🎶🎶 Head and Color, Size and Ears! 🎶🎶

We start this post with a song some of us sang as very small children, “Head and Shoulder, Knees and Toes,” a mnemonic device that helped us remember our body parts. Scroll down to hear it:








We share this ditty because further down, it might help you learn the rudimentary differences between two breeds that share a similar name, but are not the same breed.

As you look at the photo above, can you identify which is the Japanese Akitinu, which is the “American” Akita – and what’s the differences are?

We’ve put breed histories aside for another time in favor of touching upon visual contrasts between the Akita, recognized by the AKC in 1972, and the Japanese Akitainu which, as we write, is in the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class.

In the simplest of terms, the differences are head, color, size, and ears. We circle back to the children’s song which you can now sing with new words!  🎶🎶 Head and color, size and ears! 🎶🎶

Let’s get into it.

Head: The Akita has a broader, more “bear-like” head while the head of an Akitainu is more fox-like;

Color: This next part helps only if the dog at which you’re looking is of a color not recognized by its breed standard. The Akitainu allows three colors: Red, brindle (of varying colors), and white, all of them rich, clear, and bright.

The Akita, meanwhile, comes in any color including white, brindle, or pinto, the exception being a merle marking pattern or a liver color. Also, while Akitas or may not have a “black mask,” Akitainu don’t have one like their American cousins.

Size: There is a slight size difference between the Akitainu and the “American” Akita (which we’ll refer to simply as the Akita moving forward). An Akitainu can weigh between 65 and 75 pounds and stand between 23 – 25 inches, while the American Akita can grow to a height between 24 and 26 inches can weigh between 70 and 130 pounds. The Akita may also be more muscular and have a rounder appearance as compared to an Akitainu. In short, while their heights and weights can frequently overlap, an Akita tilts larger.

Ears: Both breeds have triangular ears, but the Akitainu’s ears, a bit smaller than their American counterpart’s ears, sit slightly more forward than an Akita’s ears which sit more erect.

One source summed it up this way: The “American” Akita is stronger, heavier and bear like.The Japanese Akitainu is taller, leaner and fox like. Since we prefer to “whistle while we work,” we’ll be humming, “Head and color, size and ears! 🎶🎶

If you can’t get this tune out of your head in three days, let us know, we can fix that (with another tune that will be stuck in your head for a week).

Image: Japanese Akitainu by ©Chernetskaya |dreamstime; American Akita by ©otsphoto | dreamstime

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