Animal stories: Akitas

Akitas are powerful, well-proportioned and distinctive looking dogs. They are the largest of all the Japanese breeds Their proud head carriage and stance is enhanced by their small ears and dark eyes. Their eyes are small, almond-shaped and dark brown in colour. The ears, again are small, thick and triangular carried forward over the eyes, firmly erect and slightly rounded at the tips. The tail is carried high and curled over the back. They have webbed, cat-like feet - which make them a fine swimmer. The double coat is composed of a harsh, waterproof outer coat insulated with a thick, soft undercoat.

Akitas are careful and very affectionate with their family. Being courageous and fearless, they are the first class guard dogs. They are extremely faithful and thrive on companionship. Akitas are very aggressive to other dogs and animals and should be supervised with other household pets and children. Although the breeds may tolerate and be good with children from their own family, they may not accept other children. Children must be taught to treat these dogs with kindness.

Average size

They can be 24-28 inches tall and weigh from 34-50kg.

Coat colour

Their coat colours are pure white, red, sesame and brindle. The colours should be without clear borders.


These dogs should never be hit or punished. They are bossy but intelligent breed and, therefore, needs to be controlled. They do react badly to harsh methods of training and need firm, loving discipline.

Food requirements

Akitas are not fussy eaters and do not eat a vast amount according to their size.


The live for about 10-12 years.

Pet grooming

Their coat should be kept well groomed to bring out the best in them. The coat should be brushed with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat.

Country of origin

Japan: Akita was originally bred in the province of Akita, Japan in the 1600’s. Some believe the dogs were originally bred for hunting such prey as wild boar, deer and black bear, others believe they were bred for pit fighting. However, when the Japanese (and European) dog-fighting sport lost favour, the dogs were then employed for hunting. In the late 19th century other breeds such as the German Shepherd Dog and the Pointer were imported, making the Japanese breeds suffer in popularity. The Society for Preservation of Japanese Dogs was then formed for the purpose of preserving the native breeds. This Society then declared that all native breeds were national monuments. After World War 1, Akitas were protected because they were becoming so scarce and The Akita Inu Hozankai Society of Japan was founded in 1927 to preserve the breed. In the 1930’s, the Akita was so rare that only the very wealthy could afford to buy one.

In Japan, small statues of the Akita are often sent to ill people to express a wish for their speedy recovery, and to parents of newborn children to symbolize health. The first Akita was brought to the USA by Helen Keller. American servicemen also brought Akitas to the US after World War II.