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Kai Ken vs. Akita
  • TortieTortie
    Posts: 197
    Hello all. I haven't posted recently but if anyone remembers Emi, she is doing great! I'll try to make a long story short. Emi has grown up with an older sister (my mom's Australian Shepherd (who's 11 now, Emi is 4)). If I move out, I'd be looking to get another dog, a puppy. I'm leaning towards either a Kai Ken or Akita.

    While I absolutely adore my Shiba, I would like a breed that.. wants to be with me. Emi is the typical Shiba in that she'll hang out on the top of the staircase while I'm in any room upstairs. I want my next dog to want to be laying under my chair while I'm at the computer, for example. I know that it all depends on the particular dog but I'd like to get a breed that is known for that to begin. Other than that, I love that all three breeds are smart, relatively quiet, clean and only blow their coats twice a year (A LOT for those two times, of course, ha).

    I don't know when this will happen but I would like to be well-informed before making a decision. Either way, I'm not worried that Emi will not fall in love with the new member of the household.

    Thanks in advance.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Somebody with more experience can chime in, but I think in general all the Nihon Kens are aloof and like to do their own thing.

    The Nihon Ken forum can help you more since owners can chime in with their own experience.

    But, Personalities aside, if you're looking for a dog breed that will be "laying under your chair" while you are on the computer, I think you are looking for a more dependent/clingy breed.
  • TortieTortie
    Posts: 197
    I may be mistaken but from the little research that I have done so far, the Kai Ken and Akita are more dependent than the Shiba (as little as that may be).

    Thank you for your suggestion. I thought this and the Nihon Ken forum were one but while I wait for my registration to be accepted on the Nihon Ken forum, I decided to post here.

    Good words! I will keep in mind a "dependent/clingy" breed. Thank you.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    I have a Shiba, two American Akita and a Kai Ken, so I can make some comparisons, but you'll also get plenty of other opinions from people on the NK forum.

    None of the NK are particularly clingy, thankfully, and they all show their interest in different ways. My Akitas like to be in the same room with me, and they like to come over and be petted for about 2 minutes once or twice a day. They like to lay where they can see me, but they don't need to be in contact with me. My Kai Ken is very similar in that regard. I think Kai tend to show their close bond to their owner a bit more (but I absolutely know Akitas--and even Shibas!--have it too, they are just not demonstrative), but he is also not clingy at all.

    A bigger question might be about your Shiba. How is she with other dogs? Does she resource guard? Also, what else do you want in a dog?

    Akitas and Shibas can be fine together, but the thing to remember is that Akitas are like Shibas in the sense that they can be snarky with other dogs, and of course, because AAs are so much bigger (my male is 120 pounds) a smaller dog, like a Shiba, can get hurt if there are squabbles, and there likely will be some. A well bred Akita is slower to rouse than a Shiba, but as they say, while Akitas won't often start fights, they will finish them. The problems I've had with Akitas and Shibas are about the Shibas starting something and not backing down even though the Akita could really really hurt them. So if your dog has any issues with other dogs, adding an Akita might be difficult (but not impossible). If you don't mind that they're large, they're also great watch dogs because they alarm bark and they look imposing. (And they're not all giant--my girl is 10 months old and about 60 pounds).

    Kai Ken can be a great mix with a Shiba. Kai are generally not dog aggressive (though it depends on the individual dog), and they tend to read other dogs well, and make appeasing gestures rather than fight. My Kai Ken made a friend of my 10 year old Shiba who is very reactive and has spent most of his life isolated from other dogs because of that. Now they're buds! Kai Ken are also a good size if you want a medium sized dog (around 40 pounds) and are smart and loving.

    However, as you'll see when you read some of the Kai threads on the other forum, they are also not the dog for everyone. They are super smart, which means they need stimulation and activity. They climb and leap on things: sofas, bookcases, counters, tables. They can spook easily, and they have a very strong flight instinct when they are stressed, and will run, sometimes completely losing track of where they are and not even recognizing their people. :( Several Kai have been lost forever through escaping their collars/harnesses in their new homes. They are very sensitive dogs too, easily spooked, easily upset by too harsh handling (sometimes even just raised voices). They have a strong prey drive too, of course. They need a fair amount of exercise, too, to be calm and happy in the house, more, I think, than a Shiba, and certainly more than their Akita cousins who tend toward being couch potatoes (just large ones!)

    So it's more about your what would fit with the dog you have, and what you're looking for activity wise. I think either can work, though!

    But if you want a dog that will follow you around, hang on your every action, really be constantly thrilled to be with you all the time, then you might want another breed rather than any of the Nihon Ken. My friend has a Golden Retriever that is like that. Drives me out of mind, frankly, but it's what she wanted. Different strokes..... :)
  • oneluckymugoneluckymug
    Posts: 67
    You can be directed to certain breeds while looking for the velcro tendency, but if you already know you want that tendency, a breed rescue may be perfect for you as their personalities tend to be pretty well known. Within certain breeds there may be a propensity to have certain personality traits, but many dogs break that mold. You may be able to find a snuggly Shiba. I have one Shiba that is in the always wants to be in the room but just out of arms reach mold. However, I have another Shiba that still follows me around like a puppy and has for almost her entire life. As I type this my male Shiba is sleeping under our bed and doesn't wish to be touched.....and the female is under my feet at the computer.

  • CrystalWolfCrystalWolf
    Posts: 235
    I have a shiba and he wants attention he gets it, since its not aften and when he is willing to cuddle i am too. I also have a american staffordshire terrier aka pit bull, and let me tell you this dog is the clingiest dog i have ever met. Always wants attention, needs to be touching me if she cant see me or is in another room she whines to be near me. Somewhat annoying as ai prefer the more independant dog. I love the pits and how sweet they are but due to their clingyness i will not get another one. Pits are very well behaved and always willing to listen and very easy to train. there are plenty that need a home.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Shiba and Nihon Ken forum used to be one forum, but with so many shiba owners shiba forum was made. Checking the Nihon ken forum is good option for more info as there is a lot of kai ken owners there who can help and some akita owners from American akita to Japanese akita.

    I never met akita or kai ken so can't help much sorry. I've read kai ken and shiba pairs do good personality wise.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    My shiba Quake (2-!/2 years old) has gotten more demonstrative since he was neutered 3-1/2 months ago. Before he used to lay on the floor in my office while I was on the computer. Now he lays under my chair while I am on the computer or he stands next to the chair so I can pet him. No matter where I am now he comes to me more often for petting than he used to before. He lived with me for two months prior to his neutering and was with my son for a little over a year a four hour drive away from my home. Maybe he knows that I am his forever Mom and that's why he's gotten so demonstrative. I adore my little fur angel Quake and maybe he just feels that!! :)
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    I've actually been in a rut as far as what kind of Nihon Ken I'd like as a second dog—one that would fit both my lifestyle & Sagan's. As he's getting older, he's being more calm around the house, but despite his age (he's 2), he still loves playing and wrestling. I still regularly take him to the dog park and meet up with friends with dogs that get along with him.

    It was a toss-up between a Japanese Akita or Kai Ken. Shikoku was high up there as well, but after posting this thread, it became evident to me that it might not be the best match in the long-run. I did put down a deposit for Yamabushi Kennel last fall, and I was originally going to have a pup from Nami's litter, but finances were straining and I was traveling too much, etc. Life got in the way, basically, but I was told that when I'm ready for a new pup, I'm free to let them know.

    I've met @omgtain's Kai Ken, and even though she was only 4-months-old at the time, she was bouncy and sweet and got along great with Sagan. ♥
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    One thing I should add about Kai. Kai people talk about it, but I think sometimes it's not stressed enough, because it's hard to imagine it until you have one. Kai are really sensitive dogs. they wilt under raised voices (even if you're not yelling at them!). Brad calls them "emotional" dogs and I think this is true....they really have moods and react to negative experiences very strongly (even mildly negatively experiences: my boy was sulky for MONTHS after we got our Akita puppy). Sometimes, though, that sensitivity makes them harder to handle if you're used to a dog like a Shiba that is pretty tough and stoic. And because they are sensitive, and react to things, which is coupled with a strong flight instinct, you have to be super careful with them, so they don't flee.

    It's hard to explain, but they are just very sensitive dogs, and very very different than Shibas (or Akitas, or any of the other NK) in that way. I like that about them, but I think it's worth it for people to know that before getting one.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @shibamistress, good point. I've been leaning towards a Kai as well with the hope that one could tolerate Kouda's attitude. But is that "emotional" aspect more in relation to people? It seems contrary to what folks say about their inter-dog skills.

    Any companion for Kouda needs to be resilient enough to shrug off his offenses and not take it personally or retaliate.

    I'm also curious about the Hokkaido in this regard. @Losech! :)
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
    @Rikka...thank you SO much for sharing that link! We, too, are considering a second dog. Shikoku is high on our list. Was nice to see what Shiba/Shikoku owners had to say.(I obviously don't spend much time on the NK side!)

    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    @Kobe1468 - Yeah! I can't believe I made that post over a year ago... yeesh! Just goes to show how much I think about a second dog, lol. I think what finally made me look at other Nihon Ken breeds was the fact that I know Sagan wouldn't get along with what Shikoku generally act like, from what I read. Hell, even some Shibas and him don't get along.

    The Japanese Akita still highly appeals to me, though! Like I said earlier, it's a tough decision between Kai Ken vs. Akita.
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
    Post edited by Rikka at 2014-05-28 19:05:09
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    I think Shikoku + Shiba is usually a tough mix.....And of course Shikoku are so rare as a breed, and not, unfortunately, that healthy as a breed overall.

    Kai are pretty healthy so far, which is great, and tend to get along with other dogs. I think JAs are improving, but still fairly rare, and have their share of health issues. Personally, I think AAs are healthier overall these days (as long as you find a good breeder), and not rare. But of course, they are much larger dogs, and tend to be a bit more dog reactive than JAs. But they also make good watch dogs!

    Hokkaido are so rare it's probably not even worth considering unless someone wants to be part of the Hokkaido breeding/introduction program in the US. And also, you know, Hokkas are like Shibas on steroids, so....maybe not the best mix with a Shiba? Though of course it always depends on the individual dog.

    There is a Hokka and Kai and Shiba needing a home right now in Michigan:
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244
    Im only a month into my JA experience but so far, Haruki (JA) gets along very well with my two younger Shibas. My two 2 year old Shibas are too intolerant to even try her being around them yet. She is not a submissive puppy, and will stand up to my boisterous 18 month old Shiba, and play can sometimes get too rough needing intervention. But sh doesnt hold a grudge and takes no offense to Kenji's rudeness. My partner grew up with AA's and a Shiba, and he said that the Shiba got along with one particular male more so than the others, as he was more tolerant of the Shibas bossiness.
    Koyuki - red female
    Takeo- cream male
    Kenji- black and tan male
    Suma- sesame female
    Haruki-brindle Japanese Akita Inu
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 68
    Rikka I think you are overdue for a dosing of Tavi!!
    Come on, the Kai life is amazing. ;)
  • TortieTortie
    Posts: 197
    Thank you so much for your input, everyone! I probably should have added that I'd be interested in an AA, not a JA. Also, my Shiba is great with other dogs. I'm not concerned that she and the new dog will not get along.

    @shibamistress Reading from your experience with the different breeds is really helpful. Very, very interesting about the Kai being such an emotional breed. Are they more in tune with their owners' emotions or just more emotional themselves? I think it's the latter.

    From what I'm hearing, the AA may be a better choice for me. I've read more than once that they tend to be couch potatoes which isn't a bad thing (especially at home) but on the other hand, would they make a good hiking partner? I work a lot and in my spare time, I'm usually outdoors (hiking, kayaking, fishing, camping). I've taken my Shiba kayaking once and plan to take her more often. We go on long hikes occasionally (my definition of long is 7-ish miles) but they are rarer. Usually it's a nice hour or so walk around the block. When I'm not outdoors, I'm a couch potato myself.

    The Kai might be too unstable for me. I'm alright with energy but I feel they may be overly active for my needs. Although, I love that all the HK are reserved.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    I've lived with a JA, adored her unwavering loyalty, have met a Kai (fell in love with her) and many AAs. I'm definitely leaning towards a Kai but not until Kira is older, about 3 or 4.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 68
    I realize my Kai is very different from others, but she is the right mix of everything. Very workable and trainable, loves to please, she herds sheep, does agility, obedience, hikes and is good off leash. She isn't high energy (to me anyways), and is very confident and outgoing. Very dog and people friendly. She is more likely to embrace and jump into the middle of anything than bolt or be skittish.

    I love Akitas, and will have one, but right now a Kai fit my lifestyle (I wanted a friendly dog that could go anywhere and do anything). So, think about what you really really really want and need right now. I do a lot of activities and off leash things with my dogs, so I felt slightly uneasy getting an Akita and the possibility of having them grow to be dog / people intolerant. So maybe later for an Akita.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Not sure about Kais but my friend owns an American Akita. The issue with Akitas is you have to make sure to socialize them a lot - same thing as shibas. But the difference is the size - a lot of people are intimidated by Akitas, since they are placed (by the public) in the same group as Pit bulls.
  • Tortie said:

    I want my next dog to want to be laying under my chair while I'm at the computer, for example.

    This is exactly what our 7 month old male American Akita does (been doing it for several months). He chooses several places to lay down for variety, but half or more of these other choices mean laying right next to/under my studio chair. Only very rarely have the shibas done this (the female never).
    Tim Jessell
    Kuma 7yr/m/Shiba, Miko 6yr/f/Shiba, Saki 5 yr/f/Klee Kai/Shiba, Kaiju 6 Months/m/A Akita
    Post edited by tim3308 at 2014-11-19 16:25:26

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