Japanese Dogs 101: The Brave and Loyal Akita Dog Breed

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akita inu in field of flowersThe beautiful and graceful Japanese breed of the Akita Inu is as stately in appearance as it is in personality. If you’re looking for a dog that is loyal, brave and unwaveringly faithful to its owner, then this may be the perfect dog breed for you!

A Brief History of the Akita Dog Breed

Akitas are well known in Japanese culture and hold a revered position due to their nature and place in the history of the country. Akita Inus originated from the Akita prefecture on the island of Honshu.

Akita prefecture is a rugged mountainous area in the north of the island where the stunning Lake Tawaza is located. The ancestral breed of the Akita Inu is referred to as the ‘Matagi’ in Japanese. This translates to ‘esteemed hunter’ due to its unrivaled hunting abilities. These fearless dogs used to hunt deer, wild boar, and black bears.

The breed was specifically bred to obtain traits of loyalty, persistence, and intelligence which in later years made them popular as police dogs, guard dogs and also competitive show dogs.

The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1955.

More recently, the adorable story of Hachiko, the Akita Inu dog who faithfully waited at a Tokyo train station for his master for years made its way into popular culture. A statue commemorating this special hound is located at Shibuya train station in Tokyo. This gorgeous story is now also a film starring Richard Gere!

The breed was officially declared a national monument by the Japanese government in 1931 – so you know they’re the goodest of boys!

American Akita vs Japanese Akita: Are They Different Types of Dogs?

Technically worldwide the Japanese Akita and American Akita are classified as different breeds. However, in the US and Canada, people consider them variants of the same breed.

While there is still some debate as to whether the American and the Japanese Akita are different breeds, it is certain that they have different appearances, and even temperaments.

American Akitas are larger and more obviously muscled, whereas Japanese Akitas are a much smaller dog, standing at around an inch shorter than their American counterparts.

The average weight of the male American Akita is around 115 pounds, whereas the male Japanese Akita averages at 100 pounds. The faces of these two types of dogs differ too – the Japanese Akita has a longer, finer fox-like face, while the American Akita has a shorter more bear-like face.

american akita dogs in snow

The Appearance of this Impressive Breed

Unlike some other dogs, these dogs can have a varied appearance. Generally, Japanese Akitas have a fox-like snout, pointed ears, and a curled tail. Funnily, every Akita’s tail curls up differently, so they are all unique doggos!

Japanese Akitas come in a narrow range of colors such as red, fawn, sesame, brindle and pure white, and all should have ‘Urajiro’ or Shiba Inu marking. Other markings, including black mask markings, are considered to be part of the American Akita breed.

Average Akita Weight and Size

Akitas are a medium-to-large sized dog, but they still have a sleek and refined look to them.

  • Adult males stand at around 25 to 28 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 130 pounds.
  • Females stand at around 23 to 25 inches tall and weigh roughly between 70 to 110 pounds.

Akita Temperament and Personality

The temperament and personality of this breed are quite unique – this is a steadfast, loyal, intelligent and independent breed. Due to their stubbornness and independent streak, Akita training can test even the most patient owner!

But training will reap great rewards, with a well-trained Akita perhaps more loyal than any other breed in the world. If purchasing a puppy make sure you have time and energy on your side to train him – don’t say we didn’t warn you!

smiling akita puppy

With a firm owner providing obedience training, this breed has the ability to be an extremely well-behaved dog that is a delight to spend quality time with.

One thing to note about the temperament of this breed is that unfortunately, they are often not able to enjoy a peaceful co-existence with Akitas or other dogs of the same sex.

More than one male or female Akita housed together will often end in a struggle for dominance, which can lead to fights and serious injuries. If you are looking at having two Akitas together, it is a wise choice to go for a male-female combination.

The Coat and Colors of Akita Dogs!

This big beautiful breed has a unique short double coat, with consists of a robust outer coat and a softer undercoat.

White Akitas

White Akitas feature stunning snow white coats, that almost look like fluffy clouds! In fact, Akitas were once referred to simply as ‘snow country dogs’ because of their pure white coat.

Black Akitas

Black Akitas are striking with their glossy, soft black coats. While black Akitas are technically not part of the breed standard, it is hard to deny they are good looking pooches.

Brindle Akitas

The Brindle Akita’s coats feature a unique mix of brown, black and white, that are certainly eye-catching. Brindle Akitas are extremely rare, so expect to pay more for dogs with this coat type.

akita dog relaxing in woods as a guard dog off duty

The Top Akita Mixed Breeds!

There are a number of Akita mixes that definitely make for some gorgeous designer doggies! Check out some of the best crosses that we’ve seen.

Akita Husky Mix

The Akita Husky mix is the best of two Spitz-type breeds combined. This large and energetic pet thrives in cold temperatures and has the stylish good looks of both the Akita and the Husky.

Akita Lab Mix

Friendly and whip-smart, the Akita Labrador mix is a perfect mix! If you have a young family, this is the mix for you.

German Shepherd Akita Corgi Mix

Mix a German Shepherd, Akita, and a Corgi, and what do you get? A gorgeous and unique pupper! This cute living teddy bear has to be seen to believe that it is a living thing and not a soft toy. Adorable!

How Long do These Doggos Live?

With appropriate care, lots of exercise and a nutritious diet, you can expect your gorgeous doggo to live between 10 to 15 years. That’s a lot of doggo fun times!

Be aware that this breed can sometimes suffer from progressive retinal atrophy and Von Willebrand’s disease, so do be sure that you take your pal for regular checkups at your local vet.

3 Facts You Didn’t Know About This Breed

1. They symbolize health, happiness, and longevity in their native country of Japan. New babies are often given figurines of the dog to give them a good luck in their start to life.

2. Back in the 17th century, they were something of a fashion accessory. Only wealthy members of the Japanese aristocracy were able to keep the dogs, as a symbolism of their high status.

3. You can visit a museum entirely devoted to this special breed! Located in Odate, Japan, the museum hosts a whole range of Akita information and artifacts, including the story of Hachiko. Oh, and did we mention that the official greeters at the museum are real-life Akita puppers? Too cute!

akita puppies running

Akita Puppies for Sale!

An Akita puppy is a pure bundle of floofy joy! If you’re looking for puppies for sale, try looking at breeders that have a good reputation in your local area.

It is essential to find a reputable breeder to ensure that your precious new pup is fighting fit. A good breeder will be happy to provide you with information about their puppies and even show you around where they breed them.

Some Akita breeders located in the US include:

  • Buckridge Akitas
  • Kaiju Kennels
  • Rising Sun Akitas
  • Baycrest Akitas

Remember, if you are not planning on having more mini-Akitas running around, it is important to spay-neuter your pup at the appropriate age!

How Much Does an Akita Puppy Cost?

Akita puppies can range in price between $750 – $2000. If someone tries to sell you a puppy for less than $500 from a ‘breeder’ walk away!

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Akita Rescues!

One of the most special ways to own an Akita is to give a forever home to an Akita rescue dog! The main rescue groups for Akitas in the United States are:

  • Akita Rescue Society of America
  • B.E.A.R

Fill in an adoption application and do your bit for a needy Akita doggo!

Common Questions on Akita Inus

Where do Akita Inus come from?

Are Akita dogs aggressive?

How big are Akitas puppies?

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