Let's talk Akitas

Who could resist the open face of the Akita? This large breed will wow owners with their incredible loyalty and dignified demeanour. With a tail that curves over their back and a dense coat - characteristic of a spitz-type breed - Akitas appear incredibly warm and fuzzy but approach with caution: known as protectors, they’ll look out for the family first, welcome newcomers next. Call them reserved but also devoted to the bone.

Official name: Akita

Other names: Akita Inu, Japanese Akita, American Akita, Great Japanese Dog

Origins: Japan

Black and white side profile view of a standing Akita Inu
 Drooling tendencies

 Very high

 Warm weather?  Low
 Grooming needs  Very high  Cold weather? Very high
 Shedding level  Very high  Suited to apartment living? Very low
 Barking tendencies  Very high  Can stay alone?* Very low
 Energy Level*  High  Family Pet?* Very low
 Compatibility with other pets  Very low    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations. Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs. Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child. Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.


Inline Image 15
Illustrated side profile view of a standing Akita Inu
66 - 71 cm Taille
45 - 59 kg Poids
61 - 66 cm Taille
31 - 45 kg Poids


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 15 months
 Adult age 15 months to 5 years
 Mature age  5 to 8 years
 Senior age  8 to 18 years


Get to know the Akita

All you need to know about the breed

Dignified, alert, gentle, quiet, and incomparably loyal are just a few of the adjectives that describe the Akita. Prized in their home country of Japan as a protector of the family, the breed is easily recognisable for its curled tail and distinctive massive head. The docile expression is an added plus.

With a bold personality, this is not a dog for a first-time dog owner. Akita’s assertiveness means they can be wary of strangers since they’re practically programmed to protect. Expect loads of affection once they invite you into the pack.

On that note, Akitas rarely shrink from a challenge. For a large dog, they’re surprisingly agile, which is why the breed is still used widely for field sport. Once they’ve figured something out, the respectful part of their character kicks into gear. Akitas are intelligent, but display a calm side as well.

One way the Akita shows affection is through its mouthing - literally carrying things around in its mouth that have meaning. That can even be your wrist, in a soft hold. It’s merely his way of communicating, “You’re mine!”, a display of possession rather than an aggressive move. Watch your Akita take your wrist along with the rest of you right to the door, when it’s time for a walk!

Shedding is a given with the Akita’s very thick double coat. It’s great for hugging but will result in extra cleanup time for owners. Innocent as charged.

Excessive barking is not a concern with the Akita, who emits more groans and grunts than anything. They are known to mumble to themselves, which Akita owners say only adds to their charisma. This very large dog does of course need outdoor exercise but is oddly most at ease when inside with his human family. Home life suits the Akita.

Akita Inu running across flat land, mountains in background


2 facts about Akitas

1. Part fish ?

To be filed under unusual attributes: the Akita has webbed toes! The aberration developed to balance them on snow and ice in their native land, distributing their weight on these slippery surfaces more effectively. It works on less icy terrains as well!

2. Part Cat ? 

One of the more humorous attributes of this very playful breed is their feline-like conduct: Akitas are known to slink across the ground when stalking prey, and for licking their coats in an effort to clean themselves. They’re all dog, but add this to everything else that makes this such a special breed.


History of the breed

Akitas stem from the Akita region on the island of Honshu in northern Japan. They are a typical spitz-type dog, characterised by a dense, thick coat - which developed naturally in breeds of this type in northern climes - and a tail that curves over their back.

Japanese lore has it that a nobleman banished to Honshu by the emperor in the early 17th Century had developed the Akita to hunt, with the help of certain barons with which he still socialised. As a result of their powerful body, Akitas were used historically to chase wild boar, black bears, even wild deer. The breed thereafter was strictly owned by the Imperial family and their court, but eventually made their way into the hearts of the adoring public.

Bred with other large similar breeds, Akitas were initially used for fighting, too. After the practice was banned in Japan in 1908, the breed fell out of popularity and almost disappeared after World War II. American soldiers returning from combat brought Akitas with them, cementing their popularity in the States. A real separation between the American Akita and the Japanese Akita was also then established. The American Akita Club was founded in 1956 and the American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1972.

The Akita is now a beloved part of Japanese culture and very much a symbol for the country. Akita figurines, which symbolise happiness and a long life, are routinely given to families upon the birth of a child. The Japanese National Breed Club was founded in 1927 to keep the breed alive.

Black and white portrait of sitting Akita Inu


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of the Akita

1. Ears

Ears small in relation to head, triangular and erect, set wide on head

2. Head

Massive head but not out of line with body, flat at top and across jaw

3. Body

Powerful body, heavy bone structure, thick, longer than it is high

4. Tail

Curved, large tail curls over back in three-quarter, full, or double curl. Hair thickest here

5. Coat

Thick, heavy double coat, soft, thick dense undercoat


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Akita


Caring for your Akita

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Inline Image 6

You guessed it: The Akita's double coat with its thick fur means he is a shedder. Spring and fall are when the Akita will moult but weekly brushing is sufficient to keep them looking sharp. A bath a few times a year is sufficient for their magnificent coat. Nail trims should be had once a month to ensure the dog is evenly balanced on their paws. A qualified veterinarian could show you how to trim nails safely.

Inline Image 7

Akitas need a good dose of training from the start, and hiring a professional is highly recommended, one who knows this dog well. Participate in the sessions too, so your Akita knows his place. To note:  This is not a breed for a first-time dog owner as the Akita has a strong personality; repetition is key to discipline their confident temperament. Training should be done with patience and respect from a very early age.

Inline Image 11

Oddly enough, the Akita doesn’t need as much activity as one would think for a dog their size. A 30-minute walk or run along with playtime in the house does the trick. Private playtime is better than dog parks as the breed can feel the need to dominate. As agile as they can be, Akitas are also fairly clumsy, due to their size.

All about Akitas

Akitas are known to be superb guardians of their family but tend to be stranger-averse.  The breed, however, is not innately dangerous, just fiercely loyal to their owners and will defend them above all. Akitas can at times exhibit aggression toward dogs of the same sex. Socialising the Akita puppy will help introduce cordiality early on.

The Akita dog can at times be assertive but the tendency is due more to genetics than anything else. The breed is banned in certain American states. Their unbending loyalty toward their owners is mistaken for a natural aggression, which is not the case. Muzzles may be required in certain places where Akitas are not permitted.

Autres races susceptibles de vous intéresser

Because they care, Akitas may be assertive

Owners will appreciate the Akita’s role as family protector,  but socialise them very young as they can be contentious, especially with dogs of the same sex. Respectful training is key. Use a breeder for the best results - and be involved - so they know you are the one setting boundaries.

There is this thing about eye contact...

Akitas are super steadfast but have a tendency to see eye contact - odd as it may sound - as a challenge. It’s not that they are insecure, on the contrary, but rather breeding over many years has produced a highly independent dog. It’s as if they’re seeing doubt coming from you when they know they’ve got this. With good training and an observant eye, this issue can be managed.

Akitas can be prone to dermatological issues

The breed has been known to develop bacterial infections such as pemphigus and pyoderma, both skin disorders which can result in sores and open wounds. Regular veterinarian visits will help you control these sorts of problems and neither is threatening in any way.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/