The iconic Akita is an eye catching dog!
The breed is also known for being loyal, noble and loving.
But does the Akita also make a good family pet?
And if so, is he a mostly healthy dog?
Let’s find out if this breed is the right fit for you!
What Is an Akita?
The Akita is also known as the Akita Inu.
The breed comes from the mountains of Japan.
And there are two varieties.
The Japanese Akita and the American Akita.
The American Akita comes in a bigger range of colors.
This is a tough, strong breed of dog.
With a free spirited personality to go with his gorgeous, thick coat.
Hachiko the Akita
The Akita’s devotion is has been turned into a famous story.
Hachiko was a Japanese dog in the 1920s.
He walked with his owner to the train station every day.
When his owner passed, Hachiko waited for him at the station.
And he didn’t leave for the next nine years until his own death.
Many locals tried to take him in and care for him as their own.
But Hachiko waited for his master.
A statue of Hachiko now stands at the Shibuya train station.
In memory of the dog’s loyalty.
But loyalty isn’t this breed’s only trait.
He is also known for his bravery and intelligence
Where Did the Akita Originally Come from?
The Akita came from an ancient line of dogs.
The Japanese hunting dogs known as the Matagi.
The Matagi dog was big and brave.
Used for hunting large game such as bears, boar and deer.
Japanese history describes the Akita’s ancestors as one of the oldest native dog breeds.
A Historical Mix
The modern-day Akita came from the Akita region.
An area on the island of Honshu.
These dogs were mixed with some other breeds.
Others the Tosa Inu and the German Shepherd.
Whatever the original mix was, this dog became a well loved breed.
The Akita is known for his loyalty and devotion.
This breed is very loving and friendly with his family members.
However, he can be quite reserved with strangers.
And so the Akita is considered to be a dangerous breed by some.
And is even banned in a number of regions.
Akitas can be quite territorial.
They may treat people they don’t know with suspicion.
A strong dog, they can be overly protective of their family and home.
For this reason, the breed is not recommended for first-time dog owners.
They also need to be watched around kids and dogs they do not know.
This is vital for breeds with guarding instincts.
They need to get to know lots of people when they are puppies.
Be taken to a lot of new places, and have many guests in their homes.
Early socialization and obedience training matter.
Positive reinforcement methods are essential.
They can help to ensure that your Akita is a friendly dog.
The Akita is a large breed of dog.
Males stand about 26-28 inches tall.
They can weigh anywhere from 100 to 130 pounds.
Female Akitas are a bit smaller.
They tend to grow to around 24-26 inches tall.
And probably won’t weigh more than 100 pounds.
What Do Akitas Look Like?
The Akita has a thick, double-coat with erect ears.
They have bright, intelligent eyes and a curled tail.
The Japanese Akita has a specific color pattern.
The color combinations are limited to:
- Red fawn
They have the iconic fox like look we all love.
The American Akita, typically referred to as simply the Akita, comes in a wider variety of colors.
- Red fawn
Regardless of coat color, they all need regular brushing!
How to Groom an Akita
Most Akitas love being clean.
This is a very tidy dog who will often wash his own face after eating.
He is also said to have no real dog odor!
The thick double-coat should be brushed at least once a week.
This will help get rid of loose hair.
It will also keep his fur looking healthy and shiny.
The Akita is a seasonal shedder.
Twice a year he will lose a large amount of fur.
Between this his molt will be minimal.
Brushing during the shed will help but you will still find some loose hair in your home.
Trim your dog’s nails from time to time.
This will help to avoid splitting or cracking.
The Akita’s ears should also be cleaned.
This will avoid moisture buildup, wax buildup and ear infections.
Life Span and Health Issues of the Akita
The Akita is a very tough dog in terms of his body structure too.
After all, he was built to live in harsh mountains!
He has an average life span of 10-13 years.
While he is a healthy breed of dog, the Akita still has some issues to be aware of.
- hip dysplasia
- progressive retinal atrophy
- myasthenia gravis
- von Willebrand disease
- immune system disorders
What Is the Ideal Home Environment for an Akita?
The Akita is a surprisingly adaptable dog.
He does not need too much exercise and plays in spurts.
For this reason, he does well in a range of home environments.
Apartments or large homes with yards should suit this breed well.
As long as he is given a walk or romp at least once a day and is given plenty of love and attention.
We mentioned this is a dog who may be banned in some regions.
So it’s important to look up the local laws in your area to make sure the Akita is allowed.
Keep in mind that this is not the breed for the novice owner.
He will require consistent training, and much early socialization.
And still may not get along well with strangers or other animals.
We would not recomend him for families with young children.
How Can I Find an Akita Puppy?
Most problems can be avoided by research.
Find a good breeder who health tests both parents.
Check the list of health issues above and make sure each parent is clear.
Good hip scores and a clear PRA test are the minimum you should require.
Akita puppies cost anywhere from $800 to more than $1,000.
They will be more if they are show quality.
Make sure you meet both parents.
They should both greet you confidently and without aggression.
They should also have an obvious bond with their owner.
If you have any concerns about the litter or parents, then it’s time to look elsewhere.
Do you have a lovely Akita?
Is he a fan of strangers or does he prefer his family?
Why not let us all know in the comments section below!
References and Further Reading
Cottell, et al. 1987. “Hardada’s Disease in the Japanese Akita.” Journal of Small Animal Practice.
Glickman, et al. 2000. “Non-Dietary Risk Factors for Gastric Dilation-Volvulus in Large and Giant Breed Dogs.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Hashimoto, et al. 1984. “Further Studies on the Red Cell Glycolipids of Various Breeds of Dogs. A Possible Assumption about the Origin of Japanese Dogs.” The Journal of Biochemistry.
Howell, 2015. “Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior.” Dovepress.
Irion, et al. 2003. “Analysis of Genetic Variation in 28 Dog Breed Populations With 100 Microsatellite Markers.” Journal of Heredity.
Laratta et al. 1985. “Multiple Congenital Ocular Defects in the Akita Dog.” Life Sciences Literature.
Sutter, N.B. and Ostrander, E.A. 2004. “Dog Star Rising: The Canine Genetic System.” Nature Reviews Genetics.