Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for an intelligent, working guard dog, learn everything you need to know about the Akita.
Breed at a glance
Originating in Japan, the Akita was used as an adaptable hunting dog. Given to families with new babies, the Akita represents health, longevity and happiness. Famously brought the U.S. in the 1930s by Helen Keller and servicemen, the Akita is now used not only as a domestic companion and guard dog, but also in police and military work, fighting, hunting and pulling sleds. With a strong instinct to guard, it is not suited well for young children or other animals unless supervised.
- AKC group: Working Group
- UKC group: Northern Breed Group
- Average lifespan: 10 – 13 years
- Average size: 75 – 125 pounds
- Coat appearance: Triple coat, coarse, short-haired, somewhat stiff and wool-like
- Coloration: White, pinto, brindle with black mask
- Hypoallergenic: No
- Other identifiers: Round and full head, muzzle and cheeks; dark lips and eyes that look to be circled with eyeliner; black nose; broad chest; cat-like feet and fluffy; strong tail that curls over onto back
- Possible alterations: Long coat, nude/pink or speckled nose
Is this breed right for you?
Because the Akita is known to be aggressive, it requires training during its puppy years. Needing a confident owner, the breed is not recommended for young children and other animals; however, it can adjust to family life if necessary but should always be supervised. Relatively inactive indoors, this breed does alright in an apartment if regularly exercised, although it would be much happier with its own yard to roam in. The Akita should not be allowed to think of itself as the pack leader as this may cause behavioral problems, including food obsessiveness. Shedding heavily twice a year, the Akita does need regular grooming.
A dream day-in-the-life
The Akita loves its family, so regardless of what it is doing, it will be happiest if constantly surrounded by those it loves the most. The Akita also does best with routine and substance, so you will want to keep its walk and feeding schedule on point. Keep it in check with training commandments, and always show it that you care through verbal kudos and pat downs. Leave it outdoors and give the Akita the idea that it has the job to watch over the home.