Often confused with the Husky Dog or the Malamutes, the Akita Dog is a breed of pup with relatively high care needs but lots of love to give! There are two types of Akita Dog, the American and the Japanese, and they are often mistaken for each other. While the main difference is the way they look, in this guide we will focus on the Japanese Akita.
Loyal and loving, the Akita can make a great pet for those with experience with large dogs. Keep reading on below if you want to find out more about this breed and see whether they are the right dog for you.
History Of The Akita Dog
There are two different distinct types of Akita Dog — American and Japanese. The Japanese comes in fewer colors than the American and is smaller in size. However, aside from this, they are pretty much the same dog and have very similar personalities, temperaments and care needs.
The Akita is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). In fact, the AKC is the only breed club that sees the Japanese and American Akitas as the same dog and allows breeding between the two. All other breed clubs, such as the World Canine Organization and UK Kennel Club, recognize them as distinctly different breeds.
The Japanese variety of the Akita Dog is the original, as this purebred originated in Japan and is a type of Spitz dog. Their original purpose was to hunt wild boar, deer and bear, but soon they became family companions thanks to their power and their ability to protect. Owners also noticed how loyal and friendly these dogs were with children.
After World War II, servicemen who had been stationed in Japan brought the Akita dog back home to America with them and thus the breed was introduced to the United States. This is when the American Akita was eventually developed, although some fans of the breed still favored the Japanese Akita. This is what caused a split and difference of opinion between many Akita owners!
Characteristics Of The Akita Dog
Akita puppies are extremely cute and look just like little balls of fluff! This large breed doesn’t reach full maturity until they are around 18 months old, but to be honest they are mischievous and puppy-like in their temperament well into their adult years!
Akita Dog puppies are normally born in litter sizes of between three and seven. You can expect to pay between $900 and $1,700 for an Akita. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Their appearance is the main difference between the Japanese Akita and the American Akita. The Japanese can look very fox-like and stand very strong, although it is smaller than the American. They are often described as smiling and their black eyes, nose and lips stand out. Their ears stand erect on the top of their head.
The Akita Dog will stand between 23 to 29 inches in height and will weigh between 50 to 85 lbs, with males usually being larger and heavier than females.
The Akita Dog has a thick and dense double coat. Their outer coat protects them from the tough and harsh weather in Japan and their softer undercoat helps to keep them warm. Unfortunately, they do require a fair bit of grooming. We will go into grooming in more detail later on.
The Japanese Akita is most commonly seen in a red and white colorway. The white markings are usually on their face like a mask and on their chest and front paws. However, they can also come in different coat colors such as golden, white, red, black brindle and silver brindle.
The Akita breed has a wonderful temperament — if they know you! This pup loves their people more than anything and will be friendly, kind, affectionate and playful with all their family members. However, they are a historic guarding dog and haven’t forgotten this trait, and are therefore often very aloof with strangers.
Akita’s are known to bark when they feel something is out of place or if there is something or someone they don’t trust. However, when they feel happy they will be the quietest dog in the world! Proper socialization from a young age will be essential for the Akita so they learn what they should and shouldn’t be scared of.
These pups are extremely loyal to those they know and are very intelligent. They can be stubborn from time to time and so training can be a challenge, but when raised in the right environment the Akita is loving, friendly and a great dog to be around.
The Akita Dog has an average life expectancy of between 9 and 10 years.
Known Health Issues
Unfortunately, like all dogs, the Akita is prone to some health problems.
The most common health conditions that are seen in Akitas are the same problems that are seen in many large dog breeds. This is elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. This is when the elbows and hips weaken and become arthritic and it can be the cause of quick growing.
Akitas can also suffer from immune sensitivity to vaccines, drugs, insecticides, anesthetics and tranquilizers.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced. Trusted breeders will do health checks on both parents and will not breed if there is a chance of passing on any severe issues to offspring.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Akita Dog, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these pups is really like. Unfortunately, these powerful dogs have quite high care needs, but are certainly worth it! Below we will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
Akitas need quite a lot of food to maintain their energy levels and exercise needs. These pups need roughly 1,500 calories a day, which equates to roughly four cups of food. The exact amount you feed them should be based on their weight, and you should always double check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding them.
Always ensure that the food you feed your Akita Dog meets all their nutritional requirements. These dogs need largely protein and fats in their diet. As a puppy, you should be careful not to overfeed them as this can cause serious growth issues. They also do not need too much calcium in their diet as a puppy, as this can affect skeletal formation.
Best Dog Food For The Akita DogBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the CRAVE Grain Free High Protein dry dog food for your Akita Dog. This food is formulated with 34% protein from real salmon, inspired by the diet of dogs’ wolf ancestors. This high protein helps to keep their muscles lean and healthy so they can stay active for longer.
This food has no grains present in the recipe but there are quality carbohydrates for sources of energy. There are also vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in the formula to provide your Akita with a full and balanced diet. Even better, there are no chicken byproduct meals in this food, nor any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
A historic hunting breed, it is no surprise that the Akita is an active dog! These pups need between 60 and 120 minutes of exercise a day to match their energy levels, so you must make sure you can dedicate this time to them before buying one of these dogs.
It is a good idea to keep your Akita on a leash, especially when you are out in public. Their size can be intimidating to other people, and their stubborn streak means you may need to control them while they are still being socialized.
As these dogs are an intelligent breed, they do need mental stimulation alongside physical exercise. You can give them brain games and puzzles to play which will keep them entertained — especially if they are food related!
As a large breed, too much exercise as a puppy can be detrimental to their skeletal health. While they are still growing, you should obey the five minute rule. This is five minutes of exercise for every month of their age. So, if your Akita is four months old, you should exercise them for twenty minutes a day.
The Akita Dog makes a wonderful family pet for those families who have experience with large breed dogs. This dog has high care needs and is certainly not for first time dog owners, but don’t let this put you off!
These pups love their people and are extremely loyal and friendly to those that they know. They are gentle with children but can also make the perfect playmate thanks to their energetic and mischievous nature.
Training and socializing is a must with this breed because of their wariness of strangers. They will bark and warn you if something is out of place, so starting this from a young age is important. The Akita can be stubborn and this is one of the reasons they are recommended for experienced dog owners who have knowledge of training a pup. However, they do make good guard dogs and watchdogs.
Often, it is recommended that the Akita Dog lives in a household with no other pets thanks to their aggression — particularly same-sex aggression. However, with correct training and socialization, this should not be the case. These dogs do need to live in a house with space, ideally with a yard they can run around in. The yard should be fenced at least 10 feet high, as Akitas are wonderful escape artists!
Remember, these dogs can be a handle to take care of and you must be able to dedicate time to them! They need a lot of exercise every day, but will happily accompany the family while they’re out and about. If you’ve got the love, time and dedication to commit to this wonderful canine and their needs, they can make an excellent family dog.
The Akita is an intelligent breed, however this does not mean they are easy to train! This Japanese breed can be known to be stubborn and so patience and perseverance from you is a must. You should start training from a young age, because these dogs can become more stubborn and aloof as they get older.
Like all dogs, these dogs respond best to reward based training and positive reinforcement training. This includes verbal praise as well as treats. You should never get angry or annoyed with your Akita Dog because this will make them not want to learn.
We have mentioned above that Akitas can be aloof and wary of strangers, often barking when they are worried as they feel it is their job to protect their family. Sometimes these dogs have also been reported to be aggressive towards dogs of the same sex, especially ones that live in the same house as them.
It is for this reason that you should start socializing your Akita from a young age, so they learn how to act around humans and animals and they grow up to be a well-rounded and friendly dog. You should introduce them to different sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a controlled and calm way, so they learn there is nothing to be afraid of.
Unfortunately, the Akita Dog breed needs a lot of grooming. These Japanese dogs shed a lot and so are not the pup for those with allergies. Although they have two major blowouts a year, realistically they shed all year round and you will need to invest in a good vacuum cleaner!
You should brush your Akita’s coat three to four times a week to help keep their coat looking tidy and to keep shedding to a minimum. You should also remember to trim their nails as and when is needed and brush their teeth regularly to prevent dental decay and disease.
Cleaning your Akita’s ears and eyes is important too, to help prevent any infection.
Akita Dog FAQ’s
How much does an Akita Dog cost?
An Akita Dog will set you back between $900 and $1,700. You should always ensure you are buying from a reputable breeder who can show you health clearances for both parent breeds.
If this is out of your price range or you would prefer to adopt, then you can always check your local shelter. A quick search online may also bring up organizations that can help you find an Akita dog who needs their forever home!
What is the difference between the Japanese Akita and the American Akita?
These dogs have very similar temperaments, so the main difference between the Japanese Akita and the American Akita is the way they look. The Japanese Akita is much smaller than the American and they are much more fox-like in their appearance. They also have almond shaped eyes while the American Akita’s eyes are triangular.
The Japanese Akita is normally seen in a red and white colorway, with white on their face like a mask. The American Akita has a black mask which would be considered a show disqualifier in Japan.
While the way they look is very different and many Akita owners feel strongly that the two breeds are very separate, they both have wonderful personalities that make them extremely loyal and friendly!
The Akita Dog is a certainly not a dog for first time owners, but will thrive in a family environment with people who understand their needs. An extremely loyal and loving dog, these pups worship their owners and feel it is their duty to protect you! They get on well with both adults and children, making the perfect excitable playmate, and can also get on with other pets when socialized properly. Despite their high grooming requirements and exercise needs, these dogs will keep you on your toes with their devotion and affection. If you’ve got the space and time, why not think about adding an Akita to your family?