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Japan loves the Akita, so much that the nation dedicated a national monument to this largest of its indigenous breeds. Thought to symbolize well-being and health in its native country, the Akita first came to the United States with Hellen Keller in 1937.
This popular show dog also does performance and therapy work. They are brave, dignified, and devoted to their chosen family. The Akita is an extra large and medium-energy breed, which can live 10-13 years and grow to between 70-100 lbs (female) or 100-130 lbs (male). The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Working breed group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting
Breed Group: Working
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Size: Extra Large
Bark Factor: Rarely barks, if ever
Energy level A sprinter
Exercise needs 30-45 minutes per day
Playfullness and Games A few times per day would be divine
Attachment to People Give me some love when you get home, maybe we'll snuggle later
Behavior with Other Dogs Ok with early socialization and consistent training.
Behavior with Other Small Pets I may be ok, when socialized early and often
Behavior Toward Strangers I'm a single-family or person dog at heart
Trainability It's fun, but I may lose focus
Watchdog ability I know all that's going on, all the time
Protection ability I can be highly protective
Grooming needs Easy maintenance, brushes and baths
Cold tolerance I just love winter and snow
Heat tolerance Above 70 degrees? Give me winter, please
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS AN AKITA'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Intelligent, somewhat playful, and very affectionate, your Akita greatly prefers to be the only dog in your heart and home. This breed is not very friendly with other pets and small animals, and is suspicious of strangers. The Akita will do best in a family who can supervise play with younger children (Which is best with any breed.).
This breed lives for your approval and attention; a neglected Akita will languish. Akitas make for very capable watchdogs — they are willing and eager to watch over you and home, but remember that any watchdog benefits from living as part of your family. Their protective instincts and imposing stature make them outstanding guardians. Don't forget, this means they'll need early and consistent socialization with dogs and people outside their homes.
WHAT IS AKITA BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Your Akita needs moderate exercise; it won't run your legs off, but will flourish with daily walks. This dog is odorless, an infrequent barker, and loves being clean, making it a fastidious housemate.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN AN AKITA?
Independent-minded people-pleasers, Akitas are somewhat easy to train and enjoy regular exercise. You'll definitely benefit from using positive reinforcement training and establishing yourself as your Akita's leader early. They're smart, but strong-willed, so look into puppy training classes before your Akita hits the terrible teens. Akitas love it when you reward training successes with food and games.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO AKITAS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Akitas are above-average, twice-yearly shedders who will benefit from weekly groomings. Daily brushings will keep your home tidy (beware furry tumbleweeds here) and your Akita more comfortable.
Akitas have medium-length fur coats in two layers: the longer, protective hairs that shield their skin and the soft undercoat they shed twice a year. This breed is known for the curly, fluffy tail that flips over its back.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO AKITAS HAVE?
Watch your friend for signs of stomach, eye, or gait trouble. Akitas are particularly prone to bloat, a condition that requires immediate attention from your veterinarian. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) and contact your vet at once if you suspect your dog might be suffering from this ailment.
Adult Akitas can also develop retinal degeneration, which can cause cataracts or blindness, and canine hip dysplasia. The AKC notes reputable breeders should test for CHP to reduce its likelihood in Akita puppies. Feeding your baby Akita a growth food for large-breed puppies will slow their rate of growth but not diminish their adult stature, and may help prevent or reduce the impact of adult-onset hip dysplasia.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE AKITAS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Akitas among its breeds recommended for folks with allergies.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a dog-safe wet wipe or damp cloth on your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as an Akita! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS AN AKITA'S BEST DAY?
Considering this breed was originally created to guard Japanese royalty, an Akita's best day definitely involves being with “her” person—you! After that, it's dealer's choice as long as it doesn't involve other pets, in-your-face strangers or anything that looks like it could be menacing. A long, leisurely walk in the cool air and then a good brush-down could make her especially happy.
SHOULD I ADOPT AN AKITA?
If you're a desert-dweller looking for a laid-back lapdog, this is not your breed. But if you live in chilly northern climates and you're looking for a distinctive, devoted, and determined dog who will defend your family and your home, the Akita is for you.
Have you decided that an Akita is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.