Akita Scientific Classification
KingdomAnimaliaPhylumChordataClassMammaliaOrderCarnivoraFamilyCanidaeGenusCanisScientific NameCanis lupus
Fun FactAlthough originating from Japan, the Akita has an American equivalent mixDistinctive FeaturePointed ears and upward curving tailTemperamentIntelligent, courageous and fearlessTrainingMedium – HardDietOmnivoreAverage Litter Size7TypeWorkingCommon NameAkitaSloganVery clean, intelligent and loyal!GroupDog
Akita Physical Characteristics
Skin TypeHairLifespan10 – 15 yearsWeight130 lbs
3 pros and cons of owning an Akita
|Loyal to its owner|
The Akita will form deep bonds with its owner.
|Wary of strangers|
Although very loyal and affectionate to its friends and companions, the Akita does not form relationships quickly.
This breed loves to be around well-known friends and family.
Because of the dog’s roaming and intelligent mind, boredom can lead to unwanted behavior.
The Akita rarely backs down from a challenge.
|Health and development problems|
This breed’s large frame can sometimes cause it problems, particularly in its youth.
Akita Size and Weight
The Akita is a large dog with a big bone structure and a muscular build. Here is a more complete breakdown of its size:
|Height (Male)||26 to 28 inches|
|Height (Female)||24 to 26 inches|
|Weight (Male)||100 to 130 pounds|
|Weight (Female)||70 to 100 pounds|
Akita Common Health Issues
The Akita is a generally healthy breed, but it does have some problems (especially those associated with the large frame) that may limit the life expectancy to about 10 years. It is somewhat prone to progressive retinal atrophy (in which the retina starts to degenerate), hypothyroidism (lethargy, obesity, hair loss, etc resulting from low production of the thyroid hormone), and hip dysplasia (misalignment between the thighbone and hip joint).
One of the breed’s other peculiarities is gastric dilatation-volvulus, also commonly known as bloat. Although this may not sound serious, it is actually a life-threatening condition, because the stomach can suddenly become twisted, making it impossible to expel air or gas. You should watch out for signs of this condition, including an enlarged abdomen, heavy salivation, weakness, rapid heartbeat, and retching without vomit.
Like many breeds, the Akita is also susceptible to cancer, skin conditions, ear infections, autoimmune disorders, kidney disease, and drug sensitivities. A good breeder and/or vet can screen for some of these problems early on.
To sum up the most pressing health issues:
- Ear Infections
- Eye Disease
The Akita is a strong, independent, willful dog with a dignified bearing and courageous personality. This can often lead to territorial behavior and distrust or indifference of strangers. It can also act aggressively toward other dogs, particularly those of the same sex. Fortunately, the Akita has a natural tendency to be fiercely loyal to its friends and owner, and if it’s properly trained and cared for, some of the most unappealing traits can be tempered with time.
Since this was bred to be a working dog, the Akita adjusts well to outdoor spaces and does best when it has a task to perform. But as a guard dog, it’s also easily acclimated to indoor living. This breed is not necessarily recommended for first-time dog owners or anyone who wants a low maintenance companion, but if you’re willing to put in the time, it can give a lot back.
How to Take Care of the Akita
The Akita is a high maintenance breed that takes time and effort to care for. Especially if you obtain this dog as a puppy, this breed will have different needs throughout its lifetime that require attention. You should be proactive about identifying and working out problems with the dog’s health and behavior.
Akita Food and Diet
A typical adult Akita requires about 3 to 5 cups of high-quality dog food every day, though the exact amount depends on the dog’s age, size, activity level, and metabolism. Experts suggest you should switch to a less calorie-dense food after the age of seven in order to prevent kidney disease. Occasional dog treats can also help your dog with training.
Akita Maintenance and Grooming
The Akita has a rather thick double coat of fur that requires brushing at least once a week. Although not a regular shedder, it does have two periods throughout the year in which the hair will shed in large clumps, requiring particularly frequent brushes. The Akita is very good about keeping its fur clean, but you should endeavor to trim its nails, clean its ears, and brush its teeth on a regular basis to maintain proper health and hygiene.
The Akita is a very alert and intelligent breed with an independent nature. Although this stubborn streak will sometimes interfere with training, the Akita is very responsive and eager to learn new things. It responds best to calm but assertive training methods that make it clear you’re in charge without alienating it. However, this breed needs to be properly socialized at an early age, or else it might exhibit anti-social behavior later in life.
The Akita is an energetic breed that requires about 30 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise per day. Jogs, brisk walks, or playtime in a large space (particularly a fenced yard) should be sufficient to burn off its excess energy, while fun tricks and tasks can delight both dog and owner. It is a good idea to keep its exercise routine varied and engaging. Otherwise, it might grow bored and restless, which can lead to digging, chewing, or barking. You also should not let it off the leash often, or else it might chase after smaller animals.
As puppies, the Akita requires some special care and plenty of high-quality food to support its growing body. It is most susceptible to bone disorders between the ages of four and seven months, when it experiences a rapid growth spurt. High impact exercise or play on hard surfaces may place stress on the dog’s joints until it grows to about two years old. Early checkups at the vet are a necessity for this breed of dog.
Akitas and Children
The Akita does enjoy the presence and affection of children, but it might not be suitable for all family situations. Younger children, in particular, might have poor interactions with this breed. They can be overwhelmed by the dog’s enormous size, while the Akita in turn might not tolerate mistreatment at the hands of young children. This breed does best in homes with older, more responsible children.
Dogs Similar to the Akita
If you are a fan of the Akita, then you might want to check out the following breeds:
- Shiba Inu: Perhaps the most famous Japanese dog export, the Shiba Inu is an ancient breed that dates back to around 300 BC. It was originally bred as a strong and adept hunter in Japan’s rugged mountain terrain, but today the Shiba Inu is a popular companion, widely loved for its expressive appearance and personality. Coat colors include red, sesame, or black and tan.
- Ainu: Also known as the Hokkaido, this breed originated in the northernmost island of Japan. Its strong build, exceptional bravery, resistance to the cold weather, and extraordinary sense of smell made it an excellent hunting companion for the native Ainu people. Coat colors include brindle, sesame, solid white, red, black, and wolf grey.
- Siberian Husky: Although not closely related to the Akita, the Siberian Husky shares a similarly huge frame, thick grey or black coat, athletic nature, and a stubborn streak as other types of spitz. The husky is also very loyal, outgoing, and resilient.
Popular Names for the Akita
If you want to give your dog an authentic Japanese name, then these are some of the top picks (the first five are male, the next five are female):
The Akita is well-known throughout the world for its endearing temperament and loyal personality. A particularly loyal dog called Hachiko became the most famous Akita of all time after waiting nine years by a train station for the return of its dead owner in the 1920s. Besides being immortalized by a statue, its story was also adapted into the film “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” starring Richard Gere. Famous owners include Helen Keller, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Henry Cavill, and the boxer Evander Holyfield.