This breed originated in Japan where they were used as hunting dogs.
The first Akita ever brought to the United States was in 1937 by the famous Helen Keller.
They were recognized by the AKC in 1972 and classified in the Working Group.
Average sized litter is 8. A range of 3-10 is not uncommon.
Life span is 11 years on average, with 10-14 years being a normal range.
This is the 49th most registered breed in the United States.
In Japan and other countries around the world, they separate the American Akita from the Japanese Akita (Inu) and have them classified as 2 separate breeds. However, in the U.S. and Canada both are considered to be the same breed, with variations to appearance....most notably the black mask which does not appear on the Japanese variety.
Color and Appearance Akita Facts
They are very large, strong and big boned.
They have a wide head with small, dark, almond shaped eyes.
Ears stand erect.
Height will range from 24 to 28 inches (from floor to shoulder).
They have a very thick double coat (both an inner layer and an outer layer) and the outer layer stands somewhat out from the dog’s body.
Both genders average weight is 75 pounds fully grown. Some will reach 100 lbs.
The fur may be of any color at all. One color is Pinto which is when the coat is a white background with large patches of another color all over the body and always includes the head.
The inner coat may be a completely different color than the outer coat.
They are known for a very plush, thick tail that curls up over the dog’s back.
Behavior and Temperament Akita Facts
This dog is known for being very quiet, in fact in Japan they are known as the Silent Hunter.
Their personality varies quite a bit from dog to dog. Some are very friendly and some have aggressive tendencies. For this reason, an owner should keep a good eye on the dog if there are children or other animals in the house.
Most do not do well with smaller dogs; they often see them as prey. This is also true in many cases with other small animals that one may keep as pets such as hamsters, mice, chinchillas, gerbils and cats. While there are instances of an Akita getting along with other pets, this is the exception and is usually accomplished by an owner carefully socializing them together. In almost every case, an Akita dog will chase after chickens, rooster, birds, etc.
They have an independent streak and for this reason obedience training is often suggested for a well behaved and trained dog.
They are outstanding watchdogs, never failing to alert their human family members to any strangers or odd sounds that they perceive to be a potential threat to the household.
They will often follow your cue and behave well around people that you welcome into your house; however when you are not home those same people will often be perceived as threats.
Many do not get along well with other dogs, particularly if the other dog is of the same gender.
They do not like to be teased and most will not tolerate it, putting a stop to it by nipping. For this reason, young children and this breed are not often a good mix. Even if an Akita gets along with your own child, he or she often will not be tolerant of other children.
They are very possessive of their food and it is important that the dog is left alone, undisturbed to eat in their own designated area.
While they are quiet and do not bark a lot, they are special in regard to making noises. Many will have a sort of language in which they grunt, seem to mumble and snort. This is often a very amusing element and should not be confused with growling.
They behave much better when they are an inside dog, living as part of the family and only taken outside for walks, play and exercise. If they are simply put outside to run around and you are not with them, most will take a nap! An owner needs to be available to be present for the dog to have enough daily exercise, both by taking walks and by playing catch, etc.
Many Akitas can jump fairly good distances and since they often land on all 4 paws, it is referred to as "cat-like leaping".
Akita Facts About Grooming
Just like a cat, this dog will lick itself to self groom; however brushings and baths must still be given.
Because the coat is a thick double coat, a firm bristle brush should be used at least 2 times a week to go over the entire body.
Baths should be given roughly every 3 weeks, more so if the dog becomes clearly dirty.
The fur of the Akita dog is water resistant, which means that when giving a bath, effort must be put into working the suds and water down through the coat for a thorough cleaning. And again for rinsing out any shampoo residue.
They will have a heavy shed 2 times per year and during those times it is best to use a metal, double toothed comb to go over the coat.
A rake brush that pulls up dead hairs from deep within the thick coat will work well when the dog is shedding, owners are often amazed at how much can be pulled out....This is often done outside (weather permitting).
They are omnivores and do require meat, vegetable and grains; however they often will crave meat and fish much more than the other food groups.
Those that become overweight are very susceptible to knee problems and for that reason an owner must feed the dog well (2 good sized meals a day for an adult) while making sure that the dog burns some of the calories off via exercise.
The breed is prone to hypothyroid disease. Symptoms include skin and fur issues, itching, weakness and emitting a musky smell. This can be diagnosed with blood testing and treated with hormone replacement medication.