The Akita is a beautiful large Japanese dog from Japan’s northern mountains. Although the Akita has remained incredibly unchanged for centuries, it has two main strains: the pure Japanese breed, the Akita Inu, and a mixed American breed. Akitas have a short double coat that looks almost the same as many other northern spitz breeds. Historically, Akitas were used as working dogs for guarding, fighting, and hunting bears. In the 20th century, Akitas were used in the Russo-Japanese war to track lost sailors and prisoners of war. During the second world war, some were used as scouts and guard dogs.
The first Akita was brought to America by Helen Keller from Japan in 1937. They are very powerful, dominant, stubborn, and independent dogs but don’t let that fool you. These big dogs are very affectionate and loving with their families. These tenacious dogs are devoted to their families and protect their loved ones. They can be quite aloof with strangers and assertive, so they must be properly trained to be around other people and pets.
These stunning fluffy dogs look like big teddy bears and are perfect for cuddling during a cold winter’s day. Akitas can live for over ten years and loves running around and playing in the garden. So which dog breeds are similar to the Akita? Breeds like the Alaskan Malamute, Hokkaido Inu, Siberian Husky, Kai Ken, and the Alaskan Klee kai are perfect alternatives to the Akita. They look very similar and have some of the same characteristics. If you want to get an Akita but can’t seem to find one, we have compiled a list of ten dog breeds that are very similar to the Akita.
10. Finnish Spitz
The Finnish Spitz is a working dog from Finland. It was initially bred to hunt all game types, from small animals like squirrels to large bears. They were also bred to be bark pointers, meaning they would look for the game and then point at it while barking to draw attention to themselves, allowing the hunter to get close to the game without being noticed. Although the exact origin of the Finnish Spitz is unknown, spitz-type dogs have been used for centuries to hunt game in Finland.
Finnish Spitz dogs almost look like foxes. These small dogs are about 15 to 20 inches and weigh between 20 to 35 pounds. They are spirited, intelligent animals that make great pets for families with active lifestyles. Purina states they are late bloomers and completely mature when they are almost four years old. Although they are not very aggressive, they are weary of strangers, and their alertness makes them good watchdogs. Finnish Spitz is a working dog with high energy and needs lots of exercise and room to play around. The breed thrives in homes with huge spaces and a yard to play in, so they don’t get bored.
9. Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee kai is a companion dog developed in Alaska in the 1970s. The dog looks a lot like a Siberian Husky or an Alaskan Malamute. According to HillsPet, It was developed in Wasilla, Alaska, by Linda Spurlin in the late 1900s. She wanted to create a companion dog that looked like a smaller husky. She crossbred the Alaskan Husky, the Siberian Malamute, the American Eskimo dog, and some breeds of Schipperkes to create what we know now as the Alaskan Klee Kai. The dog has three sizes, toy, miniature, and standard, although the difference in size is not big.
Alaskan Klee Kais were bred to be companion dogs instead of working dogs like their descendants. They are very loving and compassionate dogs but are also a little wary of strangers. They love getting attention from the owners, including cuddles and rubs. Their eagerness to please makes them easy to train. They are intelligent and energetic in nature and are quite aloof to strangers, making them good guard dogs. These sensitive dogs tend to be vocal about their needs and displeasure. They are high-energy dogs that need to be exercised daily to avoid bad behaviors from bored dogs.
The Samoyed is a working dog from the Samoyedic people of Siberia. They are a spitz-type dog that descends from a dog breed called the Nenets herding Laika. Samoyeds are medium-sized working dogs; most have a snow-white, fluffy thick double fur coat. The Samoyedes originally bred them to pull sledges, herd reindeer, and hunt. The Samoyed people treated these dogs with so much love and allowed them to join in on family activities at the end of the day, and this made the dogs into the trusting and loyal companions they are today. These dogs endured one of the harshest conditions when the Samoyedes decided to journey out of Siberia. The dogs helped pull their sledges on numerous polar expeditions, and only the fittest dogs survived the journeys.
Samoyeds have a distinct smile fondly referred to as the “Sammy smile.” These fluffy cute animals are good-natured, happy, get along with everyone, and are loyal family dogs. Samoyed’s personality traits and loyalty to its humans probably come from the closeness the dogs shared with the Samoyede people. They get very miserable when left alone and thrive in a family setting. These working dogs also need lots of space to exercise and run around so that they will do well in a family with lots of yard space. According to Daily Paws, Samoyeds do well in extreme sports like cross-country skiing, agility games, and sledging.
7. Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a popular working dog from Northeast Asia. They were originally bred for companionship and sledge pulling by the Chukchi people of Siberia. These beautiful dogs look almost like the smaller version of Alaskan Malamutes because of their wolf-like facial features, fur, and strong build. Siberian Huskys are bred to be active, resilient, and energetic dogs because of the harsh environment and extremely cold temperatures of the Siberian Arctic. In the early 1900s, during the gold rush, Siberian Huskys were imported to Alaska and worked as sledge dogs. The dog breed rose to fame when a team of Siberian Huskies raced for over 300 miles to deliver medicine for diphtheria patients in Nome.
These medium-sized dogs are favorites among writers, creatives, and filmmakers for their beautiful features and talents. They are very intelligent, independent, and affectionate dogs, especially with their families. Siberian Huskies are great with children and do not mind other pets in the home. Their friendly nature makes them a poor choice for protective dogs because they will welcome everyone, even intruders. They are not a recommended breed for first-time dog owners as they can be stubborn and a little difficult to train. Huskies need many exercises, space to run around, and activities to occupy them; otherwise, they can become destructive when bored.
6. Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute was originally bred for sledge hauling due to its incredible strength and tenacity. These working dogs are among the oldest dog breeds whose looks have not been altered. According to Dog Time, Alaskan Malamute’s ancestors crossed from Siberia to Alaska thousands of years ago and settled in the northern area of the Seward Peninsula with a tribe called the Mahlemuts. The tribe then crossbred them to develop the Alaskan Malamute. They were used for work like hunting seals, chasing polar bears, and pulling heavy sledges. The natives valued their dogs and treated them with much care.
You will probably be impressed by the dog the first time you see it. Its huge stature, fluffy body, wolf-like expressions, and huge fluffy tail are crowd pleasers. They look like they are part wolves, but they are domestic animals. They often play the role of a wolf in movies or on TV. Alaskan Malamutes are very strong, intelligent, independent, and energetic dogs. Although the dogs were originally bred to work, now people get them as pets and companions. They are also very friendly dogs, even with strangers, so they are not the best breed for protection. Like many large working dogs, malamutes need a lot of exercise to stay healthy so they don’t get bored and become destructive.
5. Kishu Ken
The Kishu is a medium-sized Japanese working dog from the Kishu region. It was bred for hunting deer and boars and is one of Japan’s six native dogs protected by the government. Even though the exact origin of the Kishu Ken is unknown, some legends say that the dogs descended from wolves. Kishu Kens are highly spirited, energetic, and affectionate dogs that quickly fall in love with their owners.
According to the Kishu Club, the breed is not recommended for first-time owners as they may have trouble catering to their high energy needs. However, Kishu Kens make excellent companions due to their dedication and loyalty without being clingy. Even though they are generally good with children, they need to be trained and socialized early, and children should be taught how to interact with them safely. Kishu Kens don’t get along well with other pets around the house. They are fairly easy to train, especially in agility and trick training. These energetic dogs need to be exercised every day. Otherwise, they will gain weight pretty fast.
4. Korean Jindo
The Korean Jindo is a sporting dog originally from the Jindo Island in South Korea. The dog breed is one of South Korea’s treasures, and the government protects it. Even though it is not known how the dogs found themselves on Jindo Island, some people speculate that they descend from Mongolian dogs. It is, however, evident that the Korean Jindo dogs have been on Jindo island for many centuries. These spitz-type dogs have a double coat of fur and wolf-like facial appearances. Jindos were originally bred for hunting in South Korea because of their killer prey instincts and loyalty.
Jindos are loyal and protective, making them a great watchdog. These independent dogs are not clingy and rarely experience separation anxiety from their owners. They are clean, calm, well-behaved pets, making them great companions. They do not particularly like strangers, which makes them excellent watchdogs, but they can be a little aggressive with other animals, especially if they are of the same sex. Jindos are highly energetic hunting dogs that need a lot of exercise and room to run around.
3. Kai Ken
The Kai Ken is a dog breed native to Japan protected by the Nippo, the official Japanese preserver of the registries of the six native Japanese dogs. The Kai Ken was originally bred for hunting and lived near Mount Fuji. The dog breed got its name from the Kai province, where it was believed to have come from. Being an agile climber, the Kai Ken was tasked with hunting deer, wild boars, and even bears. These extremely rare dogs are difficult to find even in their native countries, and although the exact history of the dogs in the U.S, people believe they were brought into the country in the 1950s.
Kai Kens are medium-sized dogs that are very muscular and look like a mix of a german shepherd and a wolf. Although they are affectionate and loving, they do not outrightly show it and are content to sit in their own space in the same room as their owners. Like the other Japanese native dogs, Kai Kens are loyal to their family. They are not overly aggressive dogs but alert their owners when in danger, making them good guard dogs. Kai Kens are very energetic, so that they will thrive with an owner or family with an active lifestyle. They need to exercise daily; otherwise, they might get bored and become destructive.
2. Hokkaido Inu
The Hokkaido Inu is a spitz-type Japanese working dog. It originated from Hokkaido island, although some believe it came from the Honshu islands. Hokkaido’s were bred for hunting, and through the years, they have survived crossbreeding as their genetic makeup suggests that they have not interbred with many other dog breeds. According to Wikipedia, in the early 1900s, Island natives used Hokkaidos to search for survivors of an army expedition stuck in the heavy snow while trying to cross the Hakkoda Mountains. The Japanese government designated the Hokkaido as a rare species that would be protected by law in 1937.
Hokkaido dogs are loving dogs who get along great with their families. Because they were initially bred for hunting, these dogs are pretty agile and alert. These cute dogs are very playful, but they are also intelligent. They are obedient to their owners, which makes them pretty easy to train. Hokkaido can be aloof to strangers, but they are not overly aggressive. Their aloofness and alertness make them great guard dogs. With early socialization and training, they make awesome playmates for children. Hokkaido’s are energetic working dogs and need enough room to play around and exercise daily to keep them occupied.
1. Shiba Inu
Shiba Inus are a Japanese breed of working dogs. It is the smallest of spitz breeds that are native to Japan. They are small but alert and agile and do well in rough mountainous terrain and hiking trails. Despite their small size, they look eerily similar to the Akita Inu and are often confused for the Akita. Shiba Inus lived in the Chubu region’s mountainous regions, and it was bred to hunt and retrieve small game like birds and rabbits. Shibas almost became extinct during world war II due to starvation and the post-war distemper.
Shiba Inus features make it look like a fox, a wolf, or a huge stuffed teddy bear. Because they were bred to hunt, they are very agile and athletic, moving quickly and effortlessly. They are good-natured dogs with bold and fiery personalities. They are also alert, intelligent, and can be stubborn. Shiba Inus can be hard to train because of their stubborn nature. With proper training and socialization, they make good family dogs. Shibas are aloof with strangers, and their alertness makes them good watchdogs. Even though they are small, they are energetic and need lots of exercise daily.