14 Dog Breeds Most Similar to Akitas

Akita - Dog, Dog, Adulation, Adult, Animal
© iStock.com/DevidDO

Written by Jennifer Geer

Published: February 16, 2024

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Akitas are large and powerful dogs that originated from the northern mountains of Japan. Hunters and guard dogs, Akitas were well-suited to their rugged and mountainous conditions. Since Akitas today aren’t hunting bears or attentively guarding their humans from danger, they need a lot of exercise and training to keep them happy. Although Akitas are unique, some breeds may be similar in appearance and/or temperament. Let’s take a look at 14 dog breeds most similar to Akitas.

1. Shiba Inu

gentle giants wet dog food

Shiba Inus closely resemble Akitas, and they also share similar temperaments.


Like Akitas, Shiba Inus are Japanese hunting dogs. However, their smaller stature means they were out hunting small animals and birds rather than bears, elks, and wild boars like Akitas. 

The Shiba Inu looks very much like a smaller Akita. They share some of the following traits:

  • intelligent
  • stubborn
  • protective
  • loyal
  • loving

In contrast, Akitas tend to be more aggressive toward other dogs than Shiba Inus. Also, Shiba Inus are much more prone to barking than the quiet Akita.

2. Rottweiler


The powerful and affectionate


has some traits in common with Akitas.


Although Rottweilers and Akitas may not look much alike, they have some similarities. Both are large, powerful dogs originally bred to be guard dogs. Today, both breeds remain loyal and protective towards their families. Rottweilers, like Akitas, are intelligent and may be wary of strangers.

3. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound dog in natural environment

Both Akitas and Norwegian Elkhounds are Spitz breeds.

©Chris Bambrick/Shutterstock.com

The fluffy-coated Norwegian Elkhound is similar in appearance to Akitas, although smaller. Like the Akita, it’s an ancient hunting breed. Similar to Akitas, this breed is loyal and protective towards their families. The Norwegian Elkhound differs in that it tends to be more playful and affectionate towards children and strangers than an Akita.

4. Siberian Husky

Why do Siberian Huskies have blue eyes

Though they have some similarities and both can tolerate cold,


Huskies enjoy the company of other dogs more than Akitas.


With their lush, beautiful coats and pointy ears, the Siberian Husky is similar in appearance to the Akita. Although both were bred to be working dogs, Huskies pulled sleds and worked together with others, while Akitas were loners. Both are intelligent and need plenty of training and exercise. In contrast, huskies are much more vocal than Akitas and are known to howl excessively.

5. Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai dog and puppy

The Alaskan Klee Kai breed is loyal and affectionate towards their owners.

©kali9/iStock via Getty Images

Though the Alaskan Klee Kai is sometimes confused with a Siberian Husky, it’s an entirely different breed. The Alaskan Klee Kai, like the Akita, is a loyal guard dog and may be wary of strangers. They can also be stubborn, like Akitas, and do best with experienced owners.

6. Hokkaido Inu

hokkaido dog on the grass

Hokkaido Inu dogs are affectionate, loving dogs that will vigilantly guard their families.

©Happy monkey/Shutterstock.com

Another breed from Japan, the Hokkaido Inu, like the Akita, was bred to hunt bears. These intelligent, hyper-aware dogs make excellent watchdogs. In contrast to Akitas, they tend to bark a bit more.

7. Korean Jindo

Korean Jindo

Korean Jindo dogs are loving, smart, and protective.

©iStock.com/Natasha Brown

The national dog of Korea, the Korean Jindo, is an ancient hunting breed. They are also wary of strangers and highly protective of their owners. These intelligent dogs can be territorial and dominant, although loving towards their family. They are also very independent and do best with experienced owners.

8. Shikoku Ken

shikoku dog on a leash

Shikokus are very loyal to their families and make excellent guard dogs.


Smaller than the Akita, although similar in appearance, the Shikoku breed is also a Japanese breed. Like Akitas, the Shikoku was bred to hunt. The breed is also loyal, protective, and affectionate towards its owners but can be aloof to strangers.

9. Finnish Spitz

Finnish Spitz sitting in a field

The Finnish Spitz was bred to hunt bears.


Like the Akita, the Finnish Spitz was once a bear hunter. The Finnish Spitz is an ancient Spitz dog breed originating from Finland. Though they have similar coloring and a lovely, fluffy coat, the Finnish Spitz is smaller than the Akita. They can also be wary of strangers and protective of their owners.

10. Kishu

kishu inu japanese dog

The intelligent and beautiful Kishu shares some similarities with the Akita.


Another Japanese breed that began as a hunter, the Kishu, is a little smaller than an Akita. These loyal dogs are affectionate to their owners and protective. Like Akitas, they may be wary of strangers.

11. Doberman Pinscher


Dobermans, like Akitas, are protective and affectionate to their owners.


Though they don’t share much in the way of appearance, both Akitas and Doberman Pinschers are strong and loyal breeds. Alert and athletic, both breeds make great guard dogs. However, Dobermans tend to be more outgoing and friendly to strangers than Akitas.

12. German Shepherd

Man in military uniform with German shepherd dog outdoors

German Shepherds are an intelligent and loyal breed.

©New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Akitas and German Shepherds are both powerful, loyal, and intelligent breeds. German Shepherds originated in Germany and were bred for police work and herding. Like Akitas, they can be aloof and independent but affectionate to their owner.

13. Giant Schnauzers

Black giant schnauzer sits in the park on the green grass. Copy space

Giant Schnauzers are intelligent with a quiet temperament.

©Tetiana Tychynska/Shutterstock.com

Giant Schnauzers are a large breed of dog that, like Akitas, are loyal and protective. They can be aggressive when they feel their family is threatened, and may not be best in families with young children. Like Akitas, they can be reserved around strangers and are not big barkers.

14. Romanian Carpathian Shepherd

romanian shepherd dog standing on green field

The Romanian Carpathian Shepherd is excellent at guarding flocks.

©Ryzhkov Oleksandr/Shutterstock.com

These large and loving dogs came from the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. They tend to form strong bonds with their owners. Like Akitas, Romanian Carpathian Shepherds may be wary of strangers.

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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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