Type: Northern Breeds
Height: 24 - 28 inches
Weight: 75 - 130 lbs.
Life Span: 10 - 12 years
Litter Size: 5 - 7 puppies
Country of Origin: Japan
Watch-dog: Very High
Guard-dog: High. They are alert but detached, and never fearful.
Description: The Akita is a striking breed who is a large, powerful, alert, well-balanced dog with much substance and heavy bone. They have a deep muzzle, small triangular eyes, erect ears, and a large single or double curled tail. The Akita's head is triangular and their jaws are large and powerful. Akitas are renowned for their fierce love, loyalty and obedience to their owners. Akitas are the largest of the Japanese Spitz-type breeds and have webbed feet, which makes them very strong swimmers. The Akita, or Shishi Inu as they are sometimes called, are of the Northern type breeds in which they have a distinct tail curled over the back. The Japanese bred them as a fighting dog with a great temperament. They need space and should not be confined. They are very devoted to their families, and are a brave and courageous breed. Akitas are very intelligent and are for the most part obedient, but may have an independent and curious streak once in a while. They do not like being bored, and should be mentally and physically stimulated every day. If they get bored they tend to get noisier and less obedient, but they simply need attention from the owner they are so devoted to.
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Other Names: Akita Inu, Japanese Akita, Shishi Inu
Colors: Any colors including white, brindle and pinto, with or without a mask.q
Coat: Outer coat is coarse, straight and stand-off. They have a soft, dense undercoat.
Temperament: The Akitas are loyal and courageous companions that are affectionate with their own families but wary of strangers. Akitas make excellent guard dogs though they are usually good natured and quiet. They can also be stubborn at times and require socialization in order to get along with a range of people. Akitas are also an active, independent, dignified, and bold breed though they may be aggressive toward other dogs. Akitas are very smart, courageous and inquisitive. They tenacious and devoted to family, playful, quiet and attentive. They are also quite obedient, but if they are bored they may get less obedient and less quiet as time goes on. They can be stubborn and must be shown what to do in order to do it, they do not like being forced.
With Children: Yes, the Akita will protect family children, but may be apprehensive of other children.
With Pets: Yes, they are good with family pets if socialized when they are young, but they may be aggressive towards other small animals.
Special Skills: Fenced yard, leash, socialization, and training.
Care and Training: Akitas require daily brushing to bring out the best of their coat. They shed twice a year. Bathe them only when necessary. Akitas need daily exercise as they have a lot of muscle. Daily exercise is essential. Early obedience is necessary to prevent aggression against other dogs.
Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium. Their intelligence is extremely high, but Akitas can be very bossy. If they are bored they will be less likely to obey as well. Problem Solving - High.
Special Needs: Fenced yard, leash, socialization, and training.
Living Environment: A house with a fenced yard is essential. The Akita does not enjoy confinement. They also need an owner who has handled dogs before. The best owner for this breed would be a firm, dog-experienced owner living in a suburban or rural home.
Health Issues: Autoimmune disorders, degenerative myelopathy, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), and other eye problems.
History: The Akita is the tallest of Japan's native breeds. Their other name, Shishi Inu, means "large dog." Akitas date back over three hundred years and take their name from the prefecture of Akita in northern Japan on the island of Honshu. Here, the winters were brutal, and the Akita grew tough in such a land. Developed in 1630 by a Samurai, the Akita was produced to be an excellent fighter, guardian and hunter of large game. Over the years they were bred and used for hunting large game such as bear, deer and wild boar. By the time the 1800s rolled around dog fighting was a popular sport, and thus the breed was used for that purpose as well. In 1927 some fanciers formed the Akita-inu Hozankai Society of Japan in order to restore and preserve the original Akitas, not the ones bred to fight. There was a statue erected of an Akita in Shibuya Station in Tokyo around 1920 to commemorate a faithful Akita that would arrive every day to greet his master at the station, and continued to do so even 10 years after his death! The Akita almost became extinct several times. In Japan, it's image is often used to represent good health. In 1931 the Japanese government designated the Akitas as a National Monument and one of Japan's national treasures. Japan has placed an emphasis on maintaining the breed, the same emphasis as on the Shiba Inu. The first official Akitas made their way to America in 1937 in the hands of Helen Keller as she brought back one from a trip to Japan. Later during World War II, servicemen took some home with them and the breed expanded. In 1972 they were recognized by the AKC, and they today their popularity steadily grows.
First Registered by the AKC: 1972
AKC Group: Working
Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 5), KC,(GB), UKC