14 Dog Breeds That Look Like Akitas (With Videos)

Dog Breeds That Look Like The Akita

We often categorize pet owners into cat people and dog people, but what if you like both, or what if you crave a dog that shares a few similarities with cats? Well, Akitas are often jokingly referred to as cat-like as they are so clean and odorless.

If you love Akitas for their looks or their unique (cat-like) personality, you might be wondering if there are more dog breeds like them. Or you simply can’t get your hands on an Akita dog and you are hoping to find a dog that is similar enough.

So, what are some dog breeds that look like the Akita?

The Akita Inu is one of the six native Japanese breeds, and it looks very similar to the rest of them, the Shiba Inu, Kai Ken, Hokkaido, Kishu, and Shikoku. Akitas also look like the Korean Jindo, the Japanese and Finish spitz, the Basenji, Huskies, Samoyed, Alaskan Malamut as well as the Alaskan Klee Kai.

There are plenty of Akita look-alikes out there, and in this article, we’ll go through different breeds of dogs that share similarities with Akitas either physical or personality-wise, and we’ll also go over their differences.

Additionally, we’re going to introduce the Akita breed itself and explain what makes them so unique, and we’ll have a brief discussion on whether you should get a similar breed to an Akita. If you want to go straight to the 14 dog breeds that look like Akitas, then you can use our table of contents to navigate to this list!

What Is The Akita Inu Like?

Before we look at each dog breed that is similar to the Akita Inu, it’s important to become a bit more familiar with the Akita Inu itself.

So, what are Akitas like?

  • Origin: Japan
  • Type: Large-sized
  • Height: 25 to 28 in (64 to 71 cm)
  • Weight: 60 to 130 pounds (27 to 59 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

The Akita Inu is a Japanese breed and you can track its origins all the way to the mountainous region of Japan (17th century), where they were trained to hunt animals like elk, wild boar, and Ussuri brown bears.

These dogs went from hunters to dog fighters, they served as samurai companions, and they were even used by the army during the second world war.

At some point in history, the Akitu Inu almost become extinct, but thankfully there were people that made sure this beautiful dog breed would thrive once again!

It’s also worth noting that there are two varieties of Akita. The Akita Inu is the Japanese breed, and there’s also the American Akita. Aside from the American Akita being larger, there’s no significant difference between the two.

Known for their tall stature, thick body, and permanently curled tail (though they aren’t the only large dog with a curled tail) the Akita is a proud and imposing breed.

We’re lucky enough to witness these tall and heavy-boned dogs with their proud and imposing stature, along with their permanently curled tail.

You can find Akitas sporting red, fawn, sesame, brindle, or pure white colorings, with whitish or cream-colored markings on the sides of the dog’s muzzle, on the cheeks, on the underside of the jaw, neck, chest, body, and tail, and on the inside of the legs, also known as Urajiro markings.

The Akitas are known for their more aloof personalities. They are usually weary of strangers and other dogs, and they definitely have a stubborn streak.

That being said, Akita Inus are also very loyal and form strong bonds with their owners.

To keep these dogs happy and satisfied they require plenty of mental and physical stimulation, and more intense training, at the hands of a very responsible owner.

Dog Breeds That Look Like Akitas

Without further ado, let’s check the large, medium, and small dog breeds that share similarities with the Akita Inu!

1. Hokkaido Inu

  • Origin: Japan
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 18 to 20 in (46 to 51 cm)
  • Weight: 44 to 66 pounds (20 to 30 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

There’s no denying that the Hokkaido Inu is strikingly similar to the Akita Inu, from the same pointy triangular ears, and wide chubby face, to the red and white colorings and curly tail.

But what about their personalities?

Well, both dogs are quite stubborn, the Hokkaido dogs, however, can be more vocal. Though they mostly make noises when happy or excited and they rarely bark at strangers.

The Hokkaido dogs are not the best choice for inexperienced dog owners, simply because they need to be properly socialized. Otherwise, they can become too wary of strangers and overprotective.

Similarly to the Akita Inu, this breed is intelligent and needs a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy, or else they can become bored, anxious, and hyperactive.

Despite their outward and inward similarities, keep in mind that finding a Hokkaido Inu dog outside their native country is far more challenging.

2. Shiba Inu

  • Origin: Japan
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 13.5 to 15.5 in (34 to 39 cm)
  • Weight: 17 to 23 pounds (7.5 to 10.5 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 13 to 16 years

It’s easy enough to confuse the Shiba Inu for the Akita Inu, or for the Hokkaido Inu for that matter, but when it comes to size Shibas are significantly smaller than both of these breeds.

When it comes down to their personalities, Shibas are also independent and intelligent, similarly to the Akita they are loyal and protective, but they are not as aggressive towards other dogs.

Shibas are also considered quite catlike since they are naturally clean. So, if you live in an apartment and you want a smaller version of an Akita, and a breed that is easily housebroken then the Shiba is perfect for you.

Shiba dogs crave attention and can suffer from separation anxiety, but unlike Akitas, they don’t become massively destructive.

That being said, you still need to make sure your Shiba receives plenty of mental and physical stimulation if you want them to be happy!

3. Shikoku Ken

  • Origin: Japan
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 17 to 19 in (43 to 49 cm)
  • Weight: 35 to 55 pounds (16 to 25 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

The Shikoku Ken is noticeably smaller than the Akita Inu breed, but when it comes to their appearance both breeds are very alike.

That being said the Shikoku Inu still have their own distinctive features, like a slightly longer muzzle, and their colorings are usually darker with hints of grey, even the ones with a red-white coat.

This breed is definitely challenging, and you’ll need to have at least some previous experience to keep their strong prey drive under control and offer them lots of physical stimulation on a daily basis.

Just like the Akita Inu, the Shikoku can get quite destructive if left alone for too long, and they do crave the company and attention of their owners.

So, as you can see this breed is not too far off from the Akita Inu when it comes to their personality, but the Shikoku is more social when it comes to meeting other people, and if socialized properly other dogs, but they also don’t get along well with small pets.

5. Kishu Ken

  • Origin: Japan
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 19 to 22 in (48 to 56 cm)
  • Weight: 30 to 60 pounds (13.5 to 27 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Kishu Ken is another old Japanese breed that is smaller and leaner than the Akita Inu.

While the two breeds are quite similar it’s still easy enough to distinguish them.

If you get to know a Kishu then you’ll notice that they are much more docile and friendly compared to Akitas that are much more aloof.

That doesn’t mean they can’t be stubborn like the Akita, but as long as you offer fast-paced and upbeat training sessions this adorable breed will excel!

The Kishu is more suitable for experienced owners and someone who lives in a house with a yard. Plus they require plenty of exercise in the form of daily walks, runs, or hikes.

6. Kai Ken

  • Origin: Japan
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 15.5 to 19.5 in (39 to 49.5 cm)
  • Weight: 25 to 40 pounds (11 to 18 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

The last native Japanese breed on our list is the Kai Ken, and once again it’s not as big as an Akita, but their physical appearance and broad face are quite similar.

The major difference however lies in their coat, not only are Kai Ken dogs not as fluffy but they have a brindle coat that comes in three colors, red brindle, black brindle, and brindle.

If you are intimidated by the independent nature of Akitas, then you might feel more comfortable training a Kai Ken since they are more willing to please their owners.

You might also be pleased to hear that, unlike the Akita Inu, Kai Ken are usually not aggressive towards other dogs, and they are usually good with other kids as long as they are properly trained by an experienced owner.

The Kai Ken breed is quite active and requires daily walks, backyard games, and swimming. If you live in an apartment you need to make sure they get plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Plus Kai Ken dogs also benefit from indoor activities, like hide and seek, or learning new tricks.

7. Japanese Spitz

  • Origin: Japan
  • Type: Small-sized
  • Height: 12 to 15 in (30.5 to 38 cm)
  • Weight: 10 to 25 pounds (4.5 to 11 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 16 years

To be fair the Japanese Spitz doesn’t look a lot like the Akita Inu, but since it’s another Japanese breed it does deserve a spot on this list.

Of course, you can still find a few traits that link their appearance to the Akita Inu like their erect and triangular ears and their fluffy curled tail.

When it comes down to personalities, the Japanese Spitz is a little comedian that enjoys spending time with their family. They also get along well with other dogs, and with a bit of training, they can live happily with other pets.

Just like the Akita Inu the Japanese spitz are good dogs for apartment dwellers as long as they get adequate exercise.

Despite being small, this breed is surprisingly active and if you enjoy hiking, or simply walking down the beach the Japanese spitz will be happy to tag along.

This is also a very healthy breed with very few genetic problems, and it’s one of the longest-lived dog breeds.

If you’re someone who isn’t as experienced with owning a dog the Japanese spitz is a great choice, but as with most dogs be prepared to be challenged to some degree.

4. Korean Jindo

  • Origin: Korea
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 17 to 22 in (43 to 56 cm)
  • Weight: 30 to 50 pounds (13.5 to 22.5 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 14 to 15 years

The Jindo breed has lived for thousands of years on the Jindo island off the coast of South Korea, and they actually look a lot like Akitas if not for the size difference.

They also have a similar double coat that repels dirt and water and they’re not supposed to produce an odor. Having a double coat means that you need to be prepared to regularly brush this breed and keep a vacuum close by.

Personality-wise, the Jindo doesn’t get along with other dogs and requires an experienced owner that can keep their hunting instincts at bay.

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s a high-energy dog, even more so than the Akita, so if you prefer dogs that spend most of their day sleeping this is not a breed for you.

But if you are a member of an active household and you’re looking for a dog that looks like the Akita and has impeccable house manners then the Jindo might be the one!

8. Basenji

  • Origin: Continent of Africa
  • Type: Small-sized
  • Height: 16 to 17 in (40 to 43 cm)
  • Weight: 22 to 24 pounds (10 to 11 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 13 to 14 years

I find the Basenji and the Akita Inu strikingly similar if you don’t take into account that the Basenji is much much smaller, and has a short coat.

Other than that, both breeds have similar white and red colorings, and while they aren’t fluffy the Basenji also has a curled tail!

Just like the Akita, Basenji dogs rarely bark, however, this little breed might get your attention by making a sound that’s between a chortle and a yodel.

Basenjis are one of the oldest breeds, and we know it because they were depicted in ancient Egyptian artifacts.

So, as you can imagine, a dog that has enjoyed the company of humans for centuries upon centuries can only be loyal, loving, and fiercely protective.

The Basenji is also a very energetic and active dog, so they need someone who is active and loves spending quality time with their dog.

This breed is not ideal for a first-time dog owner, since they can have quite the temperament, not unlike the Akita Inu. But if you like a challenge, and you don’t want the fluff that the Akita Inu brings with it, or their size, then consider the ancient Basenji!

9. Finish Spitz

  • Origin: Finland
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 17 to 20 in (44 to 50 cm)
  • Weight: 26 to 29 pounds (12 to 13 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

If the size is one of the reasons you want to avoid getting an Akita Inu, but you still want a dog that’s sporting bright red or gold colorings then you might want to consider the Finish spitz.

Plus this beautiful breed also has a curled fluffy tail!

What makes the Finish spritz so great is that, unlike most breeds on our list, this is a relatively easygoing dog that is suitable for first-time owners.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t be met with certain challenges. The Finish spritz is known to be quite vocal, and you will need to train them not to bark.

This breed, like the Akita Inu, can be relatively aggressive, especially around other dogs and pets, but they are very loving when it comes to their favorite human, as long as they also share their love for activities!

10. Norwegian Elkhound

  • Origin: Norway
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 18 to 19 in (46 to 49 cm)
  • Weight: 49 to 55 pounds (22 to 25 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

While the Norwegian Elkhound is not as large as the Akita Inu it’s still a very robust and physically strong dog.

When it comes to their appearance, these two breeds are really similar, they are fluffy, with erect and triangular ears, and their faces are both round making their cheek appear chubby.

While the Akita Inu is found in more colors, the overall texture of their coat appears quite alike, and of course, the Norwegian Elkhound also has a curled tail!

As we’ve already established Akitas can be aloof and very reserved, especially in the company of strangers. The Norwegian Elkhound is a bit more extroverted in this regard, but they’re still considered shy.

The Norwegian Elkhound is an intelligent dog, which means that they are quick learners but they also get easily bored, a trait that can be found in Akitas, so they require an experienced dog owner that knows what they’re doing.

It’s also important to mention that the Norwegian Elkhound is an active dog, but you should avoid letting them roam in populated areas like the park because they might start chasing after small animals. They also love swimming, and if you do too then consider that a sign!

11. Samoyed

  • Origin: Siberia
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 20 to 22 in (51 to 56 cm)
  • Weight: 44 to 66 pounds (20 to 30 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

You may have noticed that the Akita Inu has this sweet perpetual smile on their face, well the Samoyed is also known for its “Samoyed smile.”

The upturned corners of the Samoyed’s mouth and lips aren’t just visually adorable but also help keep these dogs from drooling.

So, similarly to the Akita Inu the Samoyed aren’t messy dogs!

Both dogs are hard-working so the Samoyed requires plenty of exercise and attention. Unlike the Akita Inu, this breed is also much friendlier to other dogs.

Despite their positive outlook on life, having previous experience training other dogs will come in handy if you want to become a Samoyed owner because they have a strong herding instinct.

12. Siberian Husky

  • Origin: Siberia
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 21 to 23.5 in (53 to 60 cm)
  • Weight: 45 to 60 pounds (20 to 27 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 14 years

Huskies don’t just come in grey and white or white coats, but you can also find red-white huskies that are simply gorgeous and that’s when they resemble the Akita Inu the most.

Now, the main reason huskies are on this list is their personality and not because it’s similar to the Akita Inu, but because it’s quite the opposite.

Basically, if you want a fluffy, robust dog that looks quite similar to an Akita Inu, but is more outgoing and happy-go-lucky then consider getting a red-white Siberian Husky.

Unlike the aloof Akita Inu that will struggle in the company of other dogs, the Siberian Huskies get along with other dogs.

That being said, huskies are mischievous dogs, they are vocal and dramatic, and they can get destructive if their needs aren’t met.

Just like the Akita Inu, Siberian Huskies are intelligent and can be stubborn so things can easily get out of hand if you’re an inexperienced owner

13. Alaskan Malamute

  • Origin: Alaska
  • Type: Large
  • Height: 23 to 25 in (58 to 64 cm)
  • Weight: 75 to 85 pounds (34 to 39 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

While the mighty Alaskan Malamute may look a lot like a Siberian husky, it’s easy enough to see that they also share similar features with the Akita Inu.

From the curled tail to the chubby cheeks, and the tapered eyes, the two breeds can easily be mistaken for one another, if it wasn’t for the extra fluffy grey-white coat of the Alaskan Malamute of course.

When it comes to their personalities they also share the same hard-working spirit and they crave mental stimulation games.

While the Alaskan Malamute might seem like a giant dog, it’s physically similar to the Akita. So, they definitely require an owner that can handle their strength and physical needs.

Similarly to the Akita, the Alaskan Malamute is a loving dog that works well in a family setting, and as long as their needs are being met they are well-mannered.

However, if you aren’t able to meet their needs they can get quite vocal and destructive. Proper training and early socialization are a must and they’re better suited for experienced owners.

14. Alaskan Klee Kai

  • Origin: Alaska
  • Type: small-sized
  • Height: 13 to 17 in (33 to 43 cm)
  • Weight: 16 to 22 pounds ( 7 to 10 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 15 to 20 years

If you’re looking for a smaller breed that is reminiscent of the Akita Inu, then the Alaskan Klee Kai is a wonderful choice.

I know that the grey and white colors make them look more like the northern breeds on this list, but if you get your hands on a red and white Klee Kai then you will start noticing the similarities between this breed and the Akita Inu.

However, the likeness is more striking between the two when you start comparing their personalities. The Alaskan Klee Kai are shy dogs, especially around strangers.

Just like the Akita Inu, they turn into complete goofballs the moment they are surrounded by the people they love and trust.

The Klee Kai also needs training and early socialization to keep them happy. So, if you’re confident in your training skills and you’re an active individual that’s looking for a small but energetic then this is the dog for you!

Are Akitas Just Big Shibas?

It’s not surprising that Shibas are considered by many the smaller version of the Akita Inu, after all, they are both ancient Japanese breeds that share a similar lineage.

But these are two distinct breeds with their own history. Unlike the Akita which was bred to hunt large animals like dear, elk, and black bears, Shibas would hunt smaller game.

Perhaps this explains the stronger prey drive of Shibas that will easily get distracted by smaller animals.

Akitas are also much more aloof around strangers and unless well-trained they can’t tolerate other dogs and even kids and strangers. Shibas are more open in that regard, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be socialized and trained.

So, in some ways, Akitas and Shibas are quite similar, but they are in no way identical.

Should You Get A Dog Breed Similar To Akitas?

The Akita Inu is definitely a very unique dog, looks and personality alike, but we can also say the same thing about each breed on our list.

If you’re trying to choose the perfect dog for you based only on their resemblance to Akitas then I would advise you to think twice.

Instead you need to get more familiar with the unique personality traits of each breed on our list first and their physical and mental needs.

Most, if not all the dog breeds on this list are quite active and are mostly suitable for experienced dog owners.

If you look into each breed you will also notice that most of them are quite challenging when it comes to training, since they are really intelligent and stubborn.

Of course, I’m not trying to deter you from choosing one of these breeds, they are all wonderful, but a dog is a commitment so you need to do your research before you decide which one fits your lifestyle, regardless of how much they look like an Akita.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re looking for a dog that looks like Akitas you’re spoilt for choice, whether you’re looking for a pooch with the same physical prowess or coat qualities.

Some of these breeds are also a lot like Akitas personality-wise, with some aloofness, stubbornness, and loyalty sprinkled in there. But don’t be fooled because each breed brings something unique to the table. Some might be bulkier, others fluffier, while there are those breeds that are better suited for inexperienced owners.

So, before you make up your mind and start looking for one of the 14 Akita lookalike breeds on our list make sure that you’re not simply going for the Akita look, and that you’re also taking into account the unique needs of each of these breeds!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *