Japanese Akita dog breed

The Japanese Akita is a national monument in Japan, symbolizing health and well-being. This quite large dog breed was bred to be hunters and watchdogs, they were also companions to the samurai warriors back in the day. These days, the Japanese Akita is still used as a watchdog, although the samurai are long gone, they now serve as Japanese police dogs. Due to the strong devotion and protectiveness of their families, both the Japanese and the American Akita strains are popular family companions around the world. They are pretty stubborn and independent, so they can prove a challenge to train for inexperienced dog owners

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on tumblr
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram
Share on email
Japanese Akita
Breed height

M: 64 - 70 cm / 25 - 27 in
F: 58 - 64 cm / 23 - 25 in

Breed weight

M: 32 - 39 kg / 70 - 85 lbs
F: 23 - 29 kg / 50 - 64 lbs

Breed lifespan

Healthy dogs of this breed lives
average between 10 to 13 years

Breed group

Working: Mainly large tough dogs bred for strength and endurance

Breed size
Japanese Akitas are large dogs. Males can weigh up to 39 kg / 85 lbs and can be up to 70 cm / 27 in from the ground to the shoulders
Coat size
Japanese Akitas are medium-haired dogs. The breed has two thick coats that together protect the dog from heat, cold, and rain
Japanese Akitas shed a lot all year round. They blow their coat twice a year, during spring and fall, leaving behind a big mess
Japanese Akitas are hard to train due to their stubborn nature. They are probably not a good choice for inexperienced dog owners
Breed health
Japanese Akitas are generally healthy dogs, but they are prone to various common illnesses that affect large dog breeds
Japanese Akitas are not the most social of dog breeds. They can be wary of strangers and aggressive towards same-sex dogs
Japanese Akitas have a very high energy level. They require at least two hours of exercise every day, as well as mental stimulation
Japanese Akitas are not very vocal dogs. They are nicknamed Silent Hunter, but they can bark pretty loud to alert of any dangers

Japanese Akita general information

The Akita dog breed originates from the northern province Akita in Japan. They have a long rich history that dates back to the 1500s, originally bred to hunt boar, deer, and even bears. Up to the 1800s, they were also companions of the samurai warriors. As a result of being bred with Saint Bernards, Mastiffs, and German Shepherds, a new type of Akitas was formed in the early 1900s, the American Akita. This quite new breed is somewhat larger than the original Japanese Akita, with a bear-shaped head and more color variations and a typical black mask on their face. The Japanese Akitas have a fox-shaped head and are limited to only various shades of white and red. This was just a brief summary of the origin of the Akita breeds, if you want to dig deeper into the history of both strings, you can do so at this lengthy article at Wikipedia

Japanese Akita breed appearance

The Japanese Akita is a large dog breed that can weigh up to 39 kg / 85 lbs and have a height of 71 cm / 28 inches from the ground and up to the shoulders. They have a fox-shaped head with small pointy triangular ears they carry erect. The Japanese Akitas are limited to variations of only red and white, while the American Akita can come in any common dog color variations, as well as having a black facemask. They have leveled backs with a fluffy tail that is raised above the back, mostly curled up in the shape of a U-turn. Both the Japanese and American strains of the Akita have a medium-sized double coat that protects them from the elements, like heat, cold, rain, and wind. The length of their thick coat can be up to 5 centimeters / 2 inches long

Japanese Akita breed temperament

The Japanese Akita is a bold, stubborn, and independent dog breed that can be wary of strangers and even aggressive towards other dogs, mostly of the same sex. Towards their own family, they are utterly devoted and will stop at nothing to protect their family members. Properly trained, it will make a great family dog. As with all dog breeds, not just Japanese Akitas, socialization with humans and other dogs should start early to teach the dog how to behave when encountering strangers and other dogs. Signing up for a puppy class is the first step along the way to get a companion that reacts to the world around it in a healthy well-behaved way. Due to their strong hunting instincts, Akitas of either string should not be left unsupervised with smaller animals

Japanese Akita breed health

Japanese Akitas are generally considered a healthy breed, as long as they come from reputable breeders and not puppy mills and backyard breeders. It is always important to do proper research on the breeders and bloodlines before getting a puppy. The most concerning health issues that Japanese Akitas may suffer from are hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. As with all dog breeds, they are also prone to developing certain common diseases. This can include eye problems, skin allergies, orthopedic problems, and ear infections. Regular wellness checkups at the vet should be done at least once a year to track the dog’s development and catch any potential health issues early on, which improves the chances of successful treatment

Akita Shedding and grooming

Japanese Akitas are known for their heavy shedding. They shed all year round, with spring and autumn being the worst periods. Expect to find dog hair everywhere from your Akita. Frequent brushing will help reduce the amount of hair floating around the home, also preventing the coat from getting tangles and mats. Keeping the dog on meat-rich dog foods also helps reduce the shedding amount and prevents dry skin. Meat is digested and absorbed quickly, promoting better overall health in your furry little buddy. If your furry buddy is subject to excessive shedding, contact your local veterinarian and ask for guidance and hear with them if the dog should come in for a checkup

Japanese Akita barking level

Japanese Akitas are not very vocal dogs, but as they were bred to be guard dogs, among other things, they will bark if strangers are lurking around their home, and they bark loud. Common reasons for dogs barking are protection, alerting, being bored, fear, seeking attention, separation anxiety, or just saying hello. You can read more about barking at this guide from WebMD Pets: Understanding why dogs bark. All breeds can be trained to reduce barking, including Akitas, another thing that should be focused on learning from an early age. There are plenty of online resources where you can learn how to reduce barking, like YouTube, online courses, and websites you can find by Googling. You might also want to shop for books that address this issue too

Japanese Akita dog training

Japanese Akitas are not the easiest to train due to their strong independence and stubbornness. It is a dominant breed that might not be the best choice for inexperienced owners, but in the right hands, the Japanese Akita is an excellent companion for the whole family. As with all dog breeds, training should start at an early age and should be done in a distraction-free area after a walk when the dog has burned off energy. The first step on the long road is signing up for a puppy class, here you will learn the basics about dog care and training, most classes also have supervised playtime among the puppies for socialization. You can also watch dog training videos, attend online dog training courses, or maybe get yourself a good old fashioned training book

Breed exercise requirements

The Japanese and American Akitas are highly energetic dogs that require lots of daily exercise, both physically and mentally. They should have at least two hours of total exercise every single day to remain healthy and happy. As they are also very playful breeds, playing fetch is a great way for them to burn off energy, while also getting to play at the same time. Due to their high energy levels, Akitas are not suitable dogs for couch potatoes. They should be with owners who are active outdoors, doing activities like hiking, biking, running, or generally like to go on long walks. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise can become depressed, bored, and destructive towards furniture. As long as they get their daily exercise, they can adapt to living in apartments just fine

Caring for dogs

Grooming is not the only maintenance your dog requires throughout its life. Complete examinations at the vet should be done at least once a year for adult dogs. Puppies should come in every 3 or 4 weeks until they are around four months old. Contact your vet and they will set you up with schedules.
Trimming the claws should be done whenever they touch the ground when the dog is standing up, or make it a frequent routine to keep them short
Brushing the teeth should be done on a daily basis to prevent gum diseases. Chew bones and toys will also help strengthen your dog’s teeth and gums
Cleaning the ears to prevent ear infections is also another important part of the dog’s routine maintenance. You can have your vet show you how to do it

Socializing dogs

No matter what kind of dog breed you have, socializing it from an early age is the most important thing you can do in order to get a well-behaving buddy that reacts to the world around it in a healthy way. Until your puppy is around 16 weeks old, it should encounter different kinds of people, situations, and locations, learning that the world is a wonderful place to live. Puppies have a short developmental window in which their experiences will form their future selves. Puppies should however not be forced into situations they might feel uncomfortable with, as bad experiences may imprint and stay with the dog for the rest of the life. You can watch free videos from professional dog trainers on how to socialize your new puppy and learn how to do so the correct way

Japanese Akitas on Instagram

Here are some pictures of the Japanese Akita dog on Instagram. See even more pics of this breed by exploring #JapaneseAkita or using the Google Image Search

Video of the Akita dog breeds

Here is a video of both the Japanese and the American Akitas from Animal Watch on YouTube. See the dogs in action while learning more about both the breeds

Frequently asked questions

Japanese Akitas are good family dogs when properly trained, they are devoted and protective of their families. As with all dog breeds, they must be treated with respect by all family members. Playtime with young children should be supervised for the safety of both parties

There are no dogs that are hypoallergenic, some breeds can however cause fewer allergic reactions than other breeds. The proteins that dogs produce are what causes the allergic reactions. These proteins are found in the hair, saliva, dander, and urine. Some individuals may have an irritant response to the actual dog hair, the solution for that is getting a dog with a low level of shedding. You can continue reading about allergies and reactions at HealthLine

Japanese Akitas shed moderately during the winter and summer seasons. During spring and autumn, they shed heavily. Brushing the coat regularly will help reduce the amount of dog hair floating around your home

Yes. Japanese Akitas are intelligent dogs, but they are also stubborn and independent. Two traits that can make them hard to train for inexperienced dog owners

Japanese Akitas can adapt to apartment living if they get enough exercise, both physically and mentally. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise can become depressed, bored, and destructive towards furniture

Akitas can handle being alone fine in most cases, as long as they have access to food, water, and toys to keep them occupied. The longer you are away from the dog, the higher the chances of it getting separation anxiety

Japanese Akitas are wary of strangers and can be aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex. Towards their own families, they are devoted and protective. Socialization should start at an early age to learn the dog how to behave in a healthy well-mannered way

References and resources

You can absorb more knowledge about this dog breed from the resources below. Websites, books, and social media sites where you can ask dog owners questions

Latest dog breeds published



The Greyhound is the fastest dog breed in the world, they are large-sized dogs with a short coat that sheds moderately. These sprinters are also great family dogs that are calm and quiet while being indoors, relaxing on the couch

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

The small-sized breed Shih Tzu is a playful, loving, and affectionate little family dog that gets along with just about everyone. They can perfectly live fine in small apartments thanks to their small size and low exercise requirements


The Beagle is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. This affectionate dog is generally friendly towards strangers, other dogs, and other pets. Beagles are known to bark and are not the easiest dogs to train

Explore dog breeds by size

Explore dogs by coat size

Explore dog breeds by group