Akita Inu Information
(Akita, Japanese Akita, Great Japanese Dog) The Akita Inu is the largest of the Japanese Spitz-type breeds. They are strong, evenly-proportioned, powerfully built dogs with distinctive features. Akita Inus have bulky, flat, triangular-shaped heads with short, pronounced muzzles. Their noses are dark (generally black), and they have triangular-shaped, dark brown eyes. Akita Inus have pink tongues, black lips, and teeth that close in a scissors bite. The breed is slightly longer than tall, with a flat back, deep chest, and stout limbs. They have a well-defined stop and a groove in the center of their foreheads. Akita Inus have fluffy, high-set tails that curl up over their back. An Akita Inu’s coat features a weather resistant outer layer that is insulated with a soft undercoat. Colors vary, but Akita Inus bred for show should be pure white, brindle, sesame, or red. Black facial masks are common, but they are not permitted in the show ring.
Although normally short-haired, they can have long and fluffy varieties, in which case, extra grooming is required. Black masks are acceptable in North and South America, UK and Canada - only the Japanese Kennel club and perhaps FCI do no accept the black mask any longer. The above appearance is a reflection of FCI standards. AKC standard all colors are acceptable.
Generally, Akita Inus are very docile animals, but they can be a bit unpredictable in certain circumstances if not properly trained by a dominate figure. They are very gentle, kind, and faithful, and they need companionship. While Akita Inus can be aggressive towards other dogs and hesitant to accept strangers, they make excellent guard dogs and usually good with children in their family. Members of the family should treat this breed with respect and thoughtfulness. When teased, some Akitas, but not all, are capable of an erratic response, including biting if not socialized. It is important to properly socialize and Akita from birth with as many other breeds and people as possible in order to avoid this type of behavior. Akita Inus need firm training early on to prevent the onset of disobedience or over-independent behavior. With consistent training and proper socialization, an Akita will be as gentle and loving as any other breed.
Akitas respond well to consistent training and will not be bullied into doing something they don't want to do. Their thought process must be respected and in turn teach it to respect yours by taking great care to protect it from the unwanted advances of teasers or treats early on. The Akita is a great guard dog but must be kept within the family housing unit and not as a yard watch dog. An Akita should never be expected to do well in packs as this cannot be trained into them. If you want a pack dog, you might want to consider choosing another breed. These very powerful, majestic creatures have hearts of glass and require your respect, consistency in commands and compassion to train them.
Like many other larger dog breeds, Akita Inus are prone to hip dysplasia. They can also be susceptible to certain immune diseases and thyroid issues. Skin problems, eye problems, and knee problems are also prevalent in some lines. The breed’s average life expectancy is 10 to 12 years, and they average 7 or 8 puppies per litter.
They are susceptible to Lyme disease due to a low platelet count.
Akita Inus are native to the island of Honshu in Japan. The breed, which is the national dog of Japan, has remained unchanged for centuries. Originally, Akita Inus were bred to serve as guard dogs, but they have also been used for a number of other working purposes. They have excellent hunting abilities. Helen Keller first brought the Akita to the United States.
The Akita hails from Akita Perfectur in Japan. Helen Keller brought the first one to America as a gift from Japan - more followed through military personnel. The Akita has changed significantly through the past century. There are no 2 distinct appearance or types. One that is now preferred by Japan (no black mask, smaller dog, bigger coat); and one that was original in appearance and is now preferred as the American Akita by the AKC standard (bigger dog, tighter coat, all colors accepted).
Akita Inus have a long, stiff, thick double coat that requires substantial attention. The breed should be bathed only as necessary to prevent removing the natural waterproofing of the coat. Akita Inus shed heavily during certain seasons. Brushing with a firm bristle brush can prevent matting, and it can also reduce shedding.
They're eyes should also be cleaned often to prevent staining. Akitas are known to shed twice a year. Some owners choose to not extensively groom their Akitas. Weekly or biweekly bushings will help with rolling the coat so that their seasonable shedding will be minimal. There is no cutting or trimming required. There is also a long coat gene in Akitas. This coat type may be trimmed for cleanliness if desired; however, trimmed Akitas are never shown in FCI or AKC shows. While this coat type can be beautiful and plush it can also be scruffy and appear to be a mix with only tufts of extra hair on the ears, back of legs and extra plumage on the tail. This coat type is not water proof and therefore does not serve the dog functionally. That should be taken into consideration when expecting this type of Akita to tolerate outdoor temperatures. This coat type should not be intentionally bred.
In order to stay fit and healthy, Akita Inus need sufficient exercise. They can do well in an apartment-style setting if they are taken for frequent long walks. This breed is comparatively inactive indoors, so a large yard is ideal.
Take precautions to not over exercise the Akita one hour prior or one hour after being fed. This breed as well as many large breeds are prone to bloat. Also do not take your Akita for runs of any length or extreme stress prior to 2 years of age to allow maximum time for proper ligament and tendon growth. The Akita is a large breed dog.