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. While these breeds are similar, they have various differences including size, coloring, shape and personality.
The American Akita comes in may colors and patterns. Its breed standard does not designate any specific markings or patterns. As a result, many Akitas have facial masks or white blazes on the forehead. Sometimes the undercoat is a different color from the outer coat. Akita Inus, however, come only in brindle, white and red. Regardless of color, 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.
The American Akita is generally larger than the Akita Inu. Akita Inus are 23 to 25 inches in height for females, and 25 to 28 inches in height for males. American Akitas tend to be an inch taller for both males and females. Akita Inus range from 70 to 120 lbs., with the average weight at 85 lbs. for females and 100 lbs. for males. American Akitas range in weight from 70 to 130 lbs., with average weight at 90 lbs. for females and 115 lbs. for males.
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.
The Akita Inu is an independent dog. This causes it to become stubborn at times. It is wary of strangers. It generally prefers to be given a job to do. It is loyal and protective, but its aloofness with strangers can sometimes become troublesome. The American Akita, like the Akita Inu, does not do well with other smaller pets. It does, however, get along with other dogs of the opposite sex. Same sex dogs sometimes will have 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.
By Camira Bailey
About the Author
Camira Bailey has been writing for various online publications since 2006, specializing in health and animal care. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from UCLA and is completing her master's degree in holistic health. Bailey is also an ACE-certified advanced health and fitness specialist.