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Lulu the Akita is lying down in the garden on a spring day


4 May 2023

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 26 May 2023

Let’s talk about… Akitas

  • Akitas originate from Japan and Odate, Japan even has an Akita museum! They are now popular throughout the world.
  • Akitas were originally a symbol of wealth and prestige (only nobility were allowed to own one) and later as a symbol of good luck (small Akita statues were given at the birth of a baby or when someone was sick).
  • With impressive strength, Akitas were originally used for hunting and to herd fish into nets for fishermen, and now, their dignified disposition makes them exceptionally loyal to their owners.
  • Large in size, with a curled tail, Akitas can be up to 64cm for females and 70cm for males in height to their shoulder.
  • The females can weigh up to 29kg,  and the males quite a bit bigger, at up to 39kg.
  • The average lifespan of an Akita is up to 11 years.
Akita stats: exercise 4/5, grooming 3/5, trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Akitas like?

  • Akitas are friendly and intelligent dogs, who can be quite obedient if trained well. Sometimes their independence can make them want to do their own thing.
  • A lot of Akitas don’t like other dogs, and can only tolerate cats if they’ve known them since they were puppies. Early socialisation with dogs can sometimes help them to get on better with dogs.
  • They generally like children, as long as the children give them their own space.  This can be difficult to explain to smaller children, so they are better with older kids. Their physical size can also be a challenge for smaller kids, who can be easily knocked over by an excited Akita.
  • When it comes to strangers they tend to take a little while to be comfortable with them.
  • They can be good watchdogs and they can bark a bit, but are not known as loud dogs.

Ava, the Akita
Ava, the Akita

What kind of exercise do Akitas need?

  • Akitas have high stamina and enjoy long and engaging walks or runs, and should be given at least two hours of exercise a day.
  • A large, secure garden is ideal for an Akita to play around in, and some of them love to swim.
  • Akitas have strong hunting instincts, so be very sure when you let them off lead they are in an enclosed space, or they may go on their own adventure without you!
  • When it is warm be very cautious with exercise as they have a very thick, warm coat. Although they can get used to warm climates, a short, sudden increase in temperature (as often happens in the British summer!) can make them uncomfortable.
  • As they are smart they can enjoy activities that can engage their brain too - including new walks and fun activities at home !

Do Akitas need a lot of grooming?

  • Their fur can have four colours: red, sesame, brindle or white.
  • Akitas shed a lot, so ideally should be brushed a couple of times a week at least, but more often in hotter times of year when they shed more.
  • During nesting time, as long as it’s not too windy, putting your Akita’s spare fluff in the garden can be really appreciated by local birds making their nests.
  • Visiting a professional groomer 3-4 times a year can help you manage your Akita’s coat.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal.  If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Zeus, the Akita
Zeus, the Akita

Are Akitas easy to train?

  • Akitas are not the easiest dogs to train, so are best suited to an experienced dog owner who understands the breed.
  • They respond well to positive praise and need to be trained by a confident owner, who is consistent with commands.
  • They can get bored though, so be sure not to just keep repeating the same exercise.

What do Akitas eat?

  • Akitas should be fed a good quality dog food twice a day.
  • As a puppy they should be on a high quality, large breed, puppy food. Avoid adding supplements, as most complete foods are full of everything your dog needs, and adding extras can make your dog grow too fast and lead to health problems.
  • Be sure not to run around, play or take them in the car straight after eating.
  • Akitas are prone to weight gain, so do be careful with what they eat. Often people can think it’s just their coat that makes them look big, but get your hands on them to make sure you can still feel their ribs without counting them, and that they have a nice neat waist. If you are worried about your dog’s weight, contact your vet.
  • As with any dog, make sure treats only make up 10% of their diet. A nice low fat treat like carrots is a great crunchy munch for an Akita.

Ursu, the Akita
Ursu, the Akita

Are Akitas healthy?

Akitas are usually quite healthy dogs, but like any breed, they are more likely to pick up some conditions more than other breeds. Here are some examples:

  • Bones and Joints -
    • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint
    • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Eyes -
    • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye
    • Ectropion - with this condition the eyelid rolls out, which can expose the eye to dryness
    • Glaucoma - the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy - over time the back of the eye becomes damaged which can reduce your dog’s vision, eventually leading to blindness
  • Gastrointestinal -
    • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!
  • Hormonal -
    • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone
  • Skin -
    • Sebaceous Adenitis - an uncommon auto-immune condition, where the skin glands become inflamed and irritated.

Always make sure to have your dog insured, so you don’t get caught out with any unexpected vet bills.

Our vet top tip for Akitas

Akitas can be very loving dogs, but they are big, strong and can be quite independent. So it’s important to be strongly committed to them and any training regime, and have experience with them before getting your own

BorrowMyDoggy loves Akitas

BorrowMyDoggy has 1082 Akita members.

Here's what they have to say about the Akita breed:

Hito needs a lot of exercise and attention - I typically give him at least 3 hours a day. He is strong, but with confident guidance he will comply and be as docile as you like.

- Grant, owner Hito

Three words that best describe Koji are; Soft, Loyal and Friendly. He is quite dominant, but loves people both big and small. Koji can be quite aloof with strangers, but once he knows you he is affectionate and very pleased to see you.

- Natalie, Owner of Koji

“Kobah knows the command sit and come, however, sometimes is quiet stubborn and doesn't like to listen, especially when distracted in the parks so you have to be firm with him and not give into those big puppy eyes!”

- Khadeeja, Owner of Kobah

Lisa, Owner of Kitt, says: 

Kitt is a big loveable dog - often described as a teddy bear.

Anette, Owner of Daisy, says: 

Daisy’s favourite pastimes are licking, playing games, licking some more and having lots of walks and cuddles.

Most popular Akita names on BorrowMyDoggy

The most popular name for an Akita on BorrowMyDoggy is Bear.

The top 10 Akita names are:

  1. Bear
  2. Luna
  3. Zeus
  4. Bruno
  5. Hachi
  6. Lola
  7. Bella
  8. Akira
  9. Storm
  10. Ghost

Find more in our top 100 Akita names list!

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

Want to borrow an Akita in your area? Register now for free to discover Akitas near you!

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