Akita Vs. Shiba Inu: An In-Depth Comparison

Akita Vs. Shiba Inu: An In-Depth Comparison

This article might be entitled Akita vs. Shiba Inu, but we are not trying to establish if one breed is better than the other. Both dogs originate from Japan and are amazing dogs; they both look somewhat similar, although the Akita is a much larger dog. The Shiba Inu and Akita have erect pointy ears, similar coat colors, and a curled tail, and both have been mistaken for foxes, although that happens much more to the Shiba Inu.

People often mistake them for cousins because of their likeness to each other, but they are two separate breeds. If you’re wondering about their personalities or unsure which dog would be more suitable for your family, we’re here to help. After reading our guide to the Shiba Inu and Akita, you’ll better understand where the two dogs are alike and where they are not.

Akita Vs. Shiba Inu: Which Is The Best Choice For Your Family?

As we mentioned, this article isn’t meant to pick which is the best dog, but it will help you choose the dog more suitable for your family situation.

It’s always crucial to learn as much as you can about a dog breed’s personality, exercise needs, and training requirements before you adopt an adult dog or buy a puppy. These are some of the points we’ll discuss in this Akita Vs. Shiba Inu guide.

Akita Vs. Shiba Inu

1. Akita Vs. Shiba Inu Quick Breed Comparison



  • Loyal, affectionate, territorial, silly, aloof, courageous, dignified, alert, intelligent, and sometimes dominant.

Life Expectancy:

  • 10 to 12 years
Japanese Akita Inu

Size & Weight:

  • Weight: 85 to 130 pounds (males), 65 to 110 pounds (females).
  • Height: Up to 27 inches (males), up to 25 inches (females).


  • Coat: Medium length, double coat
  • Coat colors: No fixed colors
  • Exercise: Average
  • Energy level: Average

AKC Classification:

  • Group: Working group
  • Popularity: 47 out of 197

Shiba Inu


  • Charming, alert, confident, faithful, keen, fearless, bold, strong-willed, and loyal.

Life Expectancy:

  • 13 to 16 years
Shiba Inu

Size & Weight:

  • Weight: 23 pounds (males), 17 pounds (females).
  • Height: 14.5 to 16.5 inches (males), 13.5 to 15.5 inches (females).


  • Coat: medium length, straight
  • Coat colors: Cream, black and red
  • Exercise: Average
  • Energy Level: Medium to high

AKC Classification:

  • Group: Non-sporting group
  • Popularity: 44 out of 197

2. Akita Vs. Shiba Inu Breed History

Analyzing a dog breed’s history can offer insights into what type of dog they are; understanding the breed’s original purpose will give you some good clues about personality and how the dog might fit into a family environment. Dogs are genetically wired to behave in specific ways and what they were initially bred for gives prospective owners some beneficial information. Naturally, their breeding, training, and socialization will also significantly impact the dog’s temperament.

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a well-known Japanese dog and is one of six dog breeds native to Japan. The other five breeds are Shikoku, Kai Ken, Kishu Ken, Kokkaido and Akita Inu; all these dogs are part of the Spitz family. However, a mystery surrounds who gave Shiba Inu their name. Inu is Japanese for a dog; Shiba translates to “brushwood,” and hunters used the Shiba Inu in the area where this brushwood grows.

Shiba Inu history

The Shiba Inu has a history going back almost 9000 years; there’s been a lot of selective breeding going on over those 9000 years. Hunters used the Shiba Inu to hunt small game such as wild birds, foxes, rabbits, and hares; there is evidence that a small Shiba-like dog with thick fur and a curled tail was living with humans around 300 B.C.

No one outside of Japan knew much about the Shiba Inu until the 1950s, when an American family brought a Shiba Inu home with them. The Japanese revere the Shiba Inu, and they are the most sought-after dog breed in Japan.


The Akita is also in the Spitz family, and their history can be traced back at least a thousand years as a human helper and often as a companion dog.

Japanese Akita Inu history

In those times, the Akita’s hunting prowess was highly prized because of their courage to hunt and bring down wild boar and bears. Even back in those days, Akitas had a reputation for loyalty to their owners. During Japan’s middle ages, the Akita’s role changed; local Samurai used the dog to guard people and their possessions.

In the first part of the twentieth century, Akitas went through tough times, and many were killed during the Second World war. Akitas first came to the United States in 1937. Today there are two lines of Akita, the Japanese Akita and the American Akita.

3. Akita Vs. Shiba Inu Appearance

If you forget about their size for a moment, both these dogs are somewhat similar to each other. Both dogs have a thick double-coat that is water-resistant and keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer.

Japanese Akita Inu size and look

The Akita and Shiba are robust and muscular dogs; they each have a long muzzle, erect triangular-shaped ears, and a tail that curves over their backs. There’s something about the wolf with these two dogs. The Shiba is also often mistaken for a fox. Even though appearance has no bearing on a dog’s personality or the suitability, most people prefer to choose dogs because of their look, so let’s compare the Shiba Inu to the Akita.

The difference you’ll notice instantly is the size. Shiba Inu are much smaller than Akitas. Akita males can reach up to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 85 and 130 pounds when they are mature. However, Shiba Inu males will only reach up to 16 1/2 inches and weigh up to 23 pounds (males). Females of both breeds are always smaller than their male counterparts.

4. Coat Colors

Shiba Inus have fewer color variations than the Akita; typically, their coats are tan, red, or black, with chest underside, legs, face, and tail markings of white, or sometimes it looks more off-white or cream. On the other hand, Japanese Akitas are available in more coat colors such as sesame, white, brindle, and red; American Akitas have even more coat colors.

Japanese Akita Inu coat colors

5. Akita Vs. Shiba Inu Temperament

Akita owners bred the dog to work alone or at the most in pairs, so their personality reflects this. Akitas much prefer to be the only animal in the home and are known to be aggressive around other dogs. While socializing an Akita from a very young age can help an Akita adjust to living with other animals, they will undoubtedly try to ensure they are the dominant dog.

Japanese Akita Inu temperament

Akitas are incredibly loyal and faithful dogs to their immediate family, but they tend to be wary of strangers and can be very territorial. Akitas make exemplary watchdogs barking only when there is something to bark about. It’s not advisable for novice owners to take on an Akita; big, powerful dogs take some controlling. Not only that, but being so intelligent, they get bored quickly. An owner needs to be aware of these traits and set their Akita challenges in training, obedience, and agility classes.

Shiba Inu is undoubtedly a giant dog with a tiny body and have a vibrant personality. The Shiba has lightning reflexes, and if they see something that looks like prey will be gone in a flash. If you’re going to own a Shiba and letting him have the run of your backyard, then you have to ensure you have secure fencing around your property; they can escape from the unlikeliest situations.

Shiba Inu temperament

Dog-on-dog aggression is a pretty often occurrence with Shibas, and if you own any small pets, they probably won’t survive long; even cats are in danger. You need to realize fast; you are dealing with a highly intelligent dog that knows how to manipulate humans. Training a Shiba takes utter dedication. Owners need to be confident, firm, but patient, and totally consistent. Inconsistency will be your undoing because the Shiba will exploit this to get his way. Shibas are highly possessive of anything they see as theirs, such as any toy and definitely his food and treats.

Shiba Inu is the more independent of the two dogs and can handle being left alone for a few hours. However, Akitas are much more sensitive, and separation anxiety is something to be aware of with this breed. Both dogs are lovable and affectionate towards their family; they love to cuddle and share the sofa.

6. Akita Vs. Shiba Inu Exercise

Both the Shiba Inu and Akita have similar activity needs; they both need 60 minutes every day. But a walk around the neighborhood won’t suffice. Both dogs need to burn off the energy with vigorous exercise. You’ll need to find ways to give them the workout they need without letting them off the leash. Even though the Akita is a much larger dog, he doesn’t need more exercise than the Shiba.

Akita Inu training

If you enjoy jogging or cycling, then these dogs will make an ideal partner. Don’t forget to exercise their brains as well. Both dogs come from a working background, so they will need to use their brains.

As we have mentioned, the Akita is a large dog, and therefore you need to take care when they are puppies that you don’t over-exercise them; that can damage their bones and joints.

Final Thoughts – Akita Vs. Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu and Akita are tremendous dogs and, with the right family, make wonderful pets, and we need to stress with the right family. Because of their undoubted differences, the dogs require different types of families.

Hopefully, this article Akita Vs. Shiba Inu has given you some good insights into what owning one of these two dogs means.