The noble Shiba and the Royal Akita (for I NS CANI magazine) / by Dr. Elettra Grassi

One of the topics that bothers the most is the one that describes "the shiba as a little Akita". It is not for being picky, perhaps a little, and there is no danger of an identity crisis, the ego of the shiba and the shibista tends to be excessive. But it is true that this topic creates a strong and wrong image of both races. Most irritating is that this "vision" of the two races is purely southern Europe. When one of the leaders of "Shibismo" in Europe, in the Nordic countries, was asked how this problem had been solved, the answer was total disbelief: "But do some people really think this !?" If it happens.

As the Shiba is a growing race, the need begins for a confrontation between the 2 races, that which is historically rooted and that which is "new" (shiba). It is true that the need to speak from the Akita's perspective is probably less, [since Italy has always been a leading country of the race in the West] * (in general, the Akita is also better rooted in Spain than the Shiba, proof of it the number of people dedicated to the breeding of one and another race). Both historically and morphologically and genetically, Shiba and Akita are incompatible. Even the functions defined in the standards are different and very distant: the Akita is more of a "working dog", the Shiba "is a hunting dog" like all other native breeds. The Shiba is the oldest breed in Asia, the Japanese Akita the most recent Japanese native breed.

The Shiba is the race that has changed the least since the Ice Age until today, as well as other natives (Shikoku, Kyushu, etc.), the Akita had a hectic and complex recent history full of many "events". The Shiba guy came to us through pure conservation work. The Akita type is the product of the vicissitudes and decisions made in recent history.

Shiba Inu vs Akita Inu

Genetically they are the 2 most distant native races. For example, the only color Akita and Shiba have in common is red. There is no black or Tan gene in the Akita, just as there is no tabby in the shiba. Even the white in the two races is different: the Shiba is not white; only the red line has been diluted by the fusion with the urajiro. Often the "cream" Shiba, as it has been correctly defined abroad, has reddish ears and never lacks well-developed black pigmentation. The shiba "cream" is actually genetically red. Akita is really solid white.

Morphology is profoundly different. The Shiba's head is a game of clean continuous lines. The Akita's head, by contrast, consists of broken and marked lines. The Akita's head has shorter profiles and proportions, although always mesocephalic * [skull of intermediate proportions between brachycephalic (flattened skull) and dolichocephaly (elongated skull, very oval in shape)]. The head of the shiba has a clearly “lupoid” tendency, with long, clean and continuous lines. The head of the shiba inu is a set of triangles: triangular head seen from above, triangular with a strong inclination of the eye, also the broad flat forehead triangular. The Akita's eye is more frontal than the Shiba's, which are larger and sloping instead. The Shiba's ear, being referenced to the tilt of the eye, is taller and smaller.

The tip of the Akita's nose has a section that tends to be square, while the Shiba has a full, rounded snout under the nose. The Akita's neck is more powerful and shorter. Akita has a much higher center of gravity than Shiba. The elbow-ground relationship is clearly greater than that of the cross-elbow. Shiba can tend to 1: 1. The trunk of the shiba has a more elongated shape. From the shiba it is said: "long trunk, short kidney". Akita has significantly increased the overall proportions of the trunk. The top line of the shiba is perfectly parallel to the horizon line. The Akita has a sloped back that goes back to the cross. The shiba's rib cage is elliptical in the shape of an “egg”.

Akita tends to be flatter and "one step shorter." Shiba is more angled than Akita. The shiba movement has a strong grip on the ground and is reminiscent of a 4 × 4, a “4-wheel drive”. The moving neck tilts 45-55 degrees, the head tends forward like a good hound's. The shiba figure rocking is carried out for high-altitude hunting, cliffs, rugged terrain and forest. The structure is elastic and solid of good jumper. Therefore, it can never be heavy. Often the Shiba of good youth selection seems a little "skinny". In movement, in the shiba, the dorsal maintains parallelism with the horizon. The range of motion is medium, never too open and frilly, nor stiff and short. It is a brilliant and elegant movement. Akita movement is a rear wheel drive with "climbing" movement

The general aspect of the shiba is of extreme nature, the appearance, the proportions, the type is that of an ancient dog, a small predator of the forest mountain. The Akita expresses austerity and imposes his own presence. Akita's expression is one of hieratic dignity and detachment. The shiba has an arrogant but not presumptuous expression, his eyes convey momentum and cunning. If the Akita always expresses austere majesty, the Shiba always expresses pure, simple and noble elegance.

Comment to the photos

1. Movement

A – Akita B – Shiba


Development and movement are different, as different is the type and styles expressed in the 2 races. The bearing of the head in the Akita is high. The Akita, also in movement, faces the strange, walking with a strong frontal impact. The shiba bows his head in search of the emanation of the wild. Found the clue, it will immediately lower its head to better follow the clue, similar to the western hounds. The head held high in the shiba is an anomaly often manipulated by the style of Handling in relation to exhibitions.

The top line on the Akita is slightly counter-inclined: from the hip point, slightly raised, to the working cross it is not perfectly parallel to the horizon line. Shiba's top line remains flat and in line with the horizon. The trunk in the shiba opens during movement. The trunk in the Akita remains compact. Therefore, the reach of the front legs as the rear is greater in the shiba. Akita's movement takes speed and regularity in distance with slow growing power. It is a movement of resistance and strong regularity. The Shiba is immediately regular in movement that gives off elasticity and efficiency in the sudden change of direction. Has a strong grip on the ground.

2. Head

A – Akita B – Shiba


The broken lines of the Akita and the continuous lines of the Shiba are evident, especially at the height of the zygomatic arcade. Smaller and less inclined eyes, higher stop and more sub frontal position in the Akita. The design in the shiba of the eye is of a scalene triangle, the difference in the sides must be evident. Being the largest eye in the Shiba and it is more frequent the serious defect of the poorly designed or round eye. Ears more distant and inclined in the Akita, in the shiba ears more erect and with a higher position. An insufficient forehead in the shiba leads to a "lupine" head. Wider and rounder cheeks in Akita, in Shiba they are still sets of triangles. Cheeks slightly out from the neck profiles.

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