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Akita Inu
Characteristics, History, and Health

Akita Inu

The Akita Inu, commonly referred to as the Akita, is a powerful and majestic dog breed that originated in Japan. They were originally developed as hunting dogs and were highly valued for their strength, agility, and bravery. The breed's ancestors were known as Matagi Akitas, which were used to hunt large game, such as boar, deer, and even bears. Over time, the Akita breed was refined and standardized through selective breeding. During the 17th century, the Akita was used as a fighting dog in Japan's dog-fighting pits. However, in the early 20th century, a movement arose to preserve the breed's original characteristics and promote its status as a national treasure of Japan. This led to the establishment of the Akita breed standard in 1934 by the Akita Inu Hozankai Society, which defined the breed's distinctive features. "

Main Info
Alternate Names
Life Expectancy
10-14 years
Average Male Height
26-28 inches
Average Female Height
24-26 inches
Average Male Weight
100-130 pounds
Average Female Weight
70-100 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black, Brown, Brown Brindle, Fawn, Fawn Brindle, Red, Red Brindle, Silver, White, Black Brindle, Silver Brindle, Brown with Black Overlay, Red with Black Overlay, Fawn with Black Overlay, Silver with Black Overlay, Black with Brown Undercoat, Black with Red Undercoat, Black with Silver Undercoat, Black with Fawn Undercoat, White with Red Shading
Coat Pattern
White Markings, Black Mask, White Mask, White Mask with White Markings, Black mask with White Markings, Black & White Mask with White Markings, Pinto with Black & White Mask, Pinto with Black Mask, Pinto

Genetic Predispositions and Health

The Akita Inu can suffer from acanthomatous ameloblastoma, amelogenesis imperfecta, atopic dermatitis, brachygnathism, cataracts, cruciate ligament disease, deafness, elbow dysplasia (fragmented coronoid process), enamel hypoplasia, entropion, epidermolysis bullosa, epidermolysis bullosa (dystrophic), exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, Factor VIII deficiency (hemophilia A), gastric dilation/volvulus, glaucoma, glycogen storage disease III, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, immune-mediated polyarthritis, immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency, microcytosis, microphthalmia, myasthenia gravis, osteochondritis dissecans
(shoulder), osteochondritis dissecans (stifle), osteochondrodysplasia, panosteitis, patellar luxation, pemphigus foliaceus, persistent pupillary membranes, portosystemic shunts, prognathism, progressive retinal atrophy, pseudohyperkalemia, renal dysplasia, retinal dysplasia, sebaceous adenitis, sebaceous adenitis, uveodermatologic syndrome, vestibular disease (congenital), and von Willebrand disease.

The Akita is susceptible to bloat, also known as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV). This is a life-threatening condition that can come on suddenly, so it’s important to know the warning signs and get an affected dog immediate veterinary care. This breed can also benefit from regular hip, thyroid, and eye evaluations.

Personality and Behavior

Akitas are known for their loyalty, independence, and strong protective instincts. They are often described as dignified, courageous, and reserved. While they can be aloof with strangers, they form deep bonds with their family members and are generally affectionate and devoted.

Akitas are intelligent dogs but can also be stubborn and strong-willed. They require consistent and firm training from an early age to ensure they become well-mannered companions. Early socialization is also crucial to help them develop proper behavior around other animals and unfamiliar people.

As natural guardians, Akitas have a strong protective instinct and can be territorial. They tend to be wary of strangers and may exhibit a reserved or aloof demeanor. Proper socialization and training can help manage their protective tendencies and ensure they remain well-behaved in various situations.

Akitas have a dominant nature and may not be suitable for first-time dog owners or those who lack experience with handling large, powerful breeds. They thrive in homes with experienced owners who can provide them with consistent training, mental stimulation, and plenty of exercise.

Fun Facts

When a child is born in Japan the family receives a statue of an Akita to signify health, happiness, and a long life.

Richard Gere starred in the movie titled, "Hachi: A Dog's Tale". The movie was based on a real-ife Akita named Hachiko, who waited for his master at a Japanese train station for 9 years. Hachiko didn't understand that his owner had died unexpectedly, and so waited every day for him to come home on the train.

The "Inu" that is sometimes added to the Akita name simply means "dog".