Akita Inu Breed Details

Normal weight for adults
Average height
Expected lifespan
Average Akita Inu puppy price
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Akita Inu is one of the oldest dog breeds on Earth. It has been bred in the northern regions of Japan. It is a proud, strong, and devoted loyal pet.


Brief information Key points Breed characteristics History of the Akita Inu breed Features of the American Akita Appearance and special features of the breed Life expectancy The nature of the Akita Inu Training and education Care and maintenance Maintenance features Health and illness of the Akita Inu How to choose a puppy How much does Akita Inu cost

Brief information

Breed name is Akita Inu Country of origin is Japan The birth year of the breed is 1964 Weight – 23-39 kg Height (height at the withers) – 64-70 cm for males, 58-64 cm for females Life expectancy is 10-12 years

Key points

Akita Inu does not like other dogs, especially their own gender. Proper education, long-term socialization, competent training are extremely important, otherwise, the animal can grow up aggressive. They are noble and restrained, but only when they recognize the owner as the unconditional leader. Akita molts profusely twice a year. These dogs feel good in the house and apartment, but they require frequent walks and physical activity.

Akita Inu is breed of spitz-like dogs bred in the north of Japan (Akita prefecture). They have a muscular build and thick short hair. They have independence, requiring persistent training, and respectful attitude, and dominant nature. This breed is suitable for experienced dog breeders, for calm, self-confident people. Two breeds are sometimes classified as different – the Akita Inu (“authentic” subspecies) and the American Akita.

Characteristics of breed

Aggressiveness: above the average (4/5) Education: low (2/5) Need for care: minimal (2/5) Health: mild (2/5) Attitude to solitude: mild (3/5) Noisiness: low (2/5) Activity: low (5/5) Molting: above the average (4/5) Friendliness: mild (3/5) Owning cost: expensive (5/5) Intellect: normal (3/5) Security skill: excellent (5/5)

* The characteristics of the Akita Inu breed are based on an assessment by lapkins.ru experts and feedback from dog owners.

History of the Akita Inu breed

According to information from ancient historical sources in Japan, the ancestor of modern representatives of the breed is the Matagi Inu (Matagi is an ethnic group of hunters, Inu is a “dog”). Akita Prefecture on the island of Honshu is considered the region of origin of Akita Inu. Matagi Inu and its ancestors served people as irreplaceable assistants in hunting, allowing them to hunt even very large or dexterous animals: Japanese macaques, bears, wild boars.

In the XII-XIII centuries, a new popular entertainment appeared in Japan represented by dogfighting. It became a cruel selection for these dogs, leaving only the strongest, fierce, and hardiest. In the 19th century, a wave of industrialization swept across the country, many residents moved, the number of crimes increased. Because of this, the Matagi Inu was retrained to guard property. At the same time, bullmastiffs, mastiffs, and Great Danes reviving the tradition of dogfighting. Increasingly, the Akita has been crossbred with these dogs to get more aggressive and larger dogs.

This caused the concern of Japanese dog breeders because the breed began to lose its features, so in 1931 Akita Inu was transferred to the status of a natural monument at the state level. Breeders actively engaged in the revival of the breed, selecting only its best representatives for breeding. In 1934, the first official standard was introduced, but over time it had to be adjusted. Around the same time, the breed received its modern name, and in 1967 a thematic museum was opened.

Akita Inu suffered during the Second World War: these dogs almost disappeared. They suffered from hunger, became victims of barely surviving people, their skins were used for clothing. At the end of the war, a government decree was issued to exterminate all dogs unsuitable for military use, since a real rabies epidemic began in Japan.

After the war, a new round of restoration of the Akita Inu breed began, the greatest contribution to which was made by Morie Savataishi. it is thanks to him that these unique dogs have survived to this day. Purebred individuals had to be collected throughout the country, but this has served its purpose. The American military liked the charming and proud Akita, so the breed was brought to the United States.

Video – Akita Inu


Features of the American Akita

The American branch of this breed appeared precisely after the Second World War when the US military began to take puppies to their homeland. Interestingly, they were mainly interested in large mestizos with similarities to bears, and not purebred dogs. This was in the hands of Japanese breeders who did not want to share the breed that was so hard to reconstitute.

Breeding experiments continued in the United States, where it was possible to obtain more massive dogs with a menacing appearance. It is why we have two varieties of the breed with significant differences now. The Americans managed to gain recognition from the AKC (American Kennel Club is an organization engaged in the registration of purebred dogs and new breeds) only after refusing to import new dogs from Japan. This led to a strong restriction of the gene pool, and hence the development of the breed. The Japanese, on the other hand, continued to work on the colors, since they had a large variety of genes at their disposal. Today Akita Inu is considered a good companion, devoted protector of the owner and his property.

Appearance and special features of the breed

The Japanese variation of this breed is named the Akita Inu. These are stocky and, at the same time, graceful physique. The head with small ears resembles a fox. Only a few color options are recognized. The fur must be short, with a white mask on the face.

The variation from the USA is called the Big Japanese Dog or American Akita. These are exceptionally large dogs with a heavy bear-like head. Almost any color is accepted, including black or with a dark mask.

General description

Akita Inu feels equally comfortable in temperate or cold climates. There are several breed features, such as:

a fairly large head; erect ears of a triangular shape; strong physique; twisted “into a donut” tail.

The adult males have a height of 66-71 cm at the withers and weight from 45 to 59 kg. The females have a height of 61-66 cm and weight from 32 to 45 kg, while their body length is slightly longer than that of males. The Japanese breed variation is slightly lighter and smaller. Eight-week-old puppies usually have such parameters, as:

large Japanese weighs 8.16-9.97 kg; Akita Inu weighs 7.25-9.07 kg.

The growth of dogs is slow, the development of the animal finally ends only by three years. Puppies are quite actively gaining weight (up to 7 kg per month), after reaching 35-49 kg their development slows down, but does not end until the age of three. Don’t worry if your pet doesn’t quite fit into the existing growth standards because these standards are very generalized. In general, there is dynamics of Akita Inu growth:

puppies aged 6 weeks are large and very charming, they don’t look like adult dogs; puppies aged 6 months have to change proportions of the body, they become more fit and get away from their body softness; dogs aged 1-2 years grow slow, but the transformation of the body continues, especially in the head area; dogs over 2 years stop growing in height and get a lot bigger; small changes will continue for another year.


The classic standard is a dense short fur about 5 cm, which is quite long on the neck and tail areas. The cover is erect, the underfur is very thick and downy. Akita Inu can have only one color, such as:

pure white; red with white fragments and a mask; brindle with a mask; red with black hair tips.

American Akita all are in any color. Long-haired dogs are often born as a result of a combination of recessive genes of the father and mother. By nature, they are like their Japanese brethren but do not fit into the standard, therefore they are considered culling in Japan.


Puppies have lowered ears, and adult dogs have erect ears, facing forward and slightly to the sides. They do not accept this position very soon, and this is influenced by two factors, such as:

The age. Only as Akita grow older and strengthen the special muscles, the ears will begin to rise. To speed up this process allows chewing and gnawing toys. The change of teeth. Until permanent teeth grow up in place of the milk ones, the ears will not fully erect.

It often happens that ears fall back or only one ear turns out to be standing. This process takes from ten weeks to six months, so there is no need to worry until the dog grows up to six months. Be sure that the position of the ears going to be fine.


The eyes are brown (preferably as dark as possible), small and deep. They have a triangular shape that is noticeable from birth. In dogs of light color, black “eyeliner” is allowed, which only emphasizes a special cut.


In pedigree dogs, the tail is downy, thick, rolled into a tight ring. Puppies have a straight tail that curls up in the first two months of life. If the dog is asleep or just relaxed, the tail may untwist slightly, but never becomes straight. Visually and to the touch, this part of the dog’s body does not change even during the molting period. The fluffy donut-like tail balances the big head of the pet.


The description of the paws is equal to all standards. It is straight, with thick pads, similar to a cat’s ones. In both varieties of Akita, the fingers are tightly closed, which allows them to swim well. In this case, not only the front but also the hind limbs are involved. However, most dogs of this breed do not like to swim: they enter the water only when absolutely necessary.

Adult Akita pictures



Life expectancy

The life expectancy of the Akita Inu is approximately 10-12 years. Females live a little longer than males, but statistically, the difference is small: it is only about two months. This indicator is the same for both variations of the breed. Before World War II, Akita’s life expectancy was much longer (about 14-15 years), but the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left its imprint on dogs’ genetics forever.

The nature of the Akita Inu

It is difficult to briefly describe the nature of this breed. Akita are very versatile dogs. The American subspecies are distinguished by more serious habits, the Japanese ones are more playful and frivolous. At the same time, most representatives of the breed are not useless couch pets or overly sullen dogs. There are several main character traits.

Independent thinking of these dogs makes people mistaken them for stubbornness, but in fact, it is enough to just establish a mutual understanding with Akita. The hierarchical feeling is very strongly developed in Akita, so they try to establish a rank concerning other dogs of the owner. It is important to achieve recognition of a person as a leader during the first weeks and months of the dog’s life, otherwise, the dog will dominate. Akita Inu dogs quickly learn new skills and knowledge, so they start to get bored if they repeat the same thing for a long time. The need to understand why to perform specific tasks, so it is worth taking care of developing the right motivation. The absence of fear of heights is a compelling reason for blocking the balcony and other dangerous places because puppies are very brave and not too smart. Adult dogs jump high, don’t care about the landing site. Craving for space. These dogs like to run a lot, frolic in nature, visit new places. Physical activity is vital for them. The tenderness of Akita is why they are very sensitive. It is easy to offend them. Akita will not bother and interfere with everyday affairs, rest because of loyalty to the owner. They love to follow their owners quietly everywhere. Despite being dominant, a well-mannered dog has incredible patience. The dog will humbly wait for the owner when he or she comes home from work or sit quietly by the bed, waiting for the owner to wake up. Relationship with other dogs. If the other dog is smaller and lives in the same family, friendship is likely to be. It is difficult to reach relationships with representatives of their own species and the same gender; they are completely alien creatures for them. Aggression, at least in the form of growling, is especially active if the second pet is of the same or larger size. Fear of cramped spaces. Akita Inu dogs do not like too cramped and enclosed spaces. They try to get a good view and control over the space. The aggressiveness of Akita is the reason for their sensitivity to the relationship between the owner and his quests. Regular visitors need not worry. Such dogs do not like strangers, therefore they will closely observe the guest until they understand how appropriate his presence in the house is. Only proper training can help manage the innate aggression of these dogs. They are good guards, but they don’t rush to bite everyone right away. For example, they will simply try not to let the thief out of the house, waiting for the owner’s help. Akita Inu is a breed of quite quiet dogs, but they are very sensitive to new people, animals, and sounds, therefore they can use their voice to issue a warning to someone who invades their territory.

Training and education

Central to education is the socialization of puppies. The most important time is from three weeks to four months: this time completely determines whether a dog can get along with a person or not, whether it grows up aggressive, how it will react to new people and animals in the future. Akita Inu must understand that only the owner defines the boundaries of his or her inner world, having the rights of a leader. Introduce the dog to as many places, events, people as possible. The understanding of the world, which was laid down at this stage, becomes entrenched by the year and can no longer be corrected. Don’t forget that you should get all the vaccinations and wait for a little before “going out into the world”.

From the first day the puppy moves to a new home, a hierarchy should be designated. Some owners are touched by the cute puppies and allow them to behave in an inappropriate way, but already at an earlier age, Akita understands everything and probes the boundaries of his leadership. The owner should be caring, loving, and calm, but with a strong character. If the dog doesn’t recognize its owner as an undeniable dominant, trouble will soon arise. It comes to the point that some people abandon or even put the dog down at the vet because they failed the dog’s education.

Some more facts are no less important.

Try not to leave the puppy alone for the first time after moving into a new house. Introduce the dog to the apartment, things, but do not leave alone. If you need to leave, protect your baby from dangers and fragile items. Start training your dog as early as possible. Akita Inu is a breed of very smart pets, so they understand the required primary commands by eight weeks after birth. In a couple of months, the owner can expand the list of techniques and bring them to automatism. The whole family and its friends should communicate with the puppy. The puppy needs to be stroked, held in the owner’s arms, and played with. This will help the dog adapt to the noise and children. In the future, it will be easier to endure combing and other hygiene procedures. Teach your pet that the owner has the right to take anything or food from him or her. This must be done at the age from two months to at least six months. Take the toy from the dog, but don’t tease the pet, then pause before you return it. Akita will get used to the fact that the owner will always return what the pet can communicate with so the owner can be trusted. If you do not develop this style of behavior, an adult dog will react aggressively to attempts to take away a thing that a pet was grab without permission or inappropriate food. Despite the great temptation, do not take the puppy to sleep in a bed. In itself, such a habit is not frightening, but the dog must get used to the rule that the leader sleeps on the bed, the Akita sleeps on the floor. Be sure to provide your pet with a soft mat. Before treating the puppy, give him the command to sit. Show firmness of character, but do not frighten or beat the animal. The Akita Inu should have respect for the owner and not fear.

Care and maintenance

Despite the dislike for enclosed space, Akita Inu is well suited both for living in a city apartment and for keeping in a private house. In any case, it is extremely important to provide long walks during which the dog can spend his energy. Start to introduce the outside world to your dog after passing all the vaccinations.

Walk with the dog in neighborhoods, but change routes every day. Visit both quiet and noisy places so that the dog gets used to as many situations as possible (park, forest, shops, beach, market, pet store, square). In the future, if you get into a crowded place with your dog, he will don’t hit by serious stress. On walks, keep the Akita on a leash, showing your position of leader. Although this breed does not like other dogs, teach them to behave calmly. When meeting with another pet on a leash, let them get to know each other, sniff each other. If all goes well, don’t interfere. Separate the dogs in case of aggression and growling. Train your dog to travel in the car. Start by traveling 5-10 minutes a day, gradually increasing this time to 35-45 minutes.

Maintenance features

Akita Inu molt twice a year: in the period from January to February and from May to June. During this period, the dog must be combined every day or at least 3-4 times a week. The rest of the time, combing out four times a month is enough. Constant molting is possible in a home with very warm and dry air. Another reason is disease There is no need to cut the pet’s “coat”. There are other recommendations for care.

Bathe your dog no more than 1-2 times a year, so as not to wash off the natural protective lubricant of the fur. These dogs are very clean on their own, they know how to lick. The rest of the dirt will be removed during combing. Clean your pet’s teeth 1-2 times a week. Use only a special dentifrice. Regularly examine the Akita’s eyes and ears in order to notice inflammation or bad smell in time. All this indicates an urgent need to visit a vet. Trim your dog’s claws every month.

Teach your dog to any procedure even as a puppy. With an adult dog, you may simply not be able to handle it or cause stress and loss of dog confidence.

Health and illness of the Akita Inu

This breed is healthy, especially if the puppy does not have serious birth defects. Sometimes they suffer from genetic diseases; they are sensitive to certain drugs. Among congenital and age-related ailments, there are:

entropy (turn of the eyelid); dysplasia of the hip joint; bloating; glaucoma; cataract; pseudo paralytic myasthenia gravis (weakness of all muscles of the body); von Willebrand disease (blood pathology); retinal atrophy.

How to choose a puppy

Buy purebred puppies only from eminent reliable breeders. The main signs of a healthy baby of the Akita Inu breed are:

agility and cheerfully; average fatness; beautiful silky fur; puppy runs confidently, stands firmly on its paws; he is not aggressive, not afraid of loud sounds.

Pay attention to the color and shape of the Akita Inu’s eyes. If eyes are round and light, this is not a purebred pet. Features of the eye are necessarily congenital, and the color changes with age only to a lighter one. The bite must be correct, the pigmentation of the nose and mouth must be uniform. If you are buying a puppy older than six months, and his tail has not twirled yet, this is a bad sign. If you plan to participate with your per in competitions or exhibitions, you better choose the puppy with help of an experienced dog handler. When purchasing a regular pet, it is enough to use the average standards.

Akita Inu puppies pictures


Akita Inu cost

The standard cost of the purebred Akita Inu puppy is from 400 to 1100 dollars. Cost varies depending on few factors, such as:

color: for example, sesame puppies are a real rarity; pedigree: eminent parents will be a factor in the increase of the total price; cattery: the cost is slightly different for various breeders; compliance with the standard: cheaper puppies will be that cannot take part in competitions, for example, it is dogs with long hair.