What are Dog Breeds that Look Like Akitas?

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Dog Breeds That Look Like AkitasThere is a wide range of spitz breeds that hail from Japan but one of the most popular is the Akita Inu, a gorgeous dog with a thick double coat that can be a wonderful family dog. Many people love Akitas for their unique personalities and adorable looks, but if you’re looking for something similar to them, you’ll be happy to know that there are a few options for you. Here, we introduce dog breeds that look like Akitas and discuss their features.   

What is the Akita Inu? 

According to Japanese history, the Akita Inu originated from the wild and mountainous regions of Japan, specifically the snowy lands of Odate, Akita Prefecture. There, these independent dogs were trained to hunt down animals such as brown bears, wild boar, and elk. During the 17th century, they were used in dog fighting, which was popular in Japan at the time, but they also served as samurai companions between the 1500s and the 1800s. 

These native Japanese dogs were also used in WWII when they faced extinction; luckily, some people ensured the survival of the breed, and today they are once again thriving. There are two variants of the Akita — the first is the Japanese breed, and the second is the American Akita. While the latter is bigger than the former, they are both known for their thick bodies, tall stature, and curled tail, making them an imposing and proud breed.  

Japanese Akita dogs come in a wide range of coat colors, such as red, sesame, fawn, red brindle, or pure white colorings, along with cream-colored or whitish markings known as Urajiro markings. They are known for their aloof personalities, usually weary of other dogs and strangers, and can have a stubborn streak. Even so, they can be a loyal companion and will form strong bonds with their humans — you can keep them satisfied and happy by giving them plenty of physical and mental stimulation. 

Dog Breeds that Look Like Akitas

Below is a selection of Japanese breeds and other spitz-type dogs that share various similarities with Akitas. 

Hokkaido Inu

Hokkaido InuThe Hokkaido Inu shares a striking resemblance to the Akita Inu, from their pointed, triangular ears, wide chubby face, their curly tail, and gorgeous coat. While both dogs can be stubborn, these intelligent dogs can be more vocal and will need proper socialization to ensure they become well-rounded dogs. When left without proper training, they can become overprotective and wary of strangers.  

In 1937, the Japanese government recognized them as a rare species and has since protected them. These dogs will need plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep them from becoming too bored, hyperactive, and anxious. Unfortunately, finding one of these dogs outside of Japan can be challenging, so unless you plan on a trip there, you may want to look at the options below. 

Shiba Inu

Shiba InuIt’s easy to confuse the Shiba Inu with the Akita Inu due to their similar features, but when it comes to their size, the Shiba is noticeably smaller than the Akita. They also share a similar personality, but this dog isn’t as aggressive with other dogs — they’re also naturally clean, which is why they’re considered to be catlike. So, if you’re looking for a smaller version of the Akita to fit inside an apartment, then this pooch could be the one you’re looking for! 

However, this small breed craves attention and may suffer from separation anxiety but thankfully, they won’t become too destructive. That said, you will still need to dedicate plenty of time to their exercise needs and mental stimulation if you want to keep them happy. Just like the other dogs native to Japan, the Shiba Inu is a national treasure protected by the government.     

Shikoku Ken

Shikoku KenThese dogs are significantly smaller compared to the Akita, but they look very identical — even so, the Shikoku has highly distinctive features such as a longer muzzle, and a darker but still thick coat. This breed will present real challenges during training, which means they need an owner with experience. They need someone who can keep their high prey drive at bay while providing them with plenty of physical stimulation on a regular basis.    

Just like the Akita Inu, this dog can also become destructive if they’re left alone for long periods, and will crave the attention and companionship of their humans. While their personality isn’t too different from the Akita, they are more social when meeting other people. They won’t get along too well with small pets but they can get along with other dogs when socialized properly. 

Kishu Ken

Kishu KenThe Kishu Ken is an old Japanese breed that hails from the Kishu region and is leaner and smaller compared to the Akita. While they appear similar, there’s a big difference between them — they’re more friendly and docile which makes them more approachable. However, they can also be stubborn, so you’ll need to provide them with upbeat and fast-paced training sessions to keep them in line. 

They also need plenty of exercise in the form of daily runs, hikes, or walks, so they’ll be more suitable for experienced owners and those who live in a house with a big yard.  

Kai Ken

Kai KenThis dog isn’t as big as the Akita, they still share a similar appearance and the same broad face. However, their major difference lies in their coat — the Kai Ken isn’t as fluffy and has brindle coats that come in different colors; brindle, black brindle, and red brindle. If you’re intimidated by the independent nature of the Akita Inu, then the Kai Ken might be able to put you at ease since they’re more eager to please. 

You might also be happy to hear that they’re not as aggressive with other dogs, and are usually good with kids when trained properly by experienced owners. This active dog will need backyard games, daily walks, and swimming; if you live in an apartment, make sure to give them lots of mental and physical stimulation. 

Japanese Spitz

Japanese SpitzWhile it doesn’t really look like the Akita, it’s another Japanese breed that deserves recognition and also has a few traits that link them to the Akita such as their curly tails and triangular ears. However, their personality is entirely different — the Japanese Spitz is a comedian that loves spending time with their family. They’ll also get along well with other dogs, and with some training, will also be able to live with other pets. 

Much like the Akita Inu, these small dog breeds are apartment dwellers who will stay happy as long as they get enough exercise. Despite being small dogs, they’re surprisingly active and will be up for walks by the beach and even hiking. Moreover, this dog is relatively healthy and doesn’t come with too many genetic problems, allowing it to live a long life. 

Korean Jindo

Korean JindoThese medium-sized dogs have lived on the island of Jindo in South Korea for thousands of years, but aren’t as big as the Akita. They also have a dense double coat that repels dirt and water and helps to keep them clean and odor-free. However, this means that you will need to be ready to brush them regularly and be sure to keep your vacuum close at all times. 

When it comes to their personality, they won’t be able to get along with other dogs and will need an experienced owner who can keep their instinct to hunt at bay. They also have more energy than Akitas, so if you’re looking for a lap dog then they aren’t the breed for you. On the other hand, if you have an active household and are looking for a dog like the Akita, then the Jindo might just be the best choice. 


BasenjiDespite being a smaller dog with a short coat, the Basenji is surprisingly similar to the Akita Inu, sharing the same red and white coloring, as well as a curled tail. Just like the Akita, these dogs barely bark, and when they do, they make a distinct noise that’s a cross between a yodel and a chortle. They are among the oldest dog breeds and have been depicted in various artifacts from ancient Egypt — this dog has kept humans company for centuries and has been beloved for its loving, loyal, and protective nature. 

They’re also highly active and energetic dogs, so they need an owner who will be just as lively and will spend plenty of time with these dogs. Unlike the Akita, however, they can have quite a stubborn temperament, so they’re not the ideal choice for new dog owners. But if you’re looking for a challenge and are looking for a non-fluffy version of the Akita, then this ancient breed might be for you!  

Finnish Spitz

Finnish SpitzOne of the reasons why people love the Finnish Spitz is their compact size, but they will still have the same red and gold color that the Akita Inu has, along with a cute and curly tail. But the best thing about this intelligent breed is that, unlike most dogs, they are quite easygoing and are suitable for new owners. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t meet challenges with these dogs. 

These dogs are known to be highly vocal and will need training to stop them from barking. Moreover, they share the Akita’s aggressiveness when it comes to other pets and dogs. Fortunately, they’re very loving with their humans — they’re also high energy dogs that will be well-suited to outgoing and adventurous families.

Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian ElkhoundThere’s a noticeable size difference between the Norwegian Elkhound and the Akita Inu; the former is smaller than the latter but they’re still strong and robust dogs. In terms of their appearance, they also share similarities through triangular and erect ears, round faces, and almond-shaped eyes. While the Akita is available in more colors, the Norwegian Elkhound has a coat texture that’s quite alike, plus their curled tail too! 

While still considered to be a shy dog, they are more extroverted than the Akita, while their high intelligence means that they can learn quickly but also get bored easily. As such, they will need an experienced dog owner who has wide experience with training dogs. It’s important to remember that this medium-sized breed is active but it’s not a good idea to take them to the park because they might start chasing small animals.      


SamoyedThese gorgeous dogs come with a fluffy white coat and a never-ending smile on their faces, making them popular for their “Samoyed smile.” Their smile comes with upturned corners, which aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, but also help to keep them from drooling. This is a big similarity between the Akita and Samoyed, so they’re both tidy and won’t make a mess! 

Apart from these, they’re also a similar breed to the Akita thanks to their need for attention and exercise. Unlike the Akita, the Samoyed is a lot friendlier with other dogs but they will still need an experienced owner since they come with strong herding instincts. 

Siberian Husky

Siberian HuskyDid you know that the Siberian Husky doesn’t just come in white and gray coats? They also come in red-white variations that make them look like an Akita even more! While they’re not too similar to the Akita in terms of looks, the main reason why they’re on this list is because of their personality, which is completely opposite to the Akita. 

Basically, if you’re looking for a fluffy and powerful dog that’s nothing like the Akita, then opt for the happy-go-lucky Siberian Husky, which can get along with everyone, even other dogs. That said, you should know that huskies are mischievous, dramatic, and vocal, occasionally becoming destructive when owners can’t meet their needs. Moreover, the Husky is intelligent and stubborn, so things will get difficult if left with an inexperienced owner. 

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan MalamuteThese dogs look just like the Siberian Husky, so it’s easy enough to see their similarities with the Akita Inu. From their chubby cheeks, tapered eyes, and curled tails, they could be mistaken for each other if it wasn’t for their huge difference in color. But when it comes to their temperament, they share a hard-working spirit and love being mentally stimulated. 

While the Malamute seems like a large dog, they’re physically similar to Akitas and will need an owner who can handle their physical needs and strength. Even so, they are affectionate dogs that can form strong bonds with their family and are well-mannered as long as their needs are met. But if you can’t meet their demands for exercise, they can become destructive and vocal, so an experienced owner is a must for this breed.     

Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee KaiIf you’re after a small dog that’s reminiscent of the Akita, then this canine is a great choice. They were first developed in Alaska during the 1970s, to be companion dogs that resembled a smaller Husky. While their grayish-white coats can make them look like the northern breeds above, the Klee Kai can come in a red coat that looks more like the Akita Inu. 

They were originally developed by Linda Spurlin in Wasilla, Alaska, by crossbreeding the Siberian Malamute, the American Eskimo dog, the Alaskan Husky, and even Schipperkes to create this breed. These dogs are available in three sizes, including standard, miniature, and toy, but the size difference between each one isn’t that obvious.  

Should You Get A Dog Breed Similar To Akitas?

Any Akita owner will say that they have a unique dog, but the same can be said for all the dogs in the list above. If you want to look for the best dog based on their appearance alone, it’s best to check on their personalities too. Make sure that you’re familiar with their temperament too, and check that you’re able to meet both their mental and physical needs. 

Most dogs in this list will be highly active and will be suitable for more experienced owners. They can be challenging to train because they’re both stubborn and intelligent, so doing your research on them can be a game changer if you’re really committed to taking care of one. All of the breeds above can make wonderful companions, but be sure to pick a dog based on your lifestyle, regardless of whether or not they look just like an Akita. 


If you’re after a dog that resembles an Akita, then you’ll be happy with all the available choices, some of which are smaller and more compact while others are just as strong and elegant. Some will even have the same traits while others will look different, along with some stubbornness and loyalty sprinkled here and there. All in all, each one brings their own uniqueness to the table and will be happy in a home with an experienced owner.