Akita Inu vs Shiba Inu: Similarities & Difference between Akita and Shiba Inu

Akita Inu and Shiba Inu are popular Japanese dog breeds. They have many similarities as well as differences. In addition there is the American Akita dog that has been bred from the original Japanese dog breed. They are Spitz dog breeds but of different sizes.

Spitz dogs tend to have a wolf-like appearance and are usually independent. They are ever suspicious and aggressive towards people they aren’t familiar with – as well as other dogs. Shiba Inu and Akita dogs have thick fur that protects them from harsh climate.

Both Akita Inu and Shiba Inu have a double coat. The undercoat is dense and waterproof. Both dogs live well in cold climate. Their small pointed ears are less susceptible to frost bite.

One of the top similarities between these two famous Japanese dogs is that they shed. The following are some of the similarities and differences between Akita Inu and Shiba Inu.

Akita Inu Shiba Inu: Similarities & Difference between Akita and Shiba Inu

Akita Inu Shiba Inu Difference

Similarities and differences between Akita Inu (left) and Shiba Inu

Akita Inu Shiba Inu Similarities

  • Akita Inu and Shiba Inu are Spitz dog breeds. Spitz dog breeds are characterized by small, upright and pointy ears. They have almond-shaped eyes and a double coat made up of a soft undercoat and a dense, thick top coat of fur. Spitz dogs, in addition, have strong jaws and a curly tail.
  • Both dog breeds shed. A Shiba Inu “blows” its soft undercoat twice per year when the seasons change. This timely Shiba Inu shedding enables the dog to adjust to large temperature changes.
  • Akita and Shiba Inu are muscular dogs. Shiba dogs are smaller in size but are well muscled too. This is a common trait among dogs that were bred to hunt.
  • Both have a double coat and a soft undercoat, adapted to the cold and harsh living conditions in the Mountains of Japan.
  • Akita and Shiba Inu are brave and loyal dogs. Akita and Shiba Inu are good watchdogs as well as companion dogs. They love, and are protective of, their human families
  • They are ancient dog breeds. Akita and Shiba Inu are among the six native Japanese dog breeds that are referred to as Nihon ken breeds. The other four breeds are Kishu ken, Kai Ken, Hokkaido Ken and Shikoku Ken.
  • The two dog breeds come in many colors. This includes red and white.
  • Both dog breeds have a curled over tail. Other dogs that have curly tails include Basenji, Pugs, Pomeranian and Samoyed dogs.
  • Akita Inu and Shiba Inu are clean dogs that love to groom themselves. These dog breeds have cat-like grooming habits and steadfastly avoid dirt.
  • Both dogs are costly to buy. Akita and Shiba Inu price depends on various factors including the breeder profile, age, location of breeder and the dog’s pedigree.
  • There are many Akita Inu and Shiba Inu mixes – Both pure breeds have been mixed with other dog breeds, including the Siberian Husky, Poodle, Welsh Corgi and the shedding Chihuahua. Akita dog mixes include:
    1. Bullkita: A mix between Akita dog and American Bulldog
    2. Aki-Poo: Akita and the non-shedding Poodle mix
    3. Akita Chow: A crossbreed between an Akita and a Chow Chow
    4. Huskita: A cross between a Siberian Husky and the Akita dog
    5. Akita Jack Russell Mix: A cross between the shedding Jack Russell Terrier and the Akita dog
    6. Labrakita: The offspring from a cross between an Akita dog and a Labrador Retriever
    7. Akita Pit: obtained by mixing Akita with the American Pit Bull Terrier

    There are many Shiba dog mixes as well.

Akita Inu Shiba Inu: Difference between Akita and Shiba Inu

  • Shiba Inu are considered to be a basal dog breed. This means that they are more genetically closer to wolves than many dog breeds. The domestic dog is a direct descendant of gray wolves. Wolves started adapting to living with humans about 130,000 years ago. Akita Inu are an ancient dog breed as well. But dog bones and paw prints that have been dated as old as 8,000 B.C show that the ancient people had medium sized dogs. This suggests that Shiba Inu are more ancient than the Akita dog.
  • Shiba Inu are small to medium sized dogs (and the smallest of the native Japanese dog breeds) while the Akita dog is a large dog breed. Akita Inu are one of the large white dog breeds – and the largest Japanese dog breed. A male Akita weighs up to 130 pounds and is 26 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder while the female Akita dog is 24 to 26 inches tall. In contrast, a male Shiba Inu weighs about 23 pounds and stands 14 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder. Female Shiba Inu are about an inch shorter than the male on average.
  • Shiba Inu are more wolf-like in appearance than the Akita dog. However Akita Inu DNA tests have revealed that they are one of the dog breeds that are genetically closest to the wolf than any other breed. Akita dogs have a broad and massive head.
  • Akita Inu have more coat colors than Shiba Inu. Purebred Akita can have a white, red, tan, black, fawn and brindled coat. Shiba Inu are mostly red, tan or black.
  • Shiba Inu love to chase! This is because they were originally bred to hunt. Consequently, your cat may have a hard time living with a Shiba dog. The Akita dog, on the other hand, is naturally protective. Akita dogs are also good hunters of big game – including boar and elk.
  • Akita dogs have webbed feet. This feature helps the heavy dogs move easily on snow and icy terrain. The lighter Shiba Inu don’t have webbed toes

The Akita Inu is a large and powerful dog breed. They were traditionally called the “snow country dogs”. But they thrive when they live indoors. In addition both dog breeds love to be with their family. These are the main similarities and differences between an Akita dog and a Shiba Inu.

Share On Your Favorite Social Media!


Harrison M, author, editor and owner at hypoallergenicdogsnames.com

Harrison M, Owner and editor of Allergy-Free Dogs & Cats

Hypoallergenic dog breeds are good for people who have animal allergies, although no dog breed is 100% allergy-free. Harry is a calm person and during his free time you might catch him riding his bike, playing football with his son, watching movies or just chilling. About.me | Twitter | VK | LinkedIn