Are you an enthusiast of Japanese dog breeds? If yes, you have a lot of options to choose from. While the different Japanese dog breeds bear different traits, it’s arguable that these two breeds shine brightest among other Japanese dog breeds. Besides, Akita Inu and Shiba Inu are among the most popular dog breeds.
That said, you may be asking, how do the Shiba Inu and Akita Inu compare? Shibas and Akitas have similar appearances due to the foxlike heads in both. Further, both breeds have curled rails and small pointed ears.
On the other hand, the two breeds have several differences, including body size and colors. Thankfully, these two breeds are touted for their loyalty which comes with a little bit of stubbornness.
There are far many differences and similarities between Akitas and Shibas. This guide takes you through the key differences, which are more than what meets the eye.
Table of Contents
Shiba Inu Vs. Akita Inu Comparison Chart
The comparison chart below provides a quick overview of the major differences between these two lovely breeds.
Let’s explore some basic information and vital statistics that differ between these two iconic breeds from Japan.
|Shiba Inu||Akita Inu|
|Weight||18-25 lbs||80-150 lbs|
|Height||14-20 inches||23-29 inches|
|Lifespan||14-18 years||11-14 years|
|Grouping||Non-sporting Dog||Work Dog|
|Type of Coat||Thick double coat, 4 standard colors||Thick double coat, 9 standard colors|
|Temperament||Vigilant, Alert & Energetic||Loyal, Brave & Proud|
|Reason for breeding||Hunting birds and small game||Hunting bear, elk, deer, and other large game|
|Intelligence level||Above average intelligent||Average intelligent|
|Exercise needs||At least 40 mins/ day||At least 1 hour/day|
|Grooming needs||Heavy Grooming throughout||Moderate to heavy shedding|
About The Shiba Inu Breed
There’s no doubt that Shiba Inus are among the most popular breeds of Japanese origin currently. This breed has gained more fame with the emergence of the Shiba Inu coin.
Shibas aren’t only famous in Japan but also in other parts of the world, like the United States. Many people are becoming more obsessed with the breed as the years go by.
Shiba Inus are unique in their ways. For example, this breed has some funny ways of communicating with their owner, which often involves the “Shiba Scream.”
The Shiba Inu scream is a vocalized shriek produced by Shibas when they’re overly excited or feel threatened.
In addition, Shiba Inus have an alert and active temperament. Although they’re categorized under small dogs, Shibas aren’t your typical small dog.
Further, Shibas aren’t the type of dog that spends the entire day cuddling on your lap. They’re independent and often want to spend some time by themselves.
Generally, Shiba Inus are free-spirited and love to think by themselves and do what they think is right. They even ignore their owner when not in the mood.
Shiba Inus are naturally independent. Therefore, expect your Shiba Inus to show stubborn streaks every now and then. While they’re independent, Shibas are so affectionate and loyal.
In addition, Shiba Inus are extra vigilant with their immediate surrounding. This breed is always watchful and cautious of any strangers.
Although they don’t have the perfect body to offer protection, Shibas will alert you in case of any stranger or person they don’t know.
About The Akita Inu Breed
The Akita Inu breed is considered a national treasure in Japan. It remains one of the most prized possessions for Japanese residents.
Akita Inus are a symbol of good health and happiness. Akitas offer protection and are among the best protection dogs in the world.
Akita Inus have a perfect body for protection as they easily weigh over 100 pounds. With their massive size, they can easily scare away intruders.
In addition, Akita Inus are loyal and have a suspicious nature. Therefore, you’re guaranteed a dependable protector for your home and family.
Due to the Akita’s undying loyalty, your Akita always has your back. Thanks to the breed’s alertness, not much will get past them.
Most Japanese dogs are intolerant of other dogs or animals. So, you may want to socialize your canine friend to make them tolerant of other dogs and animals.
Having two Akitas in the same household might be tricky as they may often fight, especially if they’re of the same sex.
Thankfully, Akitas are incredibly patient and calm with children. This breed won’t hurt your children if they’re left to interact together.
Therefore, this breed was primarily hardwired to offer protection and guard their families. All you need to do is provide a loving home environment where they’ll thrive and become the best version of themselves.
7 Similarities Between a Shiba Inu and Akita Inu
- Both Breeds Are Popular
- They’re Japanese Spitz Dogs
- They Have Double Coats
- They Share Similar Capabilities in Obedience & Working Intelligence
- They’re Stubborn
- They’re Relatively Quiet
- They Have Extreme Loyalty
Shiba Inus and Akita dogs have gained popularity recently despite having existed for decades. The AKC categorizes them among the 50 most popular dog breeds.
They have always been popular in Japan, their origin country. However, popularity in other countries has shot high in recent years since the late 20th century. In their motherland country Japan, Shiba Inus are more popular.
Both Breeds Are of Japanese Origin
If you’re familiar with these two breeds, you can ascertain that they that somewhat similar, especially in their facial appearance.
They belong to the spitz dog family, which is assumed to be linked to prehistoric wolves. This gives both breeds their wolflike facial appearance.
Besides their appearance, most spitz dog breeds are characterized by curly and fluffy tails, just like in Shibas and Akitas.
Additional features shared within breeds of this dog family are sharp snouts, double coat fur, almond eyes, small ears that stand attention, and jaws with a lot of bite strength.
Both Breeds Have Double Coats
Shiba Inus and Akitas have double coats, which means they will shed a lot, especially during the coat-blowing season.
While most dog breeds have single coats, a decent number of breeds have double coats. Most dogs with double coats are linked to having come from extreme cold weather and winters.
In addition, all dogs belonging to the spitz dog family have double coats. It’s pretty simple and explanatory. Besides, you can observe that a Shiba or Akita has a thick outer coat and a soft inner coat.
The undercoat bears a wool-like texture and is primarily meant to protect your canine from extreme cold. So, the undercoat acts as an insulator for the dog.
The outer coat, also known as the top coat or guard hair, offers external protection from harmful environmental elements like dust.
The top coat was also useful during the ancient days when Shiba Inus were used for hunting small game to protect the dog from getting stuck inside the bushes.
Both Breeds Share Similar Capabilities in Obedience & Working Intelligence
Shiba Inus and Akitas are among the top 100 most intelligent dogs. However, they don’t rank so high in the list as Shibas are around position 93 while Akitas are in the 100th position.
Akitas are better at obedience than Shiba Inus, which makes them easier to train. Shibas tend to be a little bit stubborn and ignorant.
The two breeds are of average intelligence. You can train your canine friend early if you want them to grasp commands quickly.
Shiba Inus And Akitas Are Stubborn
Shiba Inus and Akitas have some stubbornness, but Shibas are slightly more stubborn than Akitas.
The reason behind the breed’s stubbornness is its independent nature. They both like to think for themselves and want to do what they think is right.
Besides, they can sometimes be a bit cunning, especially Shiba Inus. Shibas always want to do what you are against; they will attempt to sneak behind your back and do what you’re against.
Therefore, expect your canine friend to throw tantrums at you every once in a while.
Both breeds are strong-willed. This means they have a strong desire to act independently and ignore the commands you give.
Therefore, these two breeds need obedience training from an early age. It helps foster good behavior and eliminates the dominant personality.
They Are Relatively Quiet
Shiba Inus and Akitas hardly bark and will only do it when there is a reason to do so. They don’t bark a lot like most dog breeds.
Spitz dogs tend to be more selective with barking. However, they’ll always bark when the need arises, like when they notice a stranger.
The silent nature of these breeds traces back to the hunting days. Besides, Akita Inu is commonly known as the “silent hunter.” They used to track small game in forests while silent to keep them at bay.
Shiba Inus are known to possess a “sneak attack” approach. They can attack without necessarily barking; Shibas attack prey and are used to being quiet as they were initially hunters.
Both Breeds Are Extremely Loyal to Their Owner and Family
Shiba Inus and Akitas are as loyal as they come. Both breeds are widely known for their unwavering loyalty to the owner or family.
They tend to select a favorite person in the family. Taking the example of Hachiko the Akita Inu, which waited for over 9 years following the owner’s death, we can confirm that this breed is loyal.
On the other hand, these breeds also have several differences, which we cover below.
Differences Between Shiba Inu and Akita Inu
- Different Personality
- They Have Different Exercise Needs
- They Are Different in Size
- They Were Different Types of Hunters
- They Have Different Coat Colors
- Akitas Are Better with Kids
- They Cost Different Prices
Shiba Inu vs Akita Inu Personality
Shiba Inus have friendly personalities but aren’t welcoming to strangers, while Akita Inus have a guarding character and repel strangers.
Akita Inus are naturally born protectors and will not hesitate to protect their loved ones. Therefore, they’re considered family protectors since their size is enough to scare intruders.
In addition, Akitas have a strong loyalty to their owner or family members. They’re more loyal to their favorite person.
On the other hand, Shiba Inus can’t make excellent protection or guard dogs. They are known to be great companions in Japan.
Shiba Inus don’t lack self-confidence, as they can be both bold and strong-willed. Unlike the Akitas, Shibas won’t offer protection as intruders can easily bypass them.
Shibas tend to be very playful, especially when they’re feeling like it. Therefore, they can be argued to possess a friendly temperament that can change when provoked.
They Have Different Exercise Needs
Shiba Inus and Akita Inus don’t share the same exercise needs despite being from the same dog family.
Akita Inus require a little bit more exercise than Shiba Inus. They need at least 90 minutes of exercise every day.
On the other hand, Shiba Inus don’t necessarily need much exercise. They need an average of 45 to 60 minutes of exercise every day.
Both dogs are suitable for long walks, morning or evening runs, and hiking in the maintains or anywhere else provided there’s good runways.
Shiba Inu vs Akita in Size
Shiba Inus and Akitas are different in size. Akitas are in the large dog category, while Shiba Inus are in the small dog category.
An Akita Inu is bigger and weighs between 90 and 140 pounds. This dog is heavy-boned and contains a lot of heft.
In terms of height, Akita Inus average between 24 to 28 inches at shoulder height. Although they’re not as tall as GSDs, their imposing nature is nothing to scoff at.
On the other hand, Shiba Inus weigh between 20 to 25 pounds. In addition, Shibas are 17 inches tall at the shoulder and thus are smaller than Akitas.
Shiba Inus And Akitas Were Different Types of Hunters
Although both breeds were purposely meant for hunting, they are different types of hunters. While Shibas hunted small game, Akitas hunted big game.
Shibas were primarily for hunting small game due to their small body size. Also, their body size was good to fit in thick-wooded forest regions in central Japan.
This gives Shiba Inus a high prey drive as they were used to flushing out small game like birds. The high prey drive is dangerous if your canine friend isn’t trained and socialized.
Thanks to their solid and incredible noses, Shiba Inus easily track down birds and rabbits in the forest. Also, the double coat used to enable Shibas to penetrate through thick bushes and shrubs.
On the other hand, Akita Inus used to hunt large game. They flushed out large game in the mountainous regions.
Akita Inus’s job was to run ahead of the pack and track down wild boar, small bears, and elk. Also, they’d catch and keep the game at bay.
They Have Different Coat Colors
Akita Inus have 9 standard colors and 19 recognized color and marking combinations.
The standard Akita Inu coat colors are black, brown with black, brown brindle, fawn with black, red with black, fawn, red, white, and silver with black.
On the other hand, Shiba Inus have 4 standard colors according to the AKC. In addition, Shibas have 1 standard marking, which is the white markings.
The standard Shiba Inu colors are black and tan, red sesame, cream, and red. There are more exotic Shiba Inu colors, like solid white, which is not officially recognized.
Akita Inus Are Better with Kids
While Shiba Inus aren’t bad with Kids, Akita Inus are better with kids and develop strong bonds with the household’s children.
Akitas have the naturally instinct to love and show care for children. The strong affinity of Akitas towards children has been a contributing factor to the growth in popularity.
Besides, Akitas are very patient with kids and slow to cause chaos. Thankfully, they have big bodies and musculature to tolerate rowdy kids.
Just like Golden Retrievers are obsessed and love sticks and balls, Akita Inus have a special liking for children regardless of the children’s age.
Shiba Inus, with their high prey drive, require socialization and obedience training to ensure they maintain a good relationship with kids.
Shiba Inu vs Akita Inu Price
Akita Inus costs an average of $700 to $2000, while Shiba Inus costs between $1200 to $2200 from reputable Shiba Inu breeders.
That said, Shiba Inus tend to be slightly more expensive than Akita Inus. However, this varies depending on where you’re getting your canine friend.
Beware not to purchase a puppy from the backdoor, quack, and unreputable breeders. Further, avoid puppy mills as much as you can, as they often produce puppies with undesirable traits.
When purchasing any of these two dog breeds, ensure to find a reputable dog breeder and enquire from others.
An additional tip is that both breeds may not be suitable for first-time owners. However, if you’re ready to do lots of research to learn, you can try it, but ensure you have someone close to get advice from.
Can Shiba Inu and Akita Inus Live Together?
Shiba Inus and Akita Inus can live harmoniously, given that none of the dogs is fussy around other dogs.
In addition, obedience training and socialization help any dogs live together. So, you can consider socializing them together and watching over them for the first few days.
Since each of them might have resource-guarding traits, ensure to feed them in different areas and let each have their toys.
Training and socialization work best when introduced from a young age. So, if you have your canine friend from when they’re still puppies, mind starting obedience training and socialization as early as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Is Better, Akita or Shiba?
In most aspects, Akita is better than a Shiba Inu; however, t depends on what you want a canine friend for.
An Akita Inu is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a good protector for you or your family. However, a Shiba is the best companion if you’re looking for a companion dog.
Is Hachiko a Shiba Inu or Akita?
Hachiko was a white Akita Inu born in 1923 and spent a lot of time walking his master to the Shibuya train station ad picking him evening after work.
When the owner died at work, Hachiko kept waiting at the train station for 9 years until his death. This shows how loyal these dogs are.
Are Akitas Just Big Shibas?
Akitas are not just big Shibas; they are a different dog breed but belong to the same dog family as Shiba Inus, the spitz family.
Therefore, Akitas aren’t just big Shibas but a different dog breed from Shiba Inus.
Are Shiba Inus and Akitas Similar?
Shiba Inus and Akita Inus are similar in appearance but aren’t the same breed. However, they both came from Japan.
They only share their origin and dog family but aren’t similar.
The Final Words: Shiba Inu vs. Akita Inu
Shiba Inus and Akita Inus have wonderful personalities and share traits that make them fantastic family pets.
Despite having similar appearance and behavior, these two dog breeds serve different purposes; Akitas are protectors, while Shibas are more companions.
If you want to take any of them home, be prepared to fulfill their needs. Both breeds are strong-willed and have independent personalities.
Both are affectionate, intelligent, and good-nurtured. Therefore, these breeds will undeniably make a valuable part of your family.