Akita Photo

Akita Dog Breed Info & Pictures

Large, powerful and heavy of bone, the Akita is a classic working spitz. The head is large and smooth with powerful jaws and muzzle, and a distinct stop. Ears and eyes are small and triangular; ears stand erect, and eyes are dark, deep set and have an intelligent expression. The body is slightly longer than tall, well muscled throughout and designed for maximum efficiency in hunting game in deep snow. The tail is full and carried over the back. The feet are catlike. The dogs soft, dense undercoat is protected by a straight, harsh outer coat that stands off the body. The coat can be any color including pinto, white or brindle, with markings clear and well balanced.

Akita Fast Facts

10 - 12 years
85 - 120 lb
65 - 90 lb
25 - 28"
23 - 26"
Aketa, Akkita, or Akeeta
Akita Inu, Japanese Akita


Though the Akita is unshakably devoted to her family and loved ones, she is also an independent and free minded soul....

This means training can be trying at times, as the Akita will often try to establish dominance; once you demonstrate who is boss, however, the faithful Akita will fall into line immediately. The dog is protective of its family, and tends to befriend strangers and other dogs only reluctantly. Even with extensive training and socialization, do not expect this breed to greet people with the same easy friendship as a Labrador; a more realistic response to newcomers is initial suspicion and eventual acceptance. The Akita is marginally more accepting of other house pets, but again, the overwhelming majority of this dogs affection is focused squarely on its family. The Akita is gentle and even motherly with children, and may be especially protective of them.

Caring For a Akita

With the proper physical and mental exercise every day, the Akita can be a calm and well mannered house pet....

A long run or, even better, exciting game will keep the Akita happy and free from hyperactive behavior. The dogs thick coat is fairly low maintenance, but should be brushed once or twice a week. Ears, eyes and feet should also be inspected regularly. The Akita enjoys cold weather and can live outdoors in fairly cool climates; hot weather is another story, however, and proper care should be taken to keep the dog cool and hydrated on hot days. Health concerns for the Akita include progressive retinal atrophy, canine hip dysplasia, osteosarcoma, hypothyroidism, lymphosarcoma, gastric torsion and pemphigus.

Akita History

Breed History

One of the seven breeds native to Japan, the Akita is a natural monument in its homeland....

While its earliest origins are something of a mystery, it is likely the dog has existed in the mountains of northern Japan since ancient times. There, the ancestors of the modern Akita, called Odate dogs, were used as guardians, hunters and dog fighters. Much of the Akitas history has been marked by the efforts of breeders to discourage such traits as large size, pinto patterning and a black mask; however, as Japan opened its doors to the West in the late 19th century, crossbreeding with large European breeds such as the Mastiff and Great Dane began to accentuate those very traits. Concerned that the long revered Akita would be lost or changed beyond recognition, Japanese breeders founded the Akita-inu Hozankai Society in 1918 in an attempt to preserve the breed. This effort was successful, and coincided with a renewed national respect for the traditional Akita. In 1932, the story of an Akita named Hachiko was featured in a Japanese newspaper, fanning the flames of the dogs popularity: Hachiko met his master at the train station every day after work, and when his master died suddenly at work one day Hachiko continued to return to the train station every day until he himself died nine years later. Helen Keller brought the first Akita to the United States in 1937, and servicemen returning from the Pacific theater after World War II also brought the faithful Akitas. The Akita was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1972 and enjoys moderate popularity in the United States today. The Akita is still used as a police dog in Japan.