Are Akitas and Chows Related? Exploring the Connection Between These Dog Breeds

The Akita breed traces its roots back to ancient Japan, where they were initially bred for hunting large game such as bears, boar, and deer. Akitas were highly valued for their strength, courage, and loyalty. They were even considered symbols of good health, happiness, and long life. Over time, Akitas became revered as guardians and protectors of the Japanese royalty.

The Origins of Chows

Chows, on the other hand, have their origins in China and are one of the oldest known dog breeds in existence. They were originally bred for various purposes, including hunting, herding, and guarding. Chows were highly regarded by the Chinese nobility and were often kept as companions and symbols of good luck.

Physical Characteristics of Akitas and Chows

Size and Weight

Both Akitas and Chows are large dog breeds. Akitas typically weigh between 70 to 130 pounds (32 to 59 kilograms), with males being larger than females. Chows, on the other hand, have a weight range of 45 to 70 pounds (20 to 32 kilograms). In terms of height, Akitas stand between 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 centimeters), while Chows range from 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 centimeters).

Coat and Colors

A striking similarity between Akitas and Chows lies in their dense double coats. Akitas have a thick, plush coat that provides insulation in cold weather, while Chows have a dense, woolly coat. Both breeds shed moderately throughout the year and require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s health and appearance.

In terms of colors, Akitas come in various shades, including white, brindle, red, and pinto. On the other hand, Chows are famously known for their unique blue-black tongues and can come in solid colors such as red, black, blue, cinnamon, and cream.

Facial Features

One of the most distinctive features of both Akitas and Chows is their broad, round heads and short muzzles. However, their facial expressions differ. Akitas have a more alert and intense expression, while Chows possess a more dignified and serious expression. Additionally, Akitas have erect, triangular ears, while Chows have small, round ears that sit close to their head.

Temperament and Personality Traits


Akitas are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective nature. They are often described as independent thinkers and can be wary of strangers. Akitas are typically reserved and aloof with unfamiliar people but are incredibly affectionate and devoted to their family members. Proper socialization and training from an early age are crucial to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and well-behaved companions.


Chows are known for their strong-willed and independent nature. They are fiercely loyal and protective of their family members. Chows tend to be reserved and aloof with strangers, making them excellent watchful guardians. While they can be aloof, Chows can also form deep bonds with their family members and be extremely affectionate.

Health and Potential Genetic Similarities

Common Health Issues in Akitas

Like all dog breeds, Akitas are susceptible to certain health issues. Some common health concerns in Akitas include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), autoimmune disorders, and certain types of cancer. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and exercise can help mitigate these potential health issues.

Common Health Issues in Chows

Similarly, Chows are prone to specific health conditions, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, and various eye problems such as entropion and cataracts. Responsible breeding practices, regular veterinary care, and a healthy lifestyle can help minimize the risk of these health issues.

Potential Genetic Links

While Akitas and Chows share some common health concerns, it is important to note that these breeds are not closely related in terms of genetic lineage. They may exhibit similarities in certain health predispositions due to their large size and certain genetic factors, but it is not indicative of a direct genetic connection between the two breeds.

Training and Exercise Needs

Training Akitas

Akitas are intelligent dogs, but they can be strong-willed and independent, making training a challenge at times. Positive reinforcement techniques and consistency are key when training Akitas. Early socialization is crucial to ensure they are well-behaved around other animals and people.

Training Chows

Chows, too, have an independent streak and can be quite stubborn. They require firm, consistent training with positive reinforcement techniques. Early socialization is vital to ensure they grow up to be well-mannered and friendly dogs.

Exercise Requirements

Both Akitas and Chows are moderate to low energy breeds. While they enjoy daily walks and playtime, they do not have excessively high exercise needs. Regular exercise, such as brisk walks and interactive play sessions, is essential to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

History of Crossbreeding Between Akitas and Chows

Motivations for Crossbreeding

Although Akitas and Chows are distinct breeds, there have been instances of crossbreeding between the two. The motivations for such crossbreeding vary among individual breeders, but some may aim to create a dog that combines the desirable traits of both breeds.

Impact on Breed Characteristics

Crossbreeding between Akitas and Chows can result in offspring that exhibit a mix of physical and temperament traits from both breeds. However, it is important to note that crossbreeding can also lead to unpredictable outcomes, as the traits expressed in the offspring may vary widely. Responsible breeding practices and thorough research are crucial when considering a crossbred dog.

Similarities and Differences in Purpose and Working Roles

Historical Purpose of Akitas

Akitas were historically bred for hunting large game and served as guardians of Japanese nobility. They were revered for their strength, loyalty, and protective instincts.

Historical Purpose of Chows

Chows were originally bred for various tasks, including hunting, herding, and guarding. They were highly regarded by Chinese nobility and were kept as companions and symbols of good luck.

Modern Working Roles

In modern times, Akitas and Chows are primarily kept as companion animals and family pets. However, their inherent traits and abilities still make them suitable for certain working roles, such as therapy work, search and rescue, and competitive obedience.

Popularity and Recognition

American Kennel Club (AKC) Recognition

Both Akitas and Chows are recognized breeds by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC officially recognized the Akita in 1972, while the Chow Chow gained recognition in 1903.

Popularity Rankings

According to AKC registration statistics, Akitas have consistently ranked among the top 50 most popular dog breeds in the United States. Chows, while still enjoying a level of popularity, are not as commonly seen as Akitas.


While Akitas and Chows share some similarities in appearance, temperament, and historical roles, they are not closely related in terms of genetic lineage. Both breeds have their distinct characteristics and require responsible ownership, proper socialization, and training. Whether you are drawn to the dignified nature of the Chow or the loyal, protective nature of the Akita, both breeds make wonderful companions for the right owner. Understanding their history, physical traits, temperament, and health considerations can help you make an informed decision when considering either breed as a potential addition to your family.

ThePetFaq Team