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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Steven Knox

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Akita Facts

  • Group
  • Working
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 24" - 28" (61 - 71.1cm)
  • Weight
  • 65 - 115lbs (29.5 - 52.1kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Low - This breed requires little daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Various Colors
    • Brindle
    • White / Brown
    • White
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Can be trained for defense
    • Ok outdoors
    • Tendency to bite

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Akita is also known as the Akita Inu.


The Akita originated on the island of Honshu in the region of Akita Japan, where it has remained virtually unchanged for centuries.

Date Of Origin

It is believed that the Akita was created in the 1700's. The Akita was recognized by the AKC in 1972 and by the UKC in 1980.


The Akita was originally used for large-game hunting, but at one point in history it was crossed with the Tosa and Mastiff to increase its size and effectiveness as a fighting dog. When dog fighting was prohibited in 1908, the breed was preserved and improved as a large Japanese breed. When the Akita nearly became extinct in the 1930's during World War II, the Society for the Preservation of Japanese Breeds worked to rebuild this national monument's numbers.

In Japan, the image of the Akita is often used to represent good health and when a child is born, the parents are often given a small statue of an Akita as a symbol of happiness, health, and longevity.

The Akita's use as a large game hunter is now almost exclusively replaced by companion use in the United States and Europe.

The Akita first arrived in the United States when Helen Keller brought one over in 1937.


Akita means "large" in Japanese. This is a large, heavy, well balanced dog. Its body is longer than it is tall and the chest is deep. There is a triangular shaped head with powerful, square jaws. The eyes are small, dark and triangular while the ears are small and naturally erect. The tail is long and full and carried over the back in a single or double curl. The double coat has a thick soft under coat and short, straight, harsh outer coat. It can be any color with a mask or blaze; white Akita's have no mask. Pintos have a white background. They are known to not have "doggy odor" like many large breeds do and are cat-like in their ability to keep themselves clean.

Akitas in the United States developed as a type unique to this country and they are now quite different than the breed in its country of origin.


The Akita has strong guardian instincts, is impressive, silent, and aloof. They are known to be a loyal and courageous companion who is gentle and calm with his own family but is often weary of strangers, aggressive toward other dogs, and can be territorial. They are primarily even tempered but can be difficult to handle if they so choose.

Although the Akita is generally good-natured and quiet, extensive socialization at an early age with a variety of different people, pets, and other animals is critical to the development of the young Akita. Their temperament can range from calm to bouncy and aggressive. The breed should be supervised around small children, visitors, and other animals.

The Akita makes an outstanding guard dog. Firm, fun training is essential, but may be difficult given the breed's tenancy to be stubborn and dominant.


In the past the Akita was used for fighting and hunting. Today however, he is a valued companion and guard dog.

Health Concerns

Possible health concerns for the Akita include autoimmune disorders (such as Pemphigus Complex), degenerative myelopathy, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Additional Information

The Akita will require a firm and experienced owner who is willing to provide constant socialization and training. Anyone considering the Akita will need to check for community restrictions prior to choosing this breed, as they are commonly found on the restricted breeds lists common with rental properties.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Steven Knox

Steven Knox


The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Dogs, Dog Breeds and Dog Care

Publisher: Anness Publishing Limited, 1999

Website: http://www.southwaterbooks.com

Authors: Dr. Peter Larkin, Mike Stockman

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

1 Comment For "Akita"

Steven Knox

Steven Knox

I am an Akita owner and would not now have any other breed. They are very difficult to train to begin with and you never fully train an Akita as they will always try to dominate and gain the upper hand. once you have trained an Akita to the level that THEY want you will not find a more loyal or loving dog.

September 19, 2011 at 1:53PM  Sign In or Join to Comment