- Other Names: Japanese Akita
- Size: Large
- Life Expectancy: 11 years
- Average Weight: 96 pounds (43kg)
- Average Height: 25 inches (63cm)
- Grooming: Moderate
- Shedding: High
- Exercise: Moderate
- Training: Easy / Moderate
- Color: Any Colors
- Country of Origin: Japan
- Personality: Powerful, Courageous and Loyal
There are two types of Akitas, the original Akita from Japan (Akita Inu) and the American Akita. They aren’t recognized as separate breeds in the United States, but Japan and other countries do consider the Akita Inu and American Akita as separate breeds. The differences are between their weights, sizes and colors.
Akitas originated from Japan and were originally medium sized dogs back in the 16th century. They were later cross-bred with Tosa’s and Mastiffs making them a lot bigger in size. During World War II all dog breeds in Japan except for German Shepherds had to be handed over to the military to be used for making military garments. This led to akita breeders cross-breeding the Akitas with German Shepherds to stop them from becoming extinct. By the end of the war there were at least 3 different types of Akitas. In the 1930s Akitas were first brought into the United States where they grew in popularity and they were accepted as part of the American Kennel Club in 1972.
However the American Kennel Club and the Japanese Kennel Club could not agree on a standard for the breed. This meant that the Japanese and American Akitas began to differ with their breeding. It wasn’t until 1992 that Japan and America actually recognized each other, but by then the breeds were so different that it caused problems with judging. So now their are two types of Akitas the American Akita and the Akita Inu. However America only recognizes the one breed which is referred to as the Akita. Many other countries such as the UK and Japan maintain them as separate breeds.
The Akita Inu is the largest of all the Japanese spitz type dogs. They are are very strong, muscular, powerful looking dogs. They have bushy tails curling over their backs and small erect ears that are triangular in shape. Akitas have a soft undercoat and a longer, harsher outercoat. Their coats are slightly thicker than the American Akita. The Akita Inu is found in pure white, red, brindle or fawn. They are not allowed to have a black mask.
Akitas are typically good natured dogs, but they do need proper training as they are large, powerful dogs that are naturally protective and brave. If they are not handled correctly then they can be dangerous or unpredictable. It is important that they have plenty of socialization with children and other pets from a young age. They will be very protective of their own family and are naturally wary of strangers. They should be watched around young children, especially unfamiliar children as they can nip or bite when disturbed or teased. Akitas make great guard dogs as they are very alert and bold. Although not always ideal with young children they make very loyal protective companions with the right leadership. They love human affection and become very attached to their family.
They are not difficult to train and should respond well. It is very important that owners take on the responsibility of training their Akita properly, as they are strong powerful dogs that are capable of becoming uncontrollable if firm boundaries aren’t established early on. Akitas should have an experienced dog owner.
Akitas need an average amount of exercise, they should have a decent sized yard to play in and also get daily walks.
Akitas do need regular brushing and will moult excessively twice a year.