Akita Inu or Japanese Akita is a large and intelligent breed dog originating in Japan. These dogs were originally used as guarding and hunting dogs. These alert and intelligent dogs require a good deal of attention and physical exercise. They are generally not recommended for first time dog owners.
Nowadays, Akita Inu dog is being used as therapy dog, police dog, sled dog, companion dog and so on. They are often trained professionally to serve as wonderful companion dogs for sight and hearing impaired people. These silent hunters do not bark much.
The Akita Inu dog breed has been classified into two types as the original Japanese Akita and the American Akita. Certain Kennel Clubs consider them as different breeds and certain consider them as different types of the same Akita Inu breed.
The difference between the two lies in the fact that American Akitas tend to have a black mask whereas the Japanese Akitas do not have a black mask. The height and weight of both types of Akita Inu dogs may also vary.
Akita Inu dog breed is characterized by a strong and powerful build. They have small and triangular dark brown colored eyes. The small and erect ears are also triangular in shape and carried forward. The broad nose is black in color. The plush tail consisting of straight and coarse hair tends to curl up over the back.
Color: These dogs are generally red, brindle, fawn, sesame or white in color. As already mentioned, American Akita dogs are characterized by a black mask.
Height: American Akita dogs are usually 26 to 28 inches in height. The average height of the bitches is generally 24 to 26 inches. On the other hand, the average height of Japanese Akita is usually 24 to 26 inches.
Weight: Both varieties of dogs are usually 75 to 120 pounds in weight. Similarly, the ideal healthy weight of female Akita Inus also ranges between 75 to 110 pounds.
Being a large breed of dog, Akita Inu dog breed is quite prone to joint problems, particularly Hip Dysplasia. Other common health problems in Akita Inu dogs are Hypothyroidism, Bloating, Autoimmune Diseases (like Pemphigus, Lupus, Vitiligo, Sebaceous Adenitis etc) eye problems, skin problems and other related health issues. These dogs are unusually sensitive to general anesthesia owing to the small size of the heart.
Life Expectancy: The average life Expectancy of Akita Inu dogs is 10 to 12 years.
Litter Size: The litter size of Akita Inu ranges between 3-12 puppies. The average litter size is usually 7 or 8 puppies.
The short and thick double coat of an Akita Inu requires weekly brushing and combing, preferably with the help of a stiff bristled brush. The outer coat is generally coarse and waterproof in texture whereas the undercoat is soft and dense.
These dogs should be bathed only when necessary so as to retain the natural waterproofing texture of the coat. Akita Inu breed dogs shed the hair coat heavily two times in a year.
Certain Akita Inu dogs can also be long haired. As this long haired coat lacks the natural waterproofing quality of a typical Akita Inu hair coat, it is usually not advised to breed for such type of hair coat intentionally.
Akita Inu breed dogs are usually calm, gentle, affectionate, playful, alert, intelligent, courageous and at times aggressive in temperament. These aggressive and dominant dogs are often difficult to subdue.
Moreover, they tend to engage themselves in destructive activities like chewing and digging when bored. Therefore, proper training and early socialization are necessary to keep these dogs disciplined. They are naturally reserved and suspicious of strangers.
Thus, the alert, attentive and highly devoted Akita Inu dogs make for excellent guard dogs. They are usually good with children unless teased unnecessarily. However, they can not be trusted around small animals because of their strong hunting instincts and naturally aggressive temperament.
The large sized Akita Inu dogs are comparatively easy to housetrain. Plus, they are well suited for apartment situation, provided they receive sufficient mental as well as physical stimulation.
These dogs have been found to be quite inactive indoors and hence require securely fenced large sized yard for play and physical exercise. These lovely dogs are extremely loving and loyal but may exhibit erratic stubborn streaks of behavior.