Group: Utility
Size: large
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Exercise: medium
Grooming: medium
Trainability: medium
Watchdog ability: very high
Protection ability: high
Area of Origin: Japan
Date of Origin: 1600’s
Other Names: American Akita
Original Function: large game hunting
This breed derives its name from a region in the north of Japan, known as the Prefecture of Akita. The Akita, dating back some 300 years, descends from the Spitz family of dogs. It was originally used as a hunting dog, tracking black bears, wild boar and deer. So admired were they, that only the Japanese royalty and nobility were permitted to own them. Later on, the Akita also served as a police and guard dog, and finally as highly-esteemed house pet and family protector. The breed's popularity increased in the United States after WWII when servicemen returning from Japan brought the Akitas home with them. These dogs and a few imports formed the basis for the breeding lines in America.
The Akita's character has several admired qualities: he is alert, courageous, and friendly with people, although occasionally aggressive with other dogs. Early obedience and wide socialisation is required to be assured that your dog will be well behaved with children and other dogs. A dog for the experienced.
The Akita appreciates mental and physical exercise every day. It needs the chance to run in a safe area or on leash for a long jog. Given ample exercise and training, it can be a quiet and well-mannered house dog. The Akita is able to live outdoors in temperate or cool climates, but it is happiest if it can spend most of its time with its family. The coat needs brushing about once a week to remove dead hair, more often when shedding.

Official Breed Standard

General Appearance:
Large, powerful, alert, with much substance and heavy bone. The broad head, forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, small eyes and erect ears carried forward in line with back of neck, is characteristic of the breed. The large, curled tail, balancing the broad head, is also characteristic of the breed.

Massive but in balance with body; free of wrinkle when at ease. Skull flat between ears and broad; jaws square and powerful with minimal dewlap. Head forms a blunt triangle when viewed from above. Fault - Narrow or snipy head.

Broad and full. Distance from nose to stop is to distance from stop to occiput as 2 is to 3.

Well defined, but not too abrupt. A shallow furrow extends well up forehead.

Broad and black. Liver permitted on white Akitas, but black always preferred. Serious Faults - Butterfly nose or total lack of pigmentation on nose.

The ears of the Akita are characteristic of the breed. They are strongly erect and small in relation to rest of head. If ear is folded forward for measuring length, tip will touch upper eye rim. Ears are triangular, slightly rounded at tip, wide at base, set wide on head but not too low, and carried slightly forward over eyes in line with back of neck. Serious Faults - Drop or broken ears.

Dark brown, small, deep-set and triangular in shape. Eye rims black and tight.

Lips and Tongue:
Lips black and not pendulous; tongue pink.

Strong with scissors bite preferred, but level bite acceptable. Serious Faults - Noticeably undershot or overshot.

Thick and muscular; comparatively short, widening gradually toward shoulders. A pronounced crest blends in with base of skull.

Longer than high, as 10 is to 9 in males; 11 to 9 in bitches. Chest wide and deep; depth of chest is one-half height of dog at shoulder. Ribs well sprung, brisket well developed. Level back with firmly-muscled loin and moderate tuck-up. Skin pliant but not loose. Serious Faults - Light bone, rangy body.

Large and full, set high and carried over back or against flank in a three-quarter, full, or double curl, always dipping to or below level of back. On a three-quarter curl, tip drops well down flank. Root large and strong. Tail bone reaches hock when let down. Hair coarse, straight and full, with no appearance of a plume. Serious Faults - Sickle or uncurled tail.

Shoulders strong and powerful with moderate layback. Forelegs heavy-boned and straight as viewed from front. Angle of pastern 15 degrees forward from vertical. Faults - Elbows in or out, loose shoulders.

Width, muscular development and bone comparable to forequarters. Upper thighs well developed. Stifle moderately bent and hocks well let down, turning neither in nor out.

On front legs generally not removed; dewclaws on hind legs generally removed.

Cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads. Feet straight ahead.

Double-coated. Undercoat thick, soft, dense and shorter than outer coat. Outer coat straight, harsh and standing somewhat off body. Hair on head, legs and ears short. Length of hair at withers and rump approximately two inches, which is slightly longer than on rest of body, except tail, where coat is longest and most profuse. Fault - Any indication of ruff or feathering.

Any color including white; brindle; or pinto. Colors are brilliant and clear and markings are well balanced, with or without mask or blaze. White Akitas have no mask. Pinto has a white background with large, evenly placed patches covering head and more than one-third of body. Undercoat may be a different color from outer coat.

Brisk and powerful with strides of moderate length. Back remains strong, firm and level. Rear legs move in line with front legs.

Males 26 to 28 inches at the withers; bitches 24 to 26 inches. Serious Faults - dogs under 25 inches; bitches under 23 inches.

Alert and responsive, dignified and courageous. Aggressive toward other dogs.

Serious Faults:
Butterfly nose or total lack of pigmentation on nose. Drop or broken ears. Noticeably undershot or overshot. Sickle or uncurled tail. Dogs under 25 inches; bitches under 23 inches.

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