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Getting To Know You - Akita Inu

Posted by Christina Potter on

The Akita Inu is named after the area in Japan from which it hails, the Akita prefecture, plus the Japanese word for “dog”, “Inu”. Akitas belong to a class of dogs known as the “spitz” group. Spitz are a type of dog characterized by thick fur and, pointy ears and muzzles. Many spitz breeds retain wolf-like characteristics. The exact origins of spitz breeds are not known, but most of the ones we see today originated from Siberia in the Arctic region. Spitz have been developed to help people by hunting, herding and/or pulling a sled. The larger spitz breeds, such as the Akita, are used for big game hunting.

Akitas are courageous, dignified, fearless and intimidating. They are fiercely loyal guardians of their family and are eager to please them. They are territorial and reserved with strangers, almost feline in nature. In general, they are not good with other dogs and are intolerant of dogs of the same sex. While they are stubborn and independent, with proper guidance and training, they can be obedient companions. Without the proper training and guidance, the Akita can become aggressive with other animals. First-time dog owners may want to think again about getting an Akita, as training this breed may be more of a challenge than they bargained for. Their willful nature interferes with training, and they will not do well with an owner who is unwilling to take charge. That said, Akitas do not respond well to harsh training methods either. You may also want to think twice about getting an Akita if you have small children at home. A mistreated Akita can become a liability and may even put human lives in danger.

The average lifespan of an Akita is 10 to 12 years. Like any breed, they are prone to certain health problems and conditions. Among these are hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, various immune diseases, bloat, von Willebrand’s disease, and vestibular syndrome. Furthermore, they are known to be overly sensitive to medications, which may be due to a defect in their liver. The Akita’s liver is unable to remove excess toxins from their bodies, and this can overwhelm the system and, sadly, may cause the dog to die.

The Akita is a large, powerful breed. They range in height from 26-28” for males and 24-26” in females. The males weigh between 100-130 pounds, while the females weigh 70-100 pounds. They have thick, double coats that come in many colors; black, black brindle, blue brindle, brown, brown brindle, brindle, fawn, fawn brindle, pinto, red, red brindle, silver, silver brindle, and white. They can be a combination of these colors with different markings. Their weatherproof coats are low maintenance but do require regular combing to rid it of dead hair. Grooming this breed isn’t difficult, but you will need to invest in a good vacuum before adding an Akita to your family. 

If you enjoy Christina's writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and "Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.