Akita Inu

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70-100 lbs
24-26"
Japan
Akita Inu, Japanese Akita, Akita Ken

The Akita breed is known for its loyalty and companionship now, but when the breed originated in the 1600s, it was used as a fighting dog and to hunt bear. With the thick double-layered coat, the Akita is safe from the snow and the cold all winter long. The Akita is an excellent companion dog, loyal and protective of its family and will forever be devoted to all of you. The Akita does not require much grooming because they are very clean dogs that groom themselves like a cat. Brushing them once a week and trimming their nails is recommended but they do not need to be bathed except maybe once a month or if they get especially dirty. They are energetic and need exercise daily so you should be prepared to take them on long walks or for a trip to the park. When it gets cold, your Akita seems to have more energy and wants to spend hours out in the yard hunting and rolling in the snow.

Purpose
Hunting Game, Dog Fighting
Date of Origin
1600s
Ancestry
Northern Spitz

Akita Inu Health

Average Size
Height: 26-28 inches Weight: 100-130 lbs
Height: 24-26 inches Weight: 70-100 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Von Willebrand's Disease
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis
Minor Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Pemphigus
  • Sebaceous Adenitis
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • Blood
  • Dna For Vwd
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Akita Inu Breed History

The Akita breed was named after the Akita prefecture on the island of Honshū where the dogs originated in Japan in the 1600s. These dogs were originally found in the snowy mountains and were referred to as snow country dogs by the natives before they were named Akita. There is a debate about the name between the United States, Canada, and the rest of the country. According to the US and Canada, there is only one breed of Akita and there are two types, the American Akita and Japanese Akita. However, the rest of the world considers these two as separate breeds. The Akita Inu Hozonkai Society of Japan was founded in the late 1920s and the breed was designated as a national treasure to Japan in 1937. The reason for this decision was the loyalty of the Akita, Haichiko, who met his owner at the train station every day at a certain time. Haichiko continued to go to the train station every day to wait for him for almost a decade after his owner died. The first Akita in the United States was given as a gift to Helen Keller from the Japanese government while she was there visiting. Her name was Kamikaze-Go. However, the American Kennel Club did not officially recognize the breed until 1972, almost 40 years later. The Akita comes from the Northern Spitz breed. The original purpose of the breed was to hunt large animals such as elk, bear, deer, and wild boar. The hunters had the Akita flush out and corner the game until they were able to come and shoot it. Some also trained their Akita for fighting by mixing them with a fighting dog breed, called the Tosa. After a fatal outbreak of rabies in the early 1900s where over 3,000 Akitas died, that tradition was stopped. Several years after Helen Keller got her Akita, soldiers in World War II smuggled many Akitas home from war to save them from being killed for food or shot.

Akita Inu Breed Appearance

The Akita has a very powerful and muscular body type with large bones and a powerful appearance. The muzzle is deep, their dark brown eyes are small and alert, and they have pointed ears that are slightly angled. Some say their massive triangular head is bear-like. They look fierce and determined, which fits with their stubborn personality. They have a broad black nose with a lighter (preferably white) mask. Teeth are strong with a scissors or level bite in a powerful jaw. Their paws are huge but cat-like and well-knuckled with thick foot pads. The thick and furry tail is the trademark of the Akita, and curls up over the back and no two tails are alike. Some have a double curl. The medium length coat is double-coated. The undercoat is thick and soft with a longer protective hair coat called guard hairs. These are not as soft as the undercoat. It is dense enough to keep them warm and dry in the harshest conditions such as the mountains of Japan where they are from. There are many types of coat colors such as red, gray, black, silver, pinto, white, black brindle, blue brindle, brown brindle, red brindle, fawn, and fawn brindle. Some have a mask that is white or a lighter color than the rest of the coat. Also, the undercoat may be a different color than the outer coat.

Eye Color Possibilities
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
Black
Brown
Coat Color Possibilities
Black
Brown
Red
Fawn
Silver
Brindle
White
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Akita Inu Breed Maintenance

Although the Akita is a clean dog that grooms regularly, you should brush them at least once a week to keep them from shedding too much. Just a short brushing with a soft brush is sufficient. They do not need to be bathed unless they get unusually dirty since they do most of their own grooming. A shampoo once every few months is suggested. The Akita sheds quite heavily a few times per year. Because of this, they are not considered hypoallergenic. It is always a good idea to brush your dog’s teeth once a day but you should ask your veterinary care provider for tips and what you should use to clean them with. You should not use toothpaste unless recommended by the veterinarian. Pay special attention to your Akita’s eyes because they are prone to many eye conditions. Call your veterinarian if there is any whiteness, redness, or discharge from the eyes. The Akita needs plenty of exercise and you should plan to take your dog for a brisk walk or jog daily as well as allowing him to run in a large fenced yard. In fact, they can (and prefer to) live outside in colder climates. You should provide shelter (like a dog house), shade, and plenty of water for your Akita while outside. They like to play and hunt, especially in the winter when it snows. Akitas love the snow. Because Akitas are so large and have so much energy, they get hungry fast and tend to eat too quickly. The veterinarian can recommend a special bowl to help with this habit and can recommend a feeding schedule. It is suggested that you feed your Akita twice a day to total about six cups of food per day, depending on the size of your dog. A premium commercial dog food with meat as the first ingredient should be fed with fresh food as well. Cubed vegetables such as peas, carrots, potatoes, and yams; hard boiled eggs, and rice are good fresh foods to feed your Akita.

Brushes for Akita Inu
Pin Brush
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Akita Inu Temperament

The Akita can be aggressive to other animals and should not be trusted around smaller animals like cats, chickens, and ducks. Every Akita is a hunter, even if they have never been taught to hunt. Therefore, they will hunt, attack, and eat small animals that they consider to be game. Adult supervision is recommended with children and they should be taught not to tease the Akita. Because they consider eye contact to be a challenge, you should never get down in the Akita’s face and look them in the eye. Even if you have had the dog for years, they have an instinct in them that can pop up at any time if triggered. In addition, they are very possessive of their food so nobody should be allowed near the Akita during meals. Strangers are considered the enemy to your Akita so you will need to introduce your dog to friends and relatives in order to keep them from being attacked. However, the Akita is a loving and loyal companion dog and will protect the family against anything. The Akita is not a barking dog but will be vocal with owners. Training an Akita can be difficult because they are so determined and stubborn. But, they are very smart and with the right training and a lot of patience from you, your Akita can learn to do anything. 

Akita Inu Activity Requirements

The Akita is a very forward, energetic dog who will thrive and be at their best with exercise, attention, mental stimulation, and fresh air all in abundance. The perfect companion for hiking and running, especially in cool or cold weather, the Akita prefers human companionship over canine company as his tendency to want to dominate may be a hindrance at the dog park. However, with early socialization and consistent effort, you and your dog can enjoy the company of others while at work or play. Regular intensive activity is a must for this breed, so take advantage and keep both yourself and your dog in tip top shape.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Akita Inu Popularity

Popularity ranking
#46

Akita Inu Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$2 - $2.3
Monthly Cost
$60 - $67.5

Akita Inu Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 23 inches Weight: 61 lbs
Height: 21 inches Weight: 52 lbs
12 Months
Height: 25 inches Weight: 77 lbs
Height: 23 inches Weight: 65 lbs
18 Months
Height: 27 inches Weight: 110 lbs
Height: 25 inches Weight: 82 lbs

Top Akita Inu Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Akita Inu breeders of 2017.
Avalon Akitas
Hudsonville, Michigan
Royal Akitas
Chillicothe, Missouri
Tenshi Akitas
Bowie, Maryland
Ali'i Alaskan Inu Kennels
Wasilla, Alaska
Summit Akitas
Grant Park, Illinois
Sun Devil Akitas
Chandler, Arizona
Shinto Akitas
Lavaca, Arkansas
Mojo Akitas
Gilroy, California
Minda Akitas
Mount Shasta, California
Red Dawn Akitas
Cathedral City, California

Akita Inu Owner Experiences