Akitas and Akita inus often are considered one breed of dog because they have similar names and similar characteristics. They are, however, actually two distinct breeds. The Akita is known as the American Akita. The Akita inu is known as the Japanese Akita. Both breeds originate from Japan where they are revered as national treasures. In fact, Japanese families will often receive a statue of an Akita after a baby is born to signify the blessing of health and happiness.
While American Akita and Akita inus are similar, the breeds have various differences including size, coloring, shape and personality.
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American and Japanese Akita coloring
The American Akita comes in many colors and patterns. The American Akita's breed standard specifies black, brown brindle, fawn, red and white as the standard colors. They will also have black or white masks or markings on their faces, or a combination of pinto, black, and white. American Akitas will sometimes have an undercoat that's a different color from the outer coat, like a red coat with a black overlay, or a mix of silver and black.
Akita inus, however, come only in brindle, white and red. Regardless of color, Japanese Akita inus must have light cream or white undersides, starting underneath the chin all the way to the underside of the tail. The inner legs, sides of the muzzle and cheeks also must be light cream or white.
Akita size, height and weight
Both Akita sizes are very similar, but Japanese Akita inus tend to be slimmer in nature. The American Akita is about the same height as the Akita inu. The average male Akita height is 26 to 28 inches while female Akita heights range from 24 to 26 inches. Female Akita inus range from 24 to 26 inches, and male Akita Inus stand an average of 26 to 28 inches tall.
The Akita weight varies between the two breeds. Male American Akitas weigh about 100 to 130 pounds. Akita inus, on the other hand, are much lighter with a range of 75 lbs. to 120 pounds. Female American Akitas weigh 70 to 100 pounds. while Japanese Akita inus weigh a bit more (generally between 74 to 110 pounds).
Akita dog shape
Akitas and Akita inus differ greatly in facial structure. The Akita has a broad head and small deep-set eyes. The Akita inu, on the other hand, has a fox-like facial composition and almond eyes. The Akita inu's ears are pointed in a forward slant while the Akita's ears are more erect. Body shape also is different between these two breeds. The Akita has a stocky, muscular appearance. The Akita inu, while also muscular, has a more defined tuck up at the abdominal area, giving it a slimmer appearance.
Akita personality traits
Akitas are officially classified as a working breed by the American Kennel Club as they were originally bred to perform specific tasks, like hunting bears. Today, both Akita breeds like being put to work and enjoy helping their families and participating in active lifestyles.
Akita inu and American Akita are both aloof, independent dogs. They are stubborn and wary of strangers, which can become troublesome. Both Akitas are loyal and protective, but may sometimes be a bit overprotective and misinterpret playfulness as aggression. For this reason, both breeds will succeed best with extra training and socialization from a young age.
The American Akita, like the Akita inu, does not do well with other smaller pets. They will get along with other dog breeds and dogs of the opposite sex. Sometimes same-sex dogs in the same household can cause problems.
Like the Akita inu, the Akita is protective and loyal, but not as suspicious of strangers, especially if they are properly invited into the household. As a general safety precaution, both breeds should always be supervised around children and other pets.