A large sized Akita
Akita Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)24-28in (61-71cm)
Weight75-115lbs (34-52kg)
Hair Colour(s)
Lifespan10-13 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size7
Barking TendencyHigh
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsLow
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsHigh
Distress if left

The National dog of Japan, the Akita is the largest of the Japanese spitzes. It is a muscular dog sporting a robust frame and a broad head, which has a short muzzle, triangular eyes, and a shallow groove in the centre of the forehead. The tail is bushy and curls over the back, and the paws are webbed (ideal for swimming). The straight coat is thick and waterproof and is lined by a softer dense undercoat, and it comes in several colours including fawn, red, white, brindle and silver. Some dogs may also have a mask or blaze on the face.


Akitas are strong, intelligent, aggressive and loyal dogs, which makes them ideal guard dogs. They are best suited towards experienced dog owners because their stubborn and headstrong personality can make training difficult. In addition, their curious nature means they can get bored with repetitive training techniques, so a varied discipline training program is advised. They can be very assertive, and when bored may become destructive or difficult to handle. Although not typically seen as cuddly dogs, Akitas are both loyal and affectionate towards family members. They can even tolerate children's antics but can be protective when other children are around, and they may bite if provoked. Akitas can become ferocious if not properly trained and so are not suitable for families with young children. They are also highly territorial and so may not get along with other pets. They can be aloof and stand-offish with strangers and may attack outright any unfamiliar intruders, even if they happen to be guests, and so they must be supervised around other animals and kept on a leash when in unfamiliar company.

History & Skills

Akitas originate from the Akita Region in Japan, where they were supposedly developed by Samurai in the 1600s. They were intially used as Imperial guard dogs before their strength and intelligence were put to use in fighting and hunting. Akitas could bring down bears, move quickly across areas of deep snow, and had the necessary swimming skills and soft touch of mouth for retrieving waterfowl. Because of their sturdy constitution, they were also used for pulling sledges. Today Akitas make excellent guard dogs, and they are still used by the police and military, particularly in search and rescue situations.

Breed Specific Ailments

Akitas tend to live between 10-13 years and are pretty healthy dogs on the whole, but some of the health problems to look out for inlcude luxating patella, hip dysplasia thyroid problems, lupus, cancer, vWD, PRA, skin conditions, and nervous and auto immune diseases. Due to their small eyes, ingrowing eyelashes can also occur, but this usually corrects itself in adulthood. Cases of dwarfism have also been reported.


Akitas are high shedders that also shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, usually around twice a year, and so are not suitable for those with allergies. The short, stiff coat will need brushing at least once a week, although bathing should be minimized as it will wear down the natural oils of the coat. Grooming may need to be increased during the periods of heavier shedding.

Exercise & Environment

Akitas need plenty of exercise within a safe enclosure where they can run freely. Outside of this area they should be kept on a leash at all times. And thanks to their thick coats, they can be rather uncomfortable in warm environments.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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