With their dense coats, upright ears and wolflike features, you would be forgiven for confusing Akitas and Siberian huskies. However, these are two distinct breeds with their own qualities and attributes. While every dog has his own individual personality, if you're looking for a gentle family pet, a Siberian husky may be more suitable.
A Brief History
Akitas were bred in northern Japan as hunting dogs. In their native country, they're designated as a national monument. They were first brought to the United States in 1937 and have been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1972. Siberian huskies were bred as sled dogs in northeast Asia by the indigenous Chukchi people. They have been bred in Alaska since the early 1900s, but later in more southern parts of the United States. The AKC recognized them in 1930.
Height and Weight
Male Akitas should measure between 26 and 28 inches to the shoulder, and females should measure between 24 and 26 inches. According to AKC standards, there's no guideline weight for these dogs. Siberian huskies are slightly smaller, with males measuring between 21 and 23 1/2 inches to the shoulder, and females measuring between 20 and 22 inches. Males should weigh 45 to 60 pounds and females should weigh 35 to 50 pounds.
Coat and Coloring
Akitas are double coated, with a soft, dense undercoat and longer outercoat, which should be straight and harsh in texture, standing away from the body to some degree. Any color is acceptable, according to AKC breed standards, including pinto, brindle and pure white. Like Akitas, Siberian huskies have soft, dense undercoats, but their outercoats should be straight and smooth -- never harsh, lying flat against their bodies rather than sticking out. Any color is allowed, but members of this breed often have interesting facial markings.
Temperament and Personality
Akitas can make great pets, but have a tendency to want to be head of the household, so they need careful training. They're responsive and alert dogs, who are dignified and courageous, according to the AKC. However, the AKC notes that they may be aggressive toward other dogs. Siberian huskies should be outgoing, yet gentle and genial. They shouldn't be aggressive, possessive or suspicious of strangers, states the AKC. That said, every dog is an individual, so it may be best to look at personality on a case by case basis.
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