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Akita Dog Breed Complete Information

Akita dogs are seen as a symbol of protection and used as police dogs in Japan.

Other Names: Akita Inu, Japanese Akita

Country Of Origin: Japan

Dog Group: Utility

Size: Large

Recommended For: Couples, single owners

Maintenance Level: Low

Lifespan: 10-12 years

Temperament: Loyal, affectionate, aloof

FAQ:

Good For the First-Time Owner? No

Good With Children? Yes

Good With Other Animals? No

Good With Strangers? No

Good For Apartments? No

Exercise Requirements? Daily walks

Can Live In Hot Weather? No

Can Live In Cold Weather? Yes

Can Tolerate Being Left Alone? Yes

Grooming? Weekly brushing

Trainability? Moderate

Breed Overview:

Akitas originated from northern Japan and were bred for use in the mountains.

There are two types- Japanese and American, and both are recognized separately.

Originally bred for hunting, but for hundreds of years, they were kept as companion pets.

They like to be kept as only pets and can be aggressive towards other dogs and small children.

Color: All colors are allowed by kennel clubs, and the breed is most commonly found in brindle, pinto, white, or any mix of the above.

Coat length: Medium, double-layered

Height: Males – 26-28,” females – 24-26.”

Weight: Males – 110lbs, females – 80lbs

RELATED: Akita vs Shiba Differences

Personality And Temperament:

The breeds are naturally very independent and were bred to live alone rather than in groups.

This is a trait that’s still present, and as a result, dogs can be temperamental around other animals like cats.

However, if they’re socialized from an early age, then you have a much better chance of them being tolerant of other dogs.

Even if you do socialize them, Akitas will try and dominate any group of animals.

The breed isn’t suitable for first-time owners because they can be quite challenging to control.

They’re quite large dogs, and because of their heritage as bear hunters, they’re also powerful.

Their intelligence means they’re reasonably hard to train if you’re not committed, and the breed has regularly been known to get bored of training.

As a general rule, Akitas are very aloof and can be wary of strangers.

This is again because of their nature, and although you might be able to train them to tolerate strangers, they should still be walked with caution.

Many Akita owners don’t let them off the lead while walking to prevent any issues.

Akitas ideally shouldn’t be kept in apartments because they’re too energetic.

They’re known to have cat-like temperaments when it comes to sleeping but can also bounce off the walls with energy.

While you can keep them in apartments, you should only do so if you’re committed to giving them plenty of exercises, which they need plenty of anyway.

Akitas should be walked every day, typically for a few hours. The breed needs plenty of mental and physical stimulation, and many owners take them out for several walks a day to give them enough exercise.

Considering their attitude towards other dogs, this can be quite difficult if you live in an urban area and have many other dog owners to contend with.

When it comes to potential owners, Akitas are suitable for almost anyone with dog keeping experience.

If you live alone and are thinking of getting an Akita, be aware of the breed’s exercise needs, as this is something you’ll have to manage on your own.

The breed is fine to be kept with children, including young children, but the dog should be integrated into the family as early as possible.

They can tolerate accidentally aggressive behavior from children, but owners should be wary because of the breed’s tendency to snap if alerted.

For the same reason, Akitas make excellent guard dogs. They’re very wary of noise and are large enough to intimidate most intruders.

They will bark at small noises, which can be both a blessing and a curse depending on the context.

It’s also worth noting that Akitas are an immaculate breed, and can very easily housetrain.

Due to their origins in the Japanese mountains, Akitas aren’t suitable for hot climates.

Their coats are very thick and dense, and so they can overheat quickly if not monitored.

They’re very similar to Huskies, and so this should be used as an indicator of the pleasant climates for the breed. On the reverse of this, they’re ideal for colder climates and thrive in cold weather.

Akitas can tolerate being left alone for long periods, providing they have something to keep them entertained.

If not, the dog might become destructive, which is not ideal considering their size.

Although they can be difficult to train, starting from an early age makes it much more comfortable, and the same is true for leaving them alone.

If you raise the dog and gradually leave it for more extended periods, you’ll have a much better chance of success than if you start later in life.

Grooming:

Akitas are generally very clean dogs, and much more effort to clean themselves than other breeds.

They tend to shed once or twice a year with seasonal changes, and during these times they will produce a lot of hair.

However, they generally don’t shed for the rest of the year, so it’s quite tolerable.

That said, you should still brush them around once a week to keep their coat in good condition.

It’s quite thick, and so is prone to develop knots, although the dog will make its attempts to remove these.

A sturdy comb will make short work of any tangles or knots in their fur, but be very careful when combing out knots because they can be very painful.

Although their coat is very thick, the individual hairs are very fine, particularly in their undercoat.

An easy way to deal with this is to spray the dog lightly with water from a spritzer bottle before brushing, but there’s no need to spray them too heavily.

You want their coat to be wet enough that the hairs stick together when combed out.

Akitas don’t need to be bathed too often because they do an excellent job of keeping themselves clean.

Their fur repels dirt, and anything that does stick will be cleaned off pretty quickly by the dog.

Also, because their coat is very thick, it takes a very long time to dry, and it’s difficult to wash out any shampoo properly.

Save bathing for times when it’s essential, and if you think your dog might need a bath, spend a bit longer brushing them instead.

Common Diseases And Conditions:

Akitas are prone to autoimmune diseases, many of which will be present from birth.

They can be affected by autoimmune diseases relating to the skin, the blood, adrenal glands, and thyroid.

If you’re buying a purebred Akita, these diseases will be much more likely, and it’s worth getting a health certificate for the dog before purchasing.

You can often manage these illnesses with medication, but they are incurable.

Akitas are also prone to diabetes, eye problems, such as retinal atrophy,  sensitivity to vaccines and some medications, Cushing’s Syndrome, and hip dysplasia.

Again, these conditions will be more prevalent in purebred dogs, and many unfortunately begin in later life.

Your vet will be aware that Akitas are prone to these illnesses, so regular checkups are essential.

History:

In Japan, they recognized Akitas as one of the oldest breeds and still hold a special place in the culture.

They were initially bred to hunt bears, but have also been kept as companion pets and working dogs.

The first Akita was brought to America in 1937 by Helen Keller, who had visited Japan and expressed an interest in the breed.

However, the breed remained rare in the USA before and during World War 2, which impacted relations between the two countries.

In Japan, during the war, Akitas nearly became extinct because they were used for food and clothing by the local populations.

After World War 2, American and Japanese Akitas began to differ, thanks to the desired breed standards in the different countries.

American Akitas usually have a more massive bone structure and bulkier heads, whereas Japanese Akitas tend to be slimmer and lighter.

American Akitas were first recognized as Miscellaneous Class in 1955 then recognized as Working Class by the American Kennel Club in 1972  and was then recognized by the Japan Kennel Club in 1992.

The breed continued to be famous all over the world and was made even more prominent when featured in a meme in the mid-2000s.

Akita Infographicakita infographic

Akita Facts & Figures:

Did You Know?

  • The breed has webbed toes that allow it to walk on snow without sinking.
  • Akitas become much more energetic in cold weather, and can happily spend all day in the snow.
  • In Japan, the Akita is considered a national treasure, and statues are given to couples upon the birth of a child.
  • Tails are one of the easiest identifiers of Akitas, and each dog has a different tail. This can be seen in its color, density, and curl.
  • Akitas are known to clean themselves in the same way cats do and require very little grooming.
  • Hachi: A Dog’s Tale movie is based on the true story of a faithful and most famous Akita Inu,  Hachikō,

  • Russian president Vladimir Putin has an Akita, called Yume. It was given to him by Japan as thanks for Russian help during an earthquake. It was born in 2012 and is still alive, and is kept at his official residence in Moscow.
  • If you are looking for an Akita dog for sale, price ranges from USD 750-2000.