The Akita was first bred in the northern region of the island of Honshu in the Akita prefecture. The climate in this area was very cold and harsh, and the Akita was bred as a hearty hunting dog. He hunted bear, deer and boar primarily. Akita’s often worked as a team with the leader taunting prey and the follower nipping at the back of it. Together they distracted large game until hunters could catch up and kill it.
In 1927 the Akita-inu Society of Japan formed, their mission being to preserve the Akita as a Japanese breed. The Akita has also been designated a national monument in Japan.
The breed was nearly completely destroyed during World War II, when the Japanese government declared all non-service dogs should be culled for their meat and fur. The only way for owners to protect their dogs was to release them into the wild. Many Akita dogs interbred with wild dogs or with German shepherds during this period of time.
The breed was revitalized after WWII, both in Japan and in America. The first Akita in the U.S. had been brought in by Helen Keller just prior to the war. She was gifted the dog in Japan after she spoke publicly there. Although her first dog died of distemper a second was sent from Japan and lived with Helen for years. After the war Akita dogs were brought back by soldiers and were generally of a color that the Japanese found to be unacceptable. Even today many American color standards are not allowed in Japanese competitions
The Akita’s loyalty is legendary. In 1925 a dog named Hachiko waited at a train station for his owner to return from work, as he had always done. Sadly, Professor Ueno of Tokyo had died at work and never came back. Hachiko waited for the train everyday for the rest of his life, hoping the professor would return. A statue was built in his honor after Hachiko died.
- Weight: 65 to 115 lbs
- Height: 24 to 28 inches
- Coat: 2 types - standard and long
- Color: Any color
- Life expectancy: 11-15 years
What’s the Akita like?
The Akita is a quite dog, but bold and assertive. He’ll bark only when he feels it’s truly warranted and will fiercely protect his family. The Akita will not be interested in strangers and potentially aggressive around other dogs, especially of the same sex. It would be wise to keep the Akita on a leash when he’s being introduced to strangers of any species. Proper socialization can reduce outbursts.
The Akita is affectionate towards children in his family but he can be confused by playful screams and might act to protect them in situations which don’t warrant it.
The Akita needs healthy amounts of exercise every day and can certainly tolerate cold conditions. He won’t follow family members around but he will want to know where they are at all times.
The Akita wants to be the pack leader so training him will require a firm hand and constant reinforcement. He’s also intelligent, so creative games and engaging interactions are a must. The Akita does well with clicker training.
No breed is without its own set of health concerns. In the case of the Akita he’s especially sensitive to immune disorders such as progressive retinal atrophy. There are several other conditions to watch for:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Von Willebrand disease
- Myasthenia gravis
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- The Akita is loyal
- The Akita is a protector
- The Akita can be aggressive in certain situations
- The Akita will clean himself but requires daily brushing
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
11 Fun Facts About the Akita
Lara is an animal lover and a pet writer. A fur-momma of three rambunctious dogs and also a supporting member of The Philippine Animal Welfare Society. Read more
- Akita Dog Facts
- Akita Inu Means Dogs of Akita
- The Akita Was the Rich Man's Dog
- The Akita Was Used in Dog Fighting
- The Akita Is One of Japan’s Natural Treasures
- Hachi: A Dog’s Tale Is Based on a True Story
- Japan’s Tourist Attractions Include a Bronze Akita Statue
- The First Akita in the United States Was Brought by Helen Keller
- Akitas Were on the Brink of Extinction
- There Are Two Types of Akitas
- There Is a Museum Dedicated to Akitas
- Even President Vladimir Putin Loves the Akita
Have you seen the movie, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale? If you have, we are pretty sure you bawled like a baby while watching that movie! Hachi’s story captured the hearts of many and skyrocketed the Akita’s popularity on a global scale. All of this came as no surprise to Osamu Yamaguchi, a veteran breeder who has been raising and supplying the distinctive breed for over 20 years. The Akita is such a charmer, and they are fiercely loyal to their family members. Not to mention they have an irresistibly soft, thick, and fluffy coat that makes you want to hug them forever!
However, there are certain things about the Akita that sparked a debate among dog owners. The Akita is enshrouded with mystery! For one, the Akita’s origins seem murky, especially when you get different answers from your know-it-all local breeder. Whatever question or doubt you have with the Akita, we are pretty sure you will be enlightened with these 11 facts!
The Akita Dog
The Akita Dog
Although widely known in Japan, the Akita dog isn’t a breed you see on a daily basis in North America. Of course, when you do see an Akita, he’s bound to stop you in your tracks. This is a dog of substance, in every sense of the word.
Akitas are an ancient breed whose precise origins are unknown, but we do know that the breed was developed in the northernmost region of Japan, in the prefecture of Akita.
An ancient breed, he was one of a handful of Japanese dogs used for hunting and guarding. The goal for farmers was to breed for type, emphasising strength, loyalty, courage, and ability to withstand harsh climates. The larger dogs, like the Akita dog, hunted deer, elk, boar, and small bears.
Japan’s history and culture is complex and rich, and the Akita has developed along with it. His role as a homestead guardian fully emerged in the late 1700s, when famine led to increased crime. The Akita was often the first line of defense for homeowners against thieves. During this time, the breed grew in size, because a large and imposing appearance is effective in guarding work. A variety of breeds were introduced into the Akita’s lines, including Japanese Tosas, Mastiffs, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and more.
During the 17th century, these dogs became a symbol of wealth, and ownership was limited to the Japanese aristocracy. Fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, known for his love for dogs, took an interest in the Akita. He enacted laws preventing mistreatment of dogs, and took steps to ensure that the Akita was a dog only the most prestigious members of society could own. Once a common household pet and guardian, the Akita became a dog for samurai and other noblemen. This trend continued until the 19th century, when Emperor Taisho changed the law, permitting any citizen to own an Akita.
Over the years, the Akita has been on the verge of extinction several times. Dog-fighting, unfortunately, put the Akita at risk of injury and death, but thankfully was prohibited in the early 1900s in the Akita prefecture. This gave the breed time to flourish, but that safety was short lived, because soon after a widespread outbreak of rabies threatened dogs in the region. Countless Akitas were lost—some due to illness but many at the hands of humans who killed canines indiscriminately in an effort to end the outbreak.
Again, the Akita endured. By the 1930s, his numbers were again looking good, and it was at this time that Japan designated the breed a national treasure. The Japanese view the Akita as a symbol of health, happiness, and longevity. It’s customary to present a loved one with a small Akita statue to mark the birth of a child, and these statues are also given to those who have been ill or otherwise need good wishes.
No history of the Akita could be complete without mention of Hachiko, the world’s most famous Akita. At the end of each work day, Hachiko would wait for his owner at the Shibua station platform, and they would walk home together. In 1925, Hachiko’s owner passed away at his office, and for ten years, Hachiko continued to wait at the platform for his guardian to arrive and take him home. Japan’s hearts and minds were captivated by this dog’s display of love and loyalty. After Hachiko passed in 1935, a bronze statue in his likeness was erected at the Shibuya station, and a museum was created to celebrate him and the breed.
Within a decade, World War II was underway and its effect on Japanese dogs was devastating. Akita owners were under rations and struggled to feed and care for their families, let alone their dogs. The Germans removed any dog that wasn’t deemed German in origin, and the confiscated dogs were taken and killed for their meat and fur. Thanks to a dedicated group of devoted Akita owners, the breed survived. They hid as many dogs as they could, and reportedly even gave their dogs German-sounding names. It was an elaborate, clandestine effort to try to preserve this national treasure.
While Akita numbers were desperately low at the end of the war, again breeders got to work and spent the following decades working to solidify the Akita’s status and to create standards for temperament and type.
The breed was introduced to North America in the late 1930s when Helen Keller was honoured by Japan with the gift of an Akita. Speaking of her first Akita, she noted, “If ever there was an angel in fur, it was Kamikaze.” Her love of the breed helped raise its profile. Her first Akita died of distemper before his first birthday, but she was gifted a second dog from the same litter, and he became one of her most beloved canine companions.
The breed gained popularity in the United States and the Akita Club of America was founded in 1956.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in the Miscellaneous Class in 1955 and as part of the Working Group in 1973.
Today’s Akita is a large, heavily-boned breed with a distinct head, and a large tail that curves over his back. He stands from 24 to 28 inches at the shoulder and his body is meant to be longer than it is high. Owing to his origins in the northernmost region of Japan, the Akita has a very thick, warm double-coat which the AKC accepts in various colours and markings.
Although strong and athletic, the Akita is not an overly active breed. A walk or two a day will be enough to keep him content. For those who want to be more active, both physical and mental exertion will be well received by the Akita.
The Akita has done well in activities such as obedience and agility. He’s also gaining popularity as a therapy dog. One can only imagine the delight of those in nursing homes when they encounter an imposing dog with such intense eyes… only to realize they are in the presence of a tender-hearted and loyal friend.
Akitas are independent by nature and there are certainly more biddable and easily-trained breeds out there. Akitas do have a complicated history that involves hunting and guarding and even fighting. And, by their size alone, Akitas are not the dog for everyone. Having a guardian who is assertive, experienced with dogs, and very committed to positive training and socializing is important. The Akita needs someone who is just like him: dominant, but kind-hearted.
Socialization from an early age is critically important with this breed, and anyone considering an Akita must be prepared to put in the time to train him early and often. Like some of the other ‘aloof’ breeds, when properly socialized he will most likely be, at best, a well-mannered bystander to dog-group shenanigans. He doesn’t need to join in the fun with other dogs, but he must be shown from an early age that getting along with others is important.
Some breeds seem to only thrive in pairs or packs, but the Akita can be quite content as an only dog. Akitas tend to bond more closely with their people than they do with other animals. They’re known for being cautious and aloof with strangers. A territorial nature is ingrained into the Akita, and while they tend to be quiet in the home, they will bark to announce strangers.
Can Akitas co-exist with cats? Well, maybe. Odds are better for an Akita to do well with cats if they are raised alongside of them. But, prey drive is strong in the breed and there have been incidents of aggression against cats (and other dogs). Again, early socialization with different animals and people, and regular training are key pieces to the puzzle.
Health-wise, this is a hearty breed. Like all dogs, the Akita can be prone to some conditions, including bloat as well as genetic disorders to eyes, thyroid, and hips.
As you can see, there’s a lot of dog in the Akita. He’s not for just anyone, but not just anyone is worthy of a dog this brave, loving, and loyal. “Heart dog” to the incomparable Helen Keller, a designated national treasure in Japan… it takes a special kind of dog to be worthy of these kinds of distinctions. It takes an Akita.
The Akita is a big, bold dog with a distinctly powerful appearance: a large head in contrast to small, triangular eyes and a confident, rugged stance. The mere presence of a powerful Akita serves as a deterrent to most who would cause trouble.
This breed is renowned for unwavering loyalty to their owners, and they can be surprisingly sweet and affectionate with family members. Imagine a loving protector who will follow you from room to room, whose entire mission in life seems to be simply to serve you.
The Akita is courageous, a natural guardian of their family. Stubborn and willful, they won't back down from a challenge. They don't usually bark unless there is a good reason, but they are vocal, making amusing grunts, moans, and mumbles. Some owners say the Akita mutters under their breath and seem to be talking to themselves, while others say the Akita offers their opinion on all matters, from how to load the dishwasher to when the children should be put to bed.
While these charming "talking" traits are exhibited to family, the Akita is often aloof and silent with visitors. They're naturally wary of strangers, though they will be welcoming enough to a house guest as long as their owners are home.
Socializing the Akita puppy (or retraining an adult dog) with as much exposure to friendly people as possible can help soften the edge of their wariness, though an Akita will always be an Akita—a dignified and sober presence, not a party animal.
One of the Akita's singular traits is mouthing. The Akita loves to carry things around in their mouth, and that includes your wrist. This is not an act of aggression, but simply an Akita way of communicating with those they love. They may lead you to their leash because they want to go for a walk, for example, or act on any number of other ideas that pop into their intelligent head.
Many owners are charmed by the Akita's mouthing, but if you find it annoying, simply give your Akita a job that involves carrying something. They would happily get the newspaper or your slippers for you, or retrieve the mail or even those keys you keep misplacing.
The Akita also proves themselves unusual with their grooming habits, licking their body like a cat. And that's not their only "feline" trait: like a tiger, they'll stalk their prey silently, body low to the ground. This is not a dog that will growl or bark a warning before springing into action.
At 100 pounds or more, the Akita is a lot of muscular power. This is a dominating breed, and the Akita will want to dominate you. Proper training is essential, and training should be done by the owner. Because the Akita is so faithfully loyal, the bond between the owner and the dog must not be broken by boarding the dog with a trainer.
Before adopting an Akita, it is crucial to spend time researching how to train this particular breed. Akitas do not respond well to harsh training methods. If your training is respectful, the dog will, in turn, respect you.
But be prepared for training to take longer than it does for other breeds. Though the Akita is highly intelligent, stubborn willfulness is a part of their personality, which can and does interfere with training. The best results come from doing plenty of homework on how to train before ever bringing an Akita home with you. This is not a breed for the timid.
The willful and determined Akita is also, despite their public reserve, a very social pet who needs plenty of time with their family. They not do well as a backyard dog. Companionship holds hands with loyalty, which is what this breed is all about. To make them live outside without benefit of family is to deny the very essence of the Akita breed. A lonely and bored Akita can become destructive and aggressive.
The Akita is not recommended for first-time dog owners, for those who want a lapdog, or for those unwilling to take charge. But for owners who can and will invest time and effort in research and proper training, the reward is a fine, intelligent companion with unwavering loyalty.
In addition to all other considerations, choosing an Akita means deciding which side of a controversy you want to stand on. This controversy is "the split," and it relates to the Japanese or American standard for the breed.
The Japanese Akita is considerably smaller, both in height and mass, than the American Akita—as much as 30 or more pounds lighter. Their foxlike head is decidedly different from the broad head of the American breed. The Japanese Akita has almond-shaped eyes, while the American Akita's eyes are triangular. A black mask is much in vogue on the American Akita but is considered a show disqualifier in Japan, where markings on the face are white.
If you want your dog to compete in any American Kennel Club events, the black mask means the dog has been bred to the American standard and will be allowed to compete. In fact, in America, any color on the Akita is permitted in Japan, only red, white, and some brindles are allowed.
So wide are the differences between the types that it would seem that a split would be best for the breed. There appear to be as many strongly in favor of the split as there are those who are strongly against it. Deciding which standard to choose should be done only after much research and is largely a matter of personal taste.
The Akita's natural hunting skills translate well to various activities. They still hunt today and are able to hold large game at bay until the hunter arrives. They can also retrieve waterfowl. They are adept at tracking, and their catlike movements make them talented in agility. Akita owners are increasingly surprising those skeptics who believe that the Akita nature prevents success in this field. While it's true that the breed's stubbornness can make training a challenge, Akitas and their owners are taking home ribbons as more people discover the thrill of accomplishment in working with this dog.
To get a healthy pet, never buy a puppy from a irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Find a rescue or shelter that will vaccinate, provide veterinary care, and require applicants to meet dogs to make sure they are a good fit for their potential forever family.
- The Akita can aggressive with other dogs and is especially prone to same-sex aggression. They'll need socialization training to overcome these tendencies.
- The Akita is not a good choice for first-time dog owners.
- Positive socialization and consistent, firm training are essential for the Akita. If he is mishandled or mistreated, they often respond by becoming aggressive.
- The Akita will chase other pets in the house if not trained properly.
- The Akita sheds—a lot!
- Prolonged eye contact is considered a challenge by the Akita, and they may respond aggressively.
- Training the willful Akita can be challenging and requires understanding, experience, and patience. It's best to work with a trainer familiar with the breed, but be sure to be involved in the training, yourself.
The Akita is named for the province of Akita in northern Japan, where they are believed to have originated. The Akita's known existence goes back to the 1600s, when the breed guarded Japanese royalty and was used for hunting fowl and large game (including bears).
This valiant breed was introduced to America by a woman of no small stature: Helen Keller. The Japanese held Helen Keller in high esteem and took her to Shibuyu to show her the statue of Hachiko, an Akita who achieved worldwide fame in the 1920s for his loyalty. Hachiko's owner, a professor, returned from work each day at 3 p.m., and his devoted dog met him daily at the train station. When the professor died, loyal Hachiko continued his daily vigil until his own death a full decade later.
When Helen Keller expressed her desire to have an Akita for her own, she was presented with a puppy, the first Akita brought to America. Keller was delighted with Kamikaze-go and was deeply saddened when he died of distemper at a young age. Upon hearing this news, the Japanese government officially presented her with Kamikaze's older brother, Kenzan-go. Keller later wrote that Kamikaze had been "an angel in fur" and that the Akita breed was "gentle, companionable, and trusty."
After World War II, returning American servicemen who had been stationed in Japan brought back more Akitas. Thomas Boyd is credited with producing the first Akita stud to sire puppies in the U.S., starting in 1956. The American Akita eventually evolved into a more robust dog than the Japanese Akita and was valued by many for this reason.
Yet there were those who wanted to remain true to the Japanese standard. This split caused a decades-long battle that led to a delay in acceptance by the American Kennel Club. Finally, in 1972, the AKC accepted the Akita Club of America, but the split is still wide today and is a matter of great concern to Akita fanciers on both sides.
What is never debated is the Akita's historical and famous combination of fearlessness and loyalty. These traits were once put to the test at the London Zoo, when a Sumatran tiger cub was orphaned. The zookeepers needed special help in raising the cub, and they chose an Akita puppy for this important task. They knew the Akita would not be frightened and could engage in play that would help the tiger cub with necessary life lessons. Moreover, the Akita's dense fur would protect him from sharp claws, and the pup's inherent loyalty to his playmate would provide desired companionship and protection for the bewildered, orphaned cub. The Akita served in the role successfully and "retired" from the job when the tiger reached near-adulthood.
This is a dog who is truly fearless, fully confident, and will exhibit unfaltering devotion to family.
Males stand 26 to 28 inches and weigh 85 to 130 pounds. Females stand 24 to 26 inches and weigh 70 to 110 pounds.
The Akita is a bold and willful dog, naturally wary of strangers but extremely loyal to their family. They are alert, intelligent, and courageous. They tend to be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex. They are best suited to a one-dog household.
With family, the Akita is affectionate and playful. They enjoy the companionship of their family and want to participate in daily activities. They're mouthy and enjoy carrying toys and household items around. Despite the common belief that they never bark, they are in fact noisy, known to grumble, moan—and, yes, bark if they believe the situation warrants it.
Be aware, the Akita's strong personality can be overwhelming. They are not the dog for a first-time owner, and they are not for the timid. They need an owner who can provide firm, loving discipline.
Activity is essential for this active breed. They need plenty of exercise to keep them from becoming bored and, in turn, destructive.
The naturally protective Akita has a propensity to become aggressive if allowed, or if they aren't raised properly. Training the Akita is essential, and so is proper socialization from an early age. Keep in mind that this breed is stubborn, so extra patience is necessary to teach them proper canine manners.
Akitas are generally healthy, but like all breeds of dogs, they're prone to certain conditions and diseases.
- Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don't display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. Reputable breeders offer proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus, commonly called bloat, is a life-threatening condition that affects large, deep-chested dogs like Akitas. It is especially a problem if they eat one large meal a day, eat rapidly, drink large volumes of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid themselves of the excess air in their stomach, and the normal return of blood to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen, is salivating excessively, and is retching without throwing up. They also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak, showing a rapid heart rate. It's important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
- Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It's thought to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin conditions. It is treated with medication and diet.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
- Sebaceous adenitis (SA) is a serious problem in Akitas. This genetic condition is difficult to diagnose and often mistaken for hypothyroidism, allergies, or other conditions. When a dog has SA, the sebaceous glands in the skin become inflamed (for unknown reasons) and are eventually destroyed. These glands typically produce sebum, a fatty secretion that helps prevent the skin from drying out. Symptoms usually first occur when the dog is from one to five years old: affected dogs typically have dry, scaly skin and hair loss on top of the head, neck, and back. Severely affected dogs can have thickened skin and an unpleasant odor, along with secondary skin infections. Although the problem is primarily cosmetic, it can be uncomfortable for the dog. Your vet will perform a biopsy of the skin if she suspects SA and will then discuss a variety of treatment options with you.
The Akita is happiest and does best when living inside with their family. This breed is not hyper, but they do need daily exercise. Thirty minutes to an hour a day is sufficient for an Akita brisk walks, jogging (for an adult dog over two years of age), and romping in the yard are favorite activities. Visits to a dog park are probably not a good idea, given the Akita's aggressive tendency toward other dogs.
Due to this breed's high intelligence, a varied routine is best. What you don't want is a bored Akita. That leads to such behavior problems as barking, digging, chewing, and aggression. Include the Akita with family activities, and don't leave them alone for long periods at a time.
A securely fenced yard is important, too, both for the safety of the Akita and for the safety of strangers who may mistakenly come into their turf. While they aren't typically aggressive with visitors if their family is home, all bets are off if their owners aren't around. The Akita is a loyal guardian, and they'll protect against anything they perceive to be a threat.
Special care must be taken when raising an Akita puppy. These dogs grow very rapidly between the age of four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders. They do well on a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps them from growing too fast. In addition, don't let your Akita puppy run and play on hard surfaces, such as pavement normal play on grass is fine. Avoid forced jumping or jogging on hard surfaces until the dog is at least two years old and their joints are fully formed (puppy agility classes, with their one-inch jumps, are fine).
Recommended daily amount: 3 to 5 cups of high-quality dry food a day
NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on their size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference—the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.
Talk to your veterinarian about formulating an appropriate diet for your individual dog.
Coat Color And Grooming
There are many different colors and color combinations in the American Akita, including black, white, chocolate, a combination of color and white, or brindle. The Akita is double-coated, with the undercoat being very dense and plush the topcoat is short.
Overall, grooming the Akita isn't terribly difficult. But the Akita is a shedder, so frequent vacuuming will be your new lifestyle if you choose this breed. Akita fur will be found on furniture, clothing, dishes, in food, and will form myriad dust bunnies on floors and carpets. Heavier shedding occurs two or three times a year. Weekly brushing helps reduce the amount of hair in your home, and it keeps the plush coat of the Akita healthy.
Despite their self-grooming habits, the Akita also needs bathing every three months or so. Of course, more often is okay if your dog rolls in a mud puddle or something smelly. The nails need to be trimmed once a month, and the ears checked once a week for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. Also wipe the ears out weekly, using a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner, to prevent problems.
As with all breeds, it is important to begin grooming the Akita at an early age. Making grooming a positive and soothing experience will ensure easier handling as your Akita puppy grows into a large, willful adult.
Children And Other Pets
Adults should always supervise interactions between dogs and kids, and this is especially true with this breed. No child could have a more loyal guardian and playmate than an Akita, but a mistreated Akita can become a liability and may even endanger your child's life. It is imperative to teach youngsters to be respectful and kind in all their interactions with dogs. Play between dogs and kids should always be supervised, even with well-trained dogs.
That said, the Akita is suitable for families with older children. They should usually live in a one-pet household, however, because they can aggressive toward other dogs and will chase other pets if not trained properly.
Akitas are often obtained without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Akitas in need of adoption and or fostering and a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward an Akita rescue organization.
Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Akita.
The Akita, or Akita inu to give his full designation, is subject to various local restrictions. Dog ownership laws vary from state to state, but dangerous dog laws typically refer to the size of a dog, rather than breed. However, residents of the New York City Housing Authority are specifically banned from owning Akitas, as well as many other perceived dangerous breeds.
In his native Japan, the Akita is considered a noble hunter and formidable guard dog. Originally bred for hunting, the breed is revered for his caution, steady nerves and courage. While hunting breeds aren’t necessarily dangerous by definition, their hunting instincts may mean they pose a higher risk of being dangerous in certain situations, such as if left unattended around small animals. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Akita is not among the most likely breeds to attack humans. However, his sheer size and power means that any bites that do occur are likely to be more serious.
An adult male Akita can grow up to 28 inches high and weigh up to 120 pounds. This means that it takes a strong adult to be able to physically restrain an Akita. For this reason, the breed is unsuited to certain owners purely because they would be unable to physically control the dog, should he decide to give chase to another animal. Although the Akita is intelligent and easily trained, there is no guarantee with any dog that they will be obedient, especially if they become scared or feel threatened.