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Akita

Nicole Cosgrove

akita puppies_sima_Shutterstock

Height 31-36.5 inches
Weight 70-120 pounds
Lifespan 10-13 years
Colors Black, white, chocolate, brindle, a combination of color and white
Suitable for Experienced dog owners looking for a loyal and imposing guard dog
Temperament Loyal, intelligent, stubborn, composed, courageous

If you’re interested in getting a powerful and beautiful dog that’s hardwired to be loyal to its owner, meet the Akita. The Akita is a large powerful dog originating from Japan that’s known to be incredibly loyal. This is a beloved breed of working dog that was designated by the Japanese government in 1930 as a “natural monument.” The Akita was originally used as a hunting and fighting dog and is now used for police and guard work.

The first Akita to arrive on American soil was one brought to the United States by Helen Keller in the mid-1930s. Keller was gifted an Akita puppy while touring Japan. In the early 1970s, the American Kennel Club (AKC) admitted the Akita breed into its show classifications.

The Akita is a burly, heavy-boned dog with a thick coat of fur. This breed’s erect ears and dark shining eyes give it an expression of alertness, which is a hallmark of the breed. The Akita thrives on human companionship and is an independent thinker.

Continue reading to learn more about this noble breed of dog to see if it’s the right match for you.

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Akita Puppies – Before You Buy…

Energy
Shedding
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

What’s the Price of Akita Puppies?

The cost of an Akita puppy is quite high with the average cost running anywhere between $700 to $1,600. Purebred Akita puppies coming from parents who’ve won dog competitions can cost as much as $4,000. Akita puppies should always be purchased from reputable breeders and come fully vetted and microchipped.

It’s never a good idea to buy an Akita without first seeing the puppy in person, along with its mother. Be sure the dogs are well cared for and that the puppies are social and inquisitive.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Akitas

1. The Akita Was Originally a Wealthy Man’s Do

During the 17th century in Japan, the Imperial family and the ruling nobility were the only people allowed to have Akitas. During these times, Akitas lived extravagant lifestyles as their owners often conducted elaborate ceremonies for them. It was not uncommon for an aristocratic owner of an Akita to hire caretakers to look after their pampered pooch around the clock.


2. The Akita Breed Nearly Died Out

While Japan was busy fighting in World War II, the government had strict rationing laws in place, making life very difficult for the Japanese people. These extremely hard times prevented dog owners from properly caring for their pets. The situation in Japan got so dire that the government ordered that all non-military dogs be killed. The only breed that was exempt was the German Shepherd since it was used by the military.

In an attempt to save their beloved Akitas, devoted owners took their dogs to remote areas of the country. Some Akita owners were so desperate to save their pets that they cross-bred their Akitas with German Shepherds and gave them German-sounding names. Fortunately, enough Akitas survived this dark chapter in history to save the breed from extinction.


3. There’s a Spiritual Significance Attached to the Breed

The Akita is such a well-loved and popular dog breed in Japan that it’s given a unique honor. When a Japanese child is born, it’s common for friends and family of the baby’s family to give them a small statue of an Akita. This is done because the Akita represents good health, happiness, and a long prosperous life.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Akita

akita standing on the grass
Image Credit: haha050haha, Pixabay

The Akita is courageous, dignified, and profoundly loyal. This breed of dog is revered in its native land of Japan for being a family protector. The Akita is quiet, wary of strangers, and often intolerant of other animals. Akitas can also be fun-loving, silly, and very affectionate with their owners. This breed loves being in the company of its owners. It’s an independent thinker that’s dead set on protecting those it loves.

An Akita must be well socialized from a very young age with both people and other dogs. This dog is happy to be the only dog in the family. It can be aggressive toward other dogs and especially dogs of the same gender.

The Akita is often aloof around strangers but very territorial about its home, making this breed an excellent watchdog. This dog is intelligent and can become easily bored with repetitive training. The breed thrives on challenges and loves being given a job to do.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?

The Akita can make a wonderful family dog if it’s properly socialized and trained from a young age. An Akita must be provided with firm and loving discipline. This dog may not be a good match for a family with young children as it’s a big breed that doesn’t take well to mistreatment, whether it’s intentional or accidental.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

As mentioned earlier, the Akita is known to be intolerant of other animals and especially other dogs of the same gender. The Akita loves its human family but most other living creatures will be looked at as either prey or a threat.

The Akita does best as the only pet in the household. Of course, with a great deal of socialization and training from a young age, an Akita can get along with other dogs. You do, however, have to be very careful of an Akita living with other dogs or other animals in general.

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Things to Know When Owning an Akita:

akita inu_uadrienn_Pixabay
Image Credit: uadrienn, Pixabay

Food & Diet Requirements

To maintain good health, an Akita should be fed high-quality dog food, whether it’s home-prepared with your vet’s supervision or commercially manufactured. Like with other breeds, an Akita’s diet should be appropriate to its age. For example, Akita puppies should be fed food that’s designed to help a puppy grow and develop properly such as puppy kibble. An adult Akita should eat adult dog food and an older Akita should be fed food that’s formulated for senior dogs.

Exercise

The Akita is not a high-energy dog even though it’s large in size. This breed requires moderate exercise like a nice long daily walk or two or a brisk jog around the neighborhood. Akitas like to play and are especially fond of chasing. Playing a rousing game of fetch is always fun for this breed.

This breed loves a challenge which means an agility or obstacle course set up in the backyard is a great idea.  Frisbee toss is another great activity for an Akita that requires some skill, coordination, and timing.

Training

The Akita requires firm, fair, and consistent training from an early age. You should start training your Akita as soon as you bring it home as a puppy. This dog tends to be stubborn so patience is key. Instead of rewarding your Akita with food treats, train your Akita using firm commands and praise. The goal of training an Akita is to get your dog to respect you as its leader.

Grooming

The Akita has a medium-length double coat that sheds moderately but doesn’t mat or tangle. This breed of dog should be brushed once or twice a week. It’s best to start brushing an Akita from a very young age so the grooming becomes routine for the dog.

Akitas should be bathed every month or so following a good brushing session. Regular dog shampoo will do the job just fine. After shampooing your Akita, rinse the shampoo out thoroughly and then towel-dry the coat and finish with a quick brushing to make the coat look fresh and clean.

Health and Conditions

Akitas are generally very healthy but can be prone to some health conditions and diseases.

Serious Conditions:
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Vestibular Syndrome
  • Microcytosis
Minor Conditions:
  • Heat and summer stress
  • Itchy skin
  • Cataracts
  • Retinal dysplasia

Male vs Female

If you have your heart set on getting an Akita but don’t know if you should get a male or female, here’s some info that can help. Male Akitas are larger and heavier than their female counterparts. Males also are more likely to bond equally with all family members. So if you want a big dog that’s perfect for your family, a male may be the right choice.

A female Akita is slimmer with less muscle mass than a male. A female is easier than a male to train when young and needier when it comes to getting your affection. A female is also less aggressive than a male Akita and a little less playful.

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Final Thoughts

With its striking good looks, it’s difficult to ignore an Akita when you have the privilege of meeting one. Even though the Akita has a bear cub-like appearance, this dog is naturally very dominant. The Akita does not tolerate other dogs well and especially dogs of the same gender. This is why it’s not a good idea to get an Akita of the same gender if you already have a dog.

An Akita may be the perfect fit for you if you’re an experienced dog owner willing to provide your dog with firm, loving discipline. The Akita is a strong-willed dog that respects leadership.

An Akita needs to be treated with respect. This is not the best breed choice for those with small children because this dog does not react well to being mistreated, even unintentionally. An Akita that has its tail pulled or is climbed on may feel it’s under attack and respond with aggression.

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Featured Image Credit: sima, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.