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The Japanese Akita



Japanese Akita dog
The following countries and kennels consider the Japanese Akita dog to be its own separate breed, distinct from the American Akita:

  • •    The FCI - A huge worldwide organization with over 80 member countries
  • •    The New Zealand Kennel Club – Established in 1886
  • •    The KC - The oldest recognized kennel club in the world, headquartered in London
  •         The ANKC - Australian National Kennel Council - founded in 1949 (had formally seen the 2 as variations and just recently decreed both to be of their own distinct breed).

The following countries and kennels consider the Japanese Akita to be a variation of the Akita breed and not its own separate breed.

•    The AKC – The largest, most recognizable kennel club in the United States
•    The CKC _ Canadian Kennel Club – founded in 1888,

No matter where you are in the world, the Japanese Akita will have its own distinct appearance and behavioral traits.

Smaller in size, he is often referred to as fox like, as opposed to his counterpart that is described as looking like a bear.  The coat will be a double layer of fur, that has a heavy shed 2 times per year, with the cycle lasting approximately 3 weeks.  

Longcoats
(with fur about 1 inch longer) will be randomly produced in litters, the gene responsible for this is present in all Japanese Akita dogs and a long coat can be the offspring of any 2 short coat types. It is a recessive gene that will appear without warning and there is no method of predicting when it will pop up.

Acceptable Colors are:

•    Red
•    White
•    Brindle

There will be no brindling (striping) and no black masks.

The red or brindle must have Urajiro markings.  This will be white markings on the cheeks, face,  under the belly, under the tail and on the interior of the legs. 

Body Structure and Size

In comparison to the American type, they are not as large or heavy bonded.  While still a large dog, they have a sleek appearance.  The head proportion is close to 50/50 ratio between muzzle and top skull.

The FCI standard calls out

•    For males to be:  21.2 to 27.5 inches (64 to 70 cm) in height, measured from floor to withers
•    For females to be 22.8 to 25.2 inches (58 to 64 cm).  

The JKC (Japanese Kennel Club) standard calls out:

•    For males to be: 26 inches  (67 cm)
•    For females to be: Females: 24 inches (60.6cm)

And any Akita up to 3 inches shorter or taller were within range.

Behavior/ Traits

The Japanese Akita Inu is very similar in behavior and characteristic behavior as his American counterpart.  There are slight differences…

The traits that are steadfast and expected to be instilled in his nature are:

Positives:

•    Affectionate
•    Loyal
•    Intelligent
•    Protective

Negatives:

•    Aggression - Usually toward strangers, but it can be directed toward welcomed visitors if training is not done at an early age
•    Possible intolerance toward children (especially those outside of the home)
 
•    Possible extreme intolerance toward other dogs (this starts during later puppy stages) . Males will begin to fight with other males…Females, once entering her first heat, she will not want to be near other females.  Sometimes, a male and female will get along, particularly if raised together since birth.

What to Expect

Japanese Akita Inu puppyThese are independent thinkers that have a deep instinct to take charge and will attempt to be in control of the home if the owner does not step in and show that they are the leader.

They make excellent guard dogs, although their first function is as human companions.  The Japanese Akita is a bit easier going and relaxed in comparison to the American type.  Although, he takes his duty of protecting his family seriously… He usually only bark when there is a threat.  At all other times, instead of barking, he will tend to make vocalizations that can be described as mumbles and light groans…It is done in a friendly way.

They are very smart dogs, but have their own unique needs in regard to training: in regard to learning commands they do best when taught in short sessions.  For best results an owner will want to create a schedule of 3 to 4 short 10 to 15 minutes sessions each day.

While many use the word independent to describe this dog, this should not be mistaken for a need to be on their own. They thrive on the bonding and love that comes with caring owners. They like to stay close.  Many are quiet and a person may not realize just how happy their dog is to lie down on the floor, knowing that his humans are nearby.  Many times, when the owner moves to a different room in the house, the Akita will quietly follow along, essentially shadowing his owner.

They like to mouth things, which should never be mistaken for biting.  They simply like to gently mouth objects, your shirt sleeve, etc.  It’s an endearing trait.  

When he senses a possible threat, he can become anxious, until he figures out if it is real…Or until the owner lets him know.  In the stage of being unsure, he may pace or circle around a person.  He may growl as a warning.

Behavior with children is controversial and does vary from dog to dog. Some are very protective of them and are as harmless as a kitten.  However, in general, it is accepted that the Akita will be intolerant of youngsters, especially if they are outsiders whom he is not accustomed do. Whether it is their size, the noise that they make or the feeling of intrusion…or a combination of all of these elements, one should always supervise this dog when he is in the company of a child.

Although very muscular looking, the Japanese Akita only requires standard exercise. A brisk walk lasting 20 to 30 minutes once or twice per day will keep him happy and healthy.  Activity in hot, sunny weather should be avoided for extended periods.

Providing proper nutrition is a must.  The main difference between the Japanese Akita and other purebreds is that he does best when fed a mix of dry kibble and fresh food prepared at home…And then given a day to fast once a week. The fasting day is actually one of lighter eating (mostly fruit) that allows the digestive system to rest and be cleansed.



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