Shiba Inus, Akitas, and The Shibakita

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Both Shiba Inus and Akitas are Spitz dogs, and are ancient breeds of Japan. They look similar in appearance, looking fox-like, friendly, and proud. What are the differences between the two?

Introducing The Shiba Inu’s Friendly Cousin, The Akita

Everyone loves Shibas; but in recent years the Shiba Inu’s cousin, the Akita, has gained a lot of popularity. And in our opinion, this popularity is very well-deserved.

These Japanese canines, while sharing a lot of similarities, are also quite different from each other.

Akitas were bred for mostly one purpose, to guard and protect. On the other hand, Shibas were bred to be loyal companions and cuddle buddies.

The differences between Akitas and Shiba Inus

Both these Japanese dog breeds look similar, but differ in size and weight. Along with that, they possess completely different attitudes. Here are a few things you should know about how they differ:

Akita Size

Akitas are the big boys among these two breeds. They grow as tall as 28 inches, whereas Shiba Inus only grow up to 16 inches.

The females of both these breeds are a bit smaller, compared to their male population.

How They Look

Well, obviously Akitas look bigger and stronger.

They both have symmetric faces and pointy ears. Akitas come in different shapes, whereas the same cannot be said about the Shibas.

Akitas can be sesame, white, red fawn, or brindle and often have black coloration on their face. You can get a Shiba Inu in tan, black, or red.

Their Temperament

Both these dogs are as loyal as they come. However, Akitas have stolen the limelight recently, thanks to the movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.

Akitas are active, intelligent, and brave dogs. Shibas are independent, loving, and mischievous dogs.

Ability to be Trained

These two dog breeds are both capable of being trained, although Shibas are known to be difficult at times.

Since Akitas are intelligent dogs, you don’t have to put in a lot of effort to train them. They’re smart enough to understand what you’re trying to teach them.

You can go hard on Shibas, while training them. But, don’t give out any aggressive vibes to Akitas, they don’t like it that way.

Health Attributes

All dogs are prone to certain health problems. The Inu cousins are no exceptions here.

Due to their large size, Akitas are prone to health issues such as malformed joints, eye issues, clotting disorders, and a few such.

Shiba Inus may suffer from hip dysplasia, glaucoma, and kneecap issues among others.

Grooming Needs

Both these breeds are blessed with thick and fluffy coats. However, you won’t feel as blessed as them, since thicker coats require more grooming.

Cleaning their ears, clipping the nails, and bathing them regularly should do the job.

Life Expectancy

Thanks to their compact and cute little bodies, Shiba Inus on average outlive Akitas.

The average life expectancy of an Akita is 10-12 years, whereas it can go as long as 12-16 years with Shiba Inus.

If you adopt a crossbreed of the two dogs, it goes by the name Shibakita. Therefore, it is a good idea to know a little bit about these two Japanese breeds if you bring a Shibakita into your household. The traits the dog possesses will depend which characteristics are more pronounced of the two purebred dogs.

Japanese Breeds

Both the Shiba and Akita belong two Japan’s indigenous breeds of dogs, including breeds, such as the –

  • Hokkaido
  • Kai
  • Tosa
  • Shikoku

Shibakita Traits

The Akita represents the largest Japanese dog breed while the Shiba Inu represents the smallest breed. Therefore, the Shibakita is often medium in size. However, both dogs share these traits:

  • High intelligence
  • Affectionate
  • Independent
  • A little bit stubborn, at times
  • Same type of coat – soft undercoat and coarser overcoat
  • Body and tail shape
  • Predatory instinct, as both dogs were used for hunting
  • Both obsessive-compulsive about cleaning themselves

While the above traits forge a bond between the two breeds, there are some differences as well. For example, of the two breeds, the Shiba Inu tends to be more friendly than the Akita – both toward humans and other pets.

A Loyal Companion Dog

While an Akita can still be considered a loyal companion dog, it usually is not a natural friend to strangers, kids, or cats. However, the Akita will safeguard its family, or the ones he loves. In addition, because it once was used as a fighting dog, the Akita acts more aggressively toward other dogs.

On the other hand, the Shiba shows more tolerance toward other dogs. Also, for anyone living in a small space, the Shiba, because of its smaller size, can adapt better. Therefore, the Shiba can be integrated into a smaller place, such as an apartment. That is the reason the Shiba is a popular apartment pet in Japan where space is at a premium.

The Akita dog, however, needs extra space to run and exercise. Plus, the Akita has problems being left alone. Even though it is independent by nature, it does not like being cooped up all day and left by itself. Therefore, it is hard to say how a Shibakita might respond in a similar situation. The dog’s reaction depends on which one of its parent’s traits it tends to possess.

Obedience Training – Why You May Need a Trainer

When it comes to dog obedience training, both the Akita and Shiba Inu require a strong trainer – someone who instills positive reinforcement in his or her dog training protocol. In addition, you need to practice some passive resistance when training either dog, as both pooches have stubborn tendencies. If you don’t consider yourself a natural “leader of the pack,” you should take time out to schedule dog obedience training for an Akita or Shiba, or a Shibakita.

An Escape Artist

With that said, the Shiba Inu is an easier dog to raise than the Akita. Again, the Akita is larger and more aggressive, so it will vocalize more than its smaller counterpart. Also, Akitas can be escape artists, and can figure out ways to get under or over a fence if confined to their yard.

Basic Differences

The Akita stands from 24 to 48 inches tall while the Shiba Inu stands between 13 to 17 inches in height. Akitas may weight anywhere between 70 to 130 pounds while a Shiba weighs about 22 pounds. Akitas may drool while a Shiba will not do it.

Usually, smaller dogs live longer than large dogs. This also holds true for Akitas and Shiba Inus. Typically, a Shiba will live about 16 years, or four years longer than an Akita, which lives around 12 years. When it comes to shedding, both dogs blow fur. However, the Shiba sheds less than the Akita because it is smaller.

Medical Conditions

As the dogs age, the Akita is more prone to suffer from conditions, such as elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia. These medical concerns are marked by deformities around the joints and bones. Both dogs, as they get older, may experience progressive retinal atrophy. This condition can lead to a loss of vision because of retinal degeneration.

While some health concerns are genetic in nature, it does not mean you cannot anticipate some of these conditions and provide a Shiba Inu, Akita, or crossbreed, such as the Shibakita, a quality life. By preparing raw dog recipes and enforcing optimum dog nutrition, you can maximize our dog’s health and make it comfortable in its old age.

Both the Akita and Shiba Inu think independently and show affection to their owners and families. However, again, the Shiba is normally friendlier to newcomers. Still, you cannot narrow either dog’s demeanor to traits alone. You also have to consider your own treatment and care of your companion dog. If you show your dog that you can be trusted and be a good “pack leader,” you will raise a terrific canine, regardless of the breed.

Which would you choose: A Shiba Inu, Akita, or Shibakita?

What is your favorite Japanese dog? Do you think that you could own a Shibakita? Or, would you rather adopt an Akita or Shiba Inu? What are your views on these dog breeds? Do you think the Shibakita should be considered a designer dog? Would you get a personal trainer to help you train any of these independent and strong-minded dogs?

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