The Akita Inu is a dog originating from Japan. Large in size, it is robust and well-proportioned. Very calm in nature, the Akita is sensitive and affectionate towards members of its social group, but is very wary of strangers. An Akita can adapt to a number of different lifestyles, being happy to sleep all day or equally to accompany its master in a variety of activities. Being stubborn and not very sociable with other dogs, only experienced owners who are aware of this dog’s characteristics should consider getting one.
Key facts about the Akita Inu
Life expectancy :
Origins and history
The Akita Inu is an ancient dog, originally from the mountainous regions of the Akita prefecture in Japan. First a hunter of wild boar, this breed then became a fighting and guard dog. Nowadays in Japan, it is considered a ‘national treasure’, part of the list of Japanese traditions to defend and preserve. There were two bloodlines originally: Dewa and Ichinoseki. The first, which showed clear Molossoid and cross-breeding signs, was bred in America to create the “American Akita”; the second, which resembled the original breed much more closely, was chosen by the Japanese as the ideal variety and is now the Akita Inu that we all know today.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 5 : Asian Spitz and related breeds
Physical characteristics of the Akita Inu
Female : Between 23 and 25 in
Male : Between 25 and 28 in
Female : Between 62 and 75 lb
Male : Between 71 and 88 lb
Any colour is accepted except merle. Fawn, sesame, pinto, brindle and white are all accepted coat colours for this breed. All the colours, except for white, should be "urajiro", which defines the presence of white-ish hair on the sides of the muzzle and cheeks, under the jaw, on the neck, on the chest, on the stomach, as well as on the lower part of the tail and on the inside of the limbs.
Type of coat
The coat is short to mid-length.
This dog has a double coat: its outer coat is hard and straight, while the undercoat is soft and dense. The coat is slightly longer at the withers, buttocks and tail.
The Akita Inu has brown eyes; the darker they are, the closer they are to the breed’s official standards.
The Akita Inu is a large Asian Spitz with a strong, well-proportioned and robust build. It has a large forehead and pronounced stop. The eyes are relatively small, almost triangular in shape, just like the thick, slightly rounded ears that bend forward to align with the tilt of the neck. The tail stands tall and large, curling round to touch the back. This dog emits the image of great nobility and dignity, combined with an air of simplicity.
Good to know
We’re sure you’ve heard of Hachiko, the most famous Akita Inu in the world: it all started in the 1920s in Tokyo, where Hachi would accompany his master to the Shibuya railroad station everyday, and faithfully wait all day, in the same spot, for his return.
After 5 years of this, his master sadly died at work and thus never returned. But the story doesn’t end there: the most extraordinary part is that Hachi continued to wait for his master, over the course of 10 long years. In 1935, Hachiko passed away and a bronze statue was erected in his memory, in front of the train station where he had waited for his owner to return for so many years.
This dog can be distant, but nevertheless affectionate towards members of its social group. Contrary to most primitive dogs, the Akita is relatively affectionate.
With people outside of its social group, however, the Akita is usually quite cold and indifferent.
Playtime is not a source of motivation for this dog. Akitas adopt an almost humorous superior air when their master tries to play with them.
That said, the Akita Inu puppy is very expressive and loves to play, just like any normal puppy. However, once it reaches adulthood, the Akita will no longer need people to keep itself occupied.
This Japanese dog is definitely one of the most calm from its category. Its placid nature is quite typical of this breed.
Its easy-going, balanced temperament is what characterises this dog the best. The Akita is gentle, calm and charming.
The Akita’s calmness and serenity is such that it’s sometimes even easy to forget that there’s a dog in the house.
The Akita Inu is an intelligent dog. It understands quickly and can even surprise its masters. However, its intelligence is often disguised by its stubborn temperament - the Akita is very hard-headed and it can be difficult to maintain its attention.
Nevertheless, its intelligence is marvellously reflected by its ability to adapt to a wide range of lifestyles.
This breed was initially bred to be a hunter. However, the Akita quickly changed uses, since it was more frequently employed as a guard and fighting dog. Today, the breed retains some instincts from its predatory past, but this is far from being the main feature of this dog.
Nowadays, it is most frequently adopted as a pet or show dog.
Fearful / wary of strangers
You don’t have to worry about this dog jumping up at strangers. In the presence of people it considers strangers, or even threats, the Akita will maintain a lot of distance and take its time to observe and analyse the situation before anything else.
After analysis, in most cases, this Japanese dog will decide to turn its back on the stranger and resume business as usual. It takes a long time for the Akita to trust people.
This breed will generally react badly to strokes or other physical approaches from unknown people, even if they are well-intentioned.
Like many Spitzes, the Akita Inu is very independent. Akitas are very confident and naturally authoritative. However, thanks to selective breeding, these pets remain very attached to their social group.
Behaviour of the Akita Inu
Being alone isn’t this dog’s preference, but it equally doesn’t shy away from it. Akitas know how to occupy themselves in the absence of their masters.
However, be aware that an Akita will only demonstrate its natural calmness if it is properly exercised before and after these periods of solitude.
Easy to train / obedience
Don’t trust blindly in its appearance; the Akita’s placid personality can sometimes hide its fiery and stubborn side. Akitas quickly understand and assimilate what is being asked of them, but can come up with strategies to avoid obedience if they perceive the commands as incoherent or unfair.
Neither playful or particularly greedy, a good relationship is most likely what will encourage this dog to cooperate with its master. If there’s a lack of trust, then the training will suffer.
Training should be soft and gentle so as to not perturb this sensitive dog, but should equally be firm to keep the animal in check. The Akita puppy should start training from a very young age to avoid picking up bad habits.
You will need to keep engaging the Akita puppy with its training during the first few months of its life, despite the many distractions that will undoubtedly be much more interesting to a puppy than training sessions.
This Spitz rarely barks, which is aligned with its calm and discrete temperament that is very well-adapted to living in a flat.