Japanese Akita dogs are large, powerful dogs with much substance and dignity. Their proud head carriage and stance is enhanced by their small ears and dark eyes. They make a striking picture with their thick, plush coats, which comes in red-fawn, sesame, brindle, and white. Adult males stand at 64-70cm and females at 58-64cm. The weight range is 34-50kg.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: More than once a week
- Shedding: Heavy
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Not too noisy
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Utility
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Low
- Stability as a guard: High
The Akita dog breed is the largest of all the Japanese breeds and was originally bred in the province of Akita in the 1600s. Some believe the dogs were originally bred for hunting wild boar, deer and black bear; others believe they were bred for pit fighting. However, when the Japanese (and European) dog-fighting sport lost favour, the dogs were then employed for hunting. In the late 19th century other breeds were imported, making the Japanese breeds suffer in popularity. The Society for Preservation of Japanese Dogs was then formed for the purpose of preserving the native breeds, which were all declared national monuments.
These are strong dogs – in body and character – and are not recommended for the novice owner. They need experienced handling and early and ongoing socialisation and training. They are, however, very loyal to their own family. Courageous, they make good watchdogs without barking too much. Their hunting instincts are strong and this must be remembered at all times.
As with many breeds the Japanese Akita can suffer from hereditary eye disorders and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
Akitas require a lot of exercise to keep them well muscled. That said, if you do have to miss a walk one day, they will accept it without a fuss. Do remember these are hunting dogs and great care should be taken when allowing them to run freely.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Japanese Akita is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
The coat should be kept well groomed two or three times a week to bring out the best in it, and, twice a year, during heavy moults, a metal, double-toothed comb should be used.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information