Japanese Akita vs American Akita

Japanese Akita vs American Akita

Have you ever watched the movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale? The dog in that movie, as well as real Hachiko, was an Akita Dog based in Japan who waited every day for his owner Mr Hidesaburo Ueno at Shibuya Station in Central Tokyo.

They gained immense popularity after that movie was a hit in the United States. Let’s talk about Akita and discuss key Differences between the Japanese Akita and American Akita.

First, let’s talk about the History of this special breed.

History of Akita

History of Akita

Akita is a Japanese breed (just like Shiba Inu) which was bred in the 16th century by Japanese hunters to track and hunt wild boars, deer and small beers. They got their name by the province of Akita in Northern Japan where they are believed to have originated.

This breed is popular in Japan for guarding royal people (kings and queens) of Ancient Japan. Akita made its way into the United States in 1937.

The Japanese government gifted Helen Keller with a cute little Akita puppy when she really expressed her desire to have one after she liked this breed and was amazed by Hachiko’s loyalty for his owner.

She was the first one to bring Akita into the USA. After spending some years with that dog, she termed this breed as highly “Gentle, Companionable and Trusty“.

After the second world war, stationed American soldiers in Japan brought back more Akita dogs as they really liked them back in Japan. Thomas Boyd created the first American Akita in 1956 which later turned out to be more robust.

However, there are those who remain true to the original Japanese breed. This long battle delayed the acceptance by the American Kennel Club which later accepted Akita as a breed in 1972.

According to the AKC, Akita is the 47th most popular breed in the United States as of now.

Introduction to Japanese Akita/Akita Inu

Japanese Akita

Also known as Akita Inu, the Japanese Akita is purebred with his roots originated in Japan. It is not mixed with any other breed.

This was the breed that Hellen Keller brought with herself to the United States. Hachiko, the famous Akita which waited 9 years at the Shibuya station after his master’s death was also a purebred Japanese Akita.

They can be found in the United States as Japanese breeders see it as a “National Monument” or a dog which glorifies their nation and ancient history.

They have a Fox-like head and almond-shaped eyes like Huskies.

Also Read: Comparison between Husky and Akita 

Introduction to American Akita/Akita

american akita

The first American Akita came into existence in 1956. Japanese Akita had not entered into the United States until 1937.

After the Second World War was over, a lot of US Army personnel brought Akita dogs along with them to their home country.

American Akita is more muscular and has beer-like looks and head as opposed to Japanese Akita which has a fox-like head.

Later, those servicemen from U.S Army were more impressed with more muscular and larger America’s version of Akita which was mixed with dogs like German Shepherd and acquired bear-like looks, according to Wikipedia.

What are the Differences Between Japanese Akita and American Akita

There are slight differences in both of these breeds, though, not many.

When it comes to differences in size, they are as follow.

American Akita is a little more muscular, taller and heavier than their Japanese counterparts. Japanese Akita stands tall in the range of 22-25 inches while American Akita lies in the range of 24 to 26 inches.

Japanese Akita weighs in the range of 60 to 130 pounds (27-60Kgs) while American Akita weighs in the range of 70 to 140 pounds (32-65 Kgs).

Another noticeable difference is the head and shape of the eyes. An American Akita has a bear-like head while the Japanese one has a fox-like head.

American Akita has smaller round eyes while Japanese Akita has almond-shaped eyes.

American Akita is slightly slimmer and has a curled tail that loops onto their back. Akita Inu doesn’t carry a curled tail.

American Akita has erect ears while Japanese Akita’s ears are leaned slightly forward.

Let’s elaborate on these Differences and talk in detail about each

Colour and Coat

The American and Japanese Akitas differ in colour and coat. As per breed standard issues by the AKC, American Akitas can be found in any colour while Japanese Akita’s are found in mainly five colours: red, white, fawn, brindle and sesame.

American Akita is commonly found in Pinto, Brindle and pure white with a black face mask.

Japanese Akita cannot have any mask colours but American Akita is allowed to have a black mask on their faces. Both the breeds shred heavily twice a year.

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American Akita has developed into more of a guard/watchdog rather than companion dog. Japanese ones still remain to be more of companion dogs who like to spend time with their families.

American ones are known to be little more social and friendly with strangers as compared to Japanese Akita.

Akita Inu is a more stubborn dog and needs proper training and socialisation to avoid any behavioural problems in their life.

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Both the breeds have a high prey drive and are a little less friendly as compared to other breeds.

Akita has a natural instinct to act as a guard or protector which makes them dangerous around people whom they don’t know.

Children below the age of 5 should also be kept away from both these breeds as much as possible. They are highly intolerant and become aggressive in the presence of any other dog of same-sex.


In this article, I have included in detail the differences and similarities between Japanese Akita and American Akita.

There are several differences in several areas such as Size, Temperament and Colour.

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