Akita Dog Breed Facts & Information

Akitas are some of the most popular dogs in the world, ranking 46 out of 193 for American Kennel Club breed popularity. These heavy-boned pups may tip the scales, but they are profusely loyal and want nothing more than a best human friend. This highly-renowned Japanese dog is bold and protective of family members, and will provide excellent companionship for its owners.

Close-Up Of Japanese Akita
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The basics

Akitas are medium-energy dogs that are playful, watchful and independent thinkers. Just like any dog, Akitas need a highly nutritious diet to thrive, and some experts recommend giving them less calorie-dense meals in their senior years. These pups need to get their exercise in every single day. If they are worn out, they are more likely to be quiet and well mannered in the home. Though they are prone to hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy, they are known to live healthy lifespans of 10-12 years.

The history

These spitz-type dogs came about in the Akita part of northern Japan in the early 17th century. At first, only the imperial family in Japan and their court were allowed to own these dogs. Through generations of breeding, Akitas were developed to be large and adaptable hunting dogs that worked in packs and sought out bears, deer and wild boar for their owners. When a baby is born in Japan, people will give his or her parents an Akita figurine that symbolizes long life and happiness. Helen Keller was the first person to bring the Akita to the United States, and then it became a popular dog once World War 2 soldiers brought them back from Japan.

Dog in a field with tall grass. Akita Inu japan
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The personality

Akitas have even-keeled personalities, until they see a threat or perhaps another animal. They are known for hunting smaller prey like rodents, birds and other wildlife, and will be aggressive towards strangers if owners are not around to tell them otherwise. They can be quite domineering over other pets, so it's necessary to supervise them and train them well. Akitas are highly alert but usually silent, and will only bark when necessary.

The appearance

When it's mature, the Akita will weigh between 70 to 130 pounds and be 24 to 28 inches tall. These pups come in all different color combinations like black, white, brindle and brown. It has a double coat, with the topcoat being short and the undercoat being plush and dense. They are broad and muscular and have triangle-shaped heads, as well as long and lean legs and webbed feet, making them great swimmers. They have pointed ears as well as pointed and short muzzles. Their noses are brown or black and their eyes are dark.

akita dog in grass
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Akita essential facts

  • Personality: Quiet, stubborn, loyal and very protective. They are up for a challenge, and will do whatever it takes to ensure their family is safe. They are typically sweet to family members and people they know well, but do not take kindly to strangers or other animals.
  • Energy Level: Medium energy
  • Trainability: Hard to train, so owners need to be consistent and firm.
  • Good with children: Need supervision. Though they love family members, they can overpower children easily.
  • Good with other dogs: Need supervision. Since they are protective and powerful, they may fight with other dogs, especially ones of the same sex.
  • Shedding: Low, except for twice a year, when the undercoat will "blow" all over a house and cause owners to find clumps of hair.
  • Grooming: They should be brushed at least once per week.
  • Barking level: Low, only when necessary.
  • Height: Males: 26 to 28 inches at the withers. Females: 24 to 26 inches at the withers.
  • Weight: Males: 100-130 pounds. Females: 70-100 pounds.
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Interested in other breeds? Check out this article about German Rottweilers and this list of different doodle dogs.