The Akita is native to the island of Honshu in the region of Akita in Japan, where it has remained unchanged for centuries. The Akita is considered a national dog of Japan and is one of seven breeds designated as a Natural Monument.
The breed has had many uses, such as police and military work, a guard dog (for the government and civilian), a fighting dog, a hunter of bear and deer and a sled dog. The Akita is a versatile hunting dog, able to hunt in inclement weather. The Akita's soft mouth makes it possible for him to work as a waterfowl retrieval dog. The dog is considered sacred and a good luck charm in the country of Japan.
Small statues of the Akita are often given to new parents after babies are born as a gesture of good health and to sick people as a good luck charm for a speedy recovery. There are two types of Akita: the original Japanese Akita breed and now a separate designation for American Standard Akita.
The weights and sizes are different and the American standard allows for a black mask where as the original Japanese breed standard does not allow a black mask. According to the FCI, in Japan and in many other countries around the world the American Akita is considered a separate breed from the Japanese Akita. In the United States and Canada, both the American Akita and the Japanese Akita are considered a single breed with differences in type rather than two separate breeds. The Japanese Akita is uncommon in most countries.
The largest of the Japanese Spitz-type breeds, the Akita, pronounced a-KEE-ta, is a powerful, solid, well-proportioned and distinctive looking dog. Strong and muscular with a flat, heavy head and strong, short muzzle. The Akita has a deep, broad chest and a level back. The dog is slightly longer than he is tall. The head is triangular shaped, broad and blunt. The stop, which is the transition area from the back skull to the muzzle, is well-defined. A shallow furrow extends well up the forehead. The ears are small and erect, carried forward and in line with the neck.
The dark, brown eyes are small and triangular in shape. The nose is broad and black. Brown is permitted on white Akita's, but black is preferred. The lips are black and the tongue is pink. The teeth are strong and should meet in a scissors, or level bite (scissors is preferred by most breeders). The tail is plush and carried over the dog's back. The webbed feet are cat-like.
The Akita is double coated. The outer coat is harsh, and waterproof. The undercoat is thick and soft providing nice insulation for the dog in cold weather. Coat colours are pure white, red, sesame, brindle and fawn. The colours should be without clear borders. A black mask is forbidden.
The Akita is docile, intelligent, courageous and fearless but caring and very affectionate with its family. Sometimes spontaneous, as a breed these dogs need a firm, confident, consistent pack leader who understands that the dog requires an alpha to look up. Without this the dog will be disobedient and may become very aggressive to other dogs and animals.
The Akita needs proper discipline and training as a puppy. The objective in training this dog is to make it understand that it must submit to its pack leader. It is a natural instinct for a dog to look up to its pack leader, the alpha dog. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined. You and all other humans must be higher up in the order than the dog. That is the only way your relationship can be a success.
If the dog is allowed to believe he is the leader over the people he lives with he may become very food-possessive and develop behavioural problems. The Akita is a first class guard dog. Japanese mothers would often leave their children in the family Akita's care. They are extremely faithful and thrive on firm leadership from their handlers. It should definitely be supervised with other household pets and children.
Although the breed may tolerate and be good with children from his own family, if you do not teach this dog he is below all humans in the pack order he may not accept other children and if teased, Akita's may bite. Children must be taught to display leadership qualities and at the same time respect the dog. With the right type of owner, the proper amount of physical and mental exercise and firm training, they can make a fine pet. Obedience training requires patience, as these dogs tend to get bored quickly. The Akita needs to be with its family. It vocalizes with many interesting sounds, but it is not an excessive barker.
Height: Dogs 61-66 cm Bitches 61-66 cm.
Weight: Dogs 34-54 kg Bitches 34-50 kg.
The Akita is prone to hip dysplasia, both hypothyroid and autoimmune thyroiditis, immune diseases like VKH and Pemphigus, skin problems like SA and eyes (PRA, Micro, entropion) patella and other problems with the knee.
The Akita can live in a flat or smaller dwelling if it is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors therefore the use of a garden would be beneficial.
The Akita needs moderate but regular exercise to remain healthy and not over weight. It should be taken for at least two walks per day preferably being able to run freely over open ground.
Around 11-15 years
3 - 12 puppies - Average 7 or 8
The coarse, stiff, short-haired coat needs significant grooming. Brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. This breed moults heavily twice a year.