The Akita dog is of Japanese origin that is often confused for the Alaskan Malamute.
These dogs are loyal, dignified, and are courageous.
There are two varieties of Akitas the Akita Inu also known as the Japanese Akita and Akita the American Akita.
Those that love the Akita know that the American variety comes with fewer colors when compared to the Japanese Akita. The Japanese variety is also smaller.
They also have some differences in both their personality and temperament.
These dogs are known by dog lovers to be one of the most loyal dog breeds.
For those that may not have been lucky enough to know the Akita, this is the article for you.
We are going to look at all that you need to know before getting this dog and how you can take care of him. You cannot also talk about this pooch without looking at their history.
Let us get right into it.
About the Akita
These Japanese dogs were bred to be man’s true companion.
They are part of the Spitz family of dogs. These are dogs that have a wolf-like appearance.
Ownership of these dogs was once restricted to the imperial families only. Ordinary people were not allowed to own one of these dogs.
However, things have changed, and Akitas have gained popularity over the years to become one of 50 most loved dogs in the US.
Originally these pooches were bred for their hunting skills.
It was not until people started using these dogs as guard dogs that they realized how much they loved children and how they would click was incredible.
However, in the wake of the second world war, they almost faced extinction. People would feed on them due to how scarce food was and use their coats to keep warm during the war.
The government ordered the killing of the remaining dogs to prevent the spread of diseases. But this is something that some of the Akita owners were not willing to do.
Some of the dog owners took the dogs to the mountains to keep them safe and with the breeding with other doggos like the German Shepherd, this breed managed to survive.
It was after the war that American soldiers fell in love with them and started taking them home. This was after their numbers had stabilized and breeders had started to set the standards for them.
I guess we are lucky to have these dogs survive extinction.
The American Kennel Club recognized the Akita in 1972. They are also the only club that recognizes both varieties as one and allows the breeding of the two.
UKC and World Canine Organization recognize the two varieties as two different breeds.
General Appearance and characteristics of Shiba Inu
|Akita summary table|
|Height||Both the males and the females have almost the same average height of between 23 to 29 inches|
|Weight||50 to 85 pounds for both the females and the males|
|Lifespan||9 to 10 years depending on how healthy the pooch is|
|Breed Type||working-dog group|
|Purpose||companion and guard dog|
|Suitable For||owners that have experience in handling large dogs|
|Grooming requirements||moderate grooming|
|Color Variations||White, black brindle, red, silver, brindle, silver brindle and even Golden|
|Health concerns||Obesity, Dental diseases, Bloat, and even canine cancer|
|Temperament||powerful, loyal, independent, bold, devoted to and protective of his family|
|Other Names||Shiba Inu or the Great Japanese dog|
Size of the Great Japanese dog
These are large dogs that can reach a height of between 23 to 29 inches.
Their weight also averages between 50 to 85 pounds with females being a bit smaller than their male counterparts.
The Great Japanese dog is a pooch that has a wolf-like appearance and one that they got due to their adaption to the cold climate where they were bred.
As we have mentioned above there are two varieties of Akitas, the Japanese Shiba Inu, and the American Akita.
The Japanese variety comes in white and red colors. They also have a more fox-like appearance and are a bit smaller than their American counterparts.
Akitas have a smiley face and you can easily spot them by their face mask.
These dogs also have black eyes, lips, and noses.
Other notable features are;
- A large curled tail.
- Erect ears.
- Massive heads.
Coat appearance and shedding
According to the breed standards, the Akita should have a double coat. This includes a soft, thick and shorter undercoat with a harsh and straight outer coat.
They mainly developed this coat so that they could adapt to the cold weather.
However, these dogs shed throughout the year and blow out twice every year. You should be prepared to deal with a large amount of fur in your house especially when summer is about to start.
This also means that the Akita is not a hypoallergenic dog.
If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog, you might want to consider one of the dogs that are on this hypoallergenic dog guide.
When it comes to the colors, these doggos have brilliant and rich colors such as;
- Silver brindle
Temperament and personality of the Akita
Generally, any dog will grow up to be well-behaved if they are raised well.
Akitas are no exception. When you introduce them to the outside world and train them in what is right and wrong he should grow up to be super-friendly and playful.
These dogs were bred to be guard dogs and hunting dogs and so you should expect them to be a bit aloof to strangers but not aggressive. They will bark to alert you in case they spot a stranger or when something is not going right.
However, Akitas are one of the quietest dogs you are going to meet, meaning they don’t bark a lot.
Compatibility with the family
This is not the dog for you if you do not have experience dealing with dogs. He is not the ideal pooch for novice dog owners.
He is aloof and can be stubborn and aloof but is also intelligent, affectionate, and dignified.
There have been claims that this dog used to lead children by their hands using their mouths. This might sound terrifying and it is and therefore if you have small children in the house you should supervise every interaction that they have.
Frequently asked questions
Why were Akitas bred?
Akitas were mainly bred to be working dogs where they were used to hunt wild boars, bears, and deers in Japan. But today, they are now mainly used as companion dogs.
Are Akitas good family dogs?
Shiba Inus are extremely loyal and affectionate to their families although they may be aloof to strangers. They may also show aggression towards other dogs especially if they are of the same sex.
How much does Shiba Inus cost?
The cost of getting an Akita may be anywhere between $900 to $1800 for a single Akita puppy. This will depend on the location and the breeder where you get the pup.
Akita puppies are simply balls of fluff and the sight of them will simply melt your heart.
They take about 18 months to reach maturity. This is the average period that it takes for a large dog breed to reach maturity.
However, they do grow up, still being mischievous for most for the better part of their life.
These dogs have litters of about 3 puppies while others may get up to 7 puppies.
But these pups do not come cheap and if you want to get one it could cost you anywhere between $900 to $1800 for a single Akita puppy.
You should always make sure that the pup you are getting is from a reputable and responsible breeder.
Grooming and maintenance
Brush the coat 3 or 4 times in a week to reduce the amount of shedding and keep the coat in good condition.
Brushing the coat helps to distribute oils evenly and this keeps its shiny.
You should only bath the Akita when it is necessary such as when they get smelly and dirty. Bating him too many times will strip the coat of essential mineral oils causing the skin to dry out.
Check and trim the nails when they get long and also keep the ears clean.
Akitas are known to have teeth problems and you should brush them regularly.
Akita feeding requirements
If you want to keep your Akita healthy, you should make sure that you feed him on a high-quality diet.
Feed him on the best diet that you can afford to, be it dry, raw, or canned food.
One thing that you should always do is making sure that the diet has the right amount of fats and proteins.
When he is a pup is when they are developing rapidly and this is the time that you should feed them more. About four meals in a day should be enough during this period. Reduce the number of meals to 2 in a day when they grow up.
Generally, adult Akitas require about 1500 calories in a day.
As you do all these, make sure that you are not overfeeding them as this could easily make them overweight or even obese.
Check out our guide on how you can reduce your dog’s weight.
Akita is an active dog breed.
These dogs will need about 60 to 90 minutes of exercise in a day when he an adult.
When you are taking him for walks, it would be best that you keep him on a leash because of how stubborn he can be.
Apart from physical stimulation, your dog should also be well mentally stimulated. You can do this by playing some brain games with him.
Training an Akita
Akitas may be intelligent dogs but this does not make them easy to train. They have a stubborn streak that makes them a bit difficult to train.
Training should start the moment the pooch gets home using positive reinforcement and reward-based training.
During the training session, you should make it as interesting as possible to make it fun for both you and your dog. You should also keep the sessions short for the best possible results.
Socialization is also an integral part of the training by introducing them to other animals, people, and different environments.
A well-fenced yard would be a suitable location to train an Akita. These dogs are known to be good escape artists and that is the reason you need to have a fenced yard.
These dogs may be prone to some health conditions.
They may suffer from conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia and orthopedic.
Some are also allergic to things such as insecticides, some foods, anesthetics, and some vaccines.
Final thoughts on the Akita
We have seen than an Akita is the best example of how loyal dogs can be.
This is not the dog for you if you are a novice dog owner. They need an owner that can understand their needs.
Akitas have high exercise requirement and they also eat a lot. These are some of the things that you need to consider when you are thinking of bringing this dog home.
So, what do you think about the Akita? Is he is a dog that you would like to be part of your family?
Give us your feedback and questions in the comment section below.
There you go WOOF!!
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