This term is used a lot and at first it may cause someone to believe that there are actual Akitas that are miniature in size.
This is not true at all.
Some breeds are infamous for their “toys” which are standard sized purebred who are bred down into unhealthy mini dogs who are much smaller than the AKC standard.
They are not recognized breeds not recognized variations of the breed. An example is the “so-called” teacup Pomeranian. Additionally, that term can be applied to any pup of any breed since there can be no guarantees of adult weight…It is often a marketing ploy which misleads unknowing puppy buyers.
We have not seen this with the Akita breed, thankfully and with the small, limited gene pool we highly doubt that this would ever be a legitimate concern.
So, why does this term even exist? Well, it appears that toy sized variations of so many breeds are being produced that someone, somewhere connected the word “miniature” to the Akita even though there are not even any who could possibly be labeled in this way, by any stretch of the imagination.
Therefore, the only default is to connect this word with the Shiba Inu, who is another (and complete separate) distinctly Japanese breed. This dog sometimes is confused with the Akita.
Therefore, the only time that the phrase Miniature or toy Akita is used, is by those who feel it describes the Shiba Inu, who at first glance may appear to be a slightly scaled down version of the Akita.
Let’s compare the 2 dogs to see the differences. Since there are separate standards (FCI, JKC, AKC) we will show the AKC guidelines in order to show comparisons.
Akita Inu VS Shiba Inu
Weight: 75 to 120 lbs. (34 to 54.4 kg) 17 to 23 lbs. (8 to 10 kg)
*some resources like to list
this to be up to 130, but
realistically most only
hit the 120’s.
Height: 24” to 28 “ (60.9 to 71.1 cm) 13.5 to 16.5” (33 to 43 cm)
Classification: Working Group Non-sporting Group
Bear Hunter, guard dog Bird/ small game hunter
Life Span: 12-14 years 12-15 years
Description: Large and powerful, Agile and compact.
with much substance and heavy bone
Head: Massive, but in balance Skull is moderate and in
With the body. Proportion to the body.
Comparison: Grizzly Bear Fox
Physical Similarities: Triangle ears, thick coat, long curled tail, long snout, heavy shedding
Differences: Most notably, the size
Characteristics/ Behavioral Similarities: Both tend to self-groom, independent thinkers and both can show aggression if provoked.
Differences: Akitas rarely bark unless in protection mode and will make soft grunts and mumbles. The Shiha (Miniature Akita) will emit very loud shrieks – sometimes referred to as screams – It is hard to describe it as a bark.
The Akita rarely demands attention and will be patient if he wants to interact; the Shiba can be very demanding, being very vocal until he gets what he wants.
A Little More About the Little “Miniature Akita”
The Shiba Inu was developed in Japan. With “inu” meaning dogs, it is unknown if the “shiba” refers to a type of shrub that is found in that country or if it is taken from an old dialect in which is means ‘small”.
For this reason, sometimes this dog is referred to as the “Little Brush Wood Dog”, which covers both possible meanings.
They were trained to hunt, mainly in mountainous regions for birds and hares, but are now popular family pets that live indoors. They do best as solo dogs, not often getting along with other dogs; they may be tolerate with cats.
They lick their paws a lot and self-groom; many will go out of their way to not allow their coat to become dirty. They do enjoy swimming and splashing around in puddles.
While it should never be expected, some are so self-conscious about cleanliness that they tend to almost housebreak themselves, insisting on eliminating far from areas where they reside.
While they certain can bark like an average canine, they have a very unique vocalization that can only be described as a scream; they will do this when emotions are extreme: either when very upset or sometimes when very happy.
The first to even come to the States was a pup brought in by an American soldier in 1954. The first litter recorded to be born in the U.S. was in 1979. Recognized by the AKC in 1992, the breed is now popular all over the world.
Generally, they have few health problems; most common is allergies, eye issues such as cataracts, hip and knee issues. Life expectancy is between 12-15 years, but there are records of a male that lived until the age of 26.
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