Akita vs Saint Bernard: Breeds Comparison

Trying to decide between the Akita and the Saint Bernard? Both of these dogs can be similar in some ways but are quite different in many others. Read on and find out which of these popular breeds is the perfect pup for your lifestyle!

Before getting a puppy, you should be sure that the breed you're doing to buy or rescue is a good fit for your lifestyle and home.

Let's get busy...

Both Akita and Saint Bernard are members of the Working Group.

Although these breeds are members of the same breed group, they have some differences and not only similarities so keep reading to learn more.

Akita vs Saint Bernard Size Comparison

Saint Bernards are larger, with a typical height of 26 to 30 inches and weight of 120 to 180 pounds, while the typical height of Akita is 24 to 28 inches and they usually weigh 70 to 130 pounds.

We know that these numbers might be too abstract, so we made a tool to help you visualize these numbers.

The following chart compares the average breeds height with the average height of an American man and woman.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, the average height of a man is 69 inches, and the height of a woman is 63.5 inches.

Akita Height Visualization Saint Bernard Height Visualization Average American Women Height Visualization Average American Men Height Visualization

Dog size comparison to a human. From left, average heights of Akita, Saint Bernard, American female, and American male.

Akita vs Saint Bernard lifespan

No doubt, the quality of care provided to the dog is one of the main factors when it comes to canines life longevity, however, there are also other factors, especially the dog's breed.

With a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, Akitas usually live longer than Saint Bernards.

Saint Bernards' lifespan is 8 to 10 years.

Read on to the following sections to better understand in detail how Akita and Saint Bernard compare and hopefully end up with enough arguments to decide which one is better for you.

Breed Name Akita Akita Saint Bernard Saint Bernard
Traits
Breed GroupWorking DogsWorking Dogs
Height24 to 28 inches26 to 30 inches
Weight70 to 130 pounds120 to 180 pounds
Life Span10 to 12 years8 to 10 years

Akita vs Saint Bernard adaptability

When we say "dog adaptability", most people think about apartment living adaptability, so let's start with that.

All dogs are great — but not all dogs are great for or geared toward apartment living. A dog may be considered the worst dog breed for apartments for a few reasons including size, energy level, noise, smell, shedding...

Saint Bernards have a better reputation as good apartment living dogs than Akitas.

While most dogs can be left home alone for 6 to 8 hours, some will do better. Check the table below to see how Akitas and Saint Bernards tolerate being left alone.

To learn more, read our list of dogs that can be left alone.

Hot weather tolerance

Depending on where you live, you should choose a dog that tolerates hot or cold weather well.

Speaking of Akita and Saint Bernard, these breeds don't tolerate hot weather well, so you need to be very cautious, especially when it's really hot.

Be sure to provide shade and water and head out in the morning or late evening when it's cooler. During warm weather, Also, avoid pavements - if the ground is too hot to touch for your hand for a few seconds, it's too hot for paws.

Check our heatstroke article on prevention and symptoms to learn more.

What about cold weather?

Cold temperatures are not a problem for most dogs until they fall below 45° F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures fall below 32° F, owners of small breed dogs, dogs with thin coats, and/or very young, old, or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being.

Once temperatures drop under 20° F, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite.

Luckily, both breeds tolarate cold weather well, so while you stick to the rules mentioned above, they should be fine and probably enjoy the cold weather.

Our "How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs?" article has more information on this topic.

AdaptabilityAkitaSaint Bernard
Adapts Well To Apartment Living
Good For Novice Owners
Sensitivity Level
Tolerates Being Alone
Tolerates Cold Weather
Tolerates Hot Weather

Akita vs Saint Bernard temperament

It's always hard to make a general statement about the whole breed's temperament. Each dog has a different temperament, and there are a lot of factors that affect its behavior.

Looking for a perfect family dog?

If you're looking for a companion dog, you won't go wrong with Akita and Saint Bernard. Their outgoing and friendly personality makes them a great choice for families. Both are highly affectionate with family, they will immediately become a family member.

When it comes to behavior around children, Saint Bernard simply tends to do better.

Saint Bernards love children - they are usually gentle and patient with kids, but as we mentioned, temperaments can vary based on the individual dog.

Akitas might require a litle more time to get used to kids, but it doesn't mean they couldn't be nice with kids.

We've created a list of the 15 best dogs for kids and family, so read it next if this is important for you.

Guarding behavior

Dog guarding behavior is welcome for some owners, while others prefer a dog that's friendly towards strangers.

Speaking of friendliness toward strangers, Akitas and Saint Bernards are the complete opposite.

While Saint Bernards are super friendly toward strangers, Akitas are naturally suspicious toward strangers, so you can expect they will act protective.

All-Around FriendlinessAkitaSaint Bernard
Affectionate With Family
Kid-Friendly
Dog Friendly
Friendly Toward Strangers

Health And Grooming Needs

The best way to optimize your pup’s health is to research reputable breeders, and then when you meet them ask to see the parents and their health certificates as described above and to see the conditions in which all the dogs are living.

Check the table below to see the general health rating for these two canines, and read full breed profile articles to read in-depth information on their health.

Also, some breeds are prone to obesity, which could cause other health conditions. Be sure to check that information as well, if the breed is prone to obesity, keep a close eye on labels and feed your dog according to the food labels.

For example, hip dysplasia is hereditary and is especially common in larger dogs. Factors such as excessive growth rate, types of exercise, and improper weight and nutrition can magnify this genetic predisposition.

What about shedding?

One of the bad parts of having a dog is definitely shedding. So be sure to take this into your consideration when choosing the right breed for you. Click here to learn how to minimize the shedding.

OK, let's make this clear - Akita and Saint Bernard are heavy shedders! Preventing shedding is impossible, but regular brushing is necessary. These breeds are almost always on the list of dogs that shed the worst.

Recommended article: 30 Small Hypoallergenic Dogs That Don’t Shed.

Drooling potential?

Well, we have bad news. These breeds have high drooling potential.

Hate drooling? Well, then you should probably skip Saint Bernard and choose Akita instead.

Health And Grooming NeedsAkitaSaint Bernard
Amount Of Shedding
Drooling Potential
Easy To Groom
General Health
Potential For Weight Gain
Size

Akita vs Saint Bernard trainability

Each dog needs some kind of obedience training, but some of them are easier to train, while others are more stubborn.

Novice owners should be aware that these breeds are usually stubborn and aren't easy to train. Of course, this doesn't mean that Akita and Saint Bernard are impossible to train, but you have to be persistent, and experience definitely helps here.

If you choose one of these dogs, remember three pillars of dog training - Patience, persistence, and consistency play a huge role in successfully training your dog.

Finally, if you think you aren't capable of training your dog on your own, you might also consider getting professional help.

TrainabilityAkitaSaint Bernard
Easy To Train
Intelligence
Potential For Mouthiness
Prey Drive
Tendency To Bark Or Howl
Wanderlust Potential

Do Akita and Saint Bernard need a lot of physical activity?

To keep your dog healthy, calm, and happy, you have to provide it with enough physical activities. Not only your dog will be healthier and happier when it's active, but you'll also reduce or completely eliminate destructive behavior.

Some people don't think about this when selecting a breed, so we have dedicated a whole chapter to physical needs.

Akitas have a high level of exercise needs, while Saint Bernards require a low intensity of exercise.

Physical NeedsAkitaSaint Bernard
Energy Level
Intensity
Exercise Needs
Potential For Playfulness

Akita or Saint Bernard: The bottom line

In this article, we tried to give you an idea of what you can expect from Akitas and Saint Bernards.

To further explore their personality, overall health, temperament, and much more, read their full breed profile.

Or, use the tool below to read the next comparison.

New Comparison: