American Akita dog breed – temperament & appearance

American Akita

American Akita are heavy-boned large and powerful dogs that may look intimidating but also are very loyal to their owners. They are smart and confident dogs.

Though American Akita has America in the name they originated in Japan. They were used to guard the nobility apart from hunting the wild boars and bears.

Check out this amazing video about them.

Physical characteristics of American Akita

American Akita is a large, strongly built, muscular Spitz-type dog with an alert and responsive look.

Face: They have a large broad head like a bear. It will look like a triangle when seen from above.

Muzzle: American Akita has a short and broad muzzle.

Eyes: They have small brown triangular eyes.

Ears: They have short erect triangular ears with a rounded tip.

Nose: Akita’s nose is often broad and black in color except on white Akita where the nose may be a lighter shade of black or gray.

Tail: Tail of Akita is thick, long and curly.

Coat: American Akita has a dense thick double coat which comes in varied colors like white, brindle, or piebald. They have erect ears.

Size: Full-grown Akita’s height is approximately 26 to 28 inches. He can weigh up to 130 pounds.

Lifespan: Lifespan of Akita is approximately 10 to 12 years.

American Akita

American Akita – Temperament

They are exceptional guard dogs who would not get frightened easily or back down. While they are courageous and fearless, they are also quite affectionate to the family.

Due to the traits of guarding dogs, they are also quite protective and stubborn. It is recommended to socialize them from birth with other humans and pets.

Akita, if not trained or socialized properly, can become a very aggressive dog. A long stare to them may also make them aggressive as it sees this to be a challenge and Akita is known for not backing down.

Characteristics of American Akita include being brave, loyal, fearless, affectionate, and quiet. Akita is known to be aggressive with other dogs, especially to the same sex.

If you have small children at home or have other pets, Akita would not be the recommended choice of dog for you.

American Akita as a family dog

Though Akita is quite an affectionate companion dog at the same they are quite protective. Especially to the one whom he is most affectionate.

Generally, he is quite calm but may seldom get annoyed with the playful naughtiness of the child to the extent, he may bite.

Hence it is recommended that you guide children on how to respect and play with him. Or best be around when children and Akita are playing around together.

American Akita is not fond of strangers but remains calm and sober if the owner is around. But if he is not there, they can be aggressive owing to their guarding traits.

American Akita is also not the best choice of the dog if you have multiple pets. They had been hunter dogs and can still kill the smaller ones while chasing as the prey drive remains.

Apart from being loyal and intelligent, American Akita is also quite stubborn. He needs to have firm training since the beginning.

He also needs to be part of the family as if you leave him alone in the backyard, he may become destructive.

Taking things into his mouth is peculiar to Akita. So taking the owner’s wrist in his mouth may be a way for him to guide you to do something like taking him to a walk.

They are also known for self cleaning like a cat.

That said, if you can be a dominant owner and leader, he could be the most loyal pet. With their large size, they are not for the novice first-time dog owners.

American Akita

Care required

Nutrition:

American Akita is recommended to have high-quality dog food that should be light in calories as they might get overweight. Protein should be the first ingredient in his diet, ideally a minimum of 18%.

Then there should be a balance of Fat and carbohydrates for energy and digestive fiber.

American Akita is prone to eye and skin related problems and their diet should be tailored to support protecting him from these ailments.

We would recommend CANIDAE All Life Stages Premium Dry Dog Food. It has the right amount of protein and added nutrients like

  1. Probiotics added to every kibble after cooking to support healthy digestion
  2. Antioxidants to support a healthy immune system
  3. Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids to support beautiful skin and coat.

It is recommended to give 3 – 5 cups of dry food daily divided in to two meals.

You may take the advice of a vet who can suggest based on the age, size, build, and activity level of the dog.

Exercise:

Akita is not a very hyper breed but they would still require an hour of daily exercise. They would love to play and run in a fenced ground or jog with you.

We would recommend avoiding exercising them in direct sunlight in hot weather as Akita are tuned for a cold climate. This will reduce the risk of their being overheated.

Grooming:

One thing that Akita owner knows is that he sheds a lot. While he will shed moderately throughout the year but at a couple of times in a year, he will blow out his inner coat.

During this time, you can get a handful of hairs from a single spot.

Get adjusted to a new life of frequent brushing and vacuuming. We would recommend Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush.

It is quite easy to brush the coat of Akita with this and it is again very simple to collect the fur out of the brush with its retracting brushes.

Akita is also unusual for his self-grooming habit and he licks his body clean. Thus bathing should not be so frequent.

Ideally, you can bathe your Akita every two to three months or when he is dirty or smelly.

Trim his nails once in a month so that any risk of nail splitting is minimum.

Need help with shedding. Check out https://www.yourdogsworld.com/dog-shedding-home-remedies/

Training:

American Akita are very loyal dogs who would be protective of their family. Apart from guarding the royalty, these dogs were also bred for hunting.

They still have the prey drive and being large and dominating dogs, some countries have barred them for being aggressive.

Though he could be best of the companion with early training and socialization. It is best for the owner himself to do the training so that bonding happens between them.

You would need firm and consistent training which may take some time as they can be an independent thinker.

Akita should also be socialized with other humans and pets from birth so that he doesn’t become too aggressive.

American Akita

Health

American Akita is generally healthy but as like any other dog breeds, they are prone to some diseases like below.

Hip Dysplasia

It is a medical condition where thigh bone doesn’t fit into the hip joint. This is hereditary and hence dogs suffering from this should be neutered.

This could show pain in different intensity in different dogs. Though eventually, it will lead to arthritis.

Bloating

This is a medical condition called Gastric dilatation-volvulus which is prone to large deep-chested dogs. Any owner with a large dog like Akita should be aware of this as it could be life-threatening.

This is a condition when the stomach of the dog is bloated with gas or air and then twists. The dog will not be able to vomit the extra air and goes in shock due to the lowering of blood pressure. Immediate medical intervention is required.

Below are few tips to prevent bloating –

  1. Care must be taken not to give one large meal and instead divide it into two or three meals in a day.
  2. Be vigilant that the dog is not eating rapidly.
  3. Do not give a large amount of water to drink after eating.
  4. Exercise just after eating should also be avoided.
  5. Feeding on a raised platform is best so dog doesn’t need to try bending down to eat. 

Hypothyroidism

The condition where the Thyroid gland is not as active as it should be. This may result in hair loss, obesity, lethargy, etc.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This is a medical condition in which the dog first suffers from night blindness and slowly turns completely blind in one to two years.

They can still lead their normal life as a dog uses his other senses also like the smell as long as the home environment and furniture remain in the same position.

Most of these diseases can be inherited so it is recommended to get your Akita from a reputed breeder.

Sebaceous Adenitis

This is a medical condition in which sebaceous glands become inflamed initially and later destroyed. These glands are responsible for producing oils necessary for skin.

With these glands not working, the skin becomes dry leading to hair loss.

This disease can be inherited. Also, it is often mistaken for hypothyroidism due to similar symptoms.

American Akita Puppies

American Akita litter size is typically 7 or 8 puppies but may range from 3 to 12.

So now that you have set your mind on getting a Puppy, let us help you with the details on how you can look for Puppies.

As you have seen above, American Akita is prone to hereditary diseases and hence it is vital to get your Akita puppy from a credible source.

We would recommend you to look for the rescue center first as there can be one Akita waiting for a new life.

Though if you are looking for a puppy from a breeder, we would suggest you go for a reputable one and recommend a few of these checks before you finalize.

  1. Check the area for lighting and cleanliness where puppies are kept.
  2. Take feedback from past owners about the breeder.
  3. Request for the details of the lineage of the puppy you have decided and meet the parents.
  4. Check for the complete medical records and screenings such as OFA and CERF certificates.

An Akita puppy can cost you approximately $1000.

Interesting facts about American Akita

  • In Japanese society, Akita is considered a symbol of health and happiness.
  • Hachi: A Dog’s Tale was a movie released in 2009 with Richard Gere playing the leading role. It is based on the true story of an Akita dog named Hachiko who used to wait for his owner at the railway station ten years after the owner’s death until he died. More details in the next section.
  • Akita may become quite aggressive with other dogs, especially of same-sex.
  • You may not want to stare at Akita for long as he may become aggressive with the same.
  • American Akita is relatively larger than the Japanese Akita. Japanese Akita has a fox-like look.
  • Akita are banned in Singapore because of their aggressive behavior as deemed by the Government.
Japanese Akita
Japanese Akita

Hachiko – Famous Akita dog

Japanese Akita dog became famous for their loyalty after the release of Richard Gere movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale based on the real-life story of the faithful Hachiko.

In 1924, a university professor named Hidesaburō Ueno adopted a golden brown Akita whom he named Hachiko. Hachi, as he was also fondly called, always accompanied his owner to the Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo every morning before he left for work.

Hachiko then used to come back in the afternoon and wait for the professor as he returns from work. They had a very special bond between them.

Sadly on May 21, 1925, the professor suddenly died due to a cerebral hemorrhage and never returned.

Hachiko was then adopted by a new owner, but he still kept coming back to Shibuya Station each day and waited for Professor Ueno to arrive until he died on March 8, 1935.

The Japanese media published his story in 1932 and Hachiko became famous. People visited him in the station every afternoon to see him and give treats.

He was buried beside the tomb of Hidesaburō Ueno. A bronze statue of Hachi the faithful dog was placed outside Shibuya station in honor of his memory.

japanese-akita
Japanese Akita

American Akita vs Japanese Akita

While they look somewhat similar and characterized as one by American Kennel Club (AKC), there are some noticeable differences. Let us look at them below.

  1. American Akita is larger (approximately inches taller and 30 pounds heavier) than Japanese Akita.
  2. Another easy to identify the difference is in the way they look. American Akita face would look more like a bear whereas Japanese ones would look more like a fox.
  3. While the ears of both Akita are triangular and upright, there is a slight difference. Japanese Akita ears slightly move forward whereas American Akita ears stand straight.
  4. American Kennel Club approves any color of Akita whereas Japanese Akita comes in fawn, sesame, brindle, and white color.
  5. American Akita have relatively long hairs compared to Japanese Akita.
  6. Japanese Akita is considered more reserved as compared to American Akita.

Pros and Cons of American Akita

Pros Cons
They are exceptionally good guard dogsThey can be aggressive and are not the right dogs for families with small children or other pets.
If he gets the right dominant leader, American Akita can be the most affectionate and loyal family dog.They shed a lot and you will usually find their fur everywhere especially a couple of times a year when they blow out their inner coat
Intelligent dogsThey are difficult to train as they are independent dogs.

History

Akita was bred in Japan and is one of the six native Japanese breeds that has been designated as a Natural Monument. The breed is also considered as the National dog of Japan.

Akita is believed to be originally bred around the 17th century for fighting in various dogfighting events in Japan. They were restricted to be owned by nobility only.

The first Akita introduced in the United States was a dog named Kamikaze-go, who was given to Helen Keller as a gift after she visited Japan in 1937.

Helen_Keller_1947

After world war 2, they were brought to the USA by American soldiers as they loved the dog.

In America, Akitas were bred as large dogs as there was a craze for them in the USA. Whereas in Japan, the focus was to restore the original breed and its characteristics.

Akita occupy a very special place in Japanese culture. When a child is born, parents usually receive the gifts of an Akita symbol that signify a long happy life.

American Akita
American Akita

FAQs

Are American Akita dangerous?

Yes, like any other Large dog American Akita can also be dangerous due to their large size and hunting traits especially if they are not properly trained.

How big do American Akita get?

They can grow slightly larger than 2 feet (26 to 28 inches) in height and weigh approx 120 pounds.

Why are Akita banned in Singapore?

Singapore government banned Akita in the year 2010 to not allow foreigners to import the dog breeds that the Singapore Government deemed dangerous.

Do Akita shed a lot?

Yes, Akita are heavy shedders especially two times a year when they blowing out their undercoat. You will find Akita fur everywhere and they would typically require regular grooming.

Final Thoughts

It is hard to deny that American Akita is a powerful and dominating dog. He is an intelligent dog who has independent thinking traits.

And if you have made up your mind on owning an American Akita, make sure to invest in good food, training, and socialization.

There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners who don’t train their dogs well. Given proper socialization and training, American Akita can be a smart and loyal companion for an experienced dog owner.

References:

  1. http://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/Akita.pdf
  2. https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/16226/akita.pdf
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201611/helen-keller-and-the-first-akitas-in-the-united-states

Want to know about Shikoku Inu https://www.yourdogsworld.com/b/shikoku-dog/

Looking for more Japanese dog breeds – https://www.yourdogsworld.com/b/japanese-dog-breeds/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *