“What’s the difference between the Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita? I have had 3 Akitas in my life. I won’t lie, the Akita does seem to be my heart dog. I’ve come to appreciate the unique and fascinating characteristics of these dogs. Logan is an American Akita breed standard and not the Japanese Akita Inu standard.
Although they are both part of the Akita breed, some significant differences set them apart. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history, physical characteristics, temperament, trainability, exercise needs, health issues, and other factors that set the Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita apart.
We’ll help you understand the unique qualities of each breed and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about which Akita breed is right for you.
Japanese Akita Inu VS American Akita: The history
The Akita breed originated in Japan and is one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world. The name Akita Inu, which translates to “dog of Akita,” is the original Japanese Akita breed and was developed in the northern region of Japan in the Akita prefecture during the 17th century. The Japanese Akita Inu was primarily used for hunting, guarding, and as a companion dog.
Unfortunately, the Japanese Akita Inu was also used for dog fighting. To make them larger and more powerful they were then crossbred with the Tosa and Mastiff. During the history of the Akita Inu, there were several different bloodlines with different appearances. During the mid-20th century, this was narrowed down to 2 distinct recognised lines, the Ichinoseki and the Dewa lines.
Akitas first arrived in the USA after Helen Keller received two Akitas as a gift after she expressed interest in the breed after hearing about the story of Hachiko.
After World War II, more Akitas arrived back in the States as US soldiers grew fond of the breed during their time stationed in Japan.
To read more about the breed history of the Akita Inu – Click Here
Japanese Akita Inu vs American Akita – Appearances
One of the most significant differences between the Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita is their size and weight.
A male Japanese Akita Inu can stand between 25-27.5 inches tall (22.5-25 for females) and weigh between 65-75 pounds (55-65lbs for females). While a male American Akita can stand between 26-28 inches tall (24-26 for females) and weigh between 100- 130 pounds (70-100lbs for females).
Although similar in height, it is a huge difference in weight! This is what gives the Japanese Akita Inu a more agile and slender body, while the American Akita is larger, more muscular and has a looser skin appearance.
Coat Colours are another visible difference
Both the Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita have a double coat, with a thick soft undercoat and a coarse straight outer coat. However, there are some differences in the coat colours of the two breeds.
The Japanese Akita Inu has a more limited range of coat colours. The breed standard only recognises fewer variations. The most common being red, fawn, brindle, and white. The American Akita, on the other hand, has a wider range of coat colours, including black, white, brown, and brindle.
American Akita vs Japanese Akita Inu Face and Head Shape
The facial structure and head shape of the Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita are also different. The Japanese Akita Inu has a more fox-like face with a pointed snout and triangular head. While the American Akita has a broader, more bear-like face with a slightly shorter snout. The American Akitas head is also generally larger than that of the Japanese Akita Inu.
Japanese Akita Inu VS American Akita –
Temperament and Personality
The Japanese Akita Inu is known for its independence and loyalty to its family. They are generally calm and reserved, but they can also be fiercely protective of their loved ones.
The American Akita, on the other hand, is reportedly more outgoing and social than the Akita Inu. In my experience with having had 3, they are also more tolerant of strangers. The breed still has a high prey drive and I would not trust them around small animals.
Japanese Akita Inus vs American Akitas with other dogs?
Both Japanese Akita Inus and American Akitas have a reputation for being independent and strong-willed dogs that may not always get along with other dogs, particularly those of the same sex. While early socialisation and training can help mitigate any potential aggression towards other dogs, it’s important to keep in mind that these breeds were historically bred to hunt and protect, and their instincts may still be present.
It’s important to note that each dog is unique, and their behaviour towards other dogs may vary based on their individual temperament and experiences. Early socialisation, training, and proper supervision can go a long way in ensuring that your Japanese Akita or American Akita gets along well with other dogs. If you have concerns about your dog’s behaviour towards other dogs, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviourist for guidance.
Both breeds would be more suited to an experienced owner rather than a first-time dog owner.
My personal experience of the American Akita
From my own experience, I would agree the Akita can be a challenging breed. All 3 of mine have had a fairly high prey drive and the previous 2 were not good with dogs on walks. That being said, we had 2 male Akitas living together in perfect harmony. Logan is such a loveable goofball and spends a lot of time around 2 male Labradors.
This is all a result of early socialisation and training from when Logan was a puppy.
I always have Logan on his leash when we are out walking. This is because our biggest area of weakness is recall. He is a very large, powerful dog and I am just not willing to take the chance that I can’t get the situation under control quickly if another off-leash dog approached him.
Logan and both my previous 2 Akitas were always wary of new people. I have ground rules that everyone must follow when meeting my dogs and it is constantly supervised to ensure the interactions go smoothly.
I definitely would advise early training and socialisation to help prevent developing any unwanted behaviours later in life. I cannot comment on Akita Inus specifically as I have never had one personally, but my research always pointed towards them having a more independent nature and less sociable.
Japanese Akita Inu VS American Akita Trainability and Exercise
Both the Japanese Akita Inu and American Akita are known to be more independent and stubborn dogs, which can make them more challenging. They require consistency and patience when it comes to training. They will test you in this area, Logan certainly tested me!
The Japanese Akita Inu and American Akita are both highly intelligent dogs. They can get bored quickly with repetitive training sessions, so it is best to use short and varied activities to keep them engaged.
To train and exercise a Japanese Akita Inu or American Akita effectively, it’s essential to use positive reinforcement techniques and provide them with plenty of mental stimulation. They thrive on learning new things and need regular mental challenges to keep them engaged. It’s also important to start training and socialising them at a young age to prevent behavioural issues later in life.
From a puppy, I crate-trained Logan. I would also dedicate daily general training sessions from 15-30 minutes with Logan. We would use his dog food as part of his training rewards so we could keep track of his daily food intake. End on a positive and then have additional short training sessions later in the day if needed.
Exercise Needs and Requirements
Both the Akita Inu and the American Akita require daily exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. However, there are some differences in their exercise needs and requirements. The Akita Inu requires more exercise than the American Akita due to their more active and agile nature. They need at least 1-2 hours of exercise per day, such as brisk walks or runs. The American Akita, on the other hand, requires moderate exercise, such as daily walks or playtime in a fenced yard.
Physical exercise is not the only way to work a dog. What I have noticed is giving Logan mental enrichment activities helps a long way in tiring him out.
Health Issues and Lifespan: Japanese Akita Inu VS American Akita
When choosing between the Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita, it’s important to consider their health issues and lifespan.
Common Health Issues in Each Breed
The Japanese Akita Inu is susceptible to hip dysplasia, eye problems, and thyroid issues. They are also prone to certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and pemphigus.
The American Akita is prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and bloat. They are also at risk for certain eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy.
When choosing a breeder make sure you speak to them about their experiences with the common health issues. Most breeders will have their Japanese Akita Inu or American Akita hip and eye scored.
The life expectancy of the Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita is fairly similar. The Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita have an average lifespan of 10-12 years. Based on my own experience we lost my first one due to illness at the age of 7 and the second one was probably closer to 13 years old. Thankfully Logan is still young enough I don’t need to think about that!
Choosing the Right Akita Breed for You
After exploring the differences between the Japanese Akita Inu vs the American Akita in terms of their history, physical characteristics, temperament, trainability, exercise needs, and health issues, it’s time to consider which breed is right for you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Breed
When choosing the right Akita breed, there are several factors to consider. These include:
- Your lifestyle: Do you have a lot of space for a larger dog? Are you an active person who can provide the necessary exercise for an Akita Inu?
- Your personality: Are you looking for a more independent and protective dog, or a more social and outgoing one?
- Your experience with dogs: Are you an experienced dog owner who is up for the challenge of training and socialising an Akita Inu, or are you a first-time dog owner who needs a more trainable breed?
- Your family situation: Do you have children or other pets at home that need a dog that is more tolerant and social?
You can find out more about choosing the right puppy in our article here
Which Breed is Right for You?
If you’re looking for a more independent and protective dog that is suited for hunting and guarding, the Japanese Akita Inu might be the right choice for you. However, they require more exercise and can be more challenging to train than the American Akita.
If you want a more social and outgoing dog that is suited for companionship and is generally more trainable, the American Akita might be the right choice for you. However, they are prone to health issues such as bloat and require regular exercise to maintain their health.
Ultimately, the right Akita breed for you will depend on your unique situation and needs. Consider all of the factors mentioned above before making a decision.
The Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita are both unique and fascinating breeds with their own set of characteristics, strengths, and challenges. Understanding their differences is crucial when choosing the right breed for you. With proper care, training, and attention, both breeds can make excellent and loyal companions.
As I said from the start of the article, I absolutely love the Akita breeds. I have loved and adored all 3 of mine so far and I am sure at some stage I will end up with another one. Their personalities, even their stubbornness, just speaks to me. We hope you have enjoyed this article, if you are wanting to do more research please take a look at the American Kennel Club – AKC and The UK Kennel Club for a start.