The Akita and the Akita Inu are two dog breeds that stem from the same Japanese region and share many similarities. Both breeds were developed in the snow-filled region of Akita Prefecture in the northern part of Japan, where they were used by the locals to hunt, guard, and herd dogs. Despite their similar points of origin, there are quite a few differences between these two breeds that prospective owners should be aware of.
Working vs. Non-Working Dog Breeds
The Akita is a working breed, meaning that it was bred to perform specific tasks in the wild and to accompany their owners when hunting or fishing. On the other hand, the Akita Inu is a non-working breed and its primary purpose is to be a companion and family pet. This distinction is quite important for potential owners because each breed may have different demands and needs that must be taken into consideration when making a decision.
For instance, an Akita will have much higher exercise requirements as it was developed to have resilience and stamina. Naturally, Akitas are very individualistic and they need to be handled carefully, otherwise they may become stubborn and resistant to commands. Akita Inu on the other hand, can still be quite active, but the focus is on companionship rather than work. They are much more pliable and eager to please their owners.
Another difference between Akitas and Akita Inu is their physical appearance. Akitas are larger and they usually weigh between 70-130 lbs, while Akita Inu is a smaller breed and weighs between 25-50 lbs. Akitas have thicker coats, with a variety of colors, while Akita Inu is mainly white with a few patches of different colors. Akitas also have a more defined ‘Mastiff-like’ shape, and their head and snout area are more prominent.
As for their personality traits, Akitas are courageous and loyal, but some could be described as stubborn or aggressive when pushed too far. Akita Inu on the other hand, are calmer, more laid-back, and easier to train as they are eager to please their owners. This, along with their smaller size, makes Akita Inu the perfect choice for novice owners.
Training & Socialization
Both the Akita and the Akita Inu are intelligent breeds, which means they are relatively easy to train. However, due to their individualism, Akitas can be difficult to handle and will require an experienced, firm hand to get them to respond to commands. Akita Inu is a more docile breed, and they will usually follow requests without much resistance.
Both breeds should receive socialization to become well-rounded animals, and both should also receive obedience training to prevent any unwanted behavioral problems from arising. Akitas have a strong sense of protectiveness towards their owners, so formal training is especially important for them.
Lifespan & Health Risks
The Akita can be expected to live between 9-14 years, while the Akita Inu will have a longer lifespan of between 13-15 years. Potential owners should also be aware that Akitas are more prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, obesity, and skin allergies. Akita Inu is generally a healthier breed, but they can still suffer from respiratory problems and eye issues.
It is important to regularly take both breeds to the vet to avoid any looming health concerns. Akitas may also require a more demanding diet and adequate exercise to stay healthy and prevent any possible joint problems.
Both Akitas and Akita Inu have thick, double coats that can be prone to shedding. It is best to brush them regularly to keep their fur in check and to remove any loose fur. Akitas have a heavier, thicker coat that sheds more than the Akita Inu, so if shedding is a deal breaker for potential owners, then an Akita Inu may be the better option.
In general, both breeds will have their nails clipped, teeth brushed, and ears cleaned regularly. Akitas may require more regular baths due to the amount of fur they produce, while Akita Inu may go by with fewer baths due to their shorter coat.
Both Akita and Akita Inu typically do best in colder climates. They are quite tolerant of heat, but too much extreme heat can be detrimental for their overall health. If kept in warmer climates, these breeds should be provided with a cool, comfortable, and ventilated area out of direct sunlight.
In terms of living spaces, both breeds should have a medium to large-sized fenced area to roam and stretch their legs. Akitas have a strong hunting instinct, which means they may wander off and sometimes be difficult to bring back. On the other hand, Akita Inu is a more docile breed and will rarely wander off due to its more sedentary nature.
The Akita and the Akita Inu are two distinct Japanese dog breeds that have similar origins but quite a few differences. Before deciding which breed to get, potential owners should take into consideration their objectives in getting a dog, the physical requirements of look after each breed, and the temperamental differences between the Akita and the Akita Inu. These are the key points to contemplate when deciding which of the two Japanese breeds is the right fit.
In summary, the Akita is a working breed known for its large size and protective nature, while the Akita Inu is a smaller, non-working breed that excels as a family and companion pet. Each breed has its own advantages and can make for a great pet when given the proper care and attention.