Akita: Care & Characteristics of the Dog Breed

Standing side profile of an Akita Inu dog in the grass

The Akita is a Japanese-bred worker dog that is big, noble, devoted, and brave. The Akita is distinguished physically by its short, thick, double coat, broad neck, upright, triangular ears, and long, curled tail, which together give it the appearance of a large, cuddly stuffed animal. The Akita tends to be purposeful, independent, and quiet, but it will occasionally bark. Overall, the Akita is a wonderful friend and protector, but it is not advised for families with young children and other animals.

Breed Overview

GROUP: 

HEIGHT: 26 to 28 inches (males); 24 to 26 inches (females)

WEIGHT: 100 to 130 pounds (males); 70 to 100 pounds (females)

COAT: Short, thick, double-layered coat and some Akitas have a recessive gene that gives them a long coat

COAT COLOR: Brindle and pinto (each with white markings)

LIFE SPAN: 10 to 13 years

TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate, loyal, independent, protective

HYPOALLERGENIC: No

ORIGIN: Japan

Characteristics of the Akita

The Akita breed is ideally suited for an experienced owner and a home without small children or other dogs, despite the fact that they can be unexpectedly charming and friendly with family members. If you decide the Akita is the best breed for you and you have a small home, you will have a lifelong friend that is devoted and steady.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Low
Kid-Friendly Low
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability Medium
Intelligence Medium
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding High

History of the Akita

The Akita is a native of Japan and was given that name after that country. The breed may be traced back several hundred years or more to the highlands of northern Japan, where it was created as a watchdog and all-purpose hunter. The Akita has long been a symbol of good fortune and health for the Japanese people. In 1931, Japan designated the Akita as a Japanese Natural Monument, and in 1934, they established a breed standard.

The government was given the order to exterminate all Akitas as a result of World War II and the hardships in Japan. Only by being set free in the highlands or by mating them with German shepherds were some of them able to survive. Following the war, attempts were made to carefully breed the survivors and get rid of any traits that came from crosses with other breeds in order to rebuild the breed.

The first Akita is thought to have arrived in the United States in 1937 thanks to Helen Keller, who developed a fondness for the breed while visiting Japan. When Akitas were introduced to the United States by troops after World War II, the breed's popularity started to rise. The American Kennel Club (AKC) granted the Akita formal recognition in 1972.

American and Japanese Akita standards are not the same. While American Akitas are acceptable in all hues, Japanese Akitas have a restricted variety of colors. The American Akita are bigger and have heavier bones because they have more crossbreed traits maintained. While Japanese Akitas have a more fox-like head, American Akitas have a bear-like head. Although American Akitas frequently wear black masks, this is against Japanese law.

The 1923-born Akita named Hachiko, who is the pet of a professor in Tokyo, personifies the breed's fidelity. Every morning, Hachiko escorted the professor to the train, and every afternoon, she went back to take him home. The professor walked to and from the station every day for nine years until he passed away at work.

Akita Care

Akitas need a lot of exercise and rigorous training since they are exceptionally strong, athletic, and powerful. Additionally, they are known to shed more than the majority of dogs, so you'll need to be a diligent groomer. This dog is also renowned for cleaning itself after meals in a manner similar to a cat. The owner of an Akita has to be aware of when the dog may be overheating because this breed dislikes hot weather, mostly due to its thick hair.

Exercise

Due to their relatively high activity level, this breed needs between 30 and 60 minutes of per day, including at least one or two brisk walks. However, you might want to avoid taking an Akita for a stroll in a dog park where other dogs might witness his violent tendencies. When bored or given much alone time, an Akita may acquire certain detrimental tendencies.

Grooming

The Akita has a thick, velvety undercoat underneath its rigid, straight outer coat. About twice a year, the breed will shed excessively at a pace that is pretty high. This breed typically requires very basic routine for upkeep. Brushing should be done more regularly during high shedding seasons to help keep the coat healthy and reduce shedding. Brushing should be done once a week.

Training

Although they are considered to be obstinate and difficult, akitas are extremely intelligent canines. You can keep your Akita under control and bring out their best features by giving them the proper obedience training and socializing. Because of this, training is difficult but also necessary. Early socialization is very important. The Akita may not always get along with other dogs, has a high hunting drive, and is frequently wary of strangers.

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Common Health Problems

Breeders that practice responsible breeding work to uphold the highest breed standards as set out by organizations like the AKC. These breeding guidelines reduce the likelihood of inheriting health issues in dogs. However, the breed is susceptible to several inherited health issues. You should be aware of the following circumstances:

  • : This is an inherited condition that can lead to arthritis and lameness. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.
  • : This is bloating due to eating and drinking too fast, leading to gas production. If the stomach twists it cuts off the blood supply and becomes a medical emergency.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is an underactive thyroid gland and can be corrected with diet and medication.
  • Sebaceous Adenitis (SA): This inherited autoimmune skin condition in Akitas leads to the inflammation and destruction of the sebaceous glands in the skin. It is mostly a cosmetic problem with loss of hair on the head and back.
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Diet and Nutrition

Akita pups will expand quickly, thus they require a high-quality, low-calorie food to prevent overgrowth. Adult Akitas require three to five cups of dry food to be given to them twice daily. Keep an eye out for weight growth in your Akita, and talk to your veterinarian about any particular requirements.

Where to Adopt or Buy an Akita

Prior to looking for an Akita, be aware that breeders and rescue organizations frequently won't place this breed in a household with small children. If you're looking for a puppy, the Akita Club of America is an excellent place to start. Breeders on their roster of members are from Spain, Canada, and the United States. Researching local rescue organizations is the best approach to discover an Akita rescue; however, the Akita Club of America Rescue and the Namaste Akita Rescue Alliance may also be able to point you in the right direction.

Akita puppies typically cost between $700 and $1,600, although purebred offspring of champion parents can cost as much as $4,000. Akitas are regarded as a costly breed. You will spend far less in fees if you are fortunate enough to locate an Akita that needs to be adopted.

Akita Overview

Pros
  • Dignified

  • Courageous

  • Deeply loyal

Cons
  • Sheds profusely

  • Stubborn and may be difficult to train

  • Dominant and can be aggressive toward other dogs

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Before you decide whether an Akita is the right dog for you, do plenty of research and talk to other Akita owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more.

If you are interested in similar breeds, compare these:

There is a wide variety of  out there. With a little research, you can find the right one to bring home.

FAQ
  • Are Akitas good with small children?

    If properly socialized, the breed may get along well with kids and become quite protective of them. However, it is typically advised against having an Akita in a family with young children, and you must closely monitor this dog around them.

  • Is an Akita good for a first-time dog owner?

    For two primary reasons, this breed might not be the best choice for a new dog owner. First of all, training a large, stubborn Akita requires a lot of persistence, comprehension, and expertise. If improperly taught, the breed can be aggressive. For instance, an Akita may get violent if you make prolonged eye contact with it because it perceives you as a danger.

  • Will an Akita get along with other dogs?

    The breed is known to especially be prone to same-sex aggression with other dogs. An Akita will do better when living in a one-dog household.

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