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Akita Inu vs. American Akita: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on May 20, 2024
Akita Inu is a Japanese breed known for its fox-like appearance, while American Akita is larger, with a bear-like face and more varied coat colors.

Key Differences

The Akita Inu and the American Akita are both distinguished breeds with unique histories and characteristics. Originating from Japan, the Akita Inu is often recognized for its loyalty, and it played a significant role in Japanese culture and history. The American Akita, initially bred from the Akita Inu, has evolved in the United States into a larger breed with a more bear-like appearance.
Physical differences between the Akita Inu and the American Akita are notable. The Akita Inu typically has a more fox-like face with a slender build, whereas the American Akita presents a broader head and a robust physique. These distinctions reflect the breeds' adaptations to their environments and breeders' preferences in Japan and America, respectively.
The Akita Inu's coat is usually red, fawn, sesame, brindle, or pure white, all with "urajiro" (cream to white ventral coloration). The American Akita, however, does not have this color restriction and can be found in any color, including pinto patterns, which are less common in the Akita Inu.
Temperamentally, both breeds share traits such as loyalty and alertness but differ in their sociability and tolerance towards other animals and strangers. The Akita Inu is known for its reserved nature around strangers and other dogs, while the American Akita is often described as more outgoing and assertive.
Culturally, the Akita Inu holds a significant place in Japanese history, symbolizing good health, happiness, and longevity. The American Akita, while sharing this noble lineage, has become a symbol of strength and versatility in the United States, reflecting the breed's adaptability and robust nature.

Comparison Chart


United States


Fox-like face, smaller and more slender
Bear-like face, larger and more robust

Coat Colors

Restricted colors with urajiro
No color restrictions, more variety


Reserved, loyal, good with families
Outgoing, assertive, loyal

Cultural Significance

Symbolizes good health and happiness in Japan
Valued for strength and versatility in the US

Akita Inu and American Akita Definitions

Akita Inu

Known for its distinct "urajiro" coloring on the ventral side.
The Akita Inu's urajiro coloring is one of its breed standards.

American Akita

Known for its versatility and adaptability in various roles.
An American Akita can excel in roles ranging from family companion to service dog.

Akita Inu

Characterized by a fox-like appearance and a double coat.
The Akita Inu's double coat helps it withstand cold weather.

American Akita

Features a broad range of coat colors and patterns.
The American Akita's coat can come in any color, including striking pinto patterns.

Akita Inu

A Japanese breed known for its loyalty and dignified demeanor.
The Akita Inu is revered in Japan for its loyalty, as seen in the story of Hachiko.

American Akita

Valued for its loyalty and protective nature towards its family.
An American Akita is known to be fiercely loyal to its family members.

Akita Inu

Typically exhibits a calm and composed temperament.
An Akita Inu usually maintains a calm presence in the household.

American Akita

A large and powerful breed with a bear-like face.
The American Akita's imposing stature makes it an excellent guard dog.

Akita Inu

Highly regarded in Japanese culture for its noble characteristics.
In Japan, the Akita Inu is often associated with good fortune.

American Akita

Possesses a confident and fearless temperament.
The American Akita is often fearless in the face of challenges.


What distinguishes an Akita Inu from an American Akita?

The Akita Inu is smaller with a fox-like appearance, while the American Akita is larger with a bear-like face.

What is the life expectancy of an Akita Inu?

Akita Inus typically live between 10 to 15 years.

Are Akita Inus good with children?

Akita Inus are loyal and can be good with children if raised together, but their interaction should always be supervised.

Do Akita Inus require a lot of exercise?

They need moderate exercise to maintain their health and happiness.

Can Akita Inus and American Akitas have the same coat colors?

While there's overlap, American Akitas have a broader range of colors, including pinto, which is rare in Akita Inus.

Are Akita Inus prone to any specific health issues?

Like many large breeds, they can be prone to hip dysplasia and certain autoimmune diseases.

How do Akita Inus typically react to strangers?

They can be reserved and may not immediately warm up to strangers.

What kind of grooming does an American Akita need?

They require regular brushing to manage shedding, especially during seasonal changes.

How do American Akitas handle cold weather?

Their thick double coat makes them well-suited to cold climates.

Can American Akitas live in apartments?

While possible, they thrive better in homes with more space and a yard.

What is the significance of the Akita Inu in Japanese culture?

The Akita Inu is a symbol of good health, happiness, and longevity in Japan.

Is it true that Akita Inus are very clean dogs?

Yes, they are known for their cat-like grooming habits and cleanliness.

Can American Akitas handle hot climates?

They can manage in warmer weather but need precautions to avoid overheating.

Is the American Akita considered a good family pet?

Yes, when properly trained and socialized, they can be excellent family pets.

How much space does an Akita Inu need?

They adapt well to various living conditions but benefit from space to roam.

How does the American Akita's temperament differ from other breeds?

They are known for their courage, loyalty, and dominance, requiring an experienced owner.

Are American Akitas easy to train?

They are intelligent but can be stubborn, requiring consistent and patient training.

Do American Akitas get along with other pets?

Early socialization is key, but their strong prey drive can make cohabitation with small pets challenging.

What are the feeding requirements for an American Akita?

A balanced diet suited to their size, age, and activity level is essential.

Do Akita Inus bark a lot?

They are known to be relatively quiet, barking mainly when necessary.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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