Comparing the American & Japanese Akitas
Just how does the Japanese Akita Differ from the American version? The differences are so great that it is very much like comparing Malamutes to Siberian Huskies. The Japanese dogs are not as large or massive and heavy boned as ours. They are more square in proportion and have a much more pronounced tuck-up. The head proportions are more 50/50 whereas our standard call for a 40/60 (as two is to three) ratio between muzzle and top skull. Our standard allows all colors whereas the Japanese dogs are only allowed to be red, white or brindle with no pintos or black masks. Red and brindle dogs are required to have white shading on face, chest, inside of legs and under tail. In general the Japanese dogs have a striking resemblance to Shibas, but in a much larger size. The best way is to show you photos. I have included pictures of some of our top winners as well as top winning dogs of the Japanese type. Obviously there is some overlap of type, especially because a few breeders in the US have interbred the two. If you think about it many related breeds have individuals showing elements of both breeds. This is true of Siberians and Malamutes, the three Setters, the two Cockers as well as other related breeds. There are Akitas in Japan that tend toward our type. A very few have been imported and have even earned championships in this country. But they would never be considered for top awards in their native country.
The membership of the Akita Club of America have recently (8/99) voted to not consider a breed split at this time. Judges that read this page should still judge completely to our AKC standard in the US and also be aware of the fact that our American dogs can sometimes have the traditional Japanese colors and markings yet fit completely within our standard. These dogs should never be penalized for their color or markings. When you judge in the FCI countries however, you will find the breed separated into two breeds and the differences will not be in color, but in overall conformation.
The above are two of our top winning male Akitas. The black and white dog is Ch. Crown Royal's Get of My Cloud ROM, with 30 BIS and BOB at the National Specialty he is the top winning Akita of all time. The red and white pinto is a number one Akita from a few years back Ch.Chiheisen Take It To The Maxx ROM. Also a BIS and National winner. Both of these dogs would be disqualified under the Japanese Akita standard. Below you will find two examples of the top winning Japanese type Akitas. The first photo is of a male winning at the National Specialty in Japan, while the second is of a Japanese Import winning an all breed Best In Show in Brazil.
If you are interested in more information regarding the issue of the two Akitas you can check out the articles found at the top of my links page by clicking this button:
The article which appeared in "Dogs in Review" is called "Akita Dilemma"
If you want to see more pictures of pure Japanese-bred Akitas follow this link.