IS IT THE RIGHT BREED FOR YOU?
Welcome to the Akita, a companion dog experience like no other.
Whether your goal is a family pet, a show dog, or obedience competition,
we are excited about your interest and obvious good taste. Our organization,
the Akita Club of America, is a member club of the American Kennel Club.
Our goals are to educate the public concerning Akitas, and to further establish
the breed in a healthy, positive fashion. The material in this section
of the Website as well as that following should help start you learn
about the breed.
Physical Appearance (Also, see Breed
The Akita always makes a lasting first impression.
Akitas are large, powerful dogs with substantial bone and musculature.
The broad chest and neck serve as a solid base for the Akita's large head,
the Akita's most distinguishing feature. The broad skull and the
short muzzle form a blunt triangle when viewed from above. The massive
head in combination with the small triangular shaped eyes and small erect
ears give the Akita an intimidating, yet dignified, expression.
The Akita is a very balanced looking dog, being only slightly longer than
it is tall. The tail is curled and carried over the back, which serves
to balance with the dog's head. Typically the male Akita is substantially
larger than the female. The males range in weight from about 100
to 130 pounds, while the females range from 70 to 100 pounds.
The double coat of the Akita has the appearance of
the typical northern breeds. It is short to moderate in length, but
very dense and consists of two layers. The undercoat is very soft
and is the primary insulator, while the outer coat, or the guard hair,
is slightly longer and coarser. The Akita is very well suited to
the coldest of climates, and while it might not enjoy hot weather, its
coat does lighten considerably in the warmer months to compensate for the
The personality of the Akita is very complex.
While temperaments vary, most would agree that the Akita is very intelligent,
extremely loyal, and can exhibit aggressive tendencies. The aggressive
tendencies are almost exclusively towards other dogs of the same sex.
Typically, Akitas are not aggressive towards people, but do have a very
well developed guarding and protective instinct. Akitas also have
a high and well developed prey drive. 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.
The loyalty and devotion displayed by an Akita is phenomenal.
The typical pet Akita will follow you from room to room, yet has the uncanny
ability not to be under foot. Your Akita lives his life as if his
only purpose is to protect you and spend time with you. This trait
is evident in the tale of Hachiko.
The Akita as a House Pet
Even though Akitas are large, hardy dogs which can
withstand the elements, they have been bred for centuries to be house companions.
The two most outstanding characteristics of the Akita as a house pet are
that they are very clean and that they are very easy to house break.
Akitas have been described as almost "cat-like," they are so clean and
odorless. This may also be one of the reasons why they housebreak
so easily. Most Akitas respond so well to housebreaking that they
are trained in a matter of weeks.
As far as the family children are concerned, there are a few worries.
Akitas are devoted, patient friends and protectors of children. Akitas
are typically very gentle with children, and it is said that Japanese mothers
often left their children with only the Akitas to watch over and protect
Of course with a new baby entering into a home
with an Akita, proper introductions and precautions should be taken until
the Akita understands the situation. Young
children should never be left unsupervised with large dogs of any breed,
as the potential for an accident is not worth the risk.
Is the Akita the Dog for Everyone?
Right about now, you are probably thinking . . . What's
the catch? Well, the Akita is not the right dog for everyone. The
person who assumes responsibility for an Akita MUST be able to take control
of the dog at an early age. This means that the person has to be
the dominant party in this relationship.
Dominance is more a state of mind, but you must also
be prepared to physically dominate the dog if necessary. Akitas,
as with most dogs, live their lives in a pack environment, whether the
pack be animals or people. If you are not willing to be the leader
of the pack, the Akita most certainly will. So the Akita owner must
have the energy and will to keep a firm, consistent discipline as the dog
matures. A little work and persistence in training in the early months
with an Akita will reap you huge benefits as a well behaved member of the
family down the road.
Is the Akita the Right Dog for You?
Before you buy an Akita puppy, THINK:
Then ask yourself if you have the TIME needed to devote
to socializing, training, and loving your dog.
What do I want my dog to be like?
How will this dog fit into my lifestyle?
What is my living situation?
Consider what your needs are and what the dog's needs will be.
Do they conflict?
Think of the dogs you've enjoyed owning in the past. Were they
easygoing or intense? Self-willed, or independent; outgoing or reserved;
placid or energetic?
The Akita is an extremely intelligent, large, energetic,
and strongly territorial dog whose life is oriented toward his owners.
If he is the right dog for you, he is one of the most rewarding breeds
to own, but this is also a demanding breed, and should not be casually
added to the household on a whim.
Will you enjoy owning an Akita?
If you are looking for a bright, sensitive, responsive
dog with whom you will be able to spend time, will be able to train and
will be protective and loyal and devoted to you and your family for the
rest of his life, then perhaps you will enjoy owning an Akita.
The Akita can be a guard dog. He feels that one
of his jobs is to protect his family. You don't need to train him
to do this; it comes naturally to him. He will be watchful of people
on your property, expressing suspicion with a low rumble; Akitas are not
barkers. They quickly learn to differentiate between strangers and
friends. Akitas are not tolerant of other dogs especially those of
the same sex. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD
AN AKITA BE ALLOWED TO ROAM THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD!!
The Akita, although a large dog, does not require huge
amounts of exercise. It will thrive on a moderate amount of exercise
and enjoys playing energetically. You will be happier and so will
your dog if you choose a breed that fits into your present lifestyle.
Don't expect to change your way of life once you've acquired a dog.
Akitas do not shed on a continual basis; however, they
do "blow their coats" about twice a year. As the new coat is beginning
to grow into place, large tufts of hair will loosen. The coat can
be easily removed by using an undercoat rake or wire slicker brush.
The dog seems to enjoy this extra attention and if done on a regular basis
as the coat is shedding, the new coat will come in more quickly.
The Akita is a working dog. The working dog group
includes some of the most intelligent breeds of dogs. You'll be amazed
at how quickly he learns, and at the number of things you can teach him.
But his intelligence carries an obligation with it.
An Akita won't be happy if left alone in a pen or house all day.
A working dog enjoys life most when he is given a responsibility and a
job to do, whether the job is obedience, baby-sitting, back-packing, or
hunting. The Akita demands your attention and thrives on it when
trained and worked regularly.
DON'T BUY AN AKITA because of the pictures
you've seen, stories you've read or because they are the "IN THING".
MEET THE DOGS. Watch them at shows and visit them at home.
There is a big difference between a cute eight-week-old ball of fur and
a full grown adult. If, after all of that, you still want an Akita,
then welcome to a most pleasurable experience.
Facts About Akitas
The Akita is a Japanese breed and in his native country, the Akita has
been declared a national treasure. An Akita in a home is believed
to be a symbol of good health, prosperity and good fortune. Helen
Keller brought the first Akita to the United States in 1937.
do not bark unless there is a good reason. When an Akita is barking,
pay attention. Akitas are natural guardians of the home and do not require
any training to turn them into guard dogs. When there is a reason
to protect family and property, your Akita will act to do so.
Akitas are inherently aggressive toward other animals and for this reason,
they should not be allowed to run free or roam at will. You can exercise
your Akita off leash when you are in an area where contact with other animals
and people is unlikely.
Male Akitas show aggression toward other male dogs, and female Akitas
usually will not tolerate another female. Akitas can live peacefully
with a dog of the opposite sex, though some Akitas prefer being an only
Akitas may consider small animals as prey and hunt them. This
includes cats, rodents, birds, small wildlife and small dogs. Akitas
can be raised to accept animals in residence. Some adult Akitas can
even be trained to fit into a home where other animals are already established.
It is, however, imperative that the Akita be closely watched around the
other animals until you have established a peaceful co-existence.
Akitas are VERY food possessive. If you have other pets, you will
want to be certain the Akita is given it's own food bowl or treat well
away from any other animals and that no other animal is allowed near the
Akita until the food is gone.
Akitas not raised with children are not always tolerant of small children
and the Akita should never be left alone with a child until you are certain
you have a dog who adores all children. Often, Akitas raised with
children will tolerate their own children but may not accept the
neighborhood kids. As a general rule it is
wise not to leave an Akita or any large dog alone with children under 12
years of age.
Akitas do not like to be teased and can respond by biting. Some
children are allowed to treat animals unkindly, a behavior that often leads
to cruelty to animals. These children should be kept away from an
Akita, whose large size and hunting instincts can endanger the child's
Akitas like to take charge - an inherited trait from their wolf ancestry
- and may at some time, challenge you for the dominant position. This behavior
cannot be tolerated and a firm, consistent correction should be your immediate
response. Akitas with good temperament accept discipline well - not
beating, but intelligent discipline. A good scruff shaking is an
effective form of discipline for an Akita. frequently, a firm verbal command
will get your point across.
Akitas should be obedience trained BY their owner and not sent away
to school like other breeds! A good obedience class, perhaps beginning
with puppy kindergarten, will guarantee you a firm bond with your dog and
a well behaved dog.. Remember though, Akitas are extremely intelligent
and tend to get bored easily. They learn quickly, so short training
periods are suggested. This keeps the dog from becoming bored.
Akitas are also very stubborn and when the dog thinks it's a waste of time
to "sit" or "stay" one more time, he will simply walk away! Obedience
training requires patience!
Some Akitas are talkers! They may grunt, groan and mumble to entertain
themselves and you. This conversational verbalizing IS NOT growling
and should not be interpreted as a growl, which sounds quite different.
Akita "talking" is an endearing trait and should not frighten you.
After living with your dog, you will easily distinguish between talking
Most Akitas enjoy carrying things around in their mouth, including your
wrist! They may take you by the wrist to lead you to the cookie cupboard
or to their lead. It is not an aggressive act, it is an endearing
trait. Try allowing your Akita to bring in the newspaper or the mail.
They love to do these types of jobs.
Akitas are very family oriented and are not happy when kept apart from
the family. If you do not plan on having your dog live with you inside
both your home and yard, you should not seriously consider an Akita for
Akitas are not hyperactive and fit into a sedentary household, but for
optimum health for both YOU and your Akita, regular exercise is important.
Akitas will live from 10-14 years with good care and proper nutrition.
Hypothyroid disease affects a large percentage of the breed and is easily
treated by twice daily hormone replacement therapy. A simple blood
test, including a T3 and T4 thyroid levels test, will determine the existence
of the condition. The symptoms may include one or all of the following:
skin and coat problems, sudden onset aggression, itching, lethargy, musky
odor. Before treating skin conditions with any drugs, have your vet
check for sarcoptic mange, sebaceous adenitis, and Hypothyroid disease.
Other diseases found in Akitas include Progressive Retinal Atrophy (blindness)
manifested by impaired night vision, hip and elbow problems, autoimmune
diseases, degenerative myelopathy, and some blood disorders, though these
are not common problems in the breed.
Akitas require a good quality meat and bone meal based food and do not
thrive as well on soybean based dog foods. Akitas 7 years and older
should be fed one of the commercial LITE foods to lessen the onset of kidney
disease which is a problem in older Akitas. (Akita Rescue Society of America)
How to Choose a Reputable Breeder
When you are looking at a cute bundle of fur the important
facts about just who is offering this Akita pup for sale may escape you.
Often the buyer takes the darling pup home only to find out later that
the person who sold the pup is either unable or unwilling to help the buyer.
Come-ons like "A.K.C. Registered", "CH. Bloodlines",
etc., in no way assure that you are getting a quality pup or that you are
dealing with a reputable breeder. Big flashy ads in national magazines
may be impressive, but what do you really know about the advertiser?
Unethical breeders thrive because
the average buyer is uninformed. Some buyers do less research
on the purchase of a pup than they do on a new washing machine! Armed
with knowledge, you can avoid being "taken in". Remember that "AKC
registered" is not a guarantee of quality; it simply means that the pup
is registered, and even the most poorly bred dogs have "CH. bloodlines".
You will need a breeder who is available to you for
the many questions you will have on rearing your dog, feeding, basic obedience,
housebreaking, etc. You'll need someone who knows what makes the
Akita tick. If you are interested in showing/breeding, you need a
breeder who will help you get started in training and entering shows.
It does not cost any more to buy from a good breeder,
and in fact, the "bargain" Akita may end up costing more in problems than
a show pup! Your best possible choice of a breeder is a "hobby breeder".
Stress is placed on the word hobby. The dedicated hobby breeder views
his dogs as a hobby from which he expects no profit. When an individual
breeds dogs for enjoyment, with the AKC Standard as a goal rather than
a profit motive, the end result is superior pups. Such a breeder feels
responsible for each little pup and stands behind every dog he has bred.
The ACA has a Breeder Referral
List on this website. If you cannot find a breeder there, you
might consult your Region Representative.
You should have certain requirements from anyone you
talk to in order to assure that you are making a wise purchase.
Before You Buy
One requirement should be that the breeder belong to a local Akita Club,
if possible, the Akita Club of America (ACA), an obedience club, or an
Why? Through membership in one or all, the breeder
is exposed to others who are also interested in Akitas, and dogs in general,
and learns more about his breed, dog care, modern breeding practices, etc.
The second requirement is that the breeder be involved in showing his
dog(s). At this point you may be asking "But I only want a pet!
I'm not interested in showing so what difference could that make to me?"
For one thing, showing dogs gives the breeder the same
opportunity that belonging to a club does. It gives HIM a chance
to share information and thoughts with others. Showing provides the
competition that makes breeders want to produce better dogs. Breeders
who do show are putting everything on the line; they are not depending
on impressive pedigrees to carry them. They wish to show how good
their dogs are in competition.
"Show people" are not necessarily jet setters or even
very wealthy people. On average, they are just ordinary people who
want to prove that the dogs they breed are worthy. Every dog that
a breeder raises may not be worthy of being shown. In every litter
there will be those pups which are strictly pet quality. However,
a breeder who does not show his dogs has no idea how his dogs would fare
in competition and deprives himself of the learning experience that showing
OK, so maybe you don't want a "show dog", but don't
you want a pet that was the end result of a carefully planned litter, rather
than the result of an accident or a litter bred for profit alone?
Don't you want a pet that got the same care as the potential champions
in the litter?
The breeder who shows is known by others in the breed,
he has a reputation to maintain. He is more likely to be careful
Read the checklist of questions to ask the breeder
and read the ACA or your local Breed Club's
CODE OF ETHICS. It would behoove you to use these tools in questioning
the breeders you contact. (Akita Club of America)
Checklist for the Puppy Buyer:
Be sure the pups come from American Kennel Club registered parents,
and insist on seeing the registration papers.
Ask for proof that both the sire and dam have been x-rayed for
hip dysplasia and cleared of eye diseases. Make sure the sire and
dam are x-rayed normal, and their eye exam showed no abnormalities.
It's one thing to say, "Oh yes, they've both been x-rayed" or “A vet checked
their eyes”. Let's see if they're both normal. Ask to see the
OFA and CERF certificates; if the parents are not OFA'd or CERF’d, ask
to call the vets for x-ray information and eye information.
Be sure the pups have been wormed for ascarids, and have been given
the necessary vaccinations (Parvo, Distemper, Lepto, Hepatitis, etc., according
to the age of the puppy). This should be in writing.
Be sure the breeder provides you with a health record and directions
for feeding the pup. Information on supplements and how often to
feed are quite important.
Read a copy of the A.K.C. Standard for the Akita so that you will know
something about the requirements for the breed. There are size limitations,
for instance. A puppy from parents barely making the breed standard
in height will not likely grow comfortably to the 25" height required for
Akita males, or the 23" height required for the Akita females.
Observe the parents. Is the dam friendly? If she panics
and hides under a table, how many of the pups will take after her?
If you want a personable, outgoing puppy you had better buy one produced
by a personable, outgoing dam. Same goes for the sire of the litter.
If you are buying a male pup for show or breeding make sure the testicles
have dropped into the scrotum. If a testicle is retained and the
seller still wants you to take the pup, make sure the seller puts it in
writing . . . dated . . . that he guarantees the other testicle to drop
within a reasonable period. Most testicles are down and stable by
the time the pups are six weeks old. If you are still waiting for
one to drop at four months, you have a problem. Even if the testicle
does drop that late, the dog is NOT a good bet for breeding. Your
Veterinarian will explain. A dog with a retained testicle should
be neutered, as cancer can develop.
Akitas may have a variety of problems you should be aware of, such as
long silky hair, flopped ears (in a pup 8 months or older), sickle tail,
splayed feet, entropion (your vet can explain this to you). Be cautious
of buying a pup with really runny eyes. Hernias require surgery.
A true hernia gives the pup a large (quarter-sized) bulge in the abdominal
The tail must curl. The lips, eye rims and nose should be black.
The pup should look well fed, but if the belly is too distended it might
be full of worms rather than food. The pup should show no signs of
limping and should be able to use its legs easily in a trotting gate.
The pup should have a jolly attitude. He should look well fed
and cared for. He should be easy and comfortable in the company of
his litter mates and breeder. Take the time to observe the pups.
Watch how they play. Remember . . . Akitas live to be about 10-14
years of age. That's a long time to live with a dog. How nice
if you and the dog are good companions. How dreadful if you and the
dog don't like each other after a couple of months. People that buy
and get rid of pups every few months are missing the fun of a good relationship
with a dog . . . a relationship that requires time to make it mellow.
Akitas can also have eye problems: cataracts, progressive retinal
atrophy (PRA), etc. Both dam and sire should have eye checks dated
within the past year. Ask to see the certificates. (Akita Club of
For More Information send a request to :
Akita Club of America - Breed Information Request
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