Akita Dog Breed


 The Akita is one of the oldest dog breeds on Earth, bred in the northern regions of Japan. This is a proud, strong and loyal pet.

At the dog57 dog breed registry, we'll show you what an Akita looks like, talking about its origins, personality, and physical characteristics as well as its training and the most common illnesses it typically suffers from. You'll find all about the Akita dog below. Read on.


        brief information
        key moments
        breed characteristics
        History of the Akita dynasty
        Characteristics of the American Akita
        Appearance and special characteristics of the breed.
        life expectancy
        Training and education
        Care and maintenance
        care features
        Akita health and disease
        How to choose a puppy

short info

       Breed name: Akita
       Country of Origin: Japan
       Breed Origin Time: 1964
       Weight: 23 - 39 kg
       Height (length at withers): Males 64-70cm, Females 58-64cm
       Life span: 10-12 years

key moments

The Akita does not like other dogs, especially his kind.
Correct upbringing, long-term socialization, competent training are critical, otherwise, the animal can grow aggressively. They are noble and disciplined, but only when they recognize the owner as of the unconditional leader. Akita sheds heavily twice a year. Dogs feel comfortable in the house and apartment, but require frequent walking and physical activity.

Akita are Spitz-shaped dogs that were bred in northern Japan (Akita Prefecture). They have a muscular build and thick and short hair. The character is dominant, independent, requires stubborn training and a respectful attitude. This breed is suitable for experienced, calm, and self-confident dog breeders. There are two lines, sometimes classified as different breeds: the Akita Inu ("native" sub-breeds) and the American Akita.

History of the Akita Inu breed

According to ancient historical sources in Japan, the ancestor of modern representatives of the breed is the Mataji Inu (Matagi is an ethnic group of hunters, the Inu is a “dog”). The original region of the Akita Inu is Akita Prefecture on the island of Honshu. Matagi-inu and its predecessors served people as indispensable assistants in hunting, which allowed them to get very large or skilled animals: Japanese macaques, bears, wild boars.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, a new popular entertainment appeared in Japan - dog fights. He became a cruel choice of these dogs, leaving only the strongest, most ferocious, and persistent. In the nineteenth century, a wave of industrialization swept the country, many of the population moved, and the number of crimes increased. Because of this, Matagi Inu was retrained to guard property. At the same time, the mastiff and the bull, the great Danes from Europe, were brought to Japan, to revive the tradition of dogfighting. Increasingly, Akita were crossed with these dogs to produce more aggressive and larger dogs.

This caused concern for Japanese dog breeders because the breed began to lose its contours, so in 1931 the Akita Inu was transferred to the status of a state natural monument. Breeders are actively involved in the revival of the breeding, selecting only its best representatives for breeding. In 1934, the first official standard was introduced, but over time it had to be modified. At about the same time, the breed received its modern name, and in 1967 a thematic museum was opened.

The Akita Inu was severely damaged during the Second World War - these dogs almost disappeared. They starved, became victims of people barely alive, and their skins were used for clothing. At the end of the war, a government decree was passed to exterminate all dogs unfit for military use, as a real rabies epidemic began in Japan.

For this reason, breeders hid some representatives of the breed in remote settlements and bred them together with Matagi Inu. Also, amateurs have bred Akita hybrid generations with German Shepherds to adapt them for military service.

After the war, a new round of restoration of the Akita Inu breed began, and the greatest contribution was made by Mori Swataishi - thanks to him these unique dogs have survived to this day. Purebred individuals had to be collected all over the country, but this paid off. The US Army loved the charming and proud Akita, so the breed was brought to the United States.

Features of the American Akita

The American branch of this breed appeared precisely after the Second World War when the US Army began to take puppies home. Interestingly, they were mainly interested in large mestizo, which is somewhat similar to bears, and not purebred dogs. This was in favor of Japanese dog breeders, who did not want to share the difficult-to-re-create breed.

Breed experiments continued in the USA, where they managed to get more massive dogs with a serious appearance - which is why we now have two types of the breed with significant differences. The Americans were able to gain recognition from the AKC (American Kennel Club - an organization that registers purebred dogs and new breeds) only after they refused to import new dogs from Japan.

This led to a strong restriction of the gene complex, and thus the evolution of the breed as such. On the other hand, the Japanese continued to work on colors, as they had at their disposal a greater diversity of genes. Today, the Akita Inu is a good companion, a loyal protector of the owner and his property.

Appearance and special features of the breed

The Japanese variant is called the Akita Inu, and this is a medium to a large-sized dog that has a dense and graceful build. The head with small ears resembles a fox. Only a few color variants are recognized. The coat should be short on the muzzle - a white mask.

The American variant is called the Japanese Great Dog or the American Akita. They are exceptionally large dogs with heavy, bear-like heads. Learn about almost any color option, including black or with a dark mask.
general description

Akita Inu does well in temperate or cold climates. Among the distinguishing features:

    rather big head
    Ears are erect in the shape of a triangle.
    strong fitness
    Twisted "donut" tail.

Akita Inu

An adult male has a height of 66-71 cm at the withers and a weight of 45-59 kg. The height of the females is 61-66 cm, and their weight is from 32 to 45 kg, while the length of their body is slightly longer than that of the males. The Japanese version of the breed is slightly lighter and smaller. Eight-week-old puppies usually have the following parameters:

    large Japanese - weight 8.16-9.97 kg;
    Akita Inu - weight 7.25-9.07 kg.

The growth of dogs is slow, and the final development of the animal ends only in 3 years. Puppies gain weight very actively (up to 7 kg per month), after reaching 35-49 kg their growth slows down significantly, but does not end until the age of three. Don't worry if your pet doesn't quite fit in with the current growth charts, this is very general information. In general, the dynamics are as follows:

     6 weeks - the puppies are very large and charming, like adult dogs;
     6 months - the proportions of the body change, the dog becomes more toned, the roundness of the puppy disappears, distinctive features are more clearly drawn;
     1 year - bitches begin to estrus, but they cannot be considered adults;
     1-2 years - the growth process slows down significantly, but the transformation of the body continues, especially in the head area;
     2 years - the dog has ceased to grow in height, is slightly distributed in width, small changes will persist for another year.


The classic standard is a short, dense coat (about 5 cm), which is somewhat longer on the neck and tail. The cap is erect, from coarse outer hairs and needle hairs, the coat is very thick, smooth. Akita Inu can only wear this suit:

        pure white;
        red with white fragments;
        Red with black (sesame) hair tips.

American Akita come in all colors. Often dogs are born with long hair - this is the result of a combination of the recessive genes of the father and mother. They are inherently the same but do not fit the standard, so they are considered implementation.

  In puppies, the ears are lowered, while in adult dogs they are erect, turning forward and slightly to the sides. They do not take this position immediately, and this is influenced by two factors:

Age - only when you grow up and strengthen the special muscles, the ears will rise. chewing and nibbling toys allow you to speed up this process;

Changing the teeth - until the permanent teeth appear in the place of the deciduous teeth, the ears will not rise to the end. It often happens that they retract or it turns out that only one ear stands. This process takes from 10 weeks to 6 months, so you do not need to worry for up to six months - the position of the ears is settled.

The eyes are brown (preferably as dark as possible), small, deep. It has a triangular "oriental" shape, which can be observed from birth. In dogs of light color, black “eyeliner” is allowed, which only emphasizes a special cut.

In purebred dogs, it is thin, thick, and coiled into a narrow ring. Babies have a straight tail that curls up in the first two months of life. If your dog is sleeping or just relaxed, he may relax a little, but never get upright. Visually and tactilely, this part of the body does not change even during the molting period. A fluffy "donut" tail as it balances the pet's large head.

The description of the paws is slightly different depending on the parameters: straight, arched, with thick pads, resembling a cat. In both species of Akita, the fingers are tightly closed, which allows them to swim well. In this case, it is not only the front but also the hind limbs. However, most dogs of this breed do not like to swim and enter the water only when necessary.

life span

The life span of the Akita Inu is approximately 10-12 years. Females live a little longer than males, but the difference is statistically small - only about two months. This number is the same for both types of dogs. Before World War II, life expectancy was much longer - 14-15 years, but the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left their mark on genetics forever.

Akita Inu character

It is difficult to briefly describe the nature of this breed. Akita are versatile dogs. American breeds are distinguished by more serious habits, Japanese breeds are somewhat more playful and frivolous. At the same time, most representatives of the breed are not stupid pets or very tired dogs. There are many main character traits.

Own independent thinking - it is often confused with stubbornness, but in fact, it is enough to establish mutual understanding.

Hierarchical sense - very aggressively developed, so they try to create a rank about other dogs of the owner. It is important to achieve recognition of a person as a leader already during the first weeks and months of a dog's life, otherwise, he will dominate.

Learnability - Akita Inu dogs absorb new knowledge and skills quickly, so they get bored if you repeat the same thing for a long time. They need to understand why they perform certain tasks, so it is worth taking care of developing the right motivation.

Not being afraid of heights - it is worth blocking the balcony and other dangerous places because the puppies are very brave and not very smart. Adult dogs jump high, not paying much attention to the landing site.

Passion for space - they love to run a lot, frolic in nature, visit new places. Physical activity is vital to them.

Tenderness - Mentally, these dogs are very sensitive, and it is easy to offend them.

Loyalty to the owner - the Akita will not bother and interfere in everyday affairs, relax, but these are very loyal creatures. They like to quietly follow the owner everywhere.

Patience - despite the dominance, a well-educated dog is incredibly patient. She will humbly wait for you from work or sit quietly by the bed, waiting for you to wake up.
Attitude towards others - the Akita gets along well with members of the older generation. Attitude towards children depends on their behavior, belonging to the family.

Attitude towards dogs - If the other dog is smaller and lives in the same family, then friendship is more likely. It is difficult to develop relationships with representatives of their species and of the same sex, completely exotic dogs. Aggression (at least in the form of a growl) is especially active if the second pet is the same size or larger.

Fear of confined spaces - dogs of the Akita Inu breed does not like very enclosed spaces. They try to have a good view and control of space.

Aggression - these dogs are very sensitive to the relationship between the guest and the owner. No need to worry about wishing visitors. Such dogs do not like strangers, so they will closely monitor the guest until they understand the appropriateness of his presence in the house. Only proper training will help manage innate aggression.

Security - they are good guards, but they do not immediately rush to bite. For example, they will simply try not to let the thief out of the house, waiting for the owner's help.

Barking dogs are fairly quiet, but they are very sensitive to people, animals, and new sounds, so they can use their voices to issue a warning to someone invading their territory.

Training and education

The basis of education is the socialization of children. The most important period is from 3 weeks to 4 months - this completely determines whether the dog can get along with a person or not, whether he will become aggressive, how in the future he will interact with new people and animals. Akita Inu must understand that only the owner determines the boundaries of his world, and he has the rights of a leader. Introduce the dog to as many places, events, and people as possible. This understanding of the world, developed at this point, takes root by the year and can no longer be corrected. Keep in mind that before you "go out into the world" you should have all your vaccinations and wait a bit.

From the first day the puppy moves to a new home, the hierarchy must be established. Some owners are influenced by children, which allows them to behave inappropriately, but at a tender age, the Akita understands everything and probes the limits of its leadership. The owner should be caring, loving, and calm, but with a strong character. If the dog does not recognize him as undeniably dominant, trouble will soon arise. It gets to the point that some people abandon the dog or even slowly kill it, unable to handle its upbringing. Some other points are also important.

Try not to leave the puppy alone at first - introduce the dog to the apartment, and things, but do not leave her alone. If you need to leave, protect your child from dangers and fragile things.

 Start training as soon as possible - these pets are very smart, so they understand the necessary minimum commands by 8 weeks after birth. In a couple of months, you can expand the list of technologies and bring them to automation.

All family and friends should reach out to the puppy - hit him, hold him in your arms, and play. This will help the dog to adapt to noise, children (if any), in the future it will be easier to tolerate combing and other hygiene procedures.

Teach your child that the owner has the right to eat anything or food - this should be done at the age of at least two months up to six months. Take the game, but don't bother with it, stop and play it back. Akita will get used to the fact that the owner will always give back what he deserves so that he can be trusted. If this pattern of behavior is not developed, then an adult dog will react very aggressively to attempts to take something without permission or inappropriate food.

Despite the great temptation, do not take the puppy to sleep in the bed - this habit in itself is not terrible, but the dog should get used to the fact: the leader sleeps on the bed, and the Akita sleeps on the floor (arrange a soft rug or a separate bed).

Give the command "sit" before giving the treat to your puppy.

Show toughness of character, but do not frighten or defeat the animal - the Akita Inu should respect the owner, not fear.

Care and maintenance

Despite the dislike of cramped spaces, Akita Inu is well suited for living in a city apartment and for living in a private house. In any case, it is very important to provide long paths in which the dog can realize his energy. Start getting to know the world around you after you have passed all the vaccinations.

Walk around the area and not only, change routes every day.
Visit both quiet and noisy places so that the dog gets used to as many situations as possible (park, forest, shops, beach, market, pet store, yard). In the future, when you enter a crowded place, you will not suffer from serious stress.

When walking, keep Akita on a lead, showing control of the leader.

Although representatives of this breed do not like other dogs, teach them to behave calmly. When meeting another pet on a leash, let them get to know each other, sniff each other. If everything is going well, do not interfere. In case of aggression and growling, separate the dogs.

Train your dog to travel in the car - start with 5-10 minutes of travel per day, and gradually increase this time to 35-45 minutes.

Care Features

The Akita Inu sheds heavily twice a year: from January to February and from May to June. During this period, the dog should be combed every day or at least 3-to 4 times a week. The rest of the time it is enough to comb 4 times a month. Permanent shedding is possible in the home with very warm, dry air. Another reason is illness or an unhealthy diet. It is not necessary to trim the "fur coat" of the pet. There are other care tips as well.

 Bath the dog no more than 1-2 times a year, so as not to wash off a special protective lubricant from the coat. These dogs are very clean, they know how to lick themselves, and the rest of the dirt will be removed during combing.

Brush your pet's teeth 1-to 2 times a week. Use only a special tool.

Check your Akita's eyes and ears regularly for signs of inflammation, discharge, or foul odor - all of which indicate the need to see your vet urgently. Trim your nails every month if they don't wear out naturally.

Teach your dog any routines as early as a puppy. With an adult dog, you simply cannot cope with or cause stress and a loss of confidence.

Akita Inu Health and Disease

This breed is characterized by good health, provided that the puppy does not suffer from serious birth defects. Sometimes they suffer from hereditary diseases, are sensitive to certain drugs. Among the congenital and acquired / age-related diseases:

      entropion (eyelid inversion);
      hip joint deformities;
      pseudomonas myasthenia gravis (weakness of all muscles of the body);
      von Willebrand disease (blood disease);
      Retinal atrophy.

How to choose a puppy

You can only buy purebred puppies from trusted top breeders. The main signs of a healthy baby Akita Inu:

     Portable and cheerful.
     average obese puppy
     Beautiful glossy coat
     He works confidently, standing firmly on his paws;
     Not aggressive, not afraid of loud sounds.

Pay attention to the color and shape of the eyes of the Akita Inu - if they are round and light, then this is not a purebred pet. The features of the eye wound are necessarily congenital, and the color changes with age only to a lighter one. The bite should be correct, the pigmentation of the nose and mouth should be uniform. If you bought a puppy who is older than six months and has not yet twisted his tail, this is a bad sign. If you plan to participate in competitions and exhibitions, it is better to choose a child with an experienced dog handler. When buying an ordinary pet, it is enough to use the above criteria.

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