Developed in the mountains of Japan, the courageous Akita is fiercely loyal and protective of his family.
The Akita is moderately active and energetic, so he needs a couple long walks or jogs plus some play time each day. Although loyal and loving to his family, the Akita is suspicious of strangers. This can make him a good guard dog, but without proper training and socialization, his suspicions can become aggressive.
Akitas thrive on human interaction and will show their silly side to their family, but they are often intolerant of other animals and children who don’t understand boundaries.
As a large breed, the Akita’s muscular body and large head are imposing. The ears stand erect atop the broad head, balanced by a bushy tail that curls over his back.
10 to 13 years
The Akita can have an array of different colours, masks and markings.
Akitas are self-groomers, but their thick, double coats still require weekly brushing. They shed minimally year-round, but the dense undercoat sheds twice a year. Brushing more frequently during these periods will help rid them of the loose hair.
An Akita may be prone to weight gain, and like other large-sized dogs, they have a higher risk of bloat.
Other health conditions to watch for include eye problems, thyroid disorders and hip dysplasia. Responsible breeders screen for these issues to create a healthier breed overall.
Akita dogs will thrive on a complete and balanced dry or wet dog food. Akitas may also benefit from a high-protein formula to support a healthy, active lifestyle. Of course, Akita puppies need a complete and balanced puppy food for the first year of life.
The Akita’s ancestry dates back to the early 17th century. In the prefecture of northern Japan where the breed gets its name, a competition was held to create a versatile hunting dog. Over time, the Akita was used to hunt big game like wild boar, elk and even bears.
Ownership of these imposing hunters was once restricted to members of the Imperial family and their court. The breed nearly went extinct several times over the course of its long history, and a national breed club in Japan eventually formed to help ensure the Akita’s longevity.
After World War II, American soldiers brought these dogs back to the States with them. It wasn’t until 1972, however, that the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Helen Keller is credited with bringing the first Akita to the U.S., having received a puppy from the Ministry of Education during a visit to Japan in 1937, even though the first Akitas were probably brought back by soldiers returning home from war.
Akitas are a symbol of health, happiness and longevity in Japan. Akita figurines are often gifted to new parents following the birth of a child.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a movie based on a real-life Akita named Hachiko. He spent nine years in a Japanese train station waiting for his owner (who died suddenly and unexpectedly) to return from work.
The Akita perceives “prolonged eye contact” as a challenge and may respond aggressively.