The akita, also known as the Japanese akita or akita inu, originated in Japan. As a member of the spitz family of breeds, he shares a common ancestry and a number of traits with arctic, northern European and north American dogs. This powerful dog was originally bred for hunting in the snowy mountains of Japan. His stature, up to 130 pounds of bulk and thick coat reflect this original purpose. Spitz breeds are known for their ruggedness and resemblance to wolves.
The Siberian husky is smaller, leaner and lighter than the akita, but shares his thick coat, pointed ears and athletic stature. He also shares the akita's stubbornness, although he is happy in a pack pulling a sled and cooperating with other dogs. The akita is more solitary and quite happy to follow his own path.
The Alaskan malamute is large at 85 pounds, but is still dwarfed by the taller, stockier and stronger akita. The malamute, whose stocky frame makes him appear like a scaled-down version of the akita, has dark fur surrounding the face with lighter fur on the face. This is the inverse of the akita’s distinctive dark face, which contrasts with lighter fur around the neck and shoulders. Like the akita, the Alaskan malamute can be a little stubborn and requires an experience and confident owner to get the best out of him.
The Finnish spitz weighs a maximum of 36 pounds and bears more of a resemblance to a fox than a wolf, but his thick, soft coat is similar to that of the akita. Despite their differences, the Finnish spitz, with his alert expression, ruggedness and ability to hunt in snow will appeal to admirers of the akita.
While the akita is rugged and powerful, the samoyed, which originated in Siberia, is graceful and elegant. However, both share a snowy heritage, resulting in thick coats -- although the samoyed’s coat is softer. The shape of the face is similar in both. While the Finnish spitz and Alaskan malamute have slightly longer, narrower muzzles, the samoyed and akita have flatter, broader faces.
If the shiba inu wasn’t so much smaller -- males typically weigh no more than 23 pounds -- the shiba inu and the akita could easily be mistaken for one another. Both share the distinctive soft thick fur, broad face and alert expression. Both are strong willed, independent and require a firm, assertive owner. The only physical distinction between these two compatriots besides size is the akita’s sometimes dark muzzle.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.