Akita Dog Breed
Nicknames: Great Japanese, Akita Inu, Akita Ken
|Right Breed For You?||Akitas are very adaptable dogs and can adjust to different living conditions provided they are given frequent, regular exercise. They do best in a house with a large, fenced yard and shelter from the sun and cold. The Akita breed is also a very patient, loyal and devoted breed that protects children.||Pet Supplies Recommendations|
||Moderate Shed, Heavy Shed|
|Height:||24-28 inches (61-71 cm)|
|Weight:||75-120 pounds (34-54 kg)|
|Life Span:||10 and 12 years|
|Litter Size:||3 to 12 puppies|
|Color:||The Japanese Akita has only four different colors and they are brindle, white, sesame (i.e. hair that is red and has black tips), and red fawn.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
The Akita is truly a powerful and majestic looking dog with an overall calm and very even disposition. The Akita is a large breed, with males often weighing over one hundred pounds and standing up to twenty-eight inches at the shoulder. The Akita is best recognized by its almost bear shaped head as well as the tightly curled tail that is symbolic of the Spitz breeds.
The head of the Akita is very alert and intelligent looking. The eyes are dark, rather deep set and triangular shaped, as are the wide set, pricked ears. There is a broad and wide shape to the forehead, with a slight groove running from the stop to the top of the head. The muzzle is strong looking and relatively short, ending in a well formed black nose on most Akitas, although mostly white colorations may have a brownish nose. The general shape of the head of the Akita is that of a blunt wedge, and in large males it is possible to place your hand on the wide forehead and not touch either ear.
The body of the Akita is muscular and strong, with powerful, thick legs and a deep body. The toes of the Akita are actually webbed, making them excellent swimmers. The chest is wide and broad and is wider than the rest of the body, including the hindquarters. The solid appearance of the breed is enhanced by the medium length double coat that is off the body, adding a soft appearance to the shape. The tail is tightly curled over the back, often slightly to one side in either a , full or double curl. Tails that do not curl or only curve slightly are considered disqualification in the show ring.
The Japanese Akita has only four different colors and they are brindle, white, sesame (i.e. hair that is red and has black tips), and red fawn. When determining a Japanese Akita, it must have white hair on its chest, body, tail, cheeks and muzzle except the white Akita. Outside Japan, pinto is an acceptable Akita color, but not within it. More colors of the Akita are acceptable within the United States as dog breeders continue to interbreed the Japanese Akita with the United States Akita, which is typically a bigger and heavier build version.
The Akita has a beautiful medium length coat with a soft undercoat. The Akita’s coat should be brushed on a weekly basis. It is important to use a grooming comb and a slicker, steel Pin brush to groom your Akita’s coat effectively. You can also use a firm bristle brush.
Outside Japan, pinto is an acceptable Akita color, but not within it. More colors of the Akita are acceptable within the United States as dog breeders continue to interbreed the Japanese Akita with the United States Akita which is typically a bigger and heavier build version.
When determining a Japanese Akita, it must have white hair on its chest, body, tail, cheeks and muzzle except the white Akita.
The Akita or sometimes referred to as Akita Ken, is a large sized dog that has its origins from Japan. Its name comes from Akita Prefecture, which is located in the Tohoku Region in Japan, because it is believed that the Akita originated from this particular area.
The ancestors of the Akita were used for hunting by matagi, or a hunter from the Tohoko Region. During that time the Akita were typically called matagi inu (inu means dog in Japanese). These dogs possessed a smaller build than present day Akita dogs do. In addition, many of these ancestral Akita dogs were used for guarding and protecting people. Some were even used to hunt bears in particular.
For the most part, the Akita possesses an easy going, laid back temperament that makes them a great family house pet. They are also commonly known to be quiet dogs that bark only when something necessitates them to bark. Many people commonly report that the Akita makes people feel relaxed and calm and is the ideal pet to own if you suffer from stress.
In addition to being easy going, quiet life enhancing pets, the Akita breed is also known for being easy to house break and very clean dogs. The Akita is known for being so clean that many people have described the Akita breed as “cat like” for their odorless and cleanly appearance. When training Akita dogs to be house broken, many successfully accomplish this task within a few weeks, however, if you have other dog breeds that learn at a slower pace this can affect the Akita’s learning pace slowing it down as well.
The Akita breed is also a very patient, loyal and devoted breed that protects children. The Akita is gentle with children so much so that it is known that mothers in Japan have left their children alone in the care of an Akita. It is, of course, important to note that one should never leave a child alone with an unattended pet.
Since the Akita does have a possessive temperament as well as a prey instinct they do need to be socialized with other pets at an early age. Akitas rose with cats and other dogs will do very well as companion pets, but without socialization they may be aggressive and are not recommended for multi-pet families if they are older, non-socialized dogs.
Akitas from reputable breeders typically are very healthy pets, although there are a few different conditions that are seen occasionally within the breed. These conditions include:
- Acquired Myathenia Gravis: a condition that destroys and attacks proteins that are located on the muscle surface where the nerves attach to the muscles.
- Gastric Torsion or bloat: the stomach becomes twisted trapping gases and contents within it. As a result, your Akita will experience stomach swelling, pain and if not treated, eventually death. Feeding two or three small meals a day and limiting exercise after eating can help prevent this condition.
- Eye conditions such as cataracts, entropion, glaucoma, mircrophthalmia, progressive retinal atrophy, and retinal dysplasia.
- Canine Hip Dysplasia: a condition when the femoral head does not fit into the hip socket properly which ends up causing instability within the joint.
- Unique Juvenile Onset Polyarthritis Syndrome of Akita dogs as the name suggests affects young Akita dogs. It is often signaled by the reluctance to walk or stand and can cause the Akita puppy excruciating back and neck pain, loss of appetite as well as some other symptoms.
- Uveo Dermatological Syndrome (VKH):blisters and sores on its nose, eye lids and pads of the feet.
- von Willebrands (vWD) : a blood disorder similar to human hemophilia.
These health conditions are relatively rare and can usually be managed or control through medications and surgical treatments by a veterinarian.
The Akita has a beautiful medium length coat with a soft undercoat. The Akita’s coat should be brushed on a weekly basis. It is important to use dog combs and a slicker, steel Pin brush to groom your Akita’s coat effectively. You can also use a firm bristle brush.
Akita dogs do not need to be trimmed or shaved. They do, however, “blow” coat which means that their undercoats shed completely. As you can imagine this can be a very messy time period for any owner. It is good to know that this period typically only lasts a few weeks and this shedding period usually only takes place heavily two times a year. In addition, when your Akita is shedding brushing its coat on a daily basis is recommended in addition to using an undercoat rake or dematting tool. Akita dogs that live indoors or cooler climates typically shed less.
It is important to know that you should not bath an Akita too frequently. If you do, you can potentially remove the waterproofing properties that are a natural part of the Akita’s full coat.
While it is a subjective matter as to how much exercise the Akita needs, having a large yard with a fence is considered the ideal living situation for this type of dog. Akita dogs are strong and can typically, easily handle sledding and weight pulling activities using a properly fitted dog pulling harness. However, it is important to keep in mind that any Akita puppies less than 18 months should not try to pull any large amount of weight as their bones and joints are not fully developed yet.
It is also best to allow Akita dogs to exercise on their own. Akita dogs love to jump, run and play when they want to. It is recommended that the best exercise for the Akita is with another dog. You can play with your Akita with dog toys that will encourage them to run and play. Allow small Akita puppies to rest when they need to rest and their exercise should be contained to a fenced in area. If this area is not sufficient for adequate exercise, walking and jogging with an Akita puppy is a good daily exercise.
An Akita is an ideal hiking or walking dog and they are large and sturdy enough to handle even very difficult and challenging terrain as they are very strong outfitting your Akita with a dog backpack is a great idea. They are also very willing to play with kids and run and explore all day. A well exercised and fit Akita is calm and docile in the house and will typically not engage in any kind of destructive behavior, but they do need regular, lengthy exercise periods per day if kept indoors.
Akita’s, like any other dog, like to have a variety of options for exercise and not just complete the same routine every day. While they are excellent swimmers they sometimes have to be coaxed into the water at least the first few times, but will soon enjoy a refreshing swim or paddle about on a hot day. Avoid allowing the Akita to swim in cold weather as their coat is very hard to completely dry when temperatures are cooler.
It is important to establish from the moment that you bring your Akita home that you make sure it knows who the boss is. Akita dogs have a strong will power and need an equally powerful owner. Submissive or timid owners will not do well with this breed. The Akita can and will over power a weak owner. Thus, things like teaching your Akita that it is subordinate to you, the owner, are very important. For example, allowing your Akita to sleep on the floor next to your bed rather than on your bed teaches it that it is a subordinate to its master, but that it can still enjoy companionship. While this needing to ensure and maintain your role as a firm master to your Akita can prove challenging for some people, on a positive level, Akita dogs are highly intelligent making them incredibly fast learners.
When you are training your Akita it is also very important to make sure you provide a routine that is consistent and daily so that the dog learns to know what is expected. It is good to make sure that you balance training with praise and correction. When an Akita is a puppy you will want to only teach it simple, basic behaviors. More advanced behavior training can take place after your Akita is about 4-6 months.
It is important to make sure that your Akita is trained in boundary control so that it will not run out into the street and get hurt. You will also be happy to know that if your Akita has personality issues, these problems can be fixed. You can even hire a professional trainer to help these more challenging problems.