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Akita: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts & Traits

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

Akita

Akita: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts & Traits

With a unique and beautiful appearance, it’s often love at first sight when you see an Akita. But we’ll open this up with a word of caution: While they’re absolutely gorgeous, they’re also one of the most challenging dog breeds to own. But if you can master their unique challenges, they’re also uniquely rewarding, making the extra work more than worth it to many Akita owners.

Breed Overview

Height:

24–28 inches

Weight:

70–130 pounds

Lifespan:

10–14 years

Colors:

Black, fawn, red, white, brown brindle, red & black overlay, silver & black overlay, brown & black overlay, fawn & black overlay, red brindle, silver brindle, black & red undercoat, black & fawn undercoat, black brindle, fawn brindle, black & brown undercoat, black & silver undercoat, white & red shading, brown, or sliver

Suitable for:

Experienced pet owners, single pet homes, and those looking for a watchdog

Temperament:

Loyal, independent, stubborn, loving, and wary

While an Akita is notoriously stubborn, they’re also fiercely independent, sweet, and caring, which is why so many people fall head over heels in love with the breed. Their larger size also adds to their appeal to many people, and they’re usually not a very vocal dog breed.

They can be quite challenging for many pet owners, though, so do your research and ensure you’re ready for everything they have to offer before bringing one into your home.

Akita Characteristics

Energy
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High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
+
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
+
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
+
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
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Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Akita Puppies

akita-puppies
Image Credit: sima_Shutterstock

The Akita isn’t the most popular dog breed in the United States, but they’re far from unpopular. Their overall popularity has remained steady—right around the 55th most popular dog in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).1

Because of this, you can find breeders throughout the country, but they’re not in every major city. No matter where you are, do your research when finding a breeder, complete an inspection of their facility, get references, and get a health guarantee for your new puppy.

It’s also possible you’ll find Akita mixes in a shelter, but if you want a purebred Akita, you’ll likely need to find a breeder.

Akita Origin & History

The Akita has a rich history that dates back to the mountains of Japan, and today, they still enjoy a special place in Japan. The mountains of Northern Japan can get quite cold, so it’s no wonder these dogs are well-equipped to handle frigid temperatures. In 1931, the Japanese government named the Akita a national treasure, and this breed is a well-loved and adored dog throughout the country.

brown and white short coated dog lying on white floor Akita Dog
Image Credit: Maxim Izbash, Unsplash

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Akita

An Akita isn’t for the faint of heart or for first-time pet owners. They’re notoriously stubborn, aren’t quite as loving as most other dog breeds, and typically only get along great with one other person.

That isn’t to say an Akita can’t be a sweet and loving addition to a home, it’s just worth pointing out that they’re not the best for many homes. They’re fiercely independent, like guarding what they think is theirs, and they don’t always adapt the best to change.

If you’re thinking about getting an Akita, you’ll want to do plenty of research first so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

While it’s possible that the Akita can get along with other family members, they’re not the ideal dog breed for families. They can sometimes be a bit temperamental, and they often form a much stronger bond with just one person.

If you’re considering adopting an Akita, we recommend meeting all family members beforehand, and even then, we suggest plenty of prior experience with other dog breeds.

akita-inu-dog
Image Credit: Malen Billoni Ahum, Pixabay

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Every dog has their own personality, but the Akita usually does not get along well with other pets. Whether it’s other dogs or cats, the Akita usually prefers to be an only-pet.

With proper socialization, it’s possible to have an Akita with other animals in the home, but it rarely works out unless the other pets accept that the Akita is the “top dog” in the home.

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Things to Know When Owning an Akita:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

One area where owning an Akita is pretty straightforward is with their diet. Smaller Akitas typically need 4 cups of high-quality kibble daily, while larger Akitas need 5.75 cups of kibble daily. There’s nothing wrong with a kibble, wet food, or fresh food diet, just ensure it’s high-quality and nutritionally complete so it doesn’t create any future health problems for your pup.

Akita
Image Credit: Jae Lee, Unsplash

Exercise 🐕

Akitas have higher energy levels, and because of their larger size, they would benefit quite a bit from a large, fenced-in yard. Get them out for at least two walks daily, with each walk lasting between 20 and 25 minutes.

From there, give them plenty of time to run around outside and do your best to play with them to encourage them to keep moving as much as possible.

Training 🎾

There are stubborn dogs, and then there’s the Akita. It’s certainly possible to train them, but you’ll need to stay consistent, stick solely with positive reinforcement, and bring along a few of their favorite treats. Each training session should last between 10 and 15 minutes, but you should have at least one daily.

Keep in mind that the Akita is stubborn, so you’ll want to convince them that it’s what they want to do instead of engaging in a battle of wills.

akita-standing-on-the-grass
Image Credit: Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

Throughout most of the year, the Akita is a moderate shedder, and brushing them a few times a week is more than enough. However, they have a double coat, and twice a year, they “blow-coat”. During this time, you’ll find hair everywhere, so you should brush them daily.

In addition to brushing them, you’ll need to brush their teeth daily to keep up with their oral hygiene, and you’ll also have to keep an eye on their nails and trim them as needed.

Health and Conditions 🏥

One of the best parts of owning an Akita is that, typically, they don’t have many health problems you need to worry about. Of course, getting your pup from a reputable breeder makes a huge difference, but overall, these dogs tend to be on the healthier side.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Dental problems
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obesity

dogster face divider Male vs. Female

In many ways, male and female Akitas are quite similar, but there are two areas where they can be quite different from each other. First is their size. Males tend to be larger than females, and that’s pretty typical for most dog breeds.

The second area is that males tend to bond a little more with a larger family unit, while females connect more with one person. While this is also generally true for most dog breeds, it’s especially true for the Akita.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Akita

1. They Really Enjoy the Cold

The colder it gets, the happier an Akita is. Their double coat ensures they stay warm, and when things start to cool down, you’ll find these dogs have even more energy than usual. If you like getting out in the cold for some crispy, fresh air, the Akita is your perfect companion.


2. Helen Keller Had an Akita

Not only did Helen Keller own an Akita, but she’s credited with bringing the first Akita to the United States in 1937. With such an affinity toward one person, it’s easy to see why an Akita was the perfect companion for Keller.


3. They Can Be Very Versatile

While the Akita can be challenging for many pet owners, in the right hands, these pups can be very versatile. They make great emotional support dogs, and you can even find them in athletic competitions.

akita, dog, pet
Image Credit: maxxxiss, Pixabay

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Conclusion

While an Akita isn’t the easiest dog breed to own, once you get past their stubborn streak, they’re also extremely sweet, loving, and caring in a way other dogs can’t match. And when you pair this with their extraordinary appearance, it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with these pups. Just ensure you’re ready to care for them from day one!


Featured Image Credit: Jae Lee, Unsplash

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