Are Akita and Shiba Inu the same? (top 5 differences)

In this article, we speak about the main differences between Akita Inus and Shiba Inus. Are Akita and Shiba Inu the same? Keep reading to find out!

Are Akita and Shiba Inu the same?

Akita and Shiba Inu are not the same breeds, though many people confuse them, and for the right reasons. However, Akita and Shiba Inu do not look nearly the same.

Let’s start with the Akita dog, which is considered to be from the category of large dog breeds, which stands between 25 and 30 inches tall and weighs between 80 pounds and 130 pounds. 

Shiba Inus, on the other hand, are somewhat smaller and are considered to be in the medium dog category. Generally speaking, a Shiba Inu stands between 15 and 18 inches tall and weighs between 17 and 21 pounds.

Maintenance: The Akita Inu is easier to maintain, its grooming does not need as much attention as that of the Shiba Inu. It is perfect for owners who do not want to spend a lot of money and time on dog maintenance.

Shedding: The Shiba Inu molts much more than the Akita Inu. Shedding is a normal process in which old or damaged hair is naturally lost. Many owners do not like the dog to lose a lot of hair because of the discomfort it causes in the house or car.

Adaptability: The Shiba Inu adapts much better to changes in its environment than the Akita Inu.

The temperament of Akita Inu vs Shiba Inus

Akita Inu are sleepers par excellence, having traditionally been a hunting dog for a long time make Akita Inu considered ferocious dogs. However, with the necessary training, they become excellent and loyal companions. 

They need an adult who dominates, otherwise, it will be the Akita who will take the lead in the relationship.

Affectionate Alerts Friendly Worthy Docile Loyal Responsive Courageous.

Shiba Inu is lively and personable, they are intelligent but somewhat difficult to train. The character of the Shiba Inu is something particular. It is a very independent dog that chooses which commands to obey. Although he is very sociable, he can be aggressive towards unfamiliar dogs.

Exercise and feeding of Akita Inu vs Shiba Inu

Akita Inu: Due to its genealogical and hereditary characteristics, the Akita Inu is an athletic dog that needs to exercise constantly and at a moderate intensity. It is also advisable to avoid aggressive games, especially those that have to do with possession.

Shiba Inu: If there is something that characterizes the Shiba Inu, it is that it is a very active and very intrepid dog. This means that you need a lot of exercises. In fact, the Shiba Inu is happier if it exercises on a regular basis. So if you don’t have enough time to spend time and exercise it, it may not be the right breed of dog for you.

When it comes to feeding the Shiba Inu, you don’t have to take any special care.

Care for an Akita Inu vs Shiba Inu

The Akita Inu has a short, stiff, and rough coat that needs to be brushed at least once a week to keep it healthy. It will be necessary to use a stiff bristle brush. The Akita Inu is a dog that sheds twice a year and should not bathe unless strictly necessary, since its coat has a natural waterproofing that can be lost in the water.

The Shiba Inu has a rough, rigid, and short coat that is very easy to care for. It is necessary to care for the Shiba Inu’s hair with a stiff-bristled brush, and you should only bathe it when absolutely necessary because the natural raincoat from the coat can be removed.

The health of an Akita Inu vs Shiba Inu

Akita Inu are very healthy dogs that rarely have health problems throughout their lives. The diseases that Akita Inu can suffer are those of large thoroughbred breeds: hip dysplasia and eye problems.

The Shiba Inu race is a healthy and strong race with few weaknesses of genetic origin. Shiba Inu are dogs that generally do not have health problems. Its waterproof mantle protects it from heat and cold, so it can live outdoors if you have a garden or a spacious area where it can run and play.

The main diseases that the Shiba Inu can suffer are related to sight (glaucoma and cataracts), as well as to the joints (hip dysplasia or patella luxation).

The origins of Akita Inu dogs

The origins of the Akita go back to the beginnings of the Edo era (1603-1867): The Tokugawa family is the very origin of the Akitas. These dogs were intended not only for the guard of property and owners but also for hunting.

From this time, two lines of Akita dog appeared: the first used for hunting in mountain villages (also known under the name of “Matagi-Inu”), the second reserved for the care of large estates of the nobles and the entourage of the Shogun.

At the start of the following era, the Meiji era (1868-1912) the Akita mutation began, leading the breed to practically its demise. In fact, from a guard dog and a hunting dog, he became a fighting dog. It wasn’t until 1910 and the outlawing of all animal fighting that any semblance of hope for the Akita breed was reborn.

World War II had a disastrous effect on all breeds of dogs, but it was even worse for the Akita Inu (soldiers used Akitas’ fur for warm clothing). The efforts undertaken for many years were dashed. It is in Odate, a town near Akita, that what we can call “the modern Akita” will be reborn. Two Odate breeders were chosen and gave birth to two lines (Ichinoseki-Goma and Dewa).

From 1950 to 1970, the Akita will tend to grow taller and heavier. So in 1965, the Japanese would find that the very substance of Akita’s character, both physical and psychic, was best expressed through thinner builds. There was all the more urgency as the American strain began to arrive with heavy and unsightly individuals.

The origins of Shiba Inu dogs

The Shiba is the oldest of the Japanese spitz-type breeds: vestiges dating from the Jomon era, in 7000 BC, already confirm the existence and cohabitation of men with ancestors of this dog.

The Shiba is, as noted above, a very agile and fast dog that was used for hunting small game, such as rabbits or birds: paintings dating back to 300 BC already showed these dogs hunting. Its natural habitat is in the mountainous areas of the Chubu region, facing the sea.

The oldest historical Japanese document, Nihon Shoki, also indicates that it was customary in ancient times to give names to dogs and use them for hunting.

In the 7th century, the imperial court attached great importance to the breeding and safeguarding of native breeds, until it established a dedicated office.

It was also during the medieval period, more precisely during the Kamakura Shogunate (1192-1333) and the Ashikaga Shogunate (1336-1575) until the end of the Azuchi Momoyama period in 1603, that the Shiba, then enjoying great prestige, as well as other breeds such as the Akita, was bred by the samurai for hunting deer, wild boar, and small game.

Three varieties of Shiba stand out at the time: Shinshu, Mino, and San-In.

The Shinshu, derived from the Kimawa breed, is native to Nagano Prefecture: it is distinguished by its smaller size, it’s mostly red coat, its round eyes, and its black “puppy mask” that stays with age instead of disappearing while growing up.

The Mino, originally from Gifu prefecture, is distinguished by its smaller size and its “Sashi-o” tail, extended, and not curved, unlike the modern Shiba. He also has a predominantly red robe as well as the triangular ears typical of the modern Shiba.

Finally, the San-In, derived from the Imba and Sekishu races, comes from the prefectures of Shimane and Tottori, in the southwest of the archipelago: it is known to have a larger size and a black coat. Where the modern Shiba is known for its independent yet affectionate character, the San-In was known for its dislike and lack of display of affection.

What Shiba Inu and Akita Inu have in common

One of the similarities that both breeds have is that of their care, for example, the diet will be similar, giving the Akita more food intakes because it is twice the size of the Shiba Inu. They will start with wet feed when they are puppies and little by little a harder feed will be introduced so that they can remove tartar. 

Generally, (you always have to ask a veterinarian), you can give them food that contains fish, as it is good for their coat to shine strong and healthy.

Another aspect to take into account is the bath times Both the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu have a natural waterproofing mantle that can be lost if they are bathed a lot. That is why it should only be done when you really need it. 

Also, when this happens, you have to treat them with great affection, as they become very nervous and begin to cry and shake. They are not dogs that smell bad, they also spend the day grooming themselves like cats, they are the neatest dogs you’ll ever hear about!

The bottom line

In conclusion, we are going to remind you of the most important differences between Akita Inus and Shiba Inus.

Akita Inu breed dogs measure between 60 and 70 centimeters and weigh between 35 and 55 kilos. At the other extreme, the Shiba Inu is small dogs – they are not considered toy breeds – they measure between 35 and 40 centimeters, weighing between 8 and 15 kilos.

The reddish tone in the coat of both types of Japanese dogs is striking and being a trait they share is usually a bad reference to differentiate them. It is best to look at the light areas of the dog’s hair. In the case of the Akita, it is pure white, while in the Shiba the hair tends to be cream or a less bright white.

As befits their size, bearing, and more athletic build, Akita dogs are more fond of training, including maintaining, and exercise, they will demand more activity than little Shiba who is sleepy and calm. Training is easier in an Akita since the Shiba is a more intelligent dog that will want to impose their preferences and do not easily accept the impositions of others.

If you look at the head and face of an Akita dog, you will discover large, round eyes on a head that is also large in size; however, the Shiba Inu will look at you from their small, almond-shaped eyes.

Although neither of the two dogs has a special facility to accept changes, the Shiba Inu will accept them better and will readjust more quickly. His character is more affable and conformist in almost all cases. Even so, remember that they are customary dogs and for example, you will enjoy them more if you always walk them or take them to the same parks where they will play the same attractions or entertainment.

Now that you know the main differences between Akita Inu and Shiba Inu, do let us know which one is your favorite breed and why!

FAQ on Are Akita and Shiba Inu the same

Is Shiba Inu related to Akita?

Yes, Shiba Inu and Akita Inu are related, both being dog breeds native to Japan. However, this doesn’t mean that they look the same or have a similar temperament. Akitas are bigger dogs, while Shiba Inus are more popular in Japanese houses. 

Which is better, Akita, or Shiba?

The Akita dog is better if you need a guard dog. They are agile, very protective, and easy to train. The Shiba Inu, on the other hand, is better if you live in a smaller place and if you are looking for a friendlier dog. 

Can Akitas be trained?

Akitas like any other dog can be trained as soon as you bring them home. It is very important to socialize the dog as soon as possible, to prevent future conflicts with smaller animals and people outside the family home. 

Do Akitas make good pets?

Akitas can be great pets, as they are calm, highly intelligent, and affectionate. However, due to its size and character, Akita is not a dog for everyone. 

Will an Akita protect its owner?

Akita will protect its owner without a doubt. Akitas are generally very calm dogs, but if they bark, there is usually a serious reason for that. 


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