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About this dog

Welcome to the Akita Inu dog microsite. This page contains detailed information on the breed. From this point you can use the above tabs to navigate to the other Akita Inu pages.

- Kitt Killion

Akita Inu Breed Information

Alternative names Akita Ken (...) Japanese Akita

Country of origin -Japan

Classification and breed standards

FCI:|Group 5 Section 5 #255|Stds
ANKC:|Group 6 - (Utility)|Stds
CKC:|Group 3 - (Working Dogs)|Stds
KC (UK):|Utility|Stds
UKC:|Northern Breeds|Stds

The Akita-.. or Akita Ken-...(kanji)......(katakana) is a Breed of large dog originating in Japan, named for Akita Prefecture, where it is thought to have originated. "Inu"-. means "dog" in Japanese, although in practice this animal is nearly always referred as "Akita-ken," based on the Sino-Japanese reading of the same kanji.

Quick Facts

Akita Inu Quick Facts

Weight: | 35-40 kg |
Height: | 64-70 cm |
Coat: | Coarse, straight
Coat (cont): | soft undercoat
Activity level: | Low
Learning rate: | High
Temperament: |Moderately active, independent
Temperament (cont) |Males more dignified and bold than females
Guard dog ability: | High
Watch-dog ability: | Very high
Litter size: | 5-7
Life span: | 11-15 years


The breed stands 64 to 70 cm at the shoulders. Females weigh anywhere from 34-38kg. Males are 33-40kg. The Akita Inu come in only five colours: Red, Fawn, Sesame, Brindle, and Pure White. All except white must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, body and tail.

All colors are accepted in the American Akita. The Pinto color is not accepted as a Japanese Akita color, but is as an American Akita color. In the U.S., some breeders interbreed the original Japanese type with the heavier American type, which is larger, and allows more colors. It is felt by some that combining the two types leads to improved appearance and genetic health by increasing genetic diversity. In the United States, there is only a single Akita breed registered by the American Kennel Club, whereas they are separated into two breeds in every other country in the world except Canada. In other countries the breed has been separated into two breeds: the Akita Inu and the American Akita. However, the American Akita is seen by some American breeders as being a different breed than the Japanese and these breeders advocate a splitting of the one breed into two.

Akitas possess a double coat, with a dense straight undercoat, and a thick outer coat. This coat makes the dog waterproof, as well as being well-equipped for the fierce winters in Northern Japan. Due to the thickness of their coat, the breed requires daily grooming, and also an awareness of the dog's heavy shedding, especially during warm weather.


Akitas are a large breed. They are not considered to be a dog for novice owners, as the dog's master should be assertive in showing the dog its place in the pack, and to have some experience of dog behaviour. They are naturally wary of unknown people and animals and should be well socialised to avoid undesirable aggression. Left unattended in the backyard or in a kennel, they can develop "personality" problems, and may become destructive to the yard due to boredom. They are highly pack oriented, thus, isolating them from a social environment (i.e., the owner) causes them great stress. The Akita is a dominant dog which may expect other dogs to be submissive. Akitas should never be taken to off-leash dog parks due to this dominant behavior, as well as the fact that the dogs are large and strong, and would be difficult to restrain physically if the dog is not properly trained.

Akitas are devoted protectors of children in its pack, and it is said that Japanese mothers often left their children with only the Akitas to watch over and protect them. This devotion will not necessarily extend to other children, especially if teased, and can be aloof with strangers. Common sense should prevail, and adequate supervision of pets and children is generally a good idea. Having said this, a well socialized Akita will be more comfortable with this.

They are excellent house dogs. They require moderate, but regular exercise. Akitas are known to be very quiet dogs, only barking "when there is something to bark about".

Akitas may take a while to train because they are easily bored and can be stubborn. Akitas are highly intelligent, and will only obey a task if they see the point of it. They are not trick dogs. They are also a dominant species, and will not take orders from a weak or abusive leader, requiring a firm but loving education where "no" always means "no" and never "whatever".

An Akita is not likely to shower affection on someone that is not a member of his family or a close friend that he sees frequently, and can be extremely aloof. The dogs are known for their loyalty, and a pet Akita will patiently follow its master from room to room, without ever getting underfoot. This trait is evident in the tale of Hachik., a dog remembered in Japan for his loyalty, who returned to the train station every day for the rest of his life to wait for him.

Akitas in UK and USA/Canada surveys had a median lifespan of about 10 years, which is similar to other breeds of their size.

In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (32%), cardiac (14%), and gastrointestinal, including bloat/torsion (14%). In a 2000-2001 USA/Canada Health Survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (21%), GDV (=bloat/torsion, 21%), musculoskeletal (15.5%), and autoimmune (7%).


Some of the health conditions known to affect this breed include:

Canine herpesvirus, a strain of the Herpes virus that happens to affect canines
Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), a condition associated with bloat
Pemphigus, which causes the autoimmune system to attack the dog's skin (leading to pustules)
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an adult-onset condition which gradual degeneration in the eye cells (i.e. rods & cones)
UveoDermatological Syndrome (UDS)
Sebaceous adenitis, an autoimmune condition which attacks and destroys the dog's sebaceous glands
Canine Hip Dysplasia
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV = "Bloat" or "Torsion")

Akita owners should take special note of the high incidence of GDV (Gastric dilatation volvulus) in this breed. Excess gas trapped in the dog's stomach causes "bloat." Twisting of the stomach (volvulus or "torsion") causes or is caused by excess gas. GDV is an emergency condition requiring immediate veterinary treatment. Akita owners should be alert to the symptoms of GDV and know the location of the nearest emergency veterinary facility.


The Akita's ancestors were dogs used by matagi for hunting. These dogs, usually called matagi inu, were not as large as modern Akita dogs. Many of these dogs were used as guard dogs. They were also used in the sport of hunting bears. Many were used to guard the emperor and his children. Akitas would sometimes be used instead of babysitters.

Recent DNA analysis found that the Akita was among the most ancient dog breeds.

Copyright (c) 2008 Kitt Killion Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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