BREED DESCRIPTION & INFORMATION
Am/Can Ch Beardusk's United We Stand (Manhattan)
Photo courtesy of Beardusk Akitas
Note: The breed registries indicated above are the most recognized all-breed registries. The breed may also be recognized by other registries not indicated here. For further details about dog registries, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.
* The FCI is the World Canine Organization, which includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 339 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The "owner" countries of the breeds write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.
Males: 26 to 28 inches at the withers - Females: 24 to 26 inches
Males: 100 to 130 lbs - Females: 70 to 100 lbs
The Akita is the largest of the Japanese breeds. In July 1931, the Government of Japan designated the Akita as a national monument and one of Japan's national treasures. He has been used to hunt ducks, birds, small and large game, including deer, elk, antelope, monkeys, boar and bear.
Today the Akita is most often seen as a loyal companion but, as a versatile breed, they can also be seen working as police dogs, therapy dogs, hearing and guide dogs, sled dogs, guardians, and hunting dogs. In addition, some are involved in herding, obedience, and tracking. In Japan, the breed is regarded as a loyal companion and pet, protector of the home and a symbol of good health.
The Akita's personality is very complex. He is very intelligent, extremely loyal yet independent, and has well developed guarding and protective instincts, making him an excellent guard dog. He can be headstrong and dominant in nature and requires early socialization and training. The Akita is well known for his loyalty and devotion to his family and, typically, is very gentle, protective and patient with children. However, as with any dog, supervision around small children is a must.
The Akita is a large, powerful dog with a thick double coat and a tail that is curled and carried over the back. One of the most distinguishing feature of the Akita is his large head. That combined with the small triangular shaped eyes and small erect ears give the Akita a dignified and intimidating expression. Generally, the male Akita is substantially larger than the female. The double coat gives the Akita the typical northern breed appearance. The coat is short to moderate in length and very dense. The undercoat is very soft while the outer coat is slightly longer and coarser.
Today, there are two distinct types of Akitas:
- The American Akita tends to be larger and stockier than the Japanese Akita; any coat colour is acceptable including white, brindle or pinto; markings are well balanced and he may or may not have a mask or blaze (except for the white Akita who has no mask).
- The Japanese Akita is more refined than the American Akita and the only colours allowed are brindle, white, and red with white markings.
NOTE - The American Akita and the Japanese Akita: It should be noted that the breed has been officially split into two distinct and separate breeds in Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) member countries as well as in the United Kingdom. FCI member countries recognize the breeds as the "Akita" and the "American Akita" (previously known as the Great Japanese Dog). In the United Kingdom, the breeds are known as the "Japanese Akita Inu" and the "Akita". In Canada and the United States, however, the breed is not separated into two distinct breeds and is recognized as the "Akita" by the Canadian Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. For further details, please see the Breed Standards as well as Additional Information on American and Japanese Akitas below.
Additional Information on American and Japanese Akitas:
- The Akita Dilemma One Breed or Two? A Historical Perspective By Sophia Kaluzniacki, DVM
- The Case for Two Separate Akita Breeds by Sophia Kaluzniacki, DVM
Akitas, as with other breeds, are susceptible to some health problems, some of a genetic nature, others viral. The Akita Health document includes information on some of the known health concerns found in the breed.
If you are considering the adoption of a Akita puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. This should include, among others, hip x-rays to exclude hip dysplasia and eyes should be checked to see that they are normal and PRA clear. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)
Recommended Health Screening:
For the Akita breed, the CHIC* database includes health screening for the following:
- Hip Dysplasia;
- Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist each year until age 6 and thereafter every 2 years; and
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis;
- Optional screening includes Elbow Dysplasia and Patellar Luxation.
Additional Health Resources:
- Akita Club of America Genetics & Health Committee
- Canine Inherited Disorders Database Akita
- Akita Health
- Health and Nutrition Growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Akita Breeds Requirements Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- CKC Breed Standard
- AKC Breed Standard
- UKC Breed Standard
- The Kennel Club (U.K.) Akita Breed Standard
- The Kennel Club (U.K.) Japanese Akita Inu Breed Standard
- The Akita Dog Standard, Akita-Inu Preservation Society Inc. (AKIHO) Japan Breed Standard
- FCI Akita Standard American Akita - FCI Standard No. 344
- FCI Akita Standard FCI-Standard No. 255
- Grooming This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
- Training For training information, see this growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
Choose from a wide variety of items from Dogwise.com
- The Akita Club of America Excellent resource for detailed information about the breed.
- The Akita Network Excellent resource site with over 200 pages and 3500 compiled links.
- Akita Headquarters Pedigree Database
- Hachiko A story about the devotion and loyalty of one Akita dog in Japan.
- Clubs, Sports & Activities For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs The Working Dogs section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
Triumph's Tadashi of Beardusk (Tadashi)
Photo courtesy of Beardusk Akitas