- Activity Level: high
- Grooming Level: high
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: sometimes
- Average Size: Large
- Prey Drive: high
- Watchdog: very alert
- Registered?: aca, akc
Akita Breed Profile
Did You Know?
This striking working breed originated from the province of Akita in Japan and dates to the 1600s when, legend says, they were bred to hunt the Yezo bear which overran a small island there. Later given to the Emperor, the breed became a symbol of good luck throughout Japanese culture.
This strong and dedicated breed not only protected their royalty, but also was used to hunt large game such as deer and wild boar and bear. Today, it is still considered a symbol of good luck in Japan to own an Akita. These dogs make popular companion dogs and are known for being alert, loyal, and fearless, which makes them excellent watchdogs.
The Akita is an ACA-recognized dog breed that will be extremely loyal and affectionate to their owner and family. Although the breed will be well-behaved in appropriate social encounters when introduced, these dogs can be very protective guardians of children and puppies. It is important to watch them around strangers, especially young children. They are generally quiet dogs and use barking to alert you. They are good watchdogs because of this and their protective nature.
This intelligent breed should be socialized early with people, especially little children, other dogs, and pets. If you decide to adopt an Akita into your family, you will need to start socialization as early as possible and continue to socialize your puppy into adulthood. This will help them have a more favorable temperament when encountering unusual situations. Repetition is key in training them not to be aggressive in unfamiliar situations.
Keep in mind that if dogs, in general, are not properly socialized, they will often become anxious, depressed, or aggressive. When they are puppies, socialize them with other canines, other pets (especially smaller ones), new environments, and new people. Then, they will know they are safe around others, even when you are not there.
Well-bred Akitas are affectionate and thrive on human companionship. They also bark very little, which makes them suitable for apartment living if you have the space. They can easily get bored, so they will need to get an adequate amount of daily exercise and interaction.
Although they can be aloof, they like spending time around their people. They are a loyal and loving breed, intelligent and independent. It is important to begin training early with your Akita to develop a mutual respect between your puppy and you. This training should continue right into adulthood, taking advantage of various situations to reinforce what you have already taught and praising their cooperation!
They can easily get bored, so variety is the best choice for training and physical activities. Start training your puppy at home until they are up to date on vaccines including rabies shots, then puppy training classes will be most beneficial – unless you have had experience with the breed.
As with any breed, there are some common health issues you might encounter. The Akita is generally healthy but can be prone to hip dysplasia, acquired myasthenia gravis, thyroid issues, progressive retinal atrophy, and some immune system disorders that can affect the hair and skin. Careful breeders screen their dogs for genetic issues, but even with the best of breeding practices, it is possible for a health issue to arise.
Researching the Akita breed will help you be aware of potential conditions and should ease your mind regarding these issues. One of the best ways to keep your Akita healthy is to control their weight. It is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of this dog breed.
To keep your pet healthy, we suggest regular vet checkups, a nourishing diet, and an exercise routine. Discuss ailments or possible future ailments with your vet. By deciding on a specific diet plan, you and your veterinarian will help your dog enjoy good health for years to come. Like humans, as your dog matures we also suggest beginning physical therapy and possible brainteasers. This will keep the mind and body sharp as your dog ages.
Due to their independent nature, a novice dog owner may find it difficult to handle an Akita without some training as well. With the help of a professional dog trainer, the transition will be a smooth one for both you and your new puppy.
Each dog breed is unique in their personality and needs. Make sure you understand and research this breed before purchasing your Akita puppy from a reputable breeder. Don’t be afraid to contact a prospective breeder and ask any questions you may have. You will be pleasantly surprised by how excited breeders are to discuss their puppies and practices. Plus, you may even walk away with some training tips!
Akitas come in many colors including white, brindle, and pinto. They can have a mask or not. They can have brown, black, tan, or something in between as a second color.
The Akita has a very soft and dense undercoat and an outer coat that is straight and coarse. This breed requires weekly brushing to help keep their coat clean and remove dead hair. They will lose their coat twice a year, in the spring and fall. This is when daily brushing is particularly important to help remove the loose fur.
As with any breed, it is important to care for your dog’s nails, ears, and teeth and to begin a routine at a young age. Cutting your dog’s nails monthly is a good start, but you may need to trim nails more often depending on how quickly they grow.
Regularly checking ears on a weekly basis and carefully cleaning your dog’s ears as needed can help prevent ear infections. You also want to practice good dental care for dogs to protect them from painful dental diseases later in life. Using an enzyme toothpaste or brushing their teeth every day is ideal.
The Akita requires less physical activity than most other breeds their size. These puppies need daily exercise, and a few brisk walks (or about 30 minutes of exercise) a day will keep them happy. They should be given the chance to run a few times a week to help with weight control.
A fully-grown Akita usually stands 24-28 inches tall and weighs 75-130 pounds.
An Akita generally lives for 10 to 15 years.
In Japan, a statue of an Akita is associated with health, happiness, and a long life. It is common to give a small statue of the dog breed to a family who has just had a child.
Hachiko is the most famous Akita. He waited for his owner to come home from work at the train station every day. One day, his owner passed away unexpectedly and never came off the train. Hachiko spent 9 years at the train station waiting for his owner to come home.