Dog enthusiasts, rejoice. Today is a good day for all dog lovers out there! We all know and love those furry, loyal animals that we call dogs (you are probably passionate about them if you’re on this website).
They are man’s best friends, and it’s not a surprise. They are loyal pets who would do everything to protect their owner.
On this article, I will be writing about a certain breed of dog: the Akita.
If you don’t know about it (which I doubt), let me refresh your memory: do you know the movie Hachiko about the Japanese dog that kept waiting for his dead owner to show up in the Shibuya Station for NINE years? Yes, well that was a Japanese Akita.
No wonder people are interested in that breed; it is a remarkably loyal one.
On this article, you’ll find all the info you need about this magnificent breed, from temperament and personality to how to raise them.
The Origins of the Akita Breed
Akitas are huge, calm, and dignified dogs. Their presence can be intimidating, especially when you know that they were especially bred to guard royalty and nobility in ancient Japan.
They were also used for hunting, which explains their somewhat difficult nature.
The Akita Inu
Back in the 15th century (and some skeletal remains prove to be even older than that), Akita Inu dogs (Inu or Ken simply mean “dog”) were used not only for guarding the royal family and accompanying Samurais, they were also used to hunt bear, wild boar, and deer.
Because of their robustness and strong muscles, they were also used in cruel dog combats, until 1908 when those combats became forbidden by the law of the Akita prefecture.
The Akita is a dog that isn’t easily frightened, and that never backs down from a challenge. But he is also an affectionate and loyal (as shown earlier in the Hachiko story), and can be amusing and respectful when properly trained and socialized.
The name Akita comes from the region of Japan this breed originated from, a prefecture in the northern part of Honshu. He is a fearless and loyal guardian of his family.
The American Akita or Simply Akita
The American Akita was bred during World War II, when Akita dogs were becoming extinct due to famine.
Not only did a lot of them die of hunger, but a huge number of Akita dogs was killed and eaten by hungry people during that time.
That’s when the police started capturing all dogs in Japan, except for German Shepherds that were used in the military.
This is why Akita dog owners started crossing those dogs with German Shepherds to create bigger, stronger Akita dogs, which will be later called American Akita.
Akita Dogs’ Built
Akita dogs have heavy double coats that keep them warm during harsh winters and webbed paws that make them excellent swimmers and help them walk on heavy snow.
They are solid and muscular, which explains why they were used in dog fights, and as hunters and guard dogs.
American Akita dogs are even stronger, since they were crossed with huge dogs such as German Shepherds, Mastiffs, and sometimes even Great Danes.
Akita Dogs’ Weight
Both breeds of Akita (Inu and American) are big, heavy dogs, and although they don’t reach their full weight until the age of 3 year old, when they do, they look quite impressive.
A female Akita would weigh between 25 and 35 kg, while her male counterpart would weigh between 35 to 45 kg (there isn’t much variation in weight between American Akita and Akita Inu).
Akita Dogs’ Lifespan
Akita Inus and American Akitas have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. This is partly because of their size, since larger dogs are known to have shorter life spans than their smaller counterparts.
The Temperament of Akita Dogs
Since dogs are pack animals, they instinctively follow a hierarchy which centers on one leader. All others are followers. This isn’t any different for the Akita dog.
Akita dogs have a strong need to appear dominant and can be extremely strong-headed, which is why dog breeders are always advised to be very cautious when it comes to training, since every single detail counts.
An Akita dog needs to be shown his place by his owner so he’ll behave in a positive way.
Akita dogs may be aggressive towards strangers, which is why it’s important for them to socialize since their early days.
More than that, they can be especially aggressive towards other male dogs, and sometimes, even female dogs.
Since they were bred for fights and hunting, there is a strong possibility of them killing other animals if they’re not properly trained.
The Importance of Training an Akita
The Akita breed will not have a vicious temperament if they’re properly trained by their owners. In the end, any dog of any breed can be dangerous if not trained properly.
Still, this breed of dogs is especially loyal and loving, and can be calm and devoted if they get good training since puppyhood.
But, one thing that’s important about Akita, both Inu and American, is that they can never tolerate an unknown dog, especially if this one is of the same gender and size. The Akita will be bound to fight him to show his dominance.
This breed is very intelligent, and the dogs are fast learners. However they are always in need of motivation in order to succeed in their training.
Akita: An Independent Dog
Some might say that Akita dogs are independent, and while this may be true in some aspects; this breed still requires human companionship.
They have a craving for interaction and closeness with their owners, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’re the symbol of loyalty and faithfulness in Japan.
When living with an Akita dog, you will come to understand that he will not paw at you relentlessly for attention like other breeds might.
However an Akita dog will always calmly lie down on the floor to be in the same room as you, and even if you think that he is not paying attention, you will find out that he is actually sensing your movements and listening to everything around you.
And when you get up to stand up to go to another room, he will always be there with you.
Here’s the video of an example of an Akita’s training camp:
What to Feed Your Akita Dog
Akita’s food and nutrition is not to be taken lightly since their diet directly affects their health. So, let’s get right down to business.
Feeding your dog one large meal a day might seem convenient, however eating such a large amount in one sitting can cause bloat, an issue that can have seriously devastating consequences for your dog’s health.
If an Akita is made to wait 24 hours between each meal, he or she will feel intense hunger, which leads to unabashed gobbling, ingesting air and swallowing without chewing.
The best thing to do is to feed your dog twice a day. It is already necessary for puppies and for seniors, so it will be easy for you, as well as for your dog, to stay with this routine.
Sometimes, even with the routine of 2 meals per day, this huge dog can eat quite a lot, and for this reason, we highly recommend to use special bowls that will slow him down and make him consume his food at a reasonable rate, which will prevent bloating and painful indigestion.
Why Fasting Is Important for the Akita Breed
You will also have to think about making your dog fast, since it has several benefits for his health: it allows their bodies to rest.
During the fasting, you should feed your dog small amounts of fruits and vegetables for their system to be cleansed.
One important thing about fasting is that it should be done once a week, and always on the same day.
For example, if you started making your Akita dog fast Sunday, then he will be fasting every Sunday of the week.
Some Akita Dog Mixes
A crossbred between Akita dog and Boxers, this breed of dogs is medium to large, strong, with a muscular body and a good temperament.
This kind of dog is pretty low maintenance since they don’t need frequent grooming, and has minimal shedding, which means they’re hypoallergenic, compared to purebred Akita dogs that shed heavily.
A mix between a Siberian husky and an Akita, the Huskita is medium to large in size, strong, and can weigh up to 55 KG.
A mix between an Akita and a Labrador, the Labrakita is known to be an excellent family pet. This kind of dogs has a very mild personality, which allows them to get along with children and other dogs exceptionally well.
This dog is the result of a cross between the Akita and the American Bulldog. This kind of dog retains the strength of both breeds.
This is the result of a cross between an Akita and a Neapolitan Mastiff. Like other mixes, it’s a strong, massive dog.
The Pookita (cute name) is a cross between an Akita and a Poodle. The dog retains the Akita’s muscular body.
The Shepkita comes from the cross of an Akita with a German shepherd. This dog is strong, powerful, and extremely calm and loyal.
Some Akita Facts to Know
- Since Akita dogs can be aggressive, it would be better to avoid some situations such as leaving them with other dogs of the same gender or with children while unattended. Always have an eye on your Akita dog, even if you believe you’ve trained him well.
- Here are some signs that might show that you Akita dog is agitated and might bite: standing between you and the person they’re aggressive towards, forcing air out of their nostrils, growling, and sometimes, but rarely, barking.
- Akita dogs might chase cats, but if you have a household cat, don’t worry about him, they will quickly get along with each other and build strong bonds.
- There is only one solid color possible for Akita dogs: white. All other colors are actually a 2 colors combination, either overlaid (1 color on the undercoat and 1 color on the outer fur) or patched. Here are the Akita dog colors:
– Akita Inu: This breed can be white, red, or brindle, with white markings the cheeks, under the belly, on the inside of the legs, and on the tail.
– American Akita: This breed can be of different colors, which are black (but it’s rare), black brindle (black coat with striping on it), blue brindle (with the base coat being a pale fawn and grayish blue stripes), brown, brown brindle (when the dog has a brown base with black stripes), and fawn brindle (a fawn basecoat with black stripes on it).
- The color of the fur of a puppy Akita might be different from his fur’s color when he grows into a full adult dog.
- Their coat is strongly water resistant, which means you’ll need to make more efforts while giving your dog a bath if you want the water to soak down through his thick fur.
- Akita dogs don’t show reactions to pain, which can be troubling for the owner.
Akita Inu dogs and American Akita dogs don’t have many differences besides their size and looks.
Most have the same temperament and the same needs.
Nonetheless, both breeds have to be supervised around strangers and children, since they can be aggressive.
Akita Dog Breed: Pros and Cons
To end this article, here are some pros and cons about Akita dogs, as well as some helpful links for people who own or want to own an Akita Inu dog:
- They can resist the cold.
- They are large, strong, muscular, and beautiful, with a wolf like appearance.
- They’re excellent guard dogs.
- They are calm and don’t bark a lot unless they need to.
- They are independent and rely on themselves.
- Their exercise requirements are not difficult.
- They are strong headed, which might pose a problem during training, even as puppies.
- If not properly socialized and trained, they can become aggressive towards strangers, which will make handling them during grooming or vet visits difficult.
- They need to be managed around other dogs. If not, they might attack one of them, and even kill them.
- They are possessive, and can view themselves as dominant over small kids.
- They are heavy shedders and drop a lot of fur, so we wouldn’t advise you to adopt one if you’re allergic.
- They can be expensive to ensure and train.