A-z - Animals


Akita Facts

Akita as pets:

general health
energy level
chewing tendency
family and kid friendly

separation anxiety
preferred temperature
cold climate
exercise needs
be friendly with other dogs
Thoroughbred Cost of Ownership
$600 to $2,000
pack of dogs
male weight
100-130 lbs
female weight
70-100 lbs

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key facts

  • Akita dogs were once exclusively bred by the Japanese royal family and used as hunting dogs.
  • While the Akita is very loyal to its owner, it doesn't get along well with other canines.
  • The Akita must be socialized early in its life unless it may exhibit antisocial behavior as it grows up.

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Helen Keller, a noted disability rights activist, received an Akita as a gift in 1937. However, the first Akita registered in the United States was Taro, brought in by an army officer.

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The Akita Inu is a massive working/hunting dog that originated sometime in the 17th century from the mountains of northern Japan. Named after the Akita prefecture where it originated, the breed was once bred exclusively by the imperial family and court as a powerful hunting dog. After being introduced to common people, the Akita became embedded in popular culture and mythology as the national dog and symbol of the motherland. The gift of the Akita Statue is intended as a symbol of longevity and happiness when a newborn is born.

The Akita is an example of a spitz: a wolf-like dog with a thick, thick coat, pointy ears, and a muzzle. Other features of the Akita include a fox-like face, a thick, bushy tail that curves backwards to cover its body, and webbed toes that help it walk on snow. After the occupation of Japan in the 1940s, returning American GIs introduced the breed to the United States, where it spawned a separate mix, the American Akita. The Japanese Akita has a narrow range of colors (such as brindle, red fawn, black and gray), while the American Akita has a wider and more expressive range of colors. Most organizations outside of the United States consider them to be separate mixed breeds rather than purebred Akitas.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning an Akita

Female Akita dog standing on a rock on the shore of a lake
Though reserved by nature, the Akita is friendly with friends and family

©Liudmila Bohush/Shutterstock.com

advantage! shortcoming!
Loyal to its owner <br>The Akita develops a strong bond with its owner. Be Wary of Strangers <br>While Akitas are very loyal and affectionate to friends and companions, they do not form bonds quickly.
Affectionate <br>This breed enjoys the company of known friends and family. Easy to bore <br>Because of dogs' roaming and intelligent minds, boredom can lead to unwanted behavior.
Courage <br>The Akita rarely backs down from a challenge. Health and Developmental Issues <br>This breed's large frame can sometimes cause it problems, especially when it is young.

size and weight

The Akita is a large dog with a large bone structure and strong muscles. Here's a more complete breakdown of its size:

height (male) 26 to 28 inches
height (female) 24 to 26 inches
weight (male) 100 to 130 lbs
weight (female) 70 to 100 lbs

common health problems

Akita dogs are prone to a number of health problems, including bloating

©[email protected] via nl/Creative Commons

Akita Health and Recreation

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The Akita is generally a healthy breed, but it does have some issues (particularly related to the large frame) that can limit life expectancy to around 10 years. It's somewhat prone to progressive retinal atrophy (retina starts to degenerate), hypothyroidism (lethargy, obesity, hair loss, etc. due to underproduction of thyroid hormone), and hip dysplasia (misalignment between the thighbone and the hip joint).

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One of the other characteristics of the breed is gastric dilatation – torsion, also commonly known as bloat. While this doesn't sound serious, it's actually a life-threatening condition, as the stomach can suddenly twist and become unable to expel air or gas. You should watch for signs of this condition, including an enlarged abdomen, heavy salivation, weakness, a fast heartbeat, and retching without vomiting.

Like many breeds, Akitas are prone to cancer, skin disease, ear infections, autoimmune disease, kidney disease, and drug sensitivities. A good breeder and/or veterinarian can screen for some of these problems early on.

To summarize the most pressing health concerns:

  • cancer
  • ear infection
  • bloating
  • eye disease
  • Hypothyroidism


Akita - dog, dog, flattery, adult, animal
The Akita is loyal and outdoorsy, but also territorial


The Akita is a strong, independent, willful dog with a dignified demeanor and a courageous character. This often results in territorial behavior and distrust or apathy towards strangers. It can also attack other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. Fortunately, the Akita is naturally very loyal to its friends and owners, and with proper training and care, some of its most unattractive traits can be tempered over time.

Since this is a working dog, the Akita adapts well to outdoor spaces and performs best when performing tasks. But it also adapts easily to indoor life as a watchdog. This breed isn't necessarily recommended for first-time dog owners or anyone wanting a low-maintenance companion, but it can give you a lot in return if you're willing to put in the time.

How to Care for an Akita Inu

Akita dogs require a high degree of care

©Peter Theakston/Creative Commons

The Akita is a high maintenance breed that takes time and effort to care for. Especially if you acquired this dog as a puppy, the breed will have different needs throughout its life cycle that require attention. You should be proactive in identifying and addressing your dog's health and behavior issues.

Best dog food for Akita Inu

Two Akita puppy puppies are eating
Organic food is the best choice for Akita dogs

© New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Unfortunately, Akitas are prone to a host of health problems. Fortunately, conscientious Akita owners can choose a dog food that will help their dog's health and longevity.

Organic dog food is the easiest way to reduce substances in your Akita's diet that can cause cancer and hypothyroidism. Additionally, eating a grain-free wet food can reduce the chances of your Akita suffering from bloating.

Which brings us to AZ Animals' food recommendation for Akitas: Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Butcher & Bushel Organic Carved Turkey Dinner in Gravy .

Grain-free organic free-range chicken formula is easy to digest. Free of artificial preservatives, chemical pesticides, added growth hormones and antibiotics, and synthetic fertilizers may reduce the risk of cancer and thyroid problems in Akita dogs.

Check out Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Butcher & Bushel Organic Carved Turkey Dinner in Gravy on Chewy or Amazon.

Best Organic Wet Dog Food

A typical adult Akita needs about 3 to 5 cups of high-quality dog food per day, but the exact amount depends on the dog's age, size, activity level and metabolism. Experts recommend that you switch to less calorie-dense foods after age 7 to prevent kidney disease. Occasional dog treats can also help your dog with training.

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Maintenance and Grooming

The Akita has a fairly thick double coat and needs to be brushed at least once a week. While not shedding all that often, it does have two times of the year when it sheds in clumps and needs extra frequent brushing. The Akita is very good at keeping its coat clean, but you should make an effort to maintain proper health and hygiene by trimming its nails, cleaning its ears and brushing its teeth regularly.


The Akita is a very alert and intelligent breed with an independent nature. While this stubborn tendency can sometimes interfere with training, the Akita is responsive and eager to learn new things. It responds best to a calm but decisive approach to training that makes it clear that you are in charge without alienating it. However, this breed needs to be properly socialized at an early age, or it may exhibit antisocial behavior later in life.


The Akita is a high-energy breed that needs about 30 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise each day. A jog, brisk walk, or play in a large space (especially a fenced yard) should be enough to burn off his excess energy, while fun tricks and tasks can keep both dog and owner happy. It's a good idea to keep your exercise routine varied and engaging. Otherwise, it may become bored and restless, leading to digging, chewing or barking. You also shouldn't loose the leash too often, or it could chase smaller animals.


As puppies, Akitas need some special care and plenty of high-quality food to support their growing bodies. It is most prone to bone disease between 4 and 7 months of age, when it is undergoing a rapid growth spurt. High-intensity exercise or playing on hard surfaces can stress a dog's joints until he is about two years old. An early examination by a veterinarian is necessary for this dog.


Cute American Akita puppy outside in a beautiful park
Akitas are known to love children, but they are not very patient with small children

© Eve Photography/Shutterstock.com

The Akita does enjoy the presence and affection of children, but it may not be the right dog for every family situation. Young children, in particular, may interact poorly with this breed. They may be overwhelmed by the dog's massive size, and the Akita may not tolerate abuse from young children. This breed does best in homes with older, more responsible children.

Similar Dogs to Akita Inu

The Siberian Husky has the Akita's thick coat, pointy ears and athletic nature

© Sbolotova/Shutterstock.com

If you're an Akita fan, then you might want to check out the following breeds:

  • Shiba Inu: Akita and Shiba Inu have some similarities and differences. Perhaps the most famous Japanese dog export is the Shiba Inu, an ancient breed that dates back to around 300 BC. It was originally bred in the rugged mountains of Japan as a strong and skilled hunter, but today the Shiba is a popular companion, beloved for its expressive appearance and personality. Coat colors include red, sesame or black and tan.
  • Ainu: Also known as the Hokkaido people, they originated from the northernmost island of Japan. Its strong physique, extraordinary guts, resistance to cold weather, and extraordinary sense of smell make it an excellent hunting partner for the native Ainu people. Coat colors include brindle, sesame, solid white, red, black and wolf grey.
  • Siberian Husky: Although not closely related to the Akita, the Siberian Husky shares with other types of Spitz dogs a large frame, thick gray or black coat, athletic nature, and stubborn disposition. Huskies are also very loyal, outgoing, and resilient.
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famous akita dog

Akita dogs are known the world over for their lovable temperament and loyal personalities. A particularly loyal dog named Hachiko became the most famous Akita of all time nine years after waiting at a train station in the 1920s for the return of its dead owner. As well as being immortalized by a statue, its story was also adapted into the movie "Hachiko" starring Richard Gere. Famous hosts include Helen Keller, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Henry Cavill and boxer Evander Holyfield.

If you want to give your dog an authentic Japanese name, then these are some top choices (the first five are male, the next five are female):

  • Hiroshi
  • relatives
  • road
  • seaweed
  • null
  • Amaterasu
  • eldest son
  • Haruka
  • Junmei
  • Emi

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about the author

I love good books and the occasional cartoon. I am also fascinated by the beauty of nature and find hummingbirds, puppies and marine wildlife some of the most amazing of all creatures.

Akita FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are Akita Inu herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Akitas are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

To which kingdom do Akita dogs belong?

Akita dogs belong to the animal kingdom.

What category is the Akita Inu?

Akita dogs belong to the mammalian class.

What family does the Akita dog belong to?

Akita dogs belong to the phylum Chordate.

What family does the Akita belong to?

Akita dogs belong to the dog family.

What order does the Akita dog belong to?

Akita dogs belong to the order Carnivora.

What type of mulch does an Akita have?

Akita dogs have hair all over their bodies.

What genus is the Akita Inu?

The Akita dog belongs to the genus Canis.

What are the distinctive features of an Akita Inu?

The Akita has pointed ears and an upward-curving tail.

How many children does an Akita have?

The average number of babies for an Akita is 7.

What fun facts about Akita Inu?

Akita dogs are very clean, intelligent and loyal!

What is the scientific name of the Akita dog?

The scientific name of the Akita dog is Canis lupus.

What is an Akita Inu?

The Akita Inu is a large, strong working/hunting dog that originated in northern Japan. Its loyal and courageous character has endeared it to many owners around the world.

What is the difference between an Akita Inu and a Shiba Inu?

The Akita and Shiba are two of the six Spitz breeds native to Japan. But the Akita is the largest spitz in Japan, and the Shiba is the smallest breed, weighing only around 22 or 23 pounds. This makes it more suitable for apartment living. Otherwise, both breeds have similar behavior.

How much does an Akita dog cost?

A purebred Akita puppy from a good breeder can cost between $600 and $2,000, but the average price is around $1,000.

What does Akita mean?

The breed gets its name from the fact that it originated in the Akita region of northern Japan.

Are Akita Inu Good Family Dogs?

Akita dogs are suitable for families with older children, but not for families with small children. It also has a tendency to chase small animals and show some aggression towards other dogs, so you should be careful introducing this breed into your home if you already have a pet.

What is the difference between a Norwegian Elkhound and an Akita?

The Akita grows much larger than the Norwegian Elkhound. Also, the Norwegian Elkhound originated in Europe while the Akita originated in Japan.

What's the Difference Between an Akita Inu and a Pitbull?

Pitbulls are smaller than Akitas, and Akitas have a shaggy double coat compared to the pitbull's single coat. Also, the Akita is an older breed compared to the Pitbull.

What's the Difference Between an Akita Inu and a German Shepherd?

Akitas grow larger than German Shepherds, although their sizes often overlap. Also, the Akita was originally bred for hunting, while the German Shepherd was originally bred for herding.

What is the difference between an Akita and a Rottweiler?

The biggest difference between the Akita and the Rottweiler is trainability. While Rotties can be a bit stubborn, they have nothing against Akitas, who can be a challenge to train.

Other major differences include size, appearance, longevity, temperament, grooming, drooling levels, energy levels, and barking levels.

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  1. American Kennel Club, available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/akita/
  2. Ultimate Pet Nutrition, available here: https://ultimatepetnutrition.com/difference-shiba-inu-vs-akita/