American Akita Breed Info And Characteristics

The American Akita or Great Japanese Dog is a powerful Spitz type hound originating from Japan, not the USA as its widely accepted name suggests. This is actually quite a young breed that was developed from Akita Inu dogs after the World War II. At that time, Japan was under occupation of the USA and US servicemen were regularly sent on tour in that land. Some of those soldiers fell in love with these noble Japanese dogs and had brought them back home in America. Of course, they were more impressed with larger and stronger dogs with good guarding abilities, which is the reason this Akita is a bit larger and heavier than the Japanese version. So, the Japanese Akita and this American Akita are in fact the same dogs with only a few differences, which I’ll go through later in the text. That is why both of these breeds are by the FCI included in the Asian Spitz And Related Breeds group in the class of primitive dogs.

About American Akita Dogs

The American Akita is an impressive dog with intimidating, bear-like look and aloof, willful personality. This is, in the first place, an excellent watchdog as well as a powerful guarddog. Actually, all Akitas have been used for watching and guarding for centuries and have been always known as the most loyal protectors with a brave spirit. Well, that is not surprising at all since these dogs are very protective, strong, fearless, territorial, and suspicious towards strangers. The Great Japanese Dog will warn his owner with a loud bark whenever somebody comes near its property and not only that! He won’t hesitate to confront a stranger and in some cases even bite, especially, if feels threatened. It is the reason American Akita is actually considered a dangerous breed in some countries. So, it would be wise to meet your dog with your guests or, at least, to put a proper warning on your front door.

The Great Japanese Dog is large and powerful, perfectly adapted for guarding

Strong and powerful!

Main American Akita characteristics are independence, strength, boldness, loyalty, endurance, agility, alertness, intelligence, stubbornness, calmness, and dignity. This is not a very active breed, but still daily exercise is required. This way you’ll prevent your Akita becoming bored, which can often lead to some behavioral issues. So, at least, take your dog for a short walk or hike whenever you can. Casual games around your yard are also welcome. Speaking of the yard, this dog does require some space for his daily routines, but won’t “object” if you keep him indoors too. He thrives being in the company of his human family and will equally cherish calm and gentle moments as well as all kinds of activities. However, if you wish to buy an American Akita, it would be best to keep it yours only pet. You see, this is a very possessive and proud dog, who will jealously keep everything for himself – food, toys, etc. It is understandable that such behavior can certainly lead to some trouble with other pets.

The American Akita lifespan is approximately from 12 up to 15 years. This is a fairly healthy breed, but considering its small gene pool in the USA, it is prone to various genetic and other types of diseases, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, pseudohyperkalemia, etc. Now, this might sound scary, but with a proper care and adequate feeding (always mix high-quality dry foods with fresh foods) everything will be just fine. Great Japanese Dog definitely requires a lot of attention in every way, but he’ll certainly reward your efforts. This is a very clean dog, who enjoys taking care of himself. On top of that, American Akita has no doggy odour, it is usually calm and cuddly with its human family, and is easy to housebreak. So, if you wish, you can safely keep your dog indoors. Just imagine having a huge cat by your side – that’s exactly the way this dog behaves while indoors :)

As A Family Dog….

The American Akita is generally a nice family companion, but there are things you should take notice of. This dog is equally affectionate and loyal to all members of the household, but his primary owner is literally a God to him. He is usually aloof and calm, but will gladly join you in daily activities. If you for some reason ignore your Akita, he will take your hand in his mouth and lead you to whatever he wants to show you. Lovely :) When it comes to kids, things are usually nice, but there can be difficulties. You see, American Akita can be a wonderful playmate for every child as long as it is treated nicely. However, we all know how kids can sometimes overreact and do some annoying things. Well, this dog won’t tolerate that – in such cases he can even bite the child. So, in order to prevent such things, it would be best to teach your children to adequately treat your dog, and even then, it would be best that you supervise them while playing together.

Temperament With Other Pets And Training

Unlike Japanese Akita, American can have black or self-colored mask

Ok, now you know I’m not Japanese :)

The American Akita is often calm and quite, but that doesn’t mean it won’t bark. On the contrary, it can be as loud as every other dog, but it’s not prone to excessive barking. Besides, this dog can literally mutter using various sorts of grunting and mumbling vocalizations, which can be quite funny and amusing :) However, things are not so bright when it comes to other dogs and pets. The Akita is after all a heavy and powerful dog full of dignity, who won’t hesitate to confront anything. This behavior is not surprising at all since Akita dogs have been, after all, used for hunting and fighting in some places. He usually tends to be very dominant with other dogs, which can lead to aggressive behavior, especially, with dogs of the same sex. Also, American Akita should be kept away from small pets like cats since it has a strong prey drive, and will gladly chase and kill them. So, it is mandatory to socialize and train your dog in obedience as soon as you bring him home.

The American Akita demands a firm and very dominant leader, who is able to submit this extremely proud dog. Otherwise, your Akita will try to take over control, which is something you want to avoid. It is the reason this breed is not recommended for the novice owners. The best way to train a Great Japanese Dog is through the use of positive reinforcement techniques. Any use of force or bullying is absolutely unacceptable. This way only your Akita will respect and obey you. You should be very patient, persistent, and consistent with the training since this dog is definitely not easy to train. Although highly intelligent and able to easily learn every command, the Akita is very hard to get invested into training and be focused for a longer period of time. Also, it is important to know that American Akita must be trained by its owner only! The reason for that is that this dog usually creates a strong bond with its owner and thus won’t tolerate any other trainer.

Physical Characteristics Of A Great Japanese Dog

The American Akita is a sturdy, large and heavy dog of great strength. I mean, just look at those measures below, this dog can easily be included in the group of giant dog breeds. It has a huge, compact and muscular body covered with lush and short double coat. The underlaying hair of its coat is dense and fine, while the overlaying guarding hair is straight, harsh and hard. The hair is slightly longer on the lower neck, stomach and hindquarters, but the only noticeably longer hair can be found on the tail. The Great Japanese Dog is relatively easy to groom. Usually, you will have to brush your dog once or twice a week. However, these dogs are heavy shedders, who shed two or three times per year. So, in the shedding periods, it is recommended that you brush your dog at least once a day. American Akita comes in many colors – black, brindle, pinto, white, fawn, and red, which can vary in shades, combinations and markings. Unlike Japanese Akita, this American version can have black or self-colored mask.

The American Akita has a broad, large head, quite reminiscent of a bear. The slightly tapering muzzle with the black nose and strong jaws is deep and broad. This dog has erect triangular ears in line with the neck, which are relatively small in comparison with the head. It is recommended that you clean them every week. Its rather small, triangular eyes are dark brown and deeply set. The medium-length neck is very muscular and thick. The Great Japanese Dog‘s chest is wide and deep with well sprung ribs, giving him that intimidating powerful edge. The large and stout tail is often carried curled over the straight and strong back. The front legs are straight, firm and well-boned. The hind legs are very muscular, strong and robust. Both pairs of legs can have dewclaws, but only those at the hind legs should be removed. The cat-like feet with hard pads are well-furred and knuckled up. The toenails should be trimmed every month.

American Akita Dog Size And Weight

– Height between 26 and 28 inches (66–71 cm)
– Weight between 90 and 130 pounds (41-59 kg)
– Height between 24 and 26 inches (61-66 cm)
– Weight between 70,5 and 110 pounds (32-50 kg)

Intimidating look and bear-like head are some of the main characteristics of the American Akita

Do you think I look like a bear? ;)

Useful Working Dog

The American Akitas have always been classified as good working dogs. Yes, they’ve been primarily used for watching and guarding, which is understandable considering their size, courage, strength, and protective nature, but that’s certainly not everything these dogs are capable of. If we take into account that this version of the Akita was developed from the original Japanese Akita Inu (for that matter, they are almost identical dogs), we must examine the history of the entire strain of Akita dogs for clues. Akitas were primarily developed for hunting and fighting. As hunting dogs, they have been primarily used for big game hunting, such as bear, wild boar, deer, etc. Although their fighting days are mostly a thing of the past, Akita dogs still possess these fierce attributes, which after all, make them excellent guard and army dogs. Also, they’ve even been sporadically used as sled dogs too. On top of that, they proved their worth as wonderful therapy dogs and reliable rescue dogs.

Successful Dog Sports Competitor

Although American Akita‘s attributes give the impression that this is not a good sporting dog; that is actually not the case. Yeah, Akita might be a bit slow and calm, but its incredible strength, high intelligence, courage, loyalty, and dignity are the reasons enough this dog is often participating in various dog sporting competitions. Now, you’ve probably guessed that this dog is not best suited for flyball or dog racing, but there are many other disciplines in which the Akita is quite successful, such as dog obedience trials, conformation shows, weight pulling, tracking, agility trials, protection dog competitions, etc. Of course, you will have to train your dog rigorously for some of these, but with the right approach, it won’t be a problem. And, there you go, here are the most important things you should know about this breed. The American Akita is certainly a wonderful dog, who can do marvels in the right hands. So, if you’re an experienced owner looking for a lovely companion, this is your perfect choice!

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6 thoughts on “American Akita Breed Info And Characteristics

  1. Robert Fellman

    American Akitas are without any doubt first and foremost truly an excellent guard dog. A 130 LBS male is truly a force to be reckoned with and capable of crushing large bones into splinters such that wooden fences may not hold an Akita if the Akita wants to get to out of a yard. These dogs hunt like cats and will belly crawl when stalking prey. It may look like they are preparing to play but this is hunting behavior. They are very intelligent and domineering personalities, but they are most happy when they are with their owners on a walk or playing. When socialized at 8 weeks, these dogs make terrific family dogs that can be paired as a male and female in a household but almost never as a same sex pair unless you want to build a separation barrier. They are very playful and affectionate but also incredibly fierce when they sense a threat or intruder. No training is needed to elicit the guard dog behavior which differs from dog to dog in intensity. However, no average intruder is going to mess with a 130 LBS Akita that is agile and powerful and capable of taking down any person in an instant with a single bone crushing bite. The bite strength on these dogs is phenomenal as mine routinely crush beef ribs into splinters in seconds and I have seen them chew threw oak 2x4s in minutes. Definitely only a fool would trifle with a full grown Akita and these dogs therefore rightfully have a fearsome reputation as any poorly socialized Akita with a bad attitude would certainly make a lasting impression on anyone unfortunate enough to trespass on its territory.

  2. Natalia-Gaabrielle Hinton

    I didnt think the akita was that new a breed? Wasnt it helen keller that took the first akita to the USA? i think you will find the breed is quite old. I have 2 akita and all the research and people i know wouldnt agree with some of the above.

    • Aaron Mulhall

      Helen Keller brought her first “Japanese Akita” to America in 1937, but it died at 8 months. She didn’t get another one till 1939. It was the sole Akita in America at the time. As WW2 was from 1939 to 1945, it prevented other people from getting the breed. It was soldiers returning from the war who started to bring the breed back which lead to cross breeding resulting in the larger “American Akita”. The breed only became recognised around 1952, which would mean it could be considered a new breed. Thanks for the Helen Keller fact, I didn’t know that :)

  3. Don Thomasino

    I have no idea why anyone would want to own such an aggressive animal. I’ve always owned great dogs who are playful and friendly to everyone and other dogs. They are loved family members. These Akita dogs are lawsuits waiting to happen. I would not let one around my kids. Yes they make great guard dogs but if you are a man why do you need a dog to guard you unless you’re some punk drug dealer? Cowboy up! Be a man and protect your family yourself! Robert Feller seems to think an Akita can take down anyone that trifles with it. Not so. My sister had a male Akita and although it knew me, it bit me one day for no reason as I was coming through the door. It hurt like hell and I bled but that Akita now runs and hides in a bedroom when I visit because I repeatedly kicked the shit out of that dog and damn near gouged its eyes out. Men are the ultimate alpha predator in the animal kingdom as the Akita found out the hard way.

    • Duane Barnhouse

      first lets answer your man up statement, you are sound a sleep dose not matter what type of dog that dog first line defense till you get your sense gather to deal with the intruder. akitas are not lawsuits waiting to my first akita when he was 2 years old 130lbs at the i had male german shepherd 5yrs old the worst they did to each other was run each other dry of pee going around and round making over each others spot.your sisters akita might back down from you being a regular but i had a neighbor over step his bonds and he was not ready for yazo i stop yazo by command neighbor had a break down floor jack bar. neighbor said every time i hit with bar yazo attacked harder.

  4. Ana Day

    My Akita passed away 12 years ago, but here I am reading about him. It makes me happy to be reminded of all his qualities.


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