The American Akita (formerly Great Japanese Dog ) is a large dog, solid constitution, well balanced, heavy frame. 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 has a hair provided, worn high or rolled on the back or flanks, or dangling under the back.
Physical characteristics of American Akita
Hair: straight, coarse, stiff and slightly raised, with thick undercoat, soft, dense and shorter than the outer coat.
Color: all colors are allowed, from red to fawn, to white, etc., including spotted or striped. Uniform white subjects have a mask. The spotted ones have a white base and evenly distributed patches that cover more than a third of the body. The undercoat may be of a different color than that of the coat hair.
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. From the 17th century, in the Akita region, Akita matagis (or bear hunting dogs) were used as fighting dogs. They were crossed from 1868 with Tosa and Mastiff, which increased their size at the expense of other characteristics specific to Spitz-type dogs.
Character and abilities
It is a dog friendly, attentive, dignified, docile and courageous. Today, the American Akita has become a companion and exhibition dog, with a good aptitude for the guard.
The American Akita is the dog of the whole family, it will not focus only on a member of the social group. He is one of the dogs who oppose with great distinction their adoptive family and the rest of the world.
He knows how to be tender, even glue-pot in some rare subjects, but still remains an independent dog, even distant according to the characters.
For example, in public, do not hope that this dog shows emotional demonstrations, he reserves them to his family in private, out of sight.
This dog can be a very good playmate, especially for older children but it will always be if he wants. We can never force or hurry this dog to cooperate, even if it is for a fun activity. It will often adapt to his moods.
Very calm, the American Akita likes to stay quiet and nap for long hours. However, he can start a quarter turn, especially if he feels a danger approaching. It is a dog that remains very alert and vigilant, despite his appearance of dog posed.
Even if it’s not a working dog, it does not mean he’s not a smart dog. On the contrary, he is cunning in evading the various commands of his masters that he does not consider them coherent.
Even if it is not used as a hunter at all, the American Akita has a strong predatory instinct. It will be difficult sometimes to let go in the forest for example or to prevent it from pursuing a 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 can not be removed, it can nevertheless be modeled and cut through a lot of educational work. But above all, it is important to consider the dog as he is and to respect his true nature.
Fearful / suspicious with 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 adulthood, he becomes more reserved, even indifferent.
He does not appreciate the strokes of strangers and will make him understand by dodging or moving away.
Denied of any form of aggression towards humans, he can however show explicitly his discontent if they insist in their contact.
The American Akita, so named by the Anglo Saxons, is a proud and independent dog who likes his peace and which can sometimes be very distant. However, this does not prevent him from being very close (in his own way) to his particular social group.
This dog is independent, proud and he appreciates more than anything his tranquility but he always keeps an eye on his family, he needs his presence to be serene. In fact, the long periods of loneliness did not cut him down at all.
A progressive and positive learning to loneliness will be put in place from the arrival of the American Akita puppy home to allow him to live more serenely the absences of his masters, which should in no case be extended.
Easy to educate / obedient:
This dog is not a dog said “work”, so it does not have the same learning abilities as a sheepdog for example. Sometimes stubborn (or rather very opportunistic) and absolutely not enjoying the constraints and obligations, it is important to take into account this aspect of his personality in the proposed educational methods.
As a teacher, perseverance, self-confidence, patience and consistency are needed to achieve the desired results. Being able to quickly get tired of the very repetitive side of a lesson, the educational sessions must be for the American Akita short, fun but regularly proposed.
In addition, if the relationship between this dog and his master is not optimal, it will not expect to get results. Mutual trust is necessary to achieve good cooperation.
Of course, brutal methods are to be avoided because they only hinder the relationship master / dog. The principles of positive education must be respected while being firm and consistent.
However, in the end, do not expect an American Akita to be an ace of obedience. If he perceives no 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, it is not very talkative and knows how to be discreet.
The subjects who are brought to barking are, often, the dogs who remain locked in their garden without ever leaving it.
As long as there is nothing that catches the Akita’s eye or nose outside his familiar territory, he has no reason to leave and escape from his family circle.
Indeed, often confused with the Husky who is very runaway, especially because he needs to run, the Akita prefers to take a nap at home.
However, if he lives in a garden, it is advisable to secure a maximum of his environment with a high and solid fence because a nothing can challenge this predator and arouse his attention.
Of a rather calm and posited nature, this Japanese dog can however be destructive if its needs are not sufficiently filled. Indeed, its relative laziness can sometimes push its owners to not answer correctly to its needs of expenditure which are nevertheless indeed present.
It is important to sometimes push your dog out and motivate him to go for a ride. Indeed, he will very rarely ask to go for a walk, but that does not mean he does not need it.
Gourmand / greedy:
This dog is more fine mouth (or rather fine mouth) that greedy. According to the individuals, it is sometimes difficult to content this dog but since the good food is found, it constitutes a very beautiful 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 dissuades anyone from approaching.
We must not rely on appearances, despite his appearance of a zen dog (and no doubt he really is), he can in a few seconds change his attitude if he feels that his masters are in danger.
The American Akita is a dog with a strong character who has primary instincts quite marked by its primitive side, so it is not intended for any type of master.
It is very important to take this dog as he is and not to want to rush or change his true nature.
A great knowledge of the breed, its characteristics, its qualities but also its “defects” must be integrated before considering an adoption.
He can live indifferently in or out. It easily withstands low temperatures.
American Akita in apartment:
Living in an apartment will suit this great Japanese dog only if he enjoys several daily walks and quality.
Do not need intense physical expenses, this dog can very well accommodate a city life even if a house with garden suits him just as much.
In any case, whether living in an apartment or house with a garden, this dog needs daily outdoor walks to spend physically, mentally, socially and above all in an olfactory way.
Need exercise / sports:
Often considered a sled dog, especially because of its possible resemblance to the Husky, this dog is not the most sporty of its category. Indeed, its morphology does not allow him to tow, on the one hand, or 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 proposing stimulating physical activities so as not to harm its growth.
These Japanese dogs particularly like quiet walks and hikes where they take the time to smell all the smells. They also enjoy wading or even swimming, the proximity of a body of water is a plus.
Finally, although there are Akitas more tonic than others, in general, they are quiet dogs who often prefer to sleep than go for a walk. Be careful, however, to offer them their quota of walks per day, at least two, and more if they live in apartment of course.
Travel / Easy transportation:
It is very simple to understand why the American Akita is not the easiest dog to carry. Its nearly 60 kg greatly affect its ability to evolve discreetly in any means of transport whatsoever.
The American Akita and the Cats:
The agreement with a cat is possible but requires that the subjects have grown together. A dog (with a strong predatory instinct) who has never been with a cat will tend to think of it as a prey if confronted for the first time in adulthood.
American Akita and other dogs :
This dog often seeks the confrontation with his congeners, in particular those of the same sex as him. In fact, cohabitation between two whole subjects of the same sex seems risky.
If a socialization is put in place, mainly before the 3 months of the American Akita puppy and that it continues regularly, in a controlled and always positive way, integrated canine codes will make it possible to soften congeneric encounters.
However, the Akita remains a dog who likes to have the upper hand over his fellow men and who often seeks to make his law. If the other dog, with whom he interacts, does not agree with that, a fight can then explode. Hence the importance of controlling encounters by choosing compatible characters.
American Akita and children:
Rather independent, this dog loves his peace. In fact, the restless presence of young children may not be suitable for this big dog, despite its teddy appearance.
It can be patient but will quickly reach its limits, especially if rules of life are not established or 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 respectfully communicate with their dog and read his signals of appeasement and alertness (licking of truffles, hair bristling, grunts, “smiles”, yawns, etc.).
The American Akita and the Elderly:
This dog is not intended for dynamic people and sports, in fact, the elderly can quite adopt an American Akita but must still invest time and energy, especially in the education and socialization of their dog.
Be careful though, 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 by its origins and morphology … But until he gets sick, which is unfortunately not rare.
As for all dogs, the heat is rarely very popular and requires, on the one hand, an arrangement of daily outings (early morning and late evening with the possibility of cooling in water) and other on the other hand, fresh water at will and a shady corner where to rest.
Supports the cold:
With its double coat, the American Akita is very well protected against cold and bad weather.
Tendency to grow:
As for many dogs who have only a moderate need for expenditure, one should pay attention to their diet to avoid being overweight.
- Hip dysplasia
- Sebaceous adenitis (destruction of the sebaceous glands)
- VKH (Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada) – Disease of Harada
- Skin problems
- Progressive retinal atrophy
Grooming and maintenance
The maintenance of this dog is tedious only because of its abundant loss of hair during periods of moult. Outside these periods (which are still very restrictive), brushing at least weekly is necessary taking care to inspect the entire body of the dog, which, by its size, is sometimes very long.
His ears and eyes should be monitored and cleaned regularly. It is also important to inspect your skin, which can quickly become a problem.
The baths should not be systematic and are to be given only when the dog is very dirty, some a year are enough. This frequency is accelerating, of course, for the subjects of exposure.
Loss of hair:
It is important to be aware of the great hair loss of the Akita. The moults sometimes last for months and a very thorough maintenance is necessary to eliminate all the dead hairs (daily brushing, kicker, etc.). An impression of “endless” is often installed.
The price of an American Akita varies according to its origins, age and sex. It takes on average 1600 € for a dog registered in the LOF. The highest bloodlines can be sold up to more than 2100 €.
Regarding the monthly budget, it will take about 70 € / month to provide for its needs (quality food and conventional annual care included).
Average life expectancy: about 10 years
Notes and tips
Until the 2000s, the Akita Inu and the American Akita were not considered as two distinct races and marriages were very often made between these two races quite different.