Akita VS Shiba Inu – (What’s The Difference?)

Akitas and Shiba Inus are two of the most popular purebreds out there, and both have the same origin coming from Japan [1], but it’s not all similarities between these two dogs.

Some people believe these two breeds are opposite to one another when it comes to character and personality, while other people believe that the only difference between these two breeds is their physical appearance.

So, let’s set the record straight on what’s really the difference between an Akita VS a Shiba Inu dog, shall we?

Physical Appearance

Size, Height & Weight

Let’s start off with the Akita dog which is considered to be under the category of large dog breeds, standing at a height of anywhere between 25 inches to 30 inches tall and at a weight of anywhere between a whopping 80 lbs to 130 lbs heavy!

Shiba Inus, on the other hand, are somewhat smaller in size and are considered to be under the category of medium sized dogs.

Generally speaking, Shiba Inus stand at a height of anywhere between 15 to 18 inches tall and a weight of anywhere between 17 lbs to 21 lbs heavy.


Exercise & Physical Activity Needs

As far as exercise and physical activity needs are concerned, both Akitas and Shiba Inus are physically active dogs that need to get a decent amount of exercise a day in order to remain physically fit and mentally happy.

One of the favorite exercise outlets you could give both the Shiba Inu and the Akita dog is long walks outdoors.

You can feel free to do that in a dog park, around the neighborhood, etc .. Whatever flows your boat, just be sure to make those walks long enough for it to be worth it.

Somewhere around the 60 minute to 90 minute mark seems to be enough for most Akitas and Shiba Inus.


When comparing the difficulty of training Akitas and Shiba Inus, there’s not much of a difference here as these two breeds are relatively easy to train.

As a matter of fact, it’s often recommended that first time dog owners without much prior experience in training and handling dogs get either breed as it’ll be a good experience for them to learn from, and one that’s not too difficult for them the first time around.

Of course, and because of the massive difference in size between the two, it’s always going to be more advantageous for a first time dog owner to get a Shiba Inu instead of an Akita.

Giant dog breeds can give first time dog owners a few headaches here and there, so there is obviously an advantage for first time dog owners to choose a much smaller sized dog as their first pet.

Upon training either dog, you’ll notice sooner rather than later how responsive they are and how much they’re eager to please you by following your orders and listening to your directions.

With that being said, you should be aware that both Akitas and Shiba Inus sometimes have a stubborn side to them that can cause a bit of trouble.

That can easily be solved, though, by following general training best practices such as remaining firm and calm, using positive reinforcement techniques, etc ..

Guard Dog Ability

Seeing that both Akitas and Shiba Inus fall under the category of guard dogs, they’re both excellent dog breeds if you’re looking for a dog that can protect your home, property and family from harm’s way.

Both of these dogs are very territorial, meaning they will do anything and everything within their capabilities to fend off any danger they sense and anyone they believe is stepping into territory that’s not theirs.

Even though these two dogs are very similar in terms of their alertness levels to the environment around them and anything suspicious that may be happening, and the love and protectiveness they hold towards their owner and family, Akitas are oftentimes better guard dogs than Shiba Inus because they’re more physically powerful.

If something goes wrong and you need your guard dog to fend off potential danger, a dog that weighs up to 130 lbs is going to do a much better job at that than a dog that weighs up to 23 lbs.

Akitas are also known to be much less chronic barkers than Shiba Inus.

Akitas barely bark and when they do, it’s almost certain that there’s something they want you to pay attention to.

With Shiba Inus, this isn’t always the case, as they sometimes just bark for the sake of it without there being anything dangerous you have to be aware of.

So, all in all, the Akita is a slightly better dog than the Shiba Inu as far as watchdog ability and performance goes.

Living Conditions

Kids At Home?

Speaking from a personality perspective and how friendly these two dogs are with young children, both Akitas and Shiba Inus are good pets if you’re looking to add them to a household where young kids reside.

Both Akitas and Shiba Inus have just the compatible personalities to enjoy their time with young children, play around with them and burn through their energy with them.

However, when it comes to size, you’ll see for yourself that while it would be relatively safe for a Shiba Inu to play with a small child, the same is not exactly true for Akitas.

I’m not too sure about you, but I’d really be hesitant to let a giant dog that can weigh up to 130 lbs play around with my kid that’s only a fraction of their size.

There’s just too much of a risk involved in it where even the smallest bit of foul play, even if unintended, can cause your kid serious injury.

The same is also true for these dogs and other pets you may currently have at home.

Both Akitas and Shiba Inus have some of the most playful and friendly personalities out there and are known to enjoy playing with pets other than dogs you may have at home (cats, rabbits, etc ..), but the Akita’s gigantic size issue has to be given special consideration once again because the same risk we talked about above concerning Akitas and young children is also present when it comes to Akitas and other, smaller sized household pets.

As we noted above, though, that when it comes to playing with other dogs, both Shiba Inus and Akitas aren’t exactly the friendliest to say the least.

Both dogs tend to be a bit aggressive with other dogs, due to their strong personalities as well as how territorial and independent they are.

Indoors VS Outdoors

Given the gigantic size of the Akita dog, it’s safe to say that this dog will be miserable if you’re looking to have them live in an apartment where they remain indoors for the most part.

Dogs are large as the Akita need to be roaming free in the outdoors for the majority of their days, which means that they will only be suitable for you if you have a large yard/backyard as part of your property where they can move around freely in.

With Shiba Inus, on the other hand, you get the flexibility of being able to have them live just fine and happy in both an indoors apartment or a house where they get to spend the majority of their time in a spacious yard. This is because Shiba Inus are significantly smaller in size than Akitas, so can do just fine wherever you have them live.

Just remember that if you want to add a Shiba Inu to your household and have them live in an indoors apartment, you have to give them the necessary physical activity and exercise they need to get on a daily basis to stay happy and fit.

If you slack off on that, then that’s a surefire way to have your Shiba Inu grow miserable in no time.


Because of their fierce hunting drives, you have to control and limit both of these dog’s movements at all times.

This means you have to limit their movement if you grant them access to your backyard by placing a secure fence they can’t go past, limit their movement when taking them outside for a walk by placing a leash/collar/harness on them, etc ..

Both Akitas and Shiba Inus are very curious dogs that like to chase after anything and everything because they’re so easy to distract and grab their attention, so you have to be control of their movements both for their safety and that of everyone else around.


If you’re able to supply your Akita dog with everything it needs to live a healthy, happy and problem-free life, then you can expect it to live for anywhere between 10 to 12 years of age [2].

The average life expectancy of Shiba Inus, on the other hand, is a little bit longer and lasts anywhere between 13 to 15 years of age.

One thing you have to be very wary of when it comes to your Akita’s health is how easy it is for them to become overweight/obese in no time.

Because they’re so huge in size and weight, they tend to eat a lot of food in a day’s time.

If you follow a free-feed method where you give them unlimited access to dog food they can eat whenever they want, then that’s a very bad idea because they may end up consuming a huge surplus of calories than what their bodies really need.

With Akitas, and because of their gigantic size, you also have to know that this dog breed is prone to suffering from hip/elbow dysplasia, arthritis and joint problems, eye problems and bloating much more than smaller sized dogs.


Grooming Needs

To start off with, both Akitas and Shiba Inus are considered to be moderate to heavy shedding dogs [3], so there’s no real advantage either breed has over the other as far as this topic goes.

To put it short, if you desperately want to avoid having to vacuum and clean up after your dog’s hair that manages to make its way all over the house, then neither of these two breeds is the right choice for you.

There are many dog breeds out there that shed to a much less degree which are way more suitable for your needs in this case.

To properly maintain both of these dog’s coats and minimize their excessive shedding as much as possible, though, a regular brushing schedule is advised.

The only possible advantage we could find that Akitas have over Shiba Inus is the fact that they don’t experience much seasonal shedding as Shiba Inus do.

Not only is a regular brushing schedule required to help minimize shedding as much as possible, it’s also recommended because it helps minimize matting in both of these dog’s coats.

Also, both dogs tend to get their coats dirty on a more frequent basis than other dog breeds, so more frequent baths may be required to keep their coats clean.

However, make sure not to over-do it with the baths if there’s no real need for it, as excessive bathing can and will lead to damaging their coats – which is obviously counter productive.


1. Dog Breeds in Japan http://factsanddetails.com/japan/cat21/sub145/item794.html

2. Akita Life Expectancy https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/dog-life-expectancy-akita

3. Shedding of Shiba Inus https://www.animalwised.com/shedding-of-shiba-inus-153.html


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