Siberian Husky vs Akita: Key Differences And Similarities

Huskies and akitas are two highly popular breeds of dogs. While huskies are known for their quirky behavior and energetic personalities, akitas are known for their guarding instinct and impressive physical size.

In this article, we’ll break down all of the differences and similarities between the husky vs akita to give you a better idea of which dog is better suited for you.

Let’s get into it.

An infographic detailing the key differences and similarities between the husky vs akita

Quick Note – For the sake of this article, we’ll be focusing mainly on the American Akita rather than the Japanese Akita. If you want to learn more about the difference between the Japanese and American Akita, click here.


Before we dive into the other significant differences between the husky vs akita, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first.

Huskies and akitas look very different.

Huskies have a wolf-life appearance with a slender build. Their coats are usually black and white, but there can be lots of variation in the color of their coats, from all white to red to agouti and many more combinations.

A Siberian Husky sat on some grass

Huskies have alert, erect ears with eyes that are usually blue or a combination of blue and brown.

Akitas also have a thick coat with several different color combinations but a much more intimidating presence and muscular frame.

A large akita sat in a lake

They have small eyes in relation to their large head that are usually brown, with a strong muzzle that tapers slightly towards the nose.

Other Differences

Now that the main difference is out of the way, let’s explore some of the other differences between the husky vs akita to see what sets these breeds apart.


Akitas have a considerable size advantage over huskies:

  • Huskies reach anywhere from 35 to 60 lbs in weight and 20 to 23.5 inches in height on average.
  • Akitas reach anywhere from 70 to 130 lbs in weight and 24 to 28 inches in height.

There are exceptions to these ranges, but even with those considered, there is a huge difference in size between these two breeds.

Even the smallest female akitas are bigger than the largest male huskies, and then you have to consider the difference in build as well.

Akitas have a much more intimidating presence with larger heads and shoulders, contributing to the overall size difference.

Guarding Instinct

Akitas have a strong guarding instinct as they were commonly used as guard dogs historically and still are in many places today.

On the other hand, Huskies are one of the worst guard dogs you could find. It isn’t that huskies lack intimidation, as they can be quite scary to people unfamiliar with the breed, but it’s because of how friendly they are.

Huskies are incredibly friendly to everybody and have no suspicion of strangers. This isn’t necessarily bad, but if you are looking for a more protective breed, then akitas are definitely the way to go.

Exercise Requirements

Huskies are one of the most demanding breeds in terms of exercise. They’ll need at least 2 hours of pretty intense exercise every day, as well as other activities to give them mental stimulation as well.

Akitas are no slouches in the exercise department either, but they are not quite as demanding as the husky. 1 to 2 hours per day of exercise is sufficient for akitas, ideally split into multiple sessions.

Huskies are also much better at handling more intense activities like running due to their slimmer frames, whereas akitas are more suited for walking.

Type Of Work

Another key difference between these two breeds is the type of work they were used for and still are in some places.

Huskies were domesticated initially as sled dogs by the Chukchi people of Siberia and used to pull light loads over extremely long distances. This is why huskies are more slender and require much more exercise to stay happy.

On the other hand, Akitas originated in Japan, where they were bred for hunting and used by the rich and elite. Akitas are considered symbols of wealth and gradually fulfilled more of a guardian role for the families who were fortunate enough to own them.

Coat Color Variations

Huskies come in a lot more color combinations than akitas.

Akitas usually come in red fawn, brindle, white, and sesame, with the most classic colors being red fawn and white or brindle.

Huskies have a lot more variation in their coat colors, with black and white being the most ‘standard’ but various others available, such as red and white, all white, agouti, sable, and many more.


Although there are a lot of visual differences between the husky and akita, you might be surprised at how many similarities there are between these two breeds.

Let’s get straight into them.


Huskies and akitas have a similar lifespan, with huskies living 12 to 15 years on average and akitas living 10 to 14 years.

Difficult To Train

Huskies and akitas are both difficult to train, thanks to their stubbornness.

It isn’t that they lack intelligence (more on this shortly), but these breeds are incredibly strong-willed and independent, which means that obedience training can be very difficult.

They have a very low drive to please their owners, unlike other breeds like the German Shepherd that thrive on pleasing their owners.


Despite how hard these breeds are to train, they are both very intelligent dogs.

Most dog intelligence tests use the time taken for a dog to repeat a new trick as a baseline of intelligence, but this obviously does not apply very well to dogs like the husky and akita, who don’t have a lot of drive to please their owners.

Don’t let these tests fool you, though; huskies and akitas are exceptionally intelligent in their own way.


Stubbornness is another common trait shared by both the husky and akita.

They will probably fully understand any command you give them, but getting them to listen is a whole different story.

This is a common behavior trait seen amongst many Spitz-type dogs, and it’s something that is hard to understand until you have full experience with the breed.

Double Coated Breeds

Huskies and akitas are both double-coated, which means that their coats are split up into two distinctive layers:

  • The first layer is a short, dense, wooly undercoat that traps air to provide insulation during the cold months. This layer also traps cool air during the summer to provide a cooling mechanism.
  • The second layer is a long guard layer that protects the coat and skin below from dirt, debris, and water.

Grooming & Coat Blowing

Thanks to their double coats, huskies and akitas require a lot of grooming.

A quick daily brush is the norm for both breeds, with more intense grooming sessions done a few times weekly to maintain their coats.

Another consequence of their double coats is that they will blow their coats twice per year on average. Coat blowing occurs when they transition from their winter coat to their summer coat, blowing a lot of hair from their undercoats in the process.

During this time, they will shed even more than usual and require multiple grooming sessions per day to keep their coats looking healthy.

Prone To Hip Problems

Don’t get me wrong, these breeds are both very healthy considering their size and enjoy long average lifespans, but they can be prone to hip issues like hip dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia is pretty common in very active, larger dogs and is something that owners need to be aware of and screen for from a young age to help fight against it.

Pack Mentalities

Huskies and akitas have a pack mentality by nature; working huskies pull sleds in packs and live with the pack, and akitas used to hunt in packs as well.

This can lead to certain behaviors like trying to assert themselves as the alpha and the protectiveness of the pack, which is seen in akitas more often.

Due to this mentality, it’s important to socialize both breeds from a young age.

Which Breed Is Best For You?

Huskies are super friendly and require a whole lot of exercise, but don’t expect them to guard you or your family.

On the other hand, Akitas are more serious and suspicious of strangers but extremely loyal to their families. Both breeds require a lot of socialization, though, and you need to carefully consider the needs of each before getting a puppy.

They’re also incredibly stubborn and hard to train, so it comes down to what you want in a dog.

If you want a larger, more intimidating breed, the akita is the better choice. If you want a smaller dog that loves to exercise and be part of a highly active family, then the husky is an ideal option.

In Summary

So that’s it!

Hopefully, you’ve got a better idea of how these two breeds compare and which is potentially more suited for you.

Want to read more husky breed comparisons? Check out some of our other recent husky comparisons below:

Photo of author

About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

Read More

Leave a comment