similarities. The main difference between the two breeds when simply looking at them is their size with the Akita being the larger of the dog breeds coming in at around 27 inches tall for males and 25 inches tall for females. Weight-wise, the Akita usually comes in at 100-130 pounds for a male and 70 to 100 pounds for a female. On the flip side of this, the Shiba Inu is usually around 16 inches tall for males and 14 inches tall for females with males usually being around 23 pounds for males and around 18 pounds for females.

This larger size and heavier weight of the Akita over the Shiba Inu should definitely be factored in when considering adding either of these dog breeds to your family. If you live in a smaller apartment or are of a smaller frame with low strength, then the Shiba Inu is often a better option as the Akita can pull when out for its walks if not trained correctly requiring some strength to keep the dog under control. That said though, provided you are willing to stay consistent, training an Akita is easier than many think, especially if you use the methods in a reputable dog training book to allow you to train your dog as quickly and efficiently as possible.

When it comes to the coloring of the breeds, the Akita can have pinto, brindle, white, black, red, and sesame in its coat but different countries may limit the coloration of the breed’s coat to be classed as a purebred Akita. Japan has the strictest coat restrictions with their kennel club only accepting red, fawn, sesame, brindle, and white in their purebred Akitas coats. That said though, North American and European kennel clubs usually accept Akitas of all colors as purebred provided that both parents are registered purebred Akitas.

When it comes to Shiba Inus, their coat coloration tends to include red, orange, yellow, black, tan, sesame, black, and cream. That said though, some Shiba Inus can have white in their coat but the majority of registered kennel clubs will often discourage Shiba Inus with white in their coat from being show dogs with some not classing them as purebred and not offering the relevant paperwork for breeding programs.

Moving onto the coats of the breeds, both breeds have a thick double coat that is usually shed in moderate amounts year-round while also having two seasonal spikes in shedding each year. This may cause issues for any potential owner of either breed if they, or someone in their household suffers from allergies to dogs. That said though, with a deshedding brush suitable for double-coated dogs and a good deshedding shampoo or conditioner it is relatively easy to keep the shedding of both the Akita and the Shiba Inu under control. Bathing once we week with a good shampoo or conditioner and grooming between one and three times a week for five to ten minutes will work wonders for you.

When it comes to their tails, both breeds usually have a tail that will curl up due to both being Spitz breeds. Although they are actually Asian Spitz families, they meet the requirements of the Northern Spitz breeds too. It is also important to note that the curled tail is due to a vertebrae deformity in these breeds and is totally normal. That said though, there are some health issues that can cause a purebred of either of the breeds to not have a curl in their tail although this is rare and not a serious issue.

Recommended Diet Of The Dogs

Both of the breeds tend to do well on both dry and wet foods with their actual daily calorie intake requirements depending on their size, age, build, metabolism, and activity levels. Due to the different calorie densities of different dog foods, we would always recommend that our readers check the labels on their dog food of choice and serve the appropriate amount for the size of their dog. All dog foods will have a guideline by dog weight on their packaging allowing you to serve your dog a suitable food portion.

That said though, when it comes to the Akita vs Shiba Inus, the Akita does tend to have a higher activity level of the two breeds, and depending what your Akita is getting up to each day, may need an additional ten to third-percent of the recommended food servings by weight. If you are using your Akita as a working dog or are taking it on long hikes each day and letting it run around then a high protein dog food is likely the better option to help fuel the active lifestyle in your dog.

If your dog is active and gets plenty of exercises then something like Purina Pro Plan Sport is an excellent food option. It has a thirty percent protein, twenty percent fat macronutrient break down helping to support an active lifestyle and keep your dog as healthy as possible. The food has an excellent reputation amongst the community and dogs seem to love the taste with many dog owners having posted their own independent reviews of the food that you can check out if you wish.

The Temperament Of The Dog Breeds

Moving onto the temperaments of both dog breeds but before we get into it, we just want to say that not all dogs within the breed will necessarily have the same temperaments and a well-trained dog will likely be fine. We are just going by the official temperament notes for each breed by the American Kennel Club as they have some of the most in-depth data available and offer these points in their own recommendations for each breed.

When it comes to the Akita, they can be territorial and protective of their property and reserved with strangers to your house. If your Akita is not trained and socialized well they breed can treat strangers to your home in an aggressive manner but this behavior can be trained out of most dogs. Akitas tend to be good with children that they are familiar of but can become protective of them even to the child own parents and the large size and sheer power of the breed means we would not recommend an Akita for a first-time dog owner. Some countries have released specific legislation for the breed and class it as a potentially dangerous dog too.

When it comes to Shiba Inus, the breed tend to have an independent and inquisitive nature often getting themselves into trouble due to being too curious. There are countless videos on YouTube of Shiba Inus investigating a new object in their home only to do something hilarious or silly when their curiosity gets the better of them. Shiba Inus are also an extremely fastidious breed and will clean their own coat and paws with many Shiba Inu pups actually house training themselves due to wanting to be clean all the time.

Although Shiba Inus do tend to make good family dogs and be fine with most children, they can be aggressive to other dogs, especially if you have an intact male. On top of this, as Shiba Inus are hunting dogs, their instinct to give chase to smaller animals can make them a pain to walk without having a leash with some states offering fines if you are caught with a Shiba Inu off the leash. Due to the strong instinct to give chase, this behavior can often be very difficult to train out of the dog and their excellent eyesight can cause your dog to give chase to a squirrel or small dog in the distance that you can’t even see causing it to run right over roads into traffic.

When it comes to the Akita vs Shiba Inu comparison, we feel that the Shiba Inu does make a slightly better breed for a first-time dog owner but there are definitely better breeds for your first dog out there. Although Akitas tend to get a bad rap, there are countless videos on YouTube of the breed being big softies with babies and other animals so their more dominant and potentially aggressive instinct tends to be easier to train out of them than the Shiba Inus instinct to chase smaller animals.

The Importance Of Exercise

Both the Shiba Inu and Akita will likely require daily exercise to prevent them from becoming frustrated and potentially showing destructive behavior to items in your home. Both breeds will likely require a walk of up to an hour with the Shiba Inu sometimes being fine with a thirty-minute walk. Both breeds should also have their daily exercise supplemented with playtime in your home, garden or yard and if space permits both breeds tend to enjoy playing with an interactive dog toy to help exercise them while also stimulating their intelligence.

If you are a runner of a jogger then the Akita is definitely the better breed for faster and longer jogs or runs. On top of this, we have also seen a number of female runners and joggers say that they opted for the Akita breed due to the location that they live and the areas they job in not being ideal for a solo female runner. The Akita is not only able to keep the pace of your run or job but is also big, strong, and intimidating enough to keep trouble away from the owner while out on their run or jog too.

Common Health Issues

Both of the breeds have a life expectancy of up to fifteen years with both breeds having a number of health issues that can occur and have an effect on their expected life expectancy. Common health issues for Shiba Inus include allergies, glaucoma, cataracts, hip dysplasia, entropion, and luxating patella with regular joint examinations being recommended until the age of two and regular eye tests throughout the dogs life.

When it comes to the Akita Inus, the dog breed does have a number of autoimmune diseases that can occur as well as less common issues such as gastric dilation, microphthalmia, primary glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, Von Willebrands disease, and Cushing’s Syndrome. That said though, although on paper there are more health issues that can affect the Akita Inu, as a dog breed, outside of the autoimmune diseases the other issues are uncommon.

Is Hachiko a Shiba Inu or Akita?

Whenever we see the Akita or Shiba Inu discussed, we often see people asking the dog breed of Hachiko so we just wanted to quickly include it. Hachiko was an Akita Inu but is often mistaken for a Shiba Inu due to the Shiba Inu and Akita looking so similar to each other to most people. The majority of people know that Hachiko was a Japanese Dog breed and then often take a guess at either of the most popular Japanese breeds.


That brings our comparison of the Shiba Inu And Akita Inu to a close and we hope that you have found our article helpful and that it has offered you some insights into the differences between the two breeds. We have lost count of the number of times we have seen a request for a Shiba Inu vs Akita comparison article so decided to just publish one to help as many of our readers who are considering adding either of the breeds to your family. Depending on your circumstances, either breed can make a great addition to your family but both also have the issues that we have pointed out at various stages throughout the article that should be factored in prior to actually getting the dog.