Description: The AKC breed standard says it all “large, powerful, alert, with much substance and heavy bone.” Easily recognizable traits are the large, curled tail, a strong, broad head with smallish eyes and small, triangular, erect ears. American Akitas come in a wide variety of colors and patterns with the most common being, white, brindle (grey, blue, red, fawn, etc), and pinto (white background with large, evenly placed patches of solid color or brindle). Many American Akitas have black masks.
Temperament: Akitas typically have a high prey-drive and are often same-sex aggressive. Proper socialization and obedience training is very important! Most Akita raised with other animals and/or children will be fine, but an adult Akita who has not been properly socialized with small animals (including dogs and children) shouldn’t be trust with kids or other pets until thoroughly tested. In general, American Akitas aren’t barkers, unless they have a good reason, but they are often talkers. It’s not unusual to hear an Akita “moo.”
Height & Weight: Males are generally 26-28 inches & females are usually 24-26 inches (at withers). Weight depends on animal – smaller Akita females may be around 60lbs, while larger males may weigh as much as 125 lbs.
Living Conditions:Akitas are not really known for their activity level (but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t working dog!). Many Akitas will be fine living in an apartment, with sufficient exercise. Most Akitas prefer a moderate level of activity, and prefer to have a secure yard to roam & play in.
Exercise: Akitas need a moderate amount of regular exercise to keep them fit and happy. Sufficient activity will help keep your Akita from getting into too much trouble when left alone (there’s no guarantee though!).
Life Expectancy: typically 10-12 years
Grooming: Akitas have a thick undercoat and need regular brushing. 2-3 times a year you can expect your Akita to “blow” its coat. During this time, expect massive amounts of undercoat to come off your dog. Daily brushing to get this undercoat out will make both you and your Akita more comfortable.
History: The American Akita is recognized as a separate breed except in the USA, Canada and Australia, where the Akita is considered one breed with two types (American & Japanese). The Akita was introduced to the United States in 1937, when Helen Keller was given a pup named Kamikaze-Go. Kamikaze-Go unfortunately died from distemper a short time later, and was replaced by the Japanese government with his brother, Kenzan-Go. Because of the National Monument status of the breed, it was a very rare gift. During WWII, the Akita breed was saved from extinction by a few dedicated people. The Akita population in the US grew after the war, when many US servicemen brought them home with them. US breeders tend to breed for mass and size, whereas Japanese breeders concentrated on returning the breed to the original type. Over the years, this difference in breeding created the two breeds we now have – the heavy-boned American Akita, and the more delicate Japanese Akita.
Group & Recognition:
AKC – Working Group
F.C.I. – Group 5 (Spitz & primitive types); Section 5 (Asian Spitz & related breeds)