Country of Origin: Japan
AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 47 of 196
AKC Classification: Working group
UKC Classification: Northern breed
Exercise Requirements: Average
Height: Female: 24-26 inches; Male: 26-28 inches
Weight: Female: 70-100 lbs; Male: 100-130 lbs
Physical traits: Large, Muscular, Sturdy, Powerful
- Length: Medium
- Characteristics: Double coat
- Colors: Any color
- Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate
Personality traits/Temperament: Courageous, Dignified, Profoundly Loyal
Energy Level: Average
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: Moderate
Life Expectancy: 10-13 years
The Akita is a majestic and powerful breed that embodies strength, dignity, and unwavering loyalty. Originating from Japan, this noble breed has captivated dog enthusiasts with its striking appearance and steadfast temperament. In this article, we will explore the origin, appearance, temperament, health outlook, nutritional requirements, exercise needs, pros and cons, space requirements, suitability for the elderly and kids, cost, the ideal owner for an Akita, two fun facts about the breed, and conclude with why they make a remarkable addition to any family.
The Akita is one of Japan's oldest native breeds, named after the Akita Prefecture where it originated. Originally bred as versatile hunting dogs and guard dogs, their lineage can be traced back over 3,000 years. Akitas were revered as symbols of nobility and good fortune in Japanese culture. They were later employed in various roles, including tracking, hunting large game, and even as wartime sentinels. Today, they are cherished as loyal companions and esteemed show dogs around the world.
The Akita is a large, muscular breed with a sturdy frame and a dignified presence. They have a broad head, a strong jaw, and small, triangular, dark eyes that exude intelligence. Their ears are erect and set slightly forward. Akitas possess a dense, double coat that comes in various colors, including white, brindle, and various shades of red. They have a proud and confident gait, standing at around 24-28 inches (61-71 cm) in height at the shoulder and weighing between 70-130 pounds (32-59 kg), depending on gender.
Akitas are known for their courageous, loyal, and protective nature. They form strong bonds with their families and are deeply devoted. While they are typically reserved and aloof with strangers, they exhibit immense loyalty and affection towards their loved ones. Akitas are intelligent, independent thinkers, often displaying a calm and composed demeanor. Early socialization and consistent, firm, yet gentle training are important to shape their temperament positively.
Akitas are generally a healthy breed, but they may be prone to certain health issues. Some common concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), autoimmune disorders, and thyroid conditions. Responsible breeders perform health screenings and genetic testing to minimize the risk of hereditary diseases. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and preventive care are crucial for maintaining the overall health and well-being of Akitas.
Proper nutrition is vital for the health and well-being of Akita dogs. Consider the following nutritional considerations for this breed:
High-Quality Dog Food: Choose a premium-quality commercial dog food that is specifically formulated for large and giant breed dogs. Look for products that contain real meat as the primary ingredient, along with a balanced mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Adequate Protein: Akitas require a diet rich in high-quality animal protein to support their muscle development and maintenance. Ensure that the dog food you choose contains a sufficient amount of protein from sources such as chicken, beef, or fish.
Balanced Nutrients: Provide a well-rounded diet that includes a balance of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate feeding portions and to address any specific dietary needs your Akita may have.
Akitas are a moderately active breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. They benefit from daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. However, it is important to avoid excessive exercise during the growth phase to prevent potential joint problems. Engaging them in activities like obedience training, interactive games, and puzzle toys can help channel their intelligence and energy effectively.
Pros and Cons
- Loyal and protective, making them excellent guard dogs and family companions.
- Intelligent and trainable, though they may display independent thinking.
- Majestic appearance and regal presence.
- Generally good with children when properly socialized and supervised.
- Low grooming needs, as they have a double coat that requires minimal maintenance.
- Independent nature may require consistent training and experienced handling.
- May not get along well with other dominant dogs or small animals.
- May exhibit stubbornness and willfulness at times.
- Moderate exercise requirements that should be met for their well-being.
- Prone to certain health issues, requiring regular veterinary care and monitoring.
Akitas can adapt to various living spaces, including apartments, as long as their exercise needs are adequately met. However, providing them with a secure, fenced yard is ideal for allowing them to roam and explore safely. It is important to ensure they have enough space to move around comfortably, both indoors and outdoors.
Suitability for the Elderly
Akitas may not be the ideal breed for elderly individuals due to their size, strength, and moderate exercise needs. However, if an elderly person is physically capable of handling a larger breed and is committed to meeting their exercise requirements, an Akita can be a devoted and protective companion. Careful consideration of the owner's physical capabilities is necessary to provide proper care and supervision.
Suitability for Kids
Akitas can be loyal and protective companions for children when properly socialized and supervised. However, due to their large size and protective instincts, they should always be supervised when interacting with young children. Early socialization and teaching children to respect the dog's boundaries are essential for a harmonious relationship.
The cost of an Akita puppy can vary depending on factors such as breeder reputation, location, pedigree, and quality. On average, expect to invest between $1,500 to $3,000 for a well-bred puppy. Ongoing expenses, including food, grooming, veterinary care, training, and accessories, should also be considered when calculating the overall cost of owning an Akita.
What Should the Owner Be Like
An ideal owner for an Akita should be experienced, confident, and assertive in their leadership. They should be patient, consistent, and willing to invest time in training and socialization from an early age. Akitas thrive in a loving, structured environment where they receive consistent guidance and clear boundaries. Owners should be prepared to meet their exercise needs, provide mental stimulation, and offer plenty of social interaction.
The Akita is one of the few dog breeds designated as a national monument in its home country of Japan. They are highly esteemed and considered symbols of good health, happiness, and long life.
Hachiko, an Akita dog, became a symbol of loyalty in Japan. He faithfully awaited his deceased owner's return at a train station every day for nearly ten years, captivating the hearts of many and inspiring numerous books and films.
The Akita is a regal and loyal breed that possesses a remarkable combination of strength, loyalty, and intelligence. With their majestic appearance and protective instincts, they make devoted companions and guardians. However, they require experienced handling, consistent training, and a committed owner who can provide the necessary care, socialization, and exercise. If you are ready to embrace the responsibilities of owning an Akita, you will be rewarded with a loyal, majestic, and extraordinary companion for life.