Akita Breed Guide
Health Issues Associated with this Breed:
Akita History & Background
Originating from northern Japan, the Akita served as the protector for noble royalty in back ancient times. This breed was praised for their incredible hunting skills, excelling at big game such as boars and bears.
Surprisingly, Helen Keller was actually the first person to bring the Akita breed to the United States in 1947. The Japanese government gifted Keller with an Akita after doing a Japanese tour throughout their country.
The Akita has a muscular built, fit for work and harsher terrain. Their thick coat is intended to repel water and snow, making them a tough and powerful breed. These extremely loyal dogs provide an unbreakable companionship that is ideal for experienced pet owners.
Akita Personality & Behavior
Their fiercely obedient disposition makes them a great protector and companion. Contrary to their harsh appearance, their personality is loving and playful. Akita’s can be distrusting of strangers and should be trained early on to become more social. Early exposure and training to other dogs and humans can really benefit an Akita when it comes to their social interactions. Because of their independent nature, Akita’s will try and fight to be the alpha-male. This can start conflicts with other dogs, especially when they are of the same sex.
Are Akitas Hard to Train?
For first-time pet owners, Akita’s may not be the best option. In the beginning, they can be difficult to train. They require patience, attention, and persistence in order to mold them into obedient, well-mannered pets. Once the training process is over. However, these dogs are extremely obedient and protective. Akita’s are fast learners but need firm and persistent attention when being trained.
Exercise Recommendations for Akitas
Unlike most medium-sized dogs, the Akita does not need hours of daily exercise. They enjoy their daily walks and occasional runs, however, their activity level is still relatively moderate. Along with physical exercise, make sure they are getting plenty of mental stimulation as well. Change up the exercises to prevent them from getting bored.
More important than anything, these dogs thrive on human companionship. They need a lot of interaction and attention from their owners and fellow family members.
Lifespan of the Akita
Unlike many larger dog breeds, the Akita has a relatively long lifespan of 10-12 years.
Are Akitas a Popular Breed?
The American Kennel Club ranks Akita’s the 46th most popular breed in the United States. Common in the states and overseas, this breed is a favorite for their loyal and loving personality.
Feeding Requirements for Akitas
Akita’s should be fed two times a day. The actual amount of food depends on weight, age, and activity level, however many pet owners find that 2-3 cups per feeding time is sufficient. Talk with your veterinarian to learn their specific recommendations. Each pet is different, so finding their ideal schedule is necessary for optimal health.
Akita Grooming Suggestions
This breed is unique because of it’s thick double coat. Unfortunately, their beautiful fur has a downfall. Twice a year the Akita sheds their undercoat quite heavily. To lessen their shedding, it is recommended to brush their coat twice a day. It is also recommended to have their nails trimmed and ears checked regularly.
Are Akitas Good With Kids?
Akita’s are fine with kids if they have been raised with them. In some cases, Akita’s will become protective over family members and may turn defensive towards other children that they are unfamiliar with.
This breed is used to protecting their masters, which can make them over protective in certain situations. It is recommended to keep a close eye on any new interactions, and if it seems like the dog is becoming mistrusting, separate them from the situation.
Akita Health Issues
- Bloat: Also known as gastric dilation-volvulus, is a life-threatening condition that occurs most commonly in deep-chested dog breeds. GDV happens when gasses are trapped in the stomach, which twists and cuts off passageways in the stomach lining. If it goes untreated for too long, further complications and even death may occur. A recent health survey found that this dangerous condition was reported in 12% of Akitas.
- Hip dysplasia: This genetic trait causes abnormalities within the hip socket which can cause lameness, pain, or even arthritis. Hip dysplasia is common for larger dogs and is reported in roughly 13% of Akitas.
- Patella Luxation: Normally seen in smaller breeds, Patella Luxation is a dislocation of the knee that causes discomfort or loss of function. In more recent years, more and more Akitas have been diagnosed with Patella Luxation, however, it still only affects about 2%.
- Allergies: Caused by environmental factors, allergies affects roughly 10% of Akitas. Common symptoms include itching, red spots, and an overall irritation of the skin. While it may be an annoyance to your pet, allergies can easily be treated with veterinarian help.
- Hypothyroidism: This issue occurs when there is an imbalance of thyroid hormones. Once diagnosed, this problem can be solved through synthetic hormones which will regulate the thyroid.
- Uveodermatologic (VKH-like) syndrome: This autoimmune disease affects the eyes and skin and resembles the human disease, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome. Akitas are the most popular breed to be diagnosed with this uncommon illness. When an animal is diagnosed, their coat becomes discolored and their vision deteriorates.
- Pemphigus Foliaceus: Akitas are also at the highest risk for developing another autoimmune disease, pemphigus foliaceus. This disease causes hair loss, skin crusting on the face, and paw pad swelling or cracking. Even with steroid treatment, the disease can lead to death in severe cases.
- Von Willebrand’s disease: This disease is the most common blood clotting disorder in all dogs. Von Willebrand’s disease can cause extreme bleeding, even from a minor injury.
- Other conditions that can occur at low rates include progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, entropion, sebaceous adenitis and elbow dysplasia.
National Breed Website: Akita Club of America
Rescues: Akita Rescue Society of America, Inc