Differences Between Shiba Inu And Akita Inu

When it comes to Japanese dog breeds, Akita Inu and Shiba Inu are great choices for dog lovers. If you’re planning to adopt any of these dog breeds for the first time, then you should know the differences between Shiba Inu and Akita Inu. 

Overview Of Shiba Inu And Akita Inu

Japan is the homeland of the Shiba Inu and Akita Inu dog breeds. Akitas are relatively new compared to Shiba Inus. This large Spitz-type dog was born in the 17th century. Over the decades, it was developed into the Akita. The name Akita Inu means “the dog of Akita,” as Akita is a province in Japan. On the other, Shiba Inu means “little dog” or “brushwood dog.”

It is an ancient breed believed to have originated in 300 BC. Even though Akitas are Japan’s national dog, Shiba Inus are more popular as pets than others. In Japan and other places, Shiba is kept as an affectionate pet. But while Shiba Inus and Akita Inus are often considered brothers outside of their native Japan, they have distinct characteristics. So, let’s see the differences between these two breeds.

Size And Weight

Shiba Inu and Akita have pretty similar features with fox-like heads and pointy ears. But while both of these dogs come from the Spitz family, Shiba Inus, and Akitas are sometimes compared to Siberian Huskies due to their wolf-like appearances. Though they have some similarities, they are still different in size and weight. Akitas are much larger than Shibas. It is the bigger Japanese breed which is 25-28 inches in height and 85-130 lbs. If you love big, large dogs, then you’ll love these Akitas.

However, due to their large size, Akitas need plenty of space. So, it is not suitable for apartment life. But if you own a house or villa, it can be a perfect companion. On the contrary, Shibas are the most miniature Japanese dogs. Their average height is 15-17 inches, and their weight is around 23 lbs. Shibas, however, can adjust in small areas. So, they are suitable for living in apartments.

Differences Between SHIBA INU and AKITA INU

Coat & Color

Each of them has a thick, furry double coat that keeps them warm in the winter and repels water. The Akita has two coats: a dense, plush undercoat and a short topcoat. They come in multiple color coats and sheds constantly. Just like the Akitas, the Shiba Inu is also double-coated, having a softer and thicker coat where the outer coat is straight and stiff. With that, the coats also come with four different color options such as black and tan, cream, red, and red sesame. Among others, red coats are the most popular. And these dogs also shed often and seasonally. 


Both Akitas and Shiba Inus have distinct personalities. They are lively and playful dogs. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a beautiful fluffy dog to keep your family entertained; they will both suffice. So, what are their differences if both Shiba Inu and Akita dogs are equally fun to have? Let’s see. Shiba Inus are playful and active, and they get along well with kids and larger pets. So, if you have kids at home, these furry friends will keep them entertained.

However, don’t leave your Shiba if you have a small pet such as a mouse or a rabbit, as it may still have a memory of hunting them in the past!  Similarly, Akitas possess an incredibly loyal and fearless temperament. And that makes them excellent guard dogs. So, if you have older people at home, they can help you by protecting your family members. But according to dog fanciers, Akitas are not recommended as a “beginner” dog.

Differences Between SHIBA INU and AKITA INU


Food is the most important thing for keeping these dogs healthy. So, make sure to feed them quality and nutritious food. Shiba Inus eat on average 2 cups of dog food a day. As they eat less than Akitas, they will cost you less to feed. Rather, if you are considering taking on the Akita, you should consider that they eat approximately 4 cups in a day. This will significantly increase your food bill each month. 


As headstrong dogs, both breeds require strong masters to guide them. However, Akita is loyal and eager to please. And it is easier to train. In contrast, Shiba Inus are pretty intelligent but stubborn. Additionally, they are not known for their sociability. Both dogs must receive early socialization to grow up to be polite and pleasant. Because of their protective nature, Akitas require this early socialization the most. If you can train them well, they can be your most trustworthy friend for your loved ones when you’re not around. 

Ending Thoughts

In conclusion, both the Akita and Shiba Inu are great companions to have in your home. However, you must understand the nature of these dogs before you go out and get one. Although these two breeds of dogs may look very similar to one another, especially because they are from the same country, you need to understand what sets them apart from each other. That is why we have put together an article outlining all the differences between them. 

Murphy Bernier

Murphy Bernier

Murphy Bernier is a New-York based freelance writer, professional blogger and certified dog trainer. She networks shelter pets to help them find homes and volunteers for rescue groups as she is passionate about dog rescue and adoption. From a very early age, she developed extensive animal handling skills from her dad, and that’s where her love for animals started.

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