When someone has a strong, protective dog such as the Akita or Pitbull, it is common to wonder how the 2 compare. Here, we will show you the side by side comparisons of both purebreds. We’ll discuss history, appearance, aggressive traits and of course, stats. To avoid making this complicated, we will merge the Japanese and American stats to encompass the Akita as one.
10-12 years 12-14 years
70-130 pounds (32-59 kg) 22-78 pounds (10-35 kg)
22.8-28 inches (58-71 cm) 14-24 inches (35-60cm)
350 pounds per square inch 235 pounds per square inch
Both of these purebreds have a natural tendency to be intolerant to other dogs and to other animals. There are always exceptions. Much of this has to do with their home environment.
Both can be aggressive toward people and in the case of the Pit Bull, this unfortunately is often due to poor ownership and improper training that actually encourages this behavior. When well socialized, both of these dogs can learn to intermingle with people. While there will almost always be an instinct to guard what they consider to be their territory and their human family, they can be taught to have restraint.
There are studies and reports that are in opposition to each other in regard to which breed is more prone to aggression.
A study done by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), over the course of 20 years, tracked the number of fatalities due to dog bite. The Pit Bull (or a PB mix) ranked the highest at 33%. Correspondingly, while it was an isolated incident, in June of 2010, 3 Pitbull mixes joined forces to attack and fatally injure an Akita (along with a Chihuahua and a pet bird). Sadly, no action was taken to remove the dogs from the premises and they killed a young 2 year old boy just 1 year later.
In contrast to this data, ATTS (the American Temperament Testing Association) based in Texas states that when accessing all breeds, they found that overall the Pit Bull passed at a high score of 86.8%, compared to the average score of 81.9% of all other dogs (both purebred and crosses)combined. Their analysis is done through placing a dog in various stimulating situations and he or she only receives a passing score if they do not show any signs of aggression or anxiety.
The following is the assessment results from the ATTS for both breeds.
Dogs Tested Number that Passed Number that Failed % that Passed
538 410 128 76.2
839 728 111 86.8
It can be safe to say, regardless of which study one focuses on, that each dog is capable of causing harm and that while genetics and instinct do play a role, ownership (environment, socialization and training) can either encourage the behavior or teach a dog to control it.
Both of these breeds have a similarity in regard to how they perceive or handle pain, as they differ from many other dogs. The Akita breed does feel pain, discomfort and illness; however he has a tendency to not show it. He will generally not whine or show any signs of distress. The Pit Bull also feels pain, but throughout generations of breeding has an instinct to persevere through it and continue on with any command that has been given. This trait is referred to as Gameness.
Extensive research and investigation has conclusively identified the ownership/management practices that are at the root of the rare, but perfect, storm when a dog becomes dangerous.
For the Akita Inu, the leading cause of death is cancer (32%) of all of those that are registered. This is followed by heart failure and bloat. Cardiac issues are generally seen with seniors…. Cancer screenings should be done beginning at the age of 7 years. Incidence of bloat can be prevented in many cases with proper feeding and other preventive elements.
For the Pit Bull, the leading cause of death is heart failure. However, this breed is very prone to ailments that while not fatal, do decrease quality of life. The OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America) found that on a whole, 22% suffer from hip dysplasia (a malformation of the hip joint and socket) and that they rank 4th out of all breeds for hypothyroidism (25%).
The most popular sayings about these canines:
"Gentle in the heart, but brave and strong on the surface."
"Pit bulls are beauty without vanity, courage without ferocity, strength without insolence and all the virtues of Man, without his vices."
The Akita dog is a Japanese National Monument, made official in 1931. He is thought to be a symbol of prosperity and good health. Small statues of this dog are often given to the patents of a newborn child, as gesture of wishing the family well-being and happiness.
The Pitbull used to be well known as the symbol of the perfect American family pet in the 40’s and 50’s…You could find photos of them splashed all over advertisements and flyers. They were owned by many famous people such as Humphrey Bogart and Fred Astaire. By the 1970’s dog fighting become infamous and this breed (sadly) become synonymous with those appalling activities.