American Akita


American Akita

Physical characteristics of the American Akita

The American Akita (formerly Great Japanese Dog ) is a large, solidly built, well-balanced, heavy-boned dog. The eyes are dark brown, relatively small, roughly triangular in shape. The ears are well erected and small compared to the rest of the head. The shape is triangular, slightly rounded at the end. The tail is large and covered in hair, carried high or curled over the back or the sides, or even hanging below the back.

Hair: straight, rough, stiff and slightly raised, with a thick, soft, dense undercoat and shorter than the outer coat.
Color: all colors are allowed, from red to fawn, white, etc., including spotted or striped. Uniform white subjects have a mask. Spotted have a white base and evenly distributed spots that cover more than a third of the body. The undercoat may be a different color from the topcoat.
Size: 66 to 71 cm for the male and 61 to 66 cm for the female
Weight: 45 to 60 kg

Origins and history

Originally, its history coincides with that of the Japanese Akita. Beginning in the 17th century, in the Akita region, Akita matagis (or bear hunting dogs) were employed as fighting dogs. They were crossed from 1868 with Tosa and Mastiff, which increased their size to the detriment of other characteristics specific to Spitz-type dogs.

Character and Abilities

It is a friendly, attentive, dignified, docile and courageous dog. Today, the American Akita has become a companion and show dog, with a good aptitude for guarding.


The American Akita is the dog of the whole family, he will not attach himself to only one member of the social group. He is one of the dogs who oppose their adoptive family and the rest of the world with great distinction.

He knows how to be tender, even pot-de-glue in certain rare subjects, but remains all the same an independent dog, even distant according to the characters.

For example, in public, do not expect this dog to show emotional demonstrations, he reserves them for his family in private, out of sight.

Player :

This dog can be a very good playmate, especially for older children, but it will always be if he wants it. We can never force or urge this dog to cooperate, even if it is for a playful activity. It will often be necessary to adapt to his moods.

Calm :

Very calm, the American Akita likes to stay quiet and take naps for long hours. However, he can leave at a quarter turn, especially if he senses danger approaching. It is a dog that remains very alert and vigilant, despite its laid-back appearance.

Clever :

Even though he's not a working dog, that doesn't mean he's not a smart dog. On the contrary, he demonstrates a lot of cunning to evade the various commands of his masters that he does not consider them coherent.


Although not used as a hunter at all, the American Akita has a strong predatory instinct. It will also sometimes be difficult to release it in the middle of the forest for example or to prevent it from pursuing game, even if the recall is acquired in normal times.

You should know that nothing is ever 100% acquired with an Akita. However, even if an instinct cannot be suppressed, it can nevertheless be molded and filed down through a great deal of educational work. But above all, it is necessary to consider the dog as it is and to respect its true nature.

Fearful / wary of strangers:

When he is a puppy, the American Akita is a lover of people, he loves everyone and enjoys interacting. On the other hand, when he reaches puberty and then in adulthood, he becomes more reserved, even indifferent.

He does not appreciate caresses from strangers and will make this clear by dodging them or simply walking away.

Devoid of any form of aggressiveness towards humans, he can however explicitly show his dissatisfaction if the latter insist on making contact.

Independent :

The American Akita, so called by the Anglo-Saxons, is a proud and independent dog who loves his peace and who can sometimes be very distant. However, this does not prevent him from being very close (in his own way) to his social group to which he is particularly attached.


Endure loneliness:

This dog is independent, proud and he appreciates his tranquility more than anything but he always keeps an eye on his family, he needs their presence to be serene. In fact, long periods of loneliness didn't bother him at all.

Progressive and positive learning about loneliness should be put in place as soon as the American Akita puppy arrives at home to allow him to live more serenely during the absences of his masters, which should in no case be prolonged.

Easy to train / obedient:

This dog is not a so-called “working” dog, so it does not have the same learning abilities as a sheepdog, for example. Sometimes stubborn (or rather very opportunistic) and absolutely not appreciating the constraints and obligations, it is important to take into account this aspect of his personality in the educational methods proposed.

As a master, it takes perseverance, assertiveness, patience and consistency to achieve the desired results. Being able to quickly get tired of the very repetitive side of a lesson, the educational sessions for the American Akita must be short, fun but offered regularly.

In addition, if the relationship between this dog and his master is not optimal, we should not expect to obtain results. Mutual trust is necessary to achieve a good cooperation.

Of course, brutal methods are to be avoided because they only taint the master/dog relationship. The principles of positive education must be respected while demonstrating firmness and consistency.

However, in the end, do not expect an American Akita to be an obedience master. If he does not perceive any coherence, he does not obey, considering that the command is not right. And when he decides to obey, for the recall for example, it will be at his own pace, a little when he wants and where he wants.


The American Akita is famous for not barking. There are of course exceptions but in general, he is not very talkative and knows how to be discreet.

The subjects who are led to bark are often dogs who remain locked in their garden without ever leaving it.


As long as there is nothing that catches the eye or the nose of the Akita outside of its familiar territory, it has no reason to leave and escape its family circle.

Indeed, often confused with the Husky who is very runaway, especially because he needs to run, the Akita, he largely prefers to take a nap at home.

However, if he lives in a garden, it is advisable to secure his environment as much as possible with a high and solid fence because nothing can challenge this predator and arouse his attention.


Quite calm and collected by nature, this Japanese dog can however be destructive if its needs are not sufficiently met. Indeed, its relative laziness can sometimes push its owners not to respond correctly to its spending needs which are nevertheless present.

It is important to sometimes push your dog out and motivate him to go for a walk. Indeed, he will only very rarely ask to go for a walk, but that does not mean that he does not need it.

Greedy / gluttonous:

This dog is more choosy (or rather choosy) than gluttonous. Depending on the individual, it is sometimes difficult to please this dog, but as soon as the right diet is found, it is a very good source of motivation for the dog.

Watch dog :

Vigilant and endowed with great courage, the American Akita is a good watchdog and its mere presence can dissuade anyone from approaching.

You shouldn't be fooled by appearances, despite his air of a zen dog (and there's no doubt that he really is), he can change his attitude in a few seconds if he feels that his masters are in danger.

First dog:

The American Akita is a dog with a strong character who has primary instincts quite marked by his primitive side, so he is not intended for any type of master.

It is very important to take this dog as he is and not want to rush or change his true nature.

A great knowledge of the breed, its characteristics, its qualities but also its “faults” are to be integrated before thinking about adoption.

Living conditions

He can live either inside or outside. It easily tolerates low temperatures.

American Akita in an apartment:

Living in an apartment will only suit this large Japanese dog if he enjoys several quality daily walks.

Having no need for intense physical expenditure, this dog can adapt very well to a city life even if a house with a garden suits him just as much.

In any case, whether he lives in an apartment or in a house with a garden, this dog needs daily outdoor walks to exert himself physically, mentally, socially and above all in an olfactory way.

Need for exercise / sport:

Often considered a sled dog, especially because of its possible resemblance to the Husky, this dog is not the most athletic in its category. Indeed, its morphology does not allow it to be able to tow, on the one hand, nor to be able to practice very intense sporting activity.

In addition, it is advisable to wait at least the first year of the dog before offering him stimulating physical activities so as not to harm his growth.

These Japanese dogs particularly like quiet walks and hikes where they take the time to smell all the smells present. They also like to wade or even swim, so the proximity of a body of water is a plus.

Finally, although some Akitas are more energetic than others, in general, they are calm dogs who often prefer to sleep than to go for a walk. Be careful all the same to offer them their quota of walks per day, at least two, and more if they live in an apartment of course.

Travel / Ease of transport:

It is very easy to understand why the American Akita is not the easiest dog to transport. Its nearly 60 kg have a huge influence on its ability to move discreetly in any means of transport whatsoever.


The American Akita and Cats:

The agreement with a cat is possible but requires that the subjects have grown up together. A dog (with moreover a strong predation instinct) who has never been around a cat will tend to consider it as prey if it is confronted with it for the first time in adulthood.

The American Akita and Other Dogs :

This dog often seeks confrontation with his congeners, especially those of the same sex as him. In fact, the cohabitation between two entire subjects of the same sex seems risky.

If socialization is set up, mainly before the American Akita puppy is 3 months old, and if it continues regularly, in a controlled and always positive way, the integrated canine codes will make it possible to soften congener encounters.

However, the Akita remains a dog who likes to have the upper hand over his fellows and who often seeks to lay down his law. If the other dog, with whom he is interacting, disagrees with this, then a fight may break out. Hence the importance of controlling encounters by choosing compatible characters.

The American Akita and children:

Rather independent, this dog likes his tranquility. In fact, the restless presence of small children may not be suitable for this large dog, despite its teddy-like appearance.

He can be patient but will still quickly reach his limits, especially if rules of life are neither established nor respected, such as not going to disturb the dog when he is in his basket.

On the other hand, it will be a good playmate for older children who know how to communicate respectfully with their dog and read his calming and warning signals (nose licking, bristling hair, growling, "smiling", yawning, etc.).

The American Akita and the Elderly:

This dog is not intended for dynamic and sporty people, in fact, elderly people can quite adopt an American Akita but must still invest time and energy, especially in the education and socialization of their dog. their dog.

Be careful all the same, despite the moderate need for expenditure of this dog, walks should not be neglected, in fact, sedentary people are not compatible with this breed.


Resistant / robust:

The American Akita is often considered robust because of its origins and its morphology… But this until it falls ill which is, unfortunately, not uncommon.

Withstands heat:

As with all dogs, the heat is rarely much appreciated and requires, on the one hand, an arrangement of daily outings (early in the morning and late in the evening with the possibility of cooling off in bodies of water) and on the other hand, plenty of fresh water and a shady place to rest.

Withstands the cold:

With its double coat, the American Akita is very well protected against cold and bad weather.

Tendency to grow:
As with many dogs who only have a moderate need to spend, care should be taken with their diet to avoid overweight.

Common illnesses:

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Sebaceous adenitis (destruction of sebaceous glands)
  3. VKH (Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada) - Harada disease
  4. Skin problems
  5. Epilepsy
  6. Hypothyroidism
  7. Progressive retinal atrophy

Grooming and maintenance

The maintenance of this dog is tedious only because of its abundant loss of hair during periods of moulting. Apart from these periods (which are still very restrictive), at least weekly brushing is necessary, taking care to inspect the entire body of the dog, which, due to its size, is sometimes very long.

Their ears and eyes should be monitored and cleaned regularly. It is also important to inspect his skin which can quickly suffer from problems.

Baths should not be systematic and should only be given when the dog is very dirty, a few a year are enough. This frequency is of course accelerating for the subjects of exposure.

Hair loss:

It is important to be aware of the great shedding of the Akita. Shedding sometimes lasts for months and very thorough maintenance is necessary to remove all dead hair (daily brushing, pulser, etc.). An impression of “endlessness” often sets in.


The price of an American Akita varies according to its origins, age and gender. It is necessary to count on average 1600€ for a dog registered with the LOF. The highest lines can be sold for up to more than 2100€.

Concerning the monthly budget, it will be necessary to plan approximately 70€/month to meet its needs (quality food and classic annual care included).

Average life expectancy: about 10 years
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