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Country/Date of Origin: Japan/1600s

Named for a town on the northern Japanese island of Honshu, the Akita was a sporting dog of the noble houses. Each Shogun kept a kennel of the big dogs to hunt deer, bear and boar. It was forbidden to speak to the dogs or about them except in a special language called "dog words". Great examples of the Akita were jealously guarded, and it was not until after World War II that any appreciable number left their homeland. They were accepted for registration in the American Kennel Club in 1973.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Akita Inu

AKC Group: Working

Breed Club: The Akita Club of America

Rescue Club: Akita Rescue Information

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Body Type:

  • A powerful looking dog with a distinctive, bear-like expression
  • Height: 24-28 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 75-110 pounds
  • The tail is set high and curls forward over the back. It is never altered
  • The ears are erect and are not altered
  • Bones are very thick and strong


  • A strong willed, instinctual and dominant breed not for first-time dog owners
  • Bred for hunting large game, the Akita can be unreliable around small animals, cats and other dogs (especially of the same sex)
  • Suitable for well-behaved, respectful children if raised with them (Strict adult supervision is always recommended when children and dogs interact)
  • Naturally protective and defensive of resources, family and property; therefore early obedience training is imperative; owners must educate themselves in fair, kind, consistent leadership roles in order to produce a lasting bond with their Akita


  • Thick, double coat of short to medium length lies close to the body
  • In Japan the all white Akita is revered
  • In the United States and Britain parti-colors and brindles are not only allowed, they are preferred; these coat varieties are not permissible at FCI sponsored shows, which are governed by the standard accepted by the dog's native Japan
  • Moderate grooming
  • Not an excessive shedder

Health Concerns:

  • Subject to hip dysplasia
  • Possible congenital eye defects
  • Subject to hypothyroidism
  • Allergic skin disease
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • The Akita was officially declared a national treasure in Japan in 1931
  • The first Akita in the United States was a gift to Helen Keller from the Japanese people; he was named Kamikaze but she always referred to him as "her angel in fur"
  • In 1995 the already popular breed gained even more attention for its part in the Nicole Brown Simpson murder case

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