Dog Breed Categories > Working Dogs1 > Akita

The Akita (sometimes called Akita Inu or Japanese Akita) is a dog breed originally from Japan. This working dog actually has a national monument and was declared a national treasure in Japan in 1931 where it is described as being "tender in heart and strength". Regardless of its tenderness, it is a well built, and powerful dog with its ancestors bred to hunt bears. Today it is commonly used in its home country as a guard or police dog. Owning one of these dogs is said to bring good health. In fact, it is a common custom to give a small statue of an Akita to a family when a child is born in Japan to signify health, happiness, and long life. A similar Japanese custom is to give one of these statues to an ill friend to express your wish for a speedy recovery.


The Akita is quite loyal to its family, and deals well with children, though is somewhat of an introvert when it comes to dealing with strangers. It can, however, be aggressive to other dogs and animals. It is not uncommon for an Akita to catch and kill small (or even large) animals if it is allowed to wander, so a fenced yard is a must. The breed has a double coat of fur which sheds twice a year, and is an outdoor dog that can easily withstand cold winters. The Akita is a stocky dog with a deep muzzle, erect ears, small eyes, and a curled tail. Their coat colors can include white, brown, red, gray, and tan though other colors do occur. If they are not a single solid color, they often have a brindled or pinto color pattern. Males typically stand 26-28 inches (66-71cm) while bitches are slightly shorter at 24-26 inches (61-66cm). They weigh between 75 and 100 lbs (34-50kg), and must be fed a high protein diet to maintain their health.

Health Issues

As with all pure bred dogs, a small gene pool leads to many genetically transferred health conditions. While there is no guarantee that any dog will or will not have any of the following problems, conditions specific to the Akita are:


As with any dog, proper time must be spent on training. Akitas are a dominant breed, so special attention must be paid to making them obedient from the time they are a puppy. Keep in mind that the cute puppy you bring home can quickly grow to a 100lb dog, so start early. If the owner does not place himself in the alpha position from the beginning, the Akita will take over this position and will be hard to control. They respond well to deserving praise and treats, though may become aggressive toward any physical punishment. Akitas are natural guard dogs, so do not require any training in this area. As stated above, this breed is aggressive toward other animals, especially same sex dogs - this is natural, and there is little you can do about it. Regardless, they should never be allowed to be aggressive toward people.

Interesting Notes

Famous Akitas

For more famous dogs, see Presidential pets.

  • Hachi-Ko - A famous statue stands in Shibuya Station in Tokyo of "Chuken Hachi-ko" (Loyal Dog Hachi) who greeted his master daily at the station on his return from work. The dog continued to go to the station daily for 10 years after his master died.
  • Know of another famous Akita? /msg me

1 The Akita is classified as a Non-sporting dog by some kennel clubs

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