Animal Spotlights:- Akita

happy akita

Breed Overview

Akitas are an ancient and powerful dog breed originating from Japan. They were initially bred as hunting dogs, used to track and hunt large game such as wild boar, deer, and even bears. In the modern era, Akitas have become well-loved companions and family pets, known for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective instincts. This breed is large, muscular, and has a distinctive bear-like appearance, with a thick double coat that protects them from harsh weather conditions. Akitas come in a variety of colours, including red, white, brindle, and sesame. While they may appear imposing, Akitas are known to be affectionate and gentle with their families, making them excellent companions for those who understand their unique characteristics and needs.

Average Sizes and Life Expectancy Of The Breed

Akitas are a large and powerful breed with a commanding presence. To help you better understand their size and life expectancy, we have provided a summary in the table below:

AttributeMeasurement
Height61-71 cm (24-28 in)
Weight32-59 kg (70-130 lbs)
Life Expectancy10-12 years

Please note that the measurements provided in the table above are general guidelines, and individual Akitas may vary slightly in height, weight, and life expectancy.

Breed Traits and Characteristics

Akitas have a unique set of traits and characteristics that contribute to their overall temperament and suitability for different types of families and lifestyles. In the following tables, we have provided detailed information about their family life, physical traits, socialness, and dog personality.

Family Life

Trait / CharacteristicDescription
Level of AffectionHigh
Good with ChildrenYes, with proper socialisation
Good with Other DogsCan be challenging; early socialisation is key
Suitable for Novice OwnersNot ideal; best for experienced dog owners

Akitas are known for their loyalty and strong bond with their families. They can be good with children and other dogs when properly socialised from an early age. However, due to their strong-willed nature and potential for dominance, Akitas may not be the best choice for novice dog owners.

Physical Traits

Trait / CharacteristicDescription
Coat TypeThick, double coat
Shedding LevelHigh
Drooling LevelLow
Coat Grooming RequirementsRegular brushing required
Coat LengthMedium
General HealthGood, with some breed-specific concerns
Potential to Gain WeightModerate; proper diet and exercise are crucial
Exercise NeedsModerate

Akitas have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming and sheds heavily, especially during seasonal changes. They have a low drooling level and are generally healthy, although they may be prone to certain breed-specific health issues. Akitas need a balanced diet and regular exercise to maintain their health and prevent weight gain.

Socialness

Trait / CharacteristicDescription
PlayfulnessModerate
Attitude Towards StrangersReserved and cautious
Protective NatureHigh
AdaptabilityModerate, but may struggle in smaller living spaces
Ability to Leave AloneLimited; prone to separation anxiety

Akitas are moderately playful and have a reserved attitude towards strangers. They are highly protective of their families and can be adaptable to various living situations, although they may not be suitable for small living spaces. Akitas may develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods.

Dog Personality

Trait / CharacteristicDescription
TrainabilityModerate; requires consistent and firm training
BarkingLow, but may bark to alert or protect
Energy LevelsModerate
Mental Stimulation NeedsHigh
IntelligenceHigh

Akitas are intelligent dogs that require consistent and firm training. They are not prone to excessive barking, but they will bark to alert their owners of potential threats or when protecting their families. Akitas have moderate energy levels and require high levels of mental stimulation to keep them engaged and well-behaved.

Akita in water

Pros & Cons

When considering an Akita as a potential companion, it’s essential to weigh the breed’s pros and cons. This will help you determine whether an Akita is a suitable fit for your lifestyle and family. In the table below, we have highlighted some of the key advantages and disadvantages associated with this remarkable breed:

ProsCons
Loyal and protectiveMay not be suitable for novice owners
IntelligentRequires early socialisation with children and other dogs
Low barking tendencyHigh shedding; regular grooming needed
Good watchdogCan be stubborn and independent
Adaptable to different climatesPotential for separation anxiety

Akitas are loyal, protective, and intelligent dogs, making them excellent companions for the right individuals and families. However, they may not be the best choice for everyone due to their strong-willed nature and specific care requirements. Carefully consider the pros and cons outlined in the table to ensure that an Akita is the right choice for you.

Nicknames

Akitas are known by several nicknames that reflect their distinct appearance, temperament, and history. Some of the most popular nicknames for this breed are:

  1. Akita Inu – Inu means “dog” in Japanese, and this nickname refers to the breed’s Japanese origins.
  2. Japanese Akita – This name differentiates the breed from the American Akita, which has some differences in appearance and temperament.
  3. Snow Country Dog – This nickname is derived from the Akita’s thick double coat and their ability to withstand cold weather conditions, particularly in their region of origin in Japan.

These nicknames capture the unique characteristics of Akitas and celebrate their rich history and cultural significance.

General Temperament

Akitas possess a unique and well-balanced temperament that endears them to those who understand and appreciate their traits. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective nature, making them excellent companions and guardians for their families. While they may appear stoic and imposing, Akitas can be quite affectionate and gentle towards their loved ones.

These dogs can be reserved and cautious around strangers, which is an important characteristic to consider when socialising your Akita. Early socialisation and consistent, firm training are crucial to ensure a well-rounded and well-mannered dog. Akitas can be independent and strong-willed at times, which may pose a challenge for novice dog owners. However, with the right approach and understanding, Akitas can be loving and rewarding companions with a temperament that sets them apart from other breeds.

Bark

Akitas are generally known for their low barking tendency, which makes them suitable for those who prefer a quieter dog breed. However, it is important to note that Akitas are also exceptional watchdogs, and they may bark to alert their owners to potential threats or when protecting their families. Their bark is deep and powerful, reflecting their strong and commanding presence.

While Akitas are not excessive barkers, they will make their presence known when they deem it necessary. Providing your Akita with proper training and socialisation from an early age can help ensure that their barking is controlled and purposeful, rather than disruptive or excessive.

Colours & Markings

Akitas boast a diverse range of colours and markings that contribute to their distinct and striking appearance. Some of the most common colours and markings found in this breed are:

  1. Red: A rich, warm hue ranging from light to deep shades, often accompanied by white markings on the chest, legs, and face.
  2. White: A pure, solid white coat, which can sometimes have a hint of cream or biscuit tones.
  3. Brindle: A combination of colours in a striped or marbled pattern, which can include shades of black, brown, and red.
  4. Sesame: A blend of black and red hairs, giving the coat a unique and textured appearance.

Akitas typically have a white “Urajiro” marking, which is a lighter shading found on the cheeks, underside of the jaw, neck, chest, and stomach, as well as the inside of the legs and tail. These lighter markings contrast beautifully with the darker colours of their coat, adding to the breed’s overall allure and charm.

Breeding Advice

Breeding Akitas requires a thorough understanding of the breed’s specific needs, as well as a commitment to responsible breeding practices. If you are considering breeding Akitas, here are some essential pieces of advice:

  1. Research and education: Before you begin, it’s crucial to learn about the breed’s history, temperament, and health concerns. This knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions and work towards producing healthy, well-adjusted puppies.
  2. Health testing: Ensure that both the sire and dam have been tested for common breed-specific health issues such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and thyroid disorders. By only breeding from healthy dogs, you can help reduce the prevalence of these conditions within the breed.
  3. Responsible breeding practices: Aim to breed Akitas that adhere to the breed standard and possess sound temperament and health. Avoid overbreeding and ensure that you have a clear plan in place for finding responsible, loving homes for the puppies.
  4. Socialisation and early training: From a young age, expose the puppies to various environments, people, and other animals to help them develop into well-rounded and confident adults. Start basic obedience training early, as this will set the foundation for their future learning and behaviour.
  5. Seek support and guidance: Connect with experienced Akita breeders and enthusiasts to gain valuable insights and advice on best breeding practices. These individuals can be a wealth of knowledge and support throughout your breeding journey.

Breeding Akitas is a significant responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Ensure that you have the necessary knowledge, resources, and dedication to contribute positively to the breed and produce healthy, well-adjusted puppies.

Akita Puppy

Care Advice

Proper care is essential for maintaining the health and happiness of your Akita. In this section, we will provide recommendations for diet, exercise, and discuss common illnesses that may affect this breed.

Diet Recommendations

  1. High-quality, age-appropriate dog food: Choose a balanced and nutritionally complete dog food that meets the specific needs of your Akita based on their age, size, and activity level.
  2. Monitor calorie intake: Ensure that your Akita receives the appropriate number of calories per day to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity.
  3. Limit treats: While treats can be helpful for training, avoid overfeeding them to prevent weight gain and ensure proper nutrition.
  4. Fresh water: Always provide clean, fresh water for your Akita to stay hydrated.

Exercise Recommendations

  1. Daily walks: Akitas require regular walks to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of walking per day, depending on your dog’s age and energy levels.
  2. Mental stimulation: Engage your Akita in activities that challenge their intelligence, such as puzzle toys, obedience training, and scent games.
  3. Playtime: Encourage play sessions with toys, fetch, and other interactive games to help burn energy and strengthen your bond.
  4. Socialisation: Expose your Akita to various environments, people, and other animals to promote well-rounded development and positive interactions.

Common Illnesses

Illness / DiseaseDescription
Hip DysplasiaA genetic condition causing abnormal hip joint development, leading to arthritis and pain
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)A degenerative eye condition that may lead to blindness
HypothyroidismAn underactive thyroid gland, which can cause weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues
Sebaceous AdenitisAn inflammatory skin condition affecting the hair follicles and sebaceous glands
Bloat (Gastric Torsion)A life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself

By following the recommended care guidelines and monitoring your Akita’s health closely, you can help ensure they enjoy a long, happy, and healthy life. Regular veterinary check-ups and early detection of any health concerns are essential for maintaining your dog’s overall well-being.

Akita stood on a roof

What To Expect When Caring For An Akita

Akitas are a unique and rewarding breed, but they require consistent care and attention to ensure they remain happy and healthy. In this section, we will outline key aspects of caring for an Akita, including health, grooming, exercise, training, and nutrition.

Grooming

Akitas have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean, healthy, and free from matting. Brush your Akita’s coat at least once a week using a slicker brush or an undercoat rake to remove loose hair and prevent tangles. During shedding seasons, daily brushing may be necessary to manage the increased shedding. Bathe your Akita as needed, but avoid excessive bathing to preserve the coat’s natural oils. In addition to coat care, maintain a regular grooming routine that includes nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care to keep your Akita in top condition.

Exercise

Akitas are a moderately active breed that requires daily exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, including walks, playtime, and mentally stimulating activities. Providing a variety of activities will help keep your Akita engaged and prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviours. Keep in mind that Akitas can be prone to joint issues, so monitor their exercise intensity and avoid activities that put excessive strain on their joints.

Training

Training is essential for Akitas due to their strong-willed and independent nature. Begin training and socialisation as early as possible to establish good manners and a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Akitas respond best to positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, praise, and play. Consistency and patience are crucial, as Akitas can be stubborn and require a firm, but fair, approach to training. Enrolling in obedience classes or working with a professional dog trainer can be beneficial for both you and your Akita.

Nutrition

Proper nutrition is vital for maintaining your Akita’s overall health and well-being. Feed a high-quality, age-appropriate dog food that meets their specific dietary needs based on their size, age, and activity level. Monitor your Akita’s calorie intake to prevent obesity and adjust their food portions as needed. Limit treats to avoid overfeeding and ensure a balanced diet. Always provide clean, fresh water to keep your Akita well-hydrated.

By following these guidelines and understanding the unique needs of your Akita, you can create a nurturing environment that promotes their health, happiness, and longevity.

How To Buy / Adopt

When looking to buy or adopt an Akita, it’s important to find a reputable source to ensure the health and well-being of the dog. Here are some reliable websites where you can find Akitas for sale or adoption in the UK:

  1. Pets4Homes: A popular platform where breeders and private sellers list their dogs for sale or adoption. You can find Akitas here: https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/sale/puppies/akita/
  2. Forever Puppy: A website that connects potential dog owners with reputable breeders across the UK. You can find Akitas for sale here: https://www.foreverpuppy.co.uk/find-your-dog/akita/for-sale
  3. Puppies.co.uk: Another platform where breeders and private sellers can list their puppies for sale, including Akitas: https://www.puppies.co.uk/sale/akita

When searching for an Akita, always research the breeder or seller to ensure they are reputable and follow responsible breeding practices. Ask for health test results for the parents and inquire about the puppy’s socialisation and upbringing. If possible, visit the breeder’s premises to meet the puppy and its parents in person. If you prefer to adopt an Akita from a rescue organisation, check your local area for Akita-specific or general dog rescue groups that may have Akitas in need of loving homes.

Origin and History

The Akita breed has a long and storied history, dating back hundreds of years. Akitas originated in Japan, specifically in the mountainous regions of the Akita Prefecture, which is where they derive their name. They are considered one of the oldest native dog breeds in Japan, and their lineage can be traced back over 3,000 years.

Akitas were originally bred for hunting large game, such as wild boar, deer, and even bears. Their strength, agility, and endurance made them the perfect companions for these challenging hunts. Over time, Akitas were also employed as guard dogs, protecting homes and property due to their loyalty, courage, and natural protective instincts.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Akitas faced near-extinction as a result of crossbreeding with other breeds to create larger, more powerful fighting dogs. However, a dedicated group of Akita enthusiasts worked diligently to preserve the breed by implementing strict breeding programs that focused on preserving the original Akita bloodlines.

One of the most famous Akitas in history is Hachiko, a loyal dog who gained worldwide recognition for his unwavering devotion to his owner. Hachiko would wait at the Shibuya train station in Tokyo every day for his owner to return from work, a routine he continued for nine years after his owner’s death. Hachiko’s story has become synonymous with the Akita breed, showcasing their incredible loyalty and dedication to their families.

The Akita breed was introduced to the United States in the 1930s by Helen Keller, who received an Akita as a gift during her visit to Japan. The breed gained popularity in the US and Europe, leading to the establishment of breed clubs and a growing appreciation for this unique and noble breed. Today, Akitas are cherished as loyal and protective family pets, while also excelling in various dog sports and working roles.

Brown and White Akita

Akita Groups / Clubs / Breed Organisations

For those who own or are interested in Akitas, there are various groups, clubs, and breed organisations that offer support, resources, and a community of fellow Akita enthusiasts. One such organisation in the UK is the Akita Rescue & Welfare Trust.

Akita Rescue & Welfare Trust: This UK-based organisation is dedicated to the rescue, welfare, and rehoming of Akitas. They provide assistance to Akitas in need, as well as support for current and prospective Akita owners. They offer advice on various aspects of Akita ownership, including care, training, and health. To learn more about the Akita Rescue & Welfare Trust, visit their website at https://akitarescue.org.uk/

In addition to rescue organisations, you can find local Akita breed clubs and social groups in your area to connect with other Akita owners, share experiences, and participate in breed-specific events. These groups can be an excellent resource for information and support, helping you make the most of your journey with your Akita.

Conclusion

Akitas are a fascinating breed with a rich history and unique characteristics. With their loyal and protective nature, intelligence, and athleticism, Akitas make excellent companions for those who understand their specific needs and are willing to provide them with the care and attention they require. From their distinctive appearance to their unwavering loyalty, Akitas are a breed that leaves a lasting impression on all those who have the privilege of knowing them. By following the care guidelines, connecting with breed organisations and local groups, and providing your Akita with love and attention, you can create a fulfilling and rewarding life for both you and your furry friend.

FAQ’s

Are Akitas Aggressive?

Akitas can be protective and territorial, which can be misconstrued as aggression if not properly trained and socialised. With the right training and socialisation, Akitas can be loving and loyal companions.

Is An Akita a Good Family Dog?

Akitas can make great family pets for those who understand their specific needs and are willing to provide them with the care and attention they require. However, due to their size and strong-willed nature, they may not be suitable for families with young children or inexperienced dog owners.

Do Akitas Bark a Lot?

Akitas can be vocal and may bark to alert their owners of potential threats or strangers. Proper training and socialisation can help mitigate excessive barking.

How Much Do Akitas Cost?

The cost of an Akita can vary depending on various factors such as breeder reputation, lineage, and location. On average, Akitas can cost anywhere from £700 to £1500.

Are Akitas Dangerous?

As with any breed, Akitas have the potential to be dangerous if not properly trained and socialised. They have a strong protective instinct, which can lead to aggression towards strangers or other dogs if not properly managed.

Are Akitas Banned In The UK?

Akitas are not currently banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act. However, they are considered a breed that requires careful management due to their size and strong-willed nature.

How Long Does An Akita Live?

The average lifespan of an Akita is around 10-13 years, although some may live longer with proper care and attention.

Are Akitas Good With Kids?

Akitas can be great with children if properly trained and socialised. However, due to their size and strength, they may not be suitable for families with young children.

Do Akitas Shed?

Yes, Akitas have a thick double coat that sheds seasonally. Regular grooming can help manage shedding and keep their coat healthy and shiny.

Are Akita Dogs Friendly?

Akitas can be friendly with their families and those they trust, but they may be reserved or aloof with strangers. Proper socialisation and training can help Akitas become more friendly and accepting of strangers.

Are Akita Dogs Good Pets?

Akitas can make great pets for those who understand their specific needs and are willing to provide them with the care and attention they require. They are loyal, protective, and intelligent companions.

Are Akitas Affectionate?

Akitas can be affectionate with their families and those they trust, but they may not be as outgoing with strangers. They have a strong bond with their owners and can be very loyal and loving.

Are Akitas Aggressive?

Akitas can be protective and territorial, which can be misconstrued as aggression if not properly trained and socialised. With the right training and socialisation, Akitas can be loving and loyal companions.

Are Akitas Easy To Train?

Akitas can be challenging to train due to their strong-willed and independent nature. They require consistent, patient, and positive training methods to be successful.

Are Akitas Expensive?

The cost of an Akita can vary depending on various factors such as breeder reputation, lineage, and location. On average, Akitas can cost anywhere from £700 to £1500.

Are Akitas Good For First Time Owners?

Due to their strong-willed and independent nature, Akitas may not be the best choice for first-time dog owners. They require experienced and confident handlers who can provide consistent training and socialisation.

Are Akitas Good Guard Dogs?

Akitas have a strong protective instinct and can make excellent guard dogs. They are loyal, courageous, and will defend their families if necessary.

Are Akitas Good With Cats?

Akitas may not be the best choice for households with cats or other small animals. They have a strong prey drive and may view smaller animals as potential prey.

Are Akitas Good With Other Dogs?

Akitas can be selective with other dogs and may not get along with unfamiliar dogs, especially those of the same sex. Proper socialisation and training can help them get along better with other dogs.

Are Akitas High Energy?

Akitas are not considered high-energy dogs, but they do require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.

Are Akitas Hypoallergenic?

No, Akitas are not hypoallergenic. They have a thick double coat that sheds seasonally, which can trigger allergies in some people.

Are Akitas Intelligent?

Akitas are considered intelligent dogs and can excel in various activities, including obedience, agility, and tracking. However, they may not always be eager to please their owners and may require patience and persistence in training.

Are Akitas Loyal?

Yes, Akitas are known for their loyalty and dedication to their families. They form strong bonds with their owners and can be fiercely protective of them.

Are Akitas On The Dangerous Dogs List?

Akitas are not currently on the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act list, but they are considered a breed that requires careful management due to their size and strong-willed nature.

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