The Akita dog is a truly remarkable creature! Native to the Far East, this Japanese dog holds the prestigious title of being a Japanese National Treasure.
That’s correct; in 1931 the government bestowed the Japanese Akita as a National Monument. You may have even heard of the famous Hachiko, an Akita in Japan who gained immense popularity for his unwavering loyalty. Hachiko demonstrated this loyalty by waiting for his owner for nine years.
Hachiko’s owner had passed away, but that didn’t deter Hachiko from waiting for the remainder of his life. Now, that’s true loyalty! And while Hachiko demonstrated an unbelievable devotion to his owner, this true story also emphasizes that owning an Akita puppy or considering the adoption of an Akita rescue dog comes with significant responsibility. Adopting an adult, Akita may be more challenging due to their lifelong bonding capabilities.
We would like to talk about the pros and cons of adopting an Akita dog. This will give you a better understanding of whether this dog breed is the right fit for you. So, without further ado, let’s delve into it!
Origin of the Akita Dog
As mentioned earlier, this particular breed originates from Japan, specifically from Akita Prefecture, a region located in Tohoku. However, things can get a bit complicated from here.
The Akita dog breed is divided into two distinct strains: the American Akita and the Japanese Akita. While some people may consider them the same, there are generally two schools of thought.
The people of the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club generally consider the American and Japanese Akita the same.
While the following kennel clubs will typically consider them two separate breeds:
- United Kennel Club,
- Federation Cynologique Internationale,
- The Kennel Club,
- The New Zealand Kennel Club,
- Japanese Kennel Club,
- Australian National Kennel Club.
These clubs will also view the Akita “black mask” appearance, which is very popular now and a “disqualifier” for competition.
What you decide to think about the possible two Akita dog breeds is up to you! Either way, we here at IndulgeYourPet feel that they are both fantastic household pets and a great addition to the proper household, so it doesn’t make much of a difference to us!
Basic Facts about an Akita Breed
Country of Origin: Japan
Original Purpose: Hunting, guard dog, and dog fighting
Height: 23 to 28 inches tall
Weight: 65-120 pounds
Dog Breed Classification: Working Group
Life Span: 10-15 years
Personality and Temperment
The Akita possesses several common personality traits: high intelligence, courage, and alertness. This breed is often sought after as a guard dog or hunting companion worldwide. Therefore, if you’re seeking a dog breed that can deter intruders and serve as a protector in your household, the Akita is an excellent choice.
However, let’s not limit the Akita to just one role. In addition to being exceptional guard dogs, they are incredibly loving and affectionate towards their loved ones. These qualities should also be used to describe their temperament.
At this point…
It’s important to note that the personality of a dog, especially an adult Akita, can be influenced by their age and circumstances when they come to live with you. An Akita from a rescue may exhibit different personality traits than one obtained directly from a litter of Akita puppies.
That’s why, if you choose an Akita and adopt an adult dog (which we highly encourage), you should join the Akita Club of America and collaborate with an Akita rescue center. This way, you can ensure that the Akita you adopt aligns with your desired personality traits.
Akita’s and Kids and other fur family members
Since we already mentioned that an Akita is a guard dog, you should also know it has a history of being bred to fight. You’ll often find that Akitas don’t do well with other pets, mainly if they weren’t raised as a puppy with these other family pets.
You’ll also want to be careful owning two Akitas of the same sex simply because this could invite problems later on. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet generally recommend that folks considering getting an Akita do so as a solo pet.
So… what about kids?
The Akita dog breed isn’t the first choice for a family. Don’t get us wrong, we love this dog breed a lot, but because they’re so “alert” all of the time, sudden movements and the high activity levels of children might not be a good idea for them.
Additionally, if you have kids and an Akita, be sure that your children understand the general nature of their pet and that they know not to bother their Akita when they are eating – that’s a must!
Characteristics of the Akita breed.
A few more characteristics of an Akita… well, they’re significant and must go outside a lot. This means that they usually aren’t the ideal pet for an apartment life. Additionally, because Akita’s were bred to be working dogs, it’s fair to say that this dog breed gets bored quickly and needs to be entertained with “jobs” or exercise.
We should also point out that Akita’s….
While most Akita’s may have a tan or red coat, they come in all colors. Their skin, however, won’t vary in that all will have a straight and rather rough coat. To keep an Akita’s coat healthy, it’s recommended you brush this breed daily or at least a few times a week. This won’t be necessary when they are a puppy.
Akitas are also somewhat unique because they have a double coat. Unfortunately, the top coat sheds once a year, so while your dog will have “two looks” a year (pretty stylish), it also means that they’ll shed quite a bit.
Potential Health Concerns
With every dog, you must wonder what health concerns they are predisposed to. Akitas have their own set of common potential health problems – and unfortunately, all those health concerns have a pretty hefty price tag.
What do you need to watch out for regarding the Akita? Here’s a look:
High Risk: Akitas are at increased risk for the following:
- Cruciate Ligament Injury – The cost for surgery to fix this is around $2000-4000.
- Entropion – This is an eyelid that rolls inward. It can cause blindness or lousy eyesight. If you fix this, it will cost anywhere from $500-2000.
- Skin Diseases:
- Akitas are prone to skin diseases, especially in warm or semi-warm climates. As mentioned, these are mountain dogs used in mountain climates. Here are the top skin disorders of Akitas:
- Pemphigus – This is a skin disorder that causes blistering. Since it’s ongoing, the treatment and monitoring will be too. It’s hard to say how much you’ll spend in a lifetime, but it could be thousands of dollars, depending on how often your dog gets outbreaks.
- Sebaceous Adenitis – This skin disease requires ongoing treatment and will be recurring. A one-time treatment will probably cost $100-500. But remember, this could happen again and again.
- Uveodermatologic Syndrome – This will manifest in eye problems, hair loss, and probably vitiligo (loss of skin pigmentation). Treatment will be thousands of dollars.
An adult Akita is also prone to hip dysplasia. This can cost thousands of dollars if surgery is necessary.
Now at this point…
You may be thinking to yourself…
“Wow, maybe I shouldn’t get an Akita!”
We have highlighted some important considerations regarding the Akita dog breed. However, before jumping to conclusions, it’s crucial to understand why we at IndulgeYourPet, write articles like this about various species.
Our goal is to provide you with an accurate understanding of what it entails to own an Akita, ensuring that you can decide whether an Akita is the right fit for you. Adopting an animal is a significant commitment that should not be taken lightly.
Additionally, we aim to…
Highlight potential health issues your Akita may develop, allowing you to discuss these conditions with the breeder or the Akita rescue center. This way, you won’t be caught off guard by any potential medical issues arising in one or two years.
Moreover, if you purchase an Akita as a puppy before any health conditions arise, obtaining a pet insurance policy can be an excellent way to avoid expensive medical bills later in your dog’s life. It can help prevent difficult decisions about incurring substantial debt or denying your dog necessary treatment.
At IndulgeYourPet, we advise new pet owners to take a moment to explore the cost of purchasing a pet insurance policy for their beloved companion. This way, if they ever fall ill or sustain an injury in the future, you won’t be solely responsible for covering 100% of the treatment costs.
For more information on who we “feel” currently offers some of the “best” pet insurance policies on the market, check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.