What are the differences between an Akita Inu and a Shiba Inu?

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shiba and akita

What are the differences between an Akita Inu and a Shiba Inu?
If you’re looking for an adorable medium-sized dog that makes the perfect family dog, the Akita Inu and Shiba Inu dogs are two types to consider. They are gorgeous dogs that look similar to foxes and are great companions as well. In fact, some people are surprised by how much alike these two breeds of dogs are, and if you’re curious about which one to choose because you aren’t sure what makes them different, keep reading.

Shiba vs Akita

 Shiba InuAkita Inu
Weight23 lbs70-130 lbs
Height13-17 inches24-48 inches
Life expectancy16 years12 years


How Are They Similar?


Both the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu are adorable dogs with facial features similar to that of a fox. They are both Spitz dog breeds and are native to Japan. A few other Japanese breeds include the Kai, Shikoku, and the Hokkaido. As far as the similarities between the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu go, they are both very independent, extremely intelligent, and affectionate, and they both have a stubborn streak as well.
But it isn’t just their personalities that are similar. These dogs have similar coats, tail shapes, and body shapes, which are only a few reasons why many people can’t tell the two dogs apart. Also, both the Akita Inu and Shiba Inu dogs were hunting dogs at some point in their history, and therefore, they both have strong predatory instincts towards small prey such as rabbits and even cats. They are also a little like cats in one respect – both of these breeds like to be extremely clean.

How Are They Different?


The Akita and Shiba are also different in many ways, especially when it comes to their personalities. For instance, the Akita has the following characteristics:

  • They are less-friendly with humans, kids, and other dogs than the Shiba breed.
  • They need a lot of space to roam around, which means they are not good animals to have if you live in an apartment.
  • They can be a little more challenging to raise, in part because they are more likely than the Shiba Inus to bark a lot at other animals and even to attempt an escape at some point.


In general, Shiba Inus are friendlier with humans and other dogs, don’t need as much space to roam around in and are easier to raise than the Akita Inus. This being said, if you do live in an apartment, it’s a good idea to check with your landlord before adopting one of these dogs because some apartment buildings do not allow either of these breeds to live there.

When it comes to the dogs’ lifespan, you might like to know that the Shiba Inu is likely to live longer than the Akita Inu, living to roughly 16 years of age, as compared to around 12 years for the Akita. And while both of these breeds shed a lot, the Shibu Inu sheds less – but only because they are smaller and have less hair to shed.


If you’re curious about the health of these two breeds, you should know that the Akitas are more prone to certain conditions, including hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Progressive retinal atrophy is also a concern, and this can be quite serious because it can lead to degeneration of the retina, resulting in blindness. Unfortunately, both the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu can suffer from this condition.

Different Physical Characteristics


The Akita is one of the largest Japanese breeds, while the Shibu is one of the smallest. Here are the statistics on each of these dogs:

  • The Akita Inu: Can grow to be 24-48 inches tall and weigh 70-130 lbs.
  • The Shiba Inu: Can grow to be 13-17 inches tall and weigh up to 23 lbs.

And although it may sound strange, the Akitas drool a lot on a regular basis, while the Shibas hardly drool at all.

Which One Should You Choose?


In the end, you should do your due diligence, so you know what you’re getting regardless of which of these dogs you choose. Both of these animals are independent and affectionate in their own homes. Much of a dog’s personality comes from the treatment it gets from his owners, so you should be able to choose either the Akita or the Shiba if you treat the dog right, regularly see a good veterinarian to properly monitor the dog’s health, and study up on what to expect from that particular breed. If you do these things, you should be very happy with your decision in the end.