• Akita Dogs
  • Akita Dog
  • Akita Puppy
  • Akita
  • Akita in Great Britain
  • Akita Puppies
  • Akitas
  • Akitas in Great Britain
  • Akita in the UK
  • Akitas in the UK
Size:
Grooming:
Exercise Level:
Trainability:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Affectionate:
Protective:
Height: 61 - 71cm M | 61 - 66cm F
Weight: 34 - 54kg M | 34 - 50kg F
Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 Years

Searching for an Akita?


Introduction

What are Akitas known for?

The American Akita, also known as Akita, is a large breed with a strong and imposing stature, which makes him a great guard dog. This Utility dog breed was originally used as a fighting dog in Japan. The Akita dog eventually became a keen hunter of deer, bear, and wild boar.

The modern-day Akita is an affectionate and loyal dog, which makes for an excellent companion dog as well as a family pet. When trained early and socialised well, the Akita is one of the most well-rounded dog breeds hardwired to protect their humans.

The Akita's luxurious thick coat does not require much grooming, but it needs weekly brushing to keep the coat nice and neat. The breed is double-coated, so he typically sheds minimally. However, expect his dense undercoat to shed twice a year copiously.


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History

The most popular Akita in the world may be the loyal Hachiko, whose life was made into a Hollywood film. A bronze statue dedicated to Hachiko can be found in Shibuya train station.

The Akita was named after his hometown called the Akita Prefecture, which is the northernmost region of the island of Honshū, Japan. Belonging to the Spitz Group, the breed has existed since the 1600s.

The Akita is a descendant of the Matagi dog. He is known to hunt during winter in northern Japan. Legend says that the birth of the breed was made possible by a wayward nobleman.

He was banished by the emperor to the northernmost province of the island of Honshu. The aristocrat was tasked to become a provincial ruler for the rest of his life.

It turns out that the man was a devoted dog fancier. He urged barons to develop large dogs that are versatile, with great hunting ability. This started the creation of Akita dogs. They were often lone hunters, but sometimes they work in packs.

The Akita can take down Japanese deers, wild boars, and Asian black bears. Because he has a soft mouth, he was also used for flushing out animals for hunters. He was also used as a guard dog.

The Akita dog used to be exclusively owned by the imperial family and their court. However, the times have changed, and the breed is accessible even to common folks as a loyal and protective family companion. Due to his admirable nature, he is lovingly described as 'tender in heart and strong in strength' by his native country.

The Akita has even become a symbol of protection and a good luck charm in Japan. Parents with newborn children are given a small statue of the dog, which is a gesture of good health and long life. The statues are also given to sick people as a sign of wishing them a quick recovery.

In 1931, the Japanese government proclaimed the Akita as one of Japan's national treasures and national monuments.

The Akita breed was first brought to the United States by writer and activist Helen Keller in 1937. An Akita puppy named Kamikaze-Go was given to her as a present and a gesture of respect. Sadly, he died at an early age because of canine distemper.

Helen received another Akita puppy in 1938 as an official gift from the Japanese government. She named him Kenzan-go, and the dog became her cherished companion for many years.

World War II nearly eradicated the Akita breed as food became more and more scarce. The dogs were also used as food by starving people. Since the Akita was considered a non-military dog, many were killed through orders of the government to prevent the spread of disease.

Despite the harrowing experience of the Akita, the breed survived with the help of a few people. The surviving dogs were sent to remote mountainous areas where they can mate with their ancestors. Some people crossed Akitas with German Shepherds so that they can serve as military dogs. This saved the breed from becoming victims again of the rampant culling.

More Akita dogs were brought to the USA by servicemen after World War II. The American Akita was introduced in the UK in 1939 and was Kennel Club-registered since 1986. Throughout the early 20th century, the dogs were crossed with other breeds including the Tosa Inu, Great Dane, English Mastiff, and Saint Bernard. Breeders were aiming to give the Akita specific fighting dog features.

The kinds we see today were developed in the United States. On 4th April 1973, the American Kennel Club approved the official breed standard.

The Akita breed is referred to as the 'great Japanese dog.' The Kennel Club recognises two varieties of the breed. The first is the Japanese strain called the Japanese Akita, also known as Akita Inu and Akita Ken. The other one is the American strain called American Akita.

Free breeding between the two is not commonly done. This stemmed from the controversy of creating an American variation of the Japanese Inu, which is considered the national symbol of Japan. To avoid further issues, strict breed standards were put in place for careful breeding. It is essential in making a clear distinction between the two Akita breeds.

Today, the Akita breed works as a military dog, personal protection dog, and therapy dog aside from being a dependable canine companion.


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Appearance and Grooming

The Akita is a generally large and powerful dog. He weighs 34–54 kilos and stands 61–71 centimetres at the withers.

The Akita dog has a broad head and forehead. He has small triangular eyes, a pointed, short muzzle, and erect ears. He has a broad chest, long legs, and a muscular neck. His assertive stance and intimidating presence drive away troublemakers.

Do Akitas shed?

Regular vacuum cleaning in the house is needed as this breed sheds 365 days a year. Also, shedding becomes heavier three times a year.

The Akita has a regal appearance, thanks to his thick, fluffy undercoat, whilst his outercoat is coarse. His full and lush coat comes in a variety of colours. All colours are acceptable except merle.

Frequent brushing with a stainless steel comb and a pin brush helps avoid matting. Clipping his fur is not recommended as his undercoat is essential in regulating his body temperature during hot and cold seasons.

It is not unusual for the Akita dog to show feline manners such as cleaning his face after eating and being tidy in the house. However, despite these self-grooming tendencies, he still needs to be bathed once every 2–3 months.


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Temperament and Intelligence

Are Akitas good family dogs?

To ensure that your Akita dog matures into a confident and people-loving canine, train and socialise him at an early age.

The Akita is intelligent, independent, and dominant. He is affectionate and loyal to his family members, but aloof to strangers. This breed may not be a good option for families with small and unruly kids as he is heavy and energetic.

The Akita is dubbed as a silent hunter since he rarely barks. When he does, it is often a sign that he senses a threat nearby. This makes him an ideal pet in apartments and small homes provided that he receives ample amounts of daily exercise.

Are Akitas dangerous?

The Akita is best off being the only family pet in the household. He tends to be aggressive towards other dogs, especially of the same sex. When it comes to smaller animals such as cats and birds, the breed is known to prey on them as he sees these animals as game.

The Akita dog is particularly territorial of his food. Teach children to avoid disturbing their canine companion during his meals. If you have another pet, place him in another room to prevent fights.

The Akita requires dedicated training and challenging tasks so he can channel his energy appropriately. Handlers must be confident and strong-willed, or this dog will become stubborn and aggressive to animals, especially dogs of the same sex.

This breed is generally a good choice for a family pet. However, his temperament will depend largely on his socialisation and training. An Akita that has been overtrained to be a serious watchdog will not likely be a good fit in a domestic environment.


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Nutrition and Feeding

A large and active adult Akita dog needs 3–5 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. Bloat or gastric torsion is a common stomach disorder that the breed suffers from, so it's never a good idea to feed him with one big meal a day.

Measure the Akita's food and split it into two meals a day to prevent this ailment from occurring and also to ensure a trim body size. The amount of food that the dog needs relies on his age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism.

The Akita tends to become obese after he has been spayed or neutered, so make sure to keep an eye on his waistline and adjust his intake. He must also be fed with a gluten-free diet to avoid allergies.

The best-recommended diet is the BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). However, it is always advised to consult a veterinarian before deciding the diet you would like to put your dog on for the long term.


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Health and Exercise

How long do Akitas live?

The average lifespan of an Akita is 10–12 years. He is generally healthy but predisposed to a number of health issues like sebaceous adenitis. Other health problems include:

Canine Stomach Bloat

The Akita is the second likely breed after the Great Dane in developing dog bloat or gastric dilation volvulus. This is a life-threatening condition that occurs when gas is trapped inside the stomach. It can result in breathing difficulties and blood flow restriction. Immediate surgery is necessary for dogs suffering from bloat to prevent a fatality.

Cancer

Lymphosarcoma, which damages the lymph nodes and lymphatic cells, and osteosarcoma, also known as bone cancer, are the most common type of cancers the Akita breed is very susceptible to. These are highly fatal without proper treatment. Thus, early detection is extremely critical to saving the affected dog's life. Cancers can be cured through chemotherapy or surgical removal.

Orthopaedic Disorders

The Akita breed can suffer from many bones and joint problems particularly hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, cruciate ligament rupture, chondrodysplasia, and osteochondritis.

Afflicted dogs experience agonising pain and difficulties in moving. Some may even completely lose the ability to walk. Health tests prevent the transfer of these diseases from parent to offspring.

The Akita is an active dog with moderate to high exercise needs. He should have at least 1–2 hours of exercise. If you love running, hiking, and jogging, this dog is a great exercise companion for you.

Mind that the Akita has the urge to dominate other dogs. Unless your dog is properly socialised, avoid bringing him to dog parks. Make sure to keep him on a lead during walks as well to keep him from challenging other dogs.

The Akita is highly susceptible to joint problems, so avoid activities that would put pressure on his muscles and tendon such as jumping. Do not play games that trigger his dominating nature like a tug of war. Opt for fetch, agility course, and scent games instead.


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Cost of Ownership

Purchasing an Akita puppy will cost you £600–£1,500, and expect to pay more if coming from an assured breeder. You can also ask prices from Akita breed clubs to check the current prices for these pups. If you want to adopt and give an Akita a loving home, you may enquire from a shelter or rescue organisation.

On top of the initial purchase, you need to buy high-quality dog food, which costs £40–£60 a month. Other costs include toys and dog supplies costing around £200. Veterinary fees, check-ups, boosters, and other healthcare expenses are estimated at £1,200 for the first year, minors the initial vaccines and spay or neuter expenses for the following years.

A pet insurance costs around £50 a month for basic coverage, and £80 a month for lifetime coverage. Overall, you might be spending around £15,840–£20,160 throughout your Akita dog's lifetime depending on the insurance coverage. Expect to pay more for treatments and medical procedures not covered by pet insurance.


Akita Breed Highlights

  • The Akita is extremely protective and originally bred as a guard dog.
  • He is intelligent and easy to house-train.
  • Akitas only bark when necessary.
  • He is a heavy shedder, especially during autumn and spring.
  • He can become stubborn if not trained properly; hence he is ideal for experienced dog owners.
Akita

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Disclaimer:
The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.