The Akita was bred as a versatile hunting dog in Japan and, over the years, has assumed a place of honor in the hearts of the Japanese people. When a child is born, the parents are often given a small statue of an Akita as a symbol of happiness, health, and longevity.
The Akita stands 24 to 28 inches tall and weighs between 65 and 115 pounds, with females smaller than males. The head is broad, with a deep muzzle, upright ears, and small, dark eyes. The body is longer than the dog is tall at the shoulder, the chest is deep, and the tail is large, full, and carried over the back with a curl. The coat is double, with the undercoat soft and dense. The outer coat is straight and stands out from the body. Colors include white, pinto, or brindle. During most of the year, the Akita can be brushed twice a week. During spring and fall when shedding is heaviest, daily brushing is needed.
Akitas do not have a doggy odor and are catlike in their ability to help keep themselves clean. Akitas are not an overly active breed. A couple of long walks each day plus a quick jog alongside a bicycle will satisfy the needs of most. Puppies can be bouncy, silly, and like to play games, but adult Akitas can be quite serious. Akitas have strong guardian instincts. To grow up confident and well-adjusted, they must meet a variety of people early in life.
Training is also important; the Akita is a powerful dog who could take advantage of his owner. Training should be firm, yet fair and fun. Akitas can be a difficult dog for a first-time dog owner. Loyal and devoted to a fault, they can also be stubborn and dominant. Although good with children who respect them, they are intolerant of teasing. They are not always good with visiting children or rough kid’s play; it may be misinterpreted as something harmful. As hunters, they are not good with small pets. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia, knee and eye problems, and cancer.