NorCal Shiba

How are Shiba Inus different from Akitas?

June 16, 2020
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Introducing The Shiba Inu’s Friendly Cousin, The Akita

Everyone loves Shibas; but in recent years the Shiba Inu’s cousin, the Akita, has gained a lot of popularity. And in our opinion, this popularity is very well-deserved.

These Japanese canines, while sharing a lot of similarities, are also quite different from each other.

Akitas were bred for mostly one purpose, to guard and protect. On the other hand, Shibas were bred to be loyal companions and cuddle buddies.

The differences between Akitas and Shiba Inus

Both these Japanese dog breeds look similar, but differ in size and weight. Along with that, they possess completely different attitudes. Here are a few things you should know about how they differ:

Akita Size

Akitas are the big boys among these two breeds. They grow as tall as 28 inches, whereas Shiba Inus only grow up to 16 inches.

The females of both these breeds are a bit smaller, compared to their male population.

How They Look

Well, obviously Akitas look bigger and stronger.

They both have symmetric faces and pointy ears. Akitas come in different shapes, whereas the same cannot be said about the Shibas.

Akitas can be sesame, white, red fawn, or brindle and often have black coloration on their face. You can get a Shiba Inu in tan, black, or red.

Their Temperament

Both these dogs are as loyal as they come. However, Akitas have stolen the limelight recently, thanks to the movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.

Akitas are active, intelligent, and brave dogs. Shibas are independent, loving, and mischievous dogs.

akita puppy
An adorable Akita pup

Ability to be Trained

These two dog breeds are both capable of being trained, although Shibas are known to be difficult at times.

Since Akitas are intelligent dogs, you don’t have to put in a lot of effort to train them. They’re smart enough to understand what you’re trying to teach them.

You can go hard on Shibas, while training them. But, don’t give out any aggressive vibes to Akitas, they don’t like it that way.

Health Attributes

All dogs are prone to certain health problems. The Inu cousins are no exceptions here.

Due to their large size, Akitas are prone to health issues such as malformed joints, eye issues, clotting disorders, and a few such.

Shiba Inus may suffer from hip dysplasia, glaucoma, and kneecap issues among others.

akita puppy

Grooming Needs

Both these breeds are blessed with thick and fluffy coats. However, you won’t feel as blessed as them, since thicker coats require more grooming.

Cleaning their ears, clipping the nails, and bathing them regularly should do the job.

Life Expectancy

Thanks to their compact and cute little bodies, Shiba Inus on average outlive Akitas.

The average life expectancy of an Akita is 10-12 years, whereas it can go as long as 12-16 years with Shiba Inus.


There are many more similarities and differences between the two breeds, as well as other similar and popular fox-like dogs. What do you think of Akitas? Let us know in the comments below.

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