Difference Between Japanese Akita and American Akita

Difference Between Japanese Akita and American Akita

The Akita dog originated in Japan, dating further than World War II. These large, loyal, and obedient canines were used as hunting dogs, assisting hunters within the mountainous areas throughout Japan. Nowadays, the Akita breed has evolved into two separate breeds (due to diverging bloodlines).

A Japanese Akita (or Akita-Inu) is believed to be the “pure breed” amongst the people of Japan, whereas the American Akita is ought to be the “offspring”. They’re rarely used as hunting dogs anymore, instead, they’re trained as guard-dogs or guardians of the home. Although both breeds appear identical, an Akita hobbyist can differentiate the two from a mile away!

Owning a Japanese Akita or American Akita is certainly not for the faint of heart, however, it can turn into an exceptional and rewarding experience for owners who raise them. Both Akita’s neglect to stray too far away from one another and share similar traits that can make anyone think they’re related. Continue reading to learn more about Japanese Akitas and American Akitas!

Physical Characteristics Difference (Size and Physical Look)

Although the Japanese Akita and American Akita are both similar in appearance, they’re in fact completely different breeds. Both breeds have slight physical and sizable characteristics that can help you distinguish the difference between the two.

Size | Japanese Akita vs American Akita

Japanese Akita Size

Depending on gender, the average size of a Japanese Akita varies between 58 cm – 64 cm. They’re considered smaller than an American Akita and less imposing in comparison.

American Akita Size

As for an American Akita, their average size varies between 60 – 71 cm. They’re considerably larger than a Japanese Akita and deemed to be more daring and majestic in terms of persona.

Physical Appearance | Japanese Akita vs American Akita


When comparing both breeds, the ears of a Japanese Akita (or Akita-Inu) is much smaller and slightly floppier compared to an American Akita.


Did you know the coat on a Japanese Akita is primarily made up of 3 colors; White, lawny, and brindle. This is one of the easiest ways to distinguish a Japanese Akita to an American Akita.

The coat of American Akita, however, can vary in colors. From dark brown, goldish brown, reddish-black, white or a combination of all four!

In addition to coats, the Japanese Akitas coat is slightly longer and thicker compared to its cousin breed. This can sometimes make a Japanese Akitas head or body appear larger than what it is.

Facial Appearance

Eye shapes also vary depending on the breed, with almond-shaped eyes leaning more towards an Akita-Inu and small round eyes for an American Akita.

Both breeds have black noses and primarily chiseled snouts. (Although their thick hair can deter such appearance at times)


No matter the breed, both a Japanese Akita and American Akita have curled tails – with the Akita-Inu’s tail looping slightly more onto their backside.


Overall, a Japanese Akitas body mass and their frame is much slimmer in appearance and less muscular in comparison to an American Akita.

Temperament Difference

One of the main questions when comparing a Japanese Akita and an American Akita is their temperament difference. And although it can depend on factors such as purpose, upbringing, and other skills – there are a few differences to note between the two breeds.

Overall, both the American Akita and Akita-Inu share the traits of loyalty, protectiveness, caution, and energetic behavior.

Both breeds are considered stubborn, whereas a Japanese Akita is thought to be slightly more stubborn. It’s common that this particular temperament can cause issues for owners, but with extensive training and socialization this can be combated.

American Akitas are highly rambunctious, often found to be guard dogs throughout American households.

The Akita-Inu, however, serves more as a guardian of their home, rarely resorting to violence despite their history of the origin.

All in all, both breeds share a similar temperament with only slight differences of capabilities reliant on an American Akita and Akita-Inu.

Prey Drive Difference

Prey drive is a dog’s instinctive nature to find and capture prey. Japanese Akitas and American Akitas both equally share this inclination of prey drive, as they were originally bred to do such tasks.

The first Akita-Inu’s bred throughout Japan were used alongside hunters to capture wild animals such as boar, deer, and bears.

Over time, they became domesticated and served more like household pets. Unfrontuanterly, this prey drive can still run wild within an Akita, mainly an American Akita. In this instance, taming is the best way to combat their prey drive, to prevent incidents occurring with other animals.

Despite such issues, if raised properly with the intention of using their instinctive nature – both breeds of dogs can make as fantastic hunters, workers, and farm dogs.

Aggressiveness Difference

Unfortunately, aggressiveness is common with the Akita breed and both Japanese Akitas and American Akitas have the potential of possessing such behavior.

Akita’s aggressiveness can impede their development, causing owners to take extra precautions when exposing their dogs to strangers or around other animals.

Uncontrolled aggressiveness in an Akita can become extremely dangerous, often resorting to torment or violence. For this reason alone, aggressive Akitas are not allowed to roam freely and instead must be isolated!

Thankfully, this aggressiveness can be rectified through intense socialization training and taming while the Akita is still young.

How to Choose an American Akita?

When choosing the right American Akita for you, consider spending time researching both the dog’s history and the history of his breeders. Certain breeders aren’t willing to help potential owners once the sale has been completed, leaving you with possible questions or worse – implications.

Save yourself time and money by working alongside a breeder who is willing to provide all necessary and helpful information about the dog. By doing so can help you in your decision of choosing the right American Akita.

I’ve listed below certain information about your dog you should obtain from your breeder (or adoption agency) prior.

Coordination of Height, Weight, and Body Proportion

When you purchase an American Akita, you should make sure their height, weight, and body proportion are all in coordination with one another.

This will indicate the dog is more or less healthy, had healthy parents, and should face no issues in the future due to gene inheritance.

You can tell an American Akita that will face possible issues if they’re significantly underweight or overweight, extremely tall or extremely short (which may indicate it’s a cross-breed), or certain body parts are out of proportion.

Blood Certificate

Hypothyroid disease is extremely common among the Akita breed, which means their body does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone.

Although this can be treated through a regular tablet treatment, it’s best to ask for a blood certificate that clears them from such disease and any other possible issues going on with their health.

Certificate of Physical Examination

Be sure the Akita you’re interested in buying has had a physical examination done by a veterinarian. This can deter questions around any current physical problems the dog may have.

Physical examinations consist of observation around the dog’s heart rate, chest, and overall body. Be sure to obtain a certificate of physical examination – in writing.

Vaccination Certificate

Be sure to obtain several vaccination certificates (in writing) for your dog which aid in preventing diseases such as – Roundworms, CPV, Leptospirosis, Distemper, and Hepatitis, etc.

If he isn’t up to date with vaccinations but the breeder is persistent on making a sale, reconsider the breeder’s intentions and if they’re only wanting to chase a profit.

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