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

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 2, 2023
Akita and Shiba Inu are both Japanese dog breeds, with the former being larger and more reserved, and the latter being smaller and more spirited.

Key Differences

The Akita stands tall among dog breeds, both figuratively and literally, celebrated for its loyalty, stoicism, and power. Originating from Japan, this breed presents a thick double coat, deep-set, expressive eyes, and a robust physique. The Shiba Inu too hails from Japan but introduces itself with a distinctly different physicality and personality. Smaller, agile, and foxy in its appearance, Shiba Inus carry a spirited, good-natured, albeit slightly aloof demeanor.
An Akita typically embodies a tranquil and reserved disposition. They emanate a silent strength and tend to be incredibly loyal to their families, a trait echoed through the famed story of Hachiko, an Akita who waited for his deceased owner for years. The Shiba Inu, in contrast, sports a spirited and curious personality, offering a lively and engaging companionship to its owner. Their bright eyes sparkle with mischief and intelligence, indicative of their alert and active nature.
Interestingly, despite their size, Akitas have a notable calm about them. Their substantial build belies a gentle nature, especially towards their human family members. Protective, composed, and often stoic, an Akita’s loyalty is unmatched. On the flip side, the Shiba Inu, despite its smaller stature, packs a large personality. Independent, smart, and sometimes a tad stubborn, they approach life with a spirited and confident stride, ensuring they are never overlooked despite their size.
Akitas, with their noble and imposing stature, necessitate a living environment that allows them space to move freely. They require regular exercise to maintain their muscular physique and to channel their reserved energy healthily. Contrarily, Shiba Inus adapt well to various living situations, including apartments, thanks to their smaller size. However, they too demand their fair share of exercise and mental stimulation, given their energetic and intelligent disposition.
Despite their divergent sizes and personalities, both Akita and Shiba Inu breeds require a dedicated grooming regimen, thanks to their thick, double coats. Regular brushing and attention to their coats, especially during shedding seasons, are imperative for maintaining their well-being and pristine appearance. Moreover, both breeds, with their strong personalities, require consistent, positive training methods from an early age to ensure they develop into well-behaved and sociable adults.

Comparison Chart


Large, robust
Small, compact


Reserved, loyal
Spirited, independent


Thick double coat
Also has a double coat

Adaptability to Living Situation

Preferably needs space due to size
Adaptable to apartments


Trainable but requires consistency
Somewhat stubborn but trainable

Akita and Shiba Inu Definitions


Akitas often have a powerful build and a thick double coat.
The Akita’s thick coat requires regular grooming, especially during shedding seasons.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are small to medium-sized dogs with a fox-like appearance and curled tail.
The Shiba Inu’s curled tail and perky ears gave it a lively, fox-like appearance.


Akitas are large, muscular dogs known for their loyalty and dignified demeanor.
The Akita stood guard, watchfully protecting its home and family.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus possess a double coat that comes in various colors, including red, sesame, and black and tan.
The red Shiba Inu gleamed in the sunlight, its coat beautifully contrasting against the green grass.


Akitas are known for their unwavering loyalty, often forming strong bonds with their owners.
True to its Akita nature, the dog waited loyally for its owner’s return each day.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are often recognized for their agile and nimble nature, moving with light, quick steps.
The Shiba Inu gracefully navigated the agility course, showcasing its nimble abilities.


This breed is celebrated for its reserved yet protective nature, especially towards its family.
Despite its calm demeanor, the Akita was fiercely protective when strangers approached.

Shiba Inu

Known for their spirited personality, Shiba Inus exhibit independence and intelligence.
The Shiba Inu quickly learned the trick, showcasing its intelligent disposition.


Despite their imposing size, Akitas generally maintain a composed and gentle disposition.
The large Akita gently accepted treats from the child, showcasing its gentle nature.

Shiba Inu

Despite their compact size, Shiba Inus carry a bold and confident personality.
The small Shiba Inu boldly approached the larger dogs, ready to play and interact.


A dog of a large breed developed in Japan for hunting, having small erect ears, a curled tail carried over the back, and a thick coat of various colors.


Can Akitas adapt to hot climates?

Akitas have a thick double coat, which can make them more susceptible to heat, so it’s crucial to manage their comfort and hydration in hot climates.

Is the Shiba Inu a noisy dog?

Shiba Inus are known for their distinct vocalizations, including the “Shiba scream,” particularly when unhappy or excited.

What is an Akita?

Akita is a large breed of dog originating from the mountainous regions of northern Japan, known for its loyalty and composed demeanor.

Are Akitas generally healthy dogs?

Akitas are generally healthy but can be prone to specific genetic conditions, like hip dysplasia and certain immune system disorders.

How often should a Shiba Inu be groomed?

Regular grooming, especially during shedding seasons, is essential for a Shiba Inu to manage its double coat.

How does a Shiba Inu look?

Shiba Inu is a small to medium-sized dog, known for its fox-like appearance, curled tail, and spirited personality.

Is the Shiba Inu an independent breed?

Yes, the Shiba Inu is known for its independent and somewhat aloof personality, although they can be affectionate with family.

What is the personality of an Akita like?

Akitas are known for their loyalty, they can be reserved, and have a dignified demeanor, often being protective of their family.

Is training a Shiba Inu challenging?

Training a Shiba Inu can be a challenge due to their independent nature, necessitating consistency and positive reinforcement methods.

How intelligent are Shiba Inus?

Shiba Inus are highly intelligent but also independent, which can sometimes be mistaken for stubbornness.

Which breed, Akita or Shiba Inu, is larger in size?

The Akita is larger, with a sturdy build, while the Shiba Inu is smaller and more compact.

Are both Akita and Shiba Inu originally from Japan?

Yes, both breeds originated in Japan and are considered national treasures.

Are Akitas good with children?

Akitas are often good with children they are raised with but may be wary of unfamiliar kids due to their protective nature.

Can a Shiba Inu live in an apartment?

Yes, due to its smaller size and adaptability, a Shiba Inu can live comfortably in an apartment with proper exercise.

Which breed sheds more, Akita or Shiba Inu?

Both breeds are known to be significant shedders, especially during shedding season, requiring regular grooming.

How much exercise does an Akita need?

Akitas require regular exercise to maintain their health and can enjoy activities like walks, play, and training sessions.

What is the lifespan of an Akita?

Akitas typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years, although proper care and genetics can influence this.

Are Akitas safe to keep as pets?

Akitas are safe pets but require thorough socialization and consistent training to manage their protective instincts safely.

Are Shiba Inus good for first-time dog owners?

Shiba Inus can be challenging for first-time dog owners due to their independence and training needs.

Do Akitas get along with other dogs?

Akitas can be selective about their canine friends and may show dominance, early socialization is crucial.
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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