The Akita Dog Breed in Brief:
- Origin: Japan
- Height: up to 26 inches
- Weight: 70 to 100 lbs
- Exercise Needs: Demanding
- Grooming Needs: Minimal
- Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years
- Good With Children: Yes
- Trainability: Early and Consistent training recommended
- Common Misspellings and Alternate Names For Akita: Akita Inus, Japanese Akitas, Aketas, Akita-Inu, Japanese-Akitas, AKC Akitas, CKC Akitas
Akita Dog Breed History
Largest of the Japanese Spitz breeds, the Akita was originally bred to hunt large game such as bear, deer and wild boar. The Akita breed dates back approximately 300 years and takes its name from the Prefecture of Akita in northern Japan. In 1931, the Japanese Ministry of Education proclaimed the Akita dog to be a natural monument and all necessary steps were taken to preserve the Akita breed.
Helen Keller brought the first Akita to North America in the 1930s after she was given the dog on a visit to Japan. However, it was returning servicemen who had been stationed in Japan who brought the Akita breed back in numbers at the close of World War II.
Akita Dog Breed Description
The Akita always makes a lasting first impression. Akitas are large, powerful dogs with substantial bone and musculature. The broad chest and neck of the Akita serve as a solid base for the Akita’s large head, the Akita’s most distinguishing feature. The broad skull and the short muzzle form a blunt triangle when viewed from above.
The massive head in combination with the small triangular shaped eyes and small erect ears give the Akita dog an intimidating, yet dignified, expression.
The Akita is a very balanced looking dog, being only slightly longer than it is tall. The tail is curled and carried over the back, which serves to balance with the dog’s head. Typically the male Akita is substantially larger than the female. The males range in weight from about 100 to 130 pounds, while the females range from 70 to 100 pounds.
The double coat of the Akita has the appearance of the typical northern breeds. It is short to moderate in length, but very dense and consists of two layers. The Akita’s undercoat is very soft and is the primary insulator, while the outer coat, or the guard hair, is slightly longer and coarser.
The Akita is very well suited to the coldest of climates, and while it might not enjoy hot weather, its coat does lighten considerably in the warmer months to compensate for the heat.
- Height/Weight: A mature Akita may reach 26 in (66 cm) or more at the shoulder. A powerfully built animal with a substantial frame, his weight should be in proportion to his size.
- Coat: The Akita carries a straight, harsh outer coat that stands off somewhat from the body. Beneath this is a short, soft and dense undercoat.
- Color: Any color is acceptable in the Akita, including white, brindle and pinto.
The Akita is dignified and reserved, but courageous. Though friendly to people, the Akita may be aggressive toward other dogs. The Akita breed barks infrequently.
Akita Grooming Requirements
Not a problem. There are no special grooming requirements, but the Akita will benefit from a very thorough, weekly brushing session.
Akita Exercise Needs
Active and agile, this rugged and athletic dog requires lots of outdoor exercise. Akitas are not a good choice for couch potatoes – but will certainly help their owners embark on a new exercise program!
Akita Health Information
Like any breed of dog, the Akita is subject to a variety of health concerns. Your best bet is, when deciding to choose a new Akita puppy, check around with several breeders and ask about the various health issues that can affect these beautiful little dogs.
A reputable breeder should be well-versed in the health concerns and should be able to give you more details, as well as showing you the sire and dam of your potential puppy. Some of the health problems that can affect Akitas include:
Aquired Myathenia Gravis
Uveo-Dermatological Syndrome (VKH)
von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD)
Susceptible to anesthesia, due to small heart size
Is an Akita the Right Breed For You?
The Akita is an amazing dog for the right family; known for their cleanliness and quiet personality, they are a popular house dog in their native Japan, as well as throughout the world.
Akitas do require special consideration, prior to bringing one home however. For starters, the Akita can be a very reserved and aloof dog, particularly around strangers, and tend to dislike excessive noise and excitement.
High-traffic homes or families with very young children may find a more social pet better suited to their needs. Additionally, Akitas are not recommended in homes with other animals, particularly other dogs – Aggression is common towards canines and they may cause injury to cats or other pets.
Finding a Responsible Akita Breeder
Now that you have decided that the Akita is the right breed for you, it’s time to start the process of finding a responsible Akita breeder from which to buy a healthy, well-socialized puppy. Not all breeders are alike; there are good breeders – and bad breeders.
Don’t be in a hurry to buy the first Akita puppy you find at the cheapest price available! To buy a puppy from a responsible Akita breeder, you may need to pay more and wait longer. The additional money and waiting time will be well worth it.
Buy a puppy in haste from a newspaper ad, pet store or “backyard breeder”, and you’ll likely also purchase a great deal of additional expense and heartache, since you will likely end up falling in love with a puppy with health and behavioral problems that will likely need special care, plenty of veterinary visits, regular medication – or even euthanasia.
But do your homework and find a responsible, caring Akita breeder who home-raises their puppies with love, screens their breeding dogs for health problems, offers a health guarantee and post sale support, and who genuinely loves the
Akita breed and is in it for the love of the breed, rather than profit, and you can be fairly well assured of getting a healthy, happy, long lived and affectionate family companion that will provide you and your family with many years of joy, laughter and companionship.