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Akita Inu
Currently in the throes of a breed split between the American type Akita and the Japanese Akita, devotees of the breed are working nonetheless to protect and care for both varieties/breeds.  Known for its affable nature while intensely independent attitude, the Akita is too charming for its own good.  As puppies their appeal has made them profitable for puppy mills who produce dogs that are beyond their owners to manage as adults.  Care must be taken in not confusing this bear hunter with a teddy bear!  As adults, they are intense and powerful and inclined to bond strongly.  This can create a slow transition when a dog must change homes since that bond is also slow to develop.  Experienced and knowledgable handling can make them into some of the most delightful, conscientious and courteous of canine companions.
By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Working Height: 24-28 inches
Weight: 80-120 pounds Longevity: 10-12 years
Colors: any variation with or without mask Coat type: thick brush or pile type double coat about 2 inches long; blows heavily twice a year
Recognized Registries: AKC and others
Overall Appearance: Impressive and powerfully built, strong through the body and neck. Expression is often unfathomable. Intense in appearance and action. Well-boned and substantial.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate
General Nature: devoted and goofy with family, very affectionate and expressive vocally, suspicious and demanding of strangers
  with Children: better choice with older children
  with other pets: can be good with proper handling, guidance and socialization, left to their own devices they have a very stong prey drive
  with dogs: with proper socialization they can be good and fair but do not back down from confrontation
Socialization requirements: very high for well balanced individual
Ideal home characteristics: aware of the powerful, intense companion they have and work to give them the social skills to be accepted in society
Temperament Notes: despite their size and appearance, they can be soft and anxious without proper handling, this makes them potentially very dangerous
Training requirement: very heavy socializing and basic manners
Trainer notes: This dog thrives with a fair, consistent and honest trainer.  They are very loving with some desire to please but are do not ignore or overlook unfair treatment.  Opportunists, the owner that attempts to overly indulge this dog will be a prisoner in their own home.  Giving the dog a solid set of rules for behavior, regular praise and guidance for living up to them and room to learn will create a very happy Akita and family. Neutering while young can greatly increase the managability of an Akita.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition:
Country of Origin: Japan
Original Function: Bear Hunter
History: Developed by exiled noblemen who wanted a hard, versatile hunting dog in the northern-most Akita Prefecture. Orignally, ownership limited to royals, with special ceremonial garb, leashes and handlers. First pair in the US were owned by Helen Keller.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: Tail not crisp, bad knees, bad hips, falling pasterns,
Health Notes: Canine Hip Dysplasia, Canine Elbow Dysplasia; Sebaceous Adenitis; Bloat and Torsion; PRA; Cancer
Health Testing: OFA or Penn Hip, CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Akitas?
  • What do you look for in your breeding stock?
  • What health issues are in the breed?
  • What health issues do you screen your breeding stock for?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • How did you choose this particular pair to breed?
  • What titles do you seek for your breeding stock?
  • Will you be keeping a puppy from this litter?
  • How old are your puppies when you send them home?
Web Sites: - Akita Club of America Rescue - Great dogs like Magic, shown here, are available through rescue

Other Resources
Breed standard: - Breed Standard by the Akita Club of America

Breeder Ethics: - Japanese Akita Club of America Breeder Ethics - Akita Club of America Code of Ethics


Easy to fall in love with, too many people obtain this breed without making a minimal effort in researching what they are taking home.


The Akita thrives on companionship. The dog is dignified, good-natured, alert, affectionate, docile, and courageous. It is fearless, intelligent, and has a somewhat stubborn attitude. It is reserved in demeanor with a strong protective instinct.

Physically, the Akita is a large dog with upright ears and a curled tail. It has great strength, a keen eye and nose, silence and speed. It has a durable sturdy body suitable for hunting in deep snow. It has been used to drive large game, retrieve waterfowl, and drive fish into fishermen's nets. Known as "Matagiinu" or esteemed dog hunter, the Akita was used to hunt bear, deer, and wild boar. Some of the fiercest old world bears were held at bay by teams of these dogs.

The Akita has spiritual significance in Japan. Small statues of this dog are typically given at the birth of a child to ensure health, happiness, and a long life. They may be given during an illness as a get well wish. Statues also stand guard over many tombs of the dead.

Hachiko, an Akita who was and is still revered by the people of Japan, was a devoted companion of a reknown professor at the University of Tokyo. Each morning Hachiko would accompany his master to the train station to see him off. Each afternoon Hachiko would return to the train station to welcome him back. One evening the professor did not return to the train station and Hachiko waited there until after midnight. The professor had died. Each day for nine years Hachiko waited at the train station for his master to return. Nothing anyone could do could prevent him from this task and his devotion. Hachiko finally joined his master and failed to appear at the train station. A statue was erected to commemorate the Hachiko's faithfulness and loyalty. The breed itself was declared a national monument. The Japanese government will subsidize the care and feeding of an Akita if the owner is unable to do so. Each year there is a solemn ceremony where hundreds of dog lovers do homage to this breed.

The renowned Helen Keller brought the first Akitas to the United States when a pair of dogs was presented to her as a gift from the Japanese Ministry of Education. After World War II, occupational forces returning from Japan brought the dogs they admired home and the popularity of the breed increased.

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