Breed GroupWorking Group
Life Span10-13 years
Height24”-28”
Weight70-130 lbs
OriginJapan
Best For Experienced dog owner

Akita Overview

Dog Breed:
Akita
Breed Group:
Working Group
Characteristics:
Loyal, affectionate to his family, strong of will and body, aloof with strangers, highly intelligent
Height:
Females=24”-26”; Males=26”-28”
Weight:
Females=70-100 lbs; Males=100-130 lbs
Life Span:
10-13 years
Coat Colors:
Black, brown, fawn, red, white, silver, various shades of brindle. Markings can be black, white, or pinto
Area of Origin:
Japan
Best For:
The Akita is a strong-willed, powerful breed that is best suited to an experienced dog owner

Akita Characteristics

Friendliness
Intelligence
Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Akita

  • The Akita bonds deeply with its family & is very loyal

  • Likes to be the only pet!

  • High activity level needing regular daily exercise

The Akita is a dog that is characterized by its courageous nature and quiet dignity. A noble breed, the Akita bonds deeply to its family and expresses great loyalty to those it loves. 

The Akita was never a dog breed intended to live in packs and can be prone to dog aggression, making it best suited to life as an only pet. Since the Akita can be strong-willed and challenging to train, the breed thrives in the home of an experienced owner.  

This noble breed has a relatively high activity level, meaning regular daily exercise is necessary to keep the Akita mentally and physically satisfied. The Akita was not designed to be a sedentary dog and will not flourish when confined to small spaces and given no outlet for its energy. 

The Akita is loyal and protective of its family members but is wary and aloof with strangers. Its large physical presence makes it intimidating to outsiders. The Akita will willingly stand its ground, not backing down from even the most fearful of predators. 

Affectionate and respectful of those it loves, the Akita is a much-beloved family member for those who wish to share their lives with a stubborn power breed with lots of love to give. 

Akita Breed History

  • Has roots to Northern Japan in the early 1600’s

  • The Akita was in danger of extinction in the early 20th century

  • Helen Keller is credited with bringing the Akita to America

A dog breed that traces its roots to northern Japan in the early 1600’s, the Akita belongs to the spitz family. 

The breed was developed by a nobleman who fell out of favor with the emperor and as a result was banished to the island of Honshu. Here, the nobleman was expected to function as the ruler of the region. During his time in Honshu, the newly appointed provincial ruler dedicated himself to the development of a dog breed that was imposing in size and well-suited to hunting. 

The Akita was born out of many years of thoughtful breeding decisions to produce a dog worthy of this ruler’s goal. His Akita excelled at large game hunting and eagerly accompanied its owners in pursuit of such animals as wild boar, deer, and even the Yezo bear. 

The banished aristrocrat’s Akita was a strong dog with a fierce sense of courage and a burning desire to work. The breed soon gained popularity with members of the Imperial family who for many years held the exclusive right to own an Akita. In time, the Akita became a fixture in many homes throughout Japan where it fulfilled the role of protector, guardian, and cherished friend. 

As many breeds have faced in the past, the Akita was in danger of extinction in the early 20th century. To prevent this from occurring, a group was founded whose primary purpose was to ensure the survival of the breed. Helen Keller was the first person to introduce the breed to America when she was given one as a gift during a visit to Japan. 

The Akita is a breed that features prominently in legends. According to Japanese tradition, each time a child is born, his or her parents are given a small statue of an Akita as a symbol of future happiness and longevity. An Akita by the name of Hachiko, a dog highly prized for its immense loyalty, was adopted as a beloved figure in Japan.

Akita Size & Weight

  • Akita male measures 26”-28” and weighs between 100-130 pounds

  • Akita Female measures 24”-26” and weighs between 70-100 pounds

  • Will easily gain weight if overfed or under-exercised

akita

The typical Akita male measures 26”-28” at the shoulder and weighs between 100-130 pounds. By comparison, female Akitas can reach heights of 24”-26” with their average weight ranging from 70-100 pounds. Dogs falling within these height and weight categories are considered large breeds. 

One of the biggest considerations potential owners need to weigh when thinking of purchasing an Akita is the additional cost involved in owning a large breed dog. 

The Akita requires regular activity to maintain a healthy body condition and will easily gain weight if overfed or under-exercised. However, an active Akita is a hungry Akita. The high-quality and volume of nutrition required to fuel a power breed such as an Akita is very costly. 

Akita Personality & Temperament

  • Brave & courageous breed

  • Has a natural mistrust of strangers

  • Akita loves to play with its family

akita with children

The Akita is a dog breed that is known for its bravery and courage. A bold dog, the Akita can be quite stubborn, making it a challenge to train. The Akita is in possession of great intelligence, requiring regular mental stimulation to avoid becoming bored and falling into nuisance or destructive behaviors. 

The Akita cannot be considered a friendly dog due to its natural mistrust of strangers. Though the Akita expresses deep loyalty to its family members, it will take new people time and much effort to gain this dog breed’s trust. 

However, with its family, the Akita is an entirely different dog. When at home, the Akita loves to play and takes great delight in lavishing its “people” with its most ardent affection.

As a large breed dog with high activity requirements, the Akita does best in a house with a fenced yard. However, this breed can adapt to apartment living if regular exercise is provided on a daily basis. The Akita is not a dog breed that enjoys spending time alone. If the dog is left with a bone or toy to occupy its time, the Akita will tolerate time on its own. 

When introducing an Akita to children, it is vital that all interactions be well supervised.

The Akita is naturally wary of strangers and will gravitate towards guarding its own people against others it perceives as intruders. To ensure the success of any meeting between an Akita and children, it is important that all kids understand the correct way to approach a dog. Respect for the Akita’s boundaries will go a long way towards building a good relationship between new children and the dog. 

It is not recommended that the Akita be brought into a home with other pets since dog aggression can be a part of the breed. For multi-dog homes wishing to add an Akita to their family, it is best to purchase a puppy that is the opposite gender to the dog or cat they currently own since same sex aggression is well-documented in this type of dog. Introducing an Akita puppy to a home of already-established pets can help ease the transition and is an excellent step towards ensuring harmony between all pet family members. 

A dog breed developed primarily to serve as a hunting companion, the Akita’s double coat provides protection against inclement weather conditions, making him well-suited to climates that experience all four seasons. 

Akita Health & Grooming

  • Predisposed to hip dysplasia, bloat, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, sebaceous adenitis

  • Minimal grooming required

  • Blows its coat 2 to 3 times each year

akita-grooming

The Akita typically enjoys good health. However, there are certain genetic illnesses and health conditions the breed can be predisposed to. These include hip dysplasia, bloat, hypothyroidism, and an eye disease known as progressive retinal atrophy. 

Another problem which can be common to the Akita is sebaceous adenitis, a condition which often appears when the dog is in the prime of its life. Though its effects are largely cosmetic, sebaceous adenitis can be uncomfortable for the dog, causing a foul smell and increasing the possibility of infections of the skin. 

Though the Akita is in possession of a beautiful double coat, minimal grooming is required to keep it healthy. To keep this dog’s coat in good condition, breed experts recommend bathing the Akita once every three months. In addition to bathing, the Akita’s nails should be trimmed at least once monthly, and regular ear and tooth cleaning should be performed on an as needed basis. 

The Akita’s coat does shed fairly frequently. To help reduce the amount of hair shed into the home environment, it is a good idea to brush the Akita daily. This dog breed also blows its coat two to three times each year. During this time, a much heavier coating of hair will be found throughout the home.  

Since Akitas do have a tendency to readily gain weight, it will be important to commit to regular daily exercise. In addition to this, all food should be carefully measured to prevent overeating. Excess weight puts undue strain on the Akita’s joints which can lead to such debilitating problems as hip or elbow dysplasia. 

The Akita is a dog breed that is prone to drooling regularly.  

Akita Training

  • The Akita can be challenging to train

  • Akitas respect owners who are authoritative with them

  • Treats & praise are powerful motivation

akita training

A breed that is known for its independence of thought, action, and spirit, the Akita can be uncooperative to train. To help an Akita learn its place, it is important to establish boundaries and to enforce them consistently. 

Akitas respect owners who are authoritative with them, so it is important to establish what is expected of the dog in order for any training session to be successful. Treats and praise can serve as a powerful form of motivation which help the Akita to see value in learning. 

Though the Akita can be obstinate, it is possible to teach this breed the basic commands in the six weeks it takes to fulfil a standard obedience class. However, patience and consistency are the keys to success when it comes to working with an Akita. 

In general, Akita puppies will nip in play just as other dog breeds will. However, this can be curbed through gentle redirection to other more appropriate objects to nibble on such as toys or bones. 

As a hunting breed, the Akita does have a penchant for chasing small animals it views as prey. Care must be taken to keep the dog securely contained at all times. 

The Akita is a relatively quiet dog breed but does make a sound that is quite unique when excited, frustrated, or angry. Barking is not a problem seen in Akitas. 

Akita Exercise Requirements

  • The Akita can be challenging to train

  • Akitas respect owners who are authoritative with them

  • Treats & praise are powerful motivation

akita-exercise

The Akita is considered a high energy breed; however, it is not a dog that could be classified as hyperactive. It is recommended that the Akita be taken for a 30 to 60 minute walk daily. A moderate pace is sufficient to satisfy the Akita’s desire for activity. 

Adult Akitas make excellent hiking and jogging companions, but these activities are best reserved for older dogs since dogs under the age of two have not yet had their growth plates closed, and vigorous activity could be harmful to their development. 

The dog park is best avoided because the Akita can be prone to dog aggression. However, the Akita does love to romp and play, so a session of fetch in the privacy of the backyard is an excellent idea. 

Akita Diet & Feeding

  • Puppies diet requires special attention

  • Always consider the activity level of your Akita

  • Adults need high-quality food rich in protein

akita-puppies diet

Akitas have different nutritional needs depending upon their stage of life. It is always best to consult with a veterinarian to formulate a feeding plan since each dog has very unique nutritional requirements. 

Special care must be taken when it comes to the diet for an Akita puppy.  Since puppies experience a rapid growth spurt between four and seven months of age, a high-quality, low calorie diet prevents a bone growth rate that is progressing too quickly for optimal health. 

The activity level of an Akita puppy should also be taken into consideration when it comes to how much food should be fed and how often. Each bag of puppy food will have a suggested guideline on it that can provide an excellent starting point. The amount can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of the puppy. 

Adult dogs require a high-quality food which is rich in lean protein sources and that is balanced in its formulation. As an average, an adult Akita will eat three to five cups of an excellent quality food daily. However, dogs that are more active may require slightly more while sedentary or elderly dogs will require less. The dog’s appetite and body condition can serve as a powerful indicator of whether or not the dog’s food should be increased or decreased. 

You may also be interested in:

Akita Rescue Groups

For families wishing to adopt an Akita, there are several different websites which can help connect people with Akitas for available for adoption in their area. 

Among the best resources for the Akita dog are:

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