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Akita: Dog Breed Information And Pictures

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Akita may not turn out to be an ideal pet for everyone. Yet, if you have decided to get one home, this article will be your perfect guide, giving you detailed information about the dog and how best to make it your ideal buddy.

Here we provide you with all the details you need to know about the Akita. It includes their history, temperament, grooming needs, health problems, and more. We have also included pictures of the Akita to help you understand their physical appearance better.

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Breed Characteristics

Breed Characteristics

The Akita is a large-sized breed originating in northern Japan’s mountainous terrain. Traditionally, these dogs were used in fighting, guarding, bear-hunting, and samurai. These mighty dogs stand out due to their loyalty and courageous demeanor.

Cut to the present times, the Akita is a more toned-down version compared to what it was in the past. With the right training, they can excel as great family dogs.

There are two strains of Akita – one is the Japanese strain, popularly called Akita Inu. The other is the American strain, American Akita, larger than its Japanese counterpart. Whether both strains are, the same or different is debatable. We’ll learn more about it in the article.

More About The Akita Dog

The Akita has an intimidating appearance. These dogs have broad and massive heads, which are in perfect balance with its body. When you view their head from the top, they look like a blunt triangle in shape. While the Japanese Akita’s head looks more fox-like because of its subtle features, the American Akita’s head is more bear-like.

Their muzzle appears broad and full, while the triangular-shaped ears are erect and rounded towards the tip. However, it is smaller than their head.

They have a deep and wide chest that is one-half their shoulder’s height. These dogs also have a cat-like foot and a curled tail carried to the top. Their small, dark, triangular-shaped eyes are deep-set, intensifying their intelligent expression further.



The Akita is an ancient breed that developed during the 17th century in Japan. History has it that a nobleman was banished to the Akita province and instructed to remain in exile for the rest of his life. This aristocrat was a dog enthusiast. He encouraged the barons he controlled to initiate the breeding of big and versatile hunting dogs.

The Akita dog was an outcome of selective breeding. It was bred to be an efficient hunter and a powerful working dog trained to hunt big games like the bear, wild boar, and deer. They even functioned as guard dogs to the Japanese royalty.

The Akita’s place in Japanese culture is unique, representing prosperity and good luck. During the birth of a child, the baby’s parents are given a figurine of Akita for the long life or happiness of the newborn.

The Akita’s history would remain incomplete without mentioning Hachiko, an Akita who lived in the 1920s and was the epitome of loyalty. He went to see off and receive his master at the rail station daily. One fine day his master didn’t return as he fell ill and passed away in his workplace. Hachiko was eighteen months then. Hachiko didn’t lose hope. He was at the railway station each day, waiting for his master to return. He continued doing the same until his death at the age of 11. It goes to show how faithful this dog breed is towards his master.

Hellen Keller played a significant role in introducing the Akitas to America. The Japanese government had presented her with two Akitas. In the US, a breed standard was set for this breed by 1939.

However, as the Second World War began, the Akita population suffered a major setback in the United States. The efforts of the US service members who brought this breed from Japan after the war helped restore their numbers.

The American Kennel Club acknowledged the Akita in the year 1955. The tiff between the Japanese and American Akita continues to the present day. In 2020, the AKC considered the Japanese and American Akitas as two distinct breeds, not allowing free breeding between the two. Other kennel clubs like the Japanese Kennel Club, New Zealand Kennel Club, and Kennel Club followed suit. They, too, recognize the Japanese and American strains as separate breeds.


They are big dogs with enormous sizes. The males are bigger than the female. While the males weigh between 100 and 130 pounds, the females weigh around 70 to 100 pounds.

Regarding their height, the males measure 26-28 inches, while the females are 24 to 26 inches.



Some traits that define the Akita the best include their alertness, intelligence, courage, and loyalty. These dogs aren’t suitable at all for first-timers. It’s because they are dominant and independent-minded.

Their reservedness and aloofness towards strangers need special mention. That’s why it’s essential to socialize the Akita with different people and situations right from when they are puppies. This way, they’ll eventually understand that not every stranger is threatening and will not show aggressiveness towards all unknown people.

According to some BSLs (Breed-specific Legislation), the Akita is considered dangerous. It’s due to its big size, stubbornness, and protective demeanor. In North America’s Bermuda, the Akita is considered a restricted breed. In the Republic of Ireland, they are one of the 12 breeds on whom the Control of Dogs Regulation (1998) places control. In Malaysia, they are banned, while Singapore restricts their import.


Despite their fierceness and aggression, the Akitas are affectionate to their family. They’ll do anything to protect their loved ones from any impending danger.

Another interesting trait of this breed is its meticulous nature and eye for detail. So don’t be surprised when you see your Akita consciously cleaning his face after a meal. It’s just like a cat in this regard.

These dogs love carrying objects in their mouth and taking them from one room to another. They might even perceive your wrist as some object and wouldn’t mind putting it into their mouth. However, you can use this trait of theirs positively and ask them to do errands like getting the newspaper or mail from the door.

The Akita bark or growl when they sense danger, see any stranger in their domain, or are bored.

Some Akita owners have mentioned their dogs muttering to themselves. While a few say that these dogs have an opinion about everything in their household.

Akita would need an elder’s supervision when small children are at home. If they are trained the right way, they will grow up as a loyal companion to your kid. But, if mistreated, it could pose a danger for your kid.

The Akita has a problem mingling with same-sex dogs. They are mostly not friendly with other dogs, especially if they aren’t a part of their family. That’s why you should always make them wear a leash while taking them on a walk or to the dog park.

The temperamental development of the Akita depends a lot on the type of training it gets. Remember, all Akitas won’t have a similar temperament. Some would be more aggressive, while others would be a little less. Training them isn’t easy because of their stubborn and independent nature. So, the trainer needs to be firm and diplomatic.



The Akita is a big dog, so have an increased risk of hip dysplasia and other joint problems. So, breeders are advised to screen their dogs for this condition so that it doesn’t pass on to the next generation.

They are also at a high risk of bloating, which can be life-threatening if not immediately intervened. That’s why feeding them small meals several times a day is important instead of one big meal. Also, avoid exercising them an or two before and after meal time.

Alongside the Beagle, Golden Retriever, and Doberman Pinschers, the Akita is also prone to hypothyroidism. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism include increased appetite and thirst, urination, diarrhea, vomiting, and so on. They also risk suffering from eye problems like microphthalmia, progressive retinal, and primary glaucoma. Some tests the National Breed Club recommends for the Akita include hip, thyroid, and ophthalmologist evaluation.


These dogs aren’t bubbling with energy, yet they need moderate exercise to stay energized and happy. The more you keep them active, the lesser the chances of being destructive. Long walks, with ample playtime within a fenced yard, will help. But never take them out without a leash.

They will be okay living in apartments if their exercise needs are met well. Boredom will trigger aggression, digging, chewing, excessive barking, and other undesirable behavior. So ensure that your Akita isn’t left by itself for long.

The Akita puppies are at an increased risk of bone disorder. So, ensure they don’t play or run on pavements or other hard surfaces until they are two years old. A grassy surface would be ideal for puppies to move around.

Also, take care of the other hygiene needs like cleaning their ears and eyes weekly and brushing their teeth twice or thrice a week. If you trimmed its nails monthly, it would save you and your dog from cuts or injuries. Thankfully, they aren’t high on doggy odor, so bathing the Akita once in six weeks would do.



A highly quality, readymade or homemade diet is needed to keep the Akita healthy. According to some experts of this breed, Akitas over seven years of age need low-calorie-dense food. It’s because these dogs are at risk of suffering from renal dysplasia. Eating such a diet may protect the Akitas from kidney disease.

Make sure you have a fresh bowl of water always. However, if your Akita drinks water excessively, it could point towards a kidney problem. So be vigilant.

Akitas can be possessive about their food. So when feeding these dogs, keeping other pets in the house and small kids away from them is essential.

These are big dogs weighing 70-130 pounds on average. So the Akitas differ from each other in their calorie intake. Their daily dose of calories is 1449 to 2086, approximately. So make sure that you meet your daily dose of calories.

Coat Color And Grooming

These dogs come in several colors like black, red, white, fawn, brown brindle, silver, brown, red, black overlay, silver and black overlay, brown and black overlay, and so on. The American Akitas come in a combination of colors like pinto, different shades of brindle, and solid white.

The color of the masks may vary as well from black to white. It’s to be remembered that the black mask is more prominently seen in American Akitas. In the Japanese Akita, however, black masks are considered a disqualification in shows. Akitas of Japan mostly have white markings on their face.

These dogs have a luxurious double coat. The undercoat appears short, thick, and dense. While the outer coat is longer than the undercoat, it’s harsh and straight.

These dogs are minimal shedders and shed profusely twice a year – spring and fall. You can remove dead hair by brushing regularly. Off-season, you can brush these dogs weekly. However, brush them thrice or four times a week during the shedding season.


Q. Do Akitas bite?

Yes, they may bite if they sense danger in their surroundings. Their bite force is extremely high, between 350 to 400 PSI, way above the average bite force, 235 PSI. Their bite can cause severe effects like torn muscles, ligaments or tendons, broken bones, and hemorrhage in severe cases. It could even be fatal for the person or animal who is bitten at.

Q. Are Akitas aggressive?

Akitas ranks pretty high on the aggressive and most dangerous dogs list. They display their aggression mostly when they face an unknown person or a strange situation. In a bid to protect themselves, they could turn aggressive.

Q. How is the Japanese Akita different from the American Akita?

The main difference between the two strains is in their size. The Japanese Akita appears shorter and a little lighter than their American counterpart. Another difference is their look – the fox-like appearance of the Japanese Akita against the bear-like look of the American Akita. The black facial mask seen in the American Akita is absent in the Japanese Akita.


The Akita may not be the perfect companion dog you have been looking for. But, when you bring it up the right way since its puppy days, few dogs would turn out as loyal and affectionate as the Akita. But, with an Akita at home, you need to be extra careful, or else it won’t take much time for a mishap to happen.

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