|Group classification: Working||Country of origin: Japan||Date of origin: Antiquity|
|Weight (M): 85 - 120 lb||Height (M): 25 - 28"||Life expectancy: 10 - 12 years|
|Weight (F): 65 - 90 lb||Height (F): 23 - 26"|
General Description of the Akita
Large, powerful and heavy of bone, the Akita is a classic working spitz. The head is large and smooth with powerful jaws and muzzle, and a distinct stop. Ears and eyes are small and triangular; ears stand erect, and eyes are dark, deep set and have an intelligent expression. The body is slightly longer than tall, well muscled throughout and designed for maximum efficiency in hunting game in deep snow. The tail is full and carried over the back. The feet are catlike. The dog’s soft, dense undercoat is protected by a straight, harsh outer coat that stands off the body. The coat can be any color including pinto, white or brindle, with markings clear and well balanced.
Though the Akita is unshakably devoted to her family and loved ones, she is also an independent and free minded soul. This means training can be trying at times, as the Akita will often try to establish dominance; once you demonstrate who is boss, however, the faithful Akita will fall into line immediately. The dog is protective of its family, and tends to befriend strangers and other dogs only reluctantly. Even with extensive training and socialization, do not expect this breed to greet people with the same easy friendship as a Labrador; a more realistic response to newcomers is initial suspicion and eventual acceptance. The Akita is marginally more accepting of other house pets, but again, the overwhelming majority of this dog’s affection is focused squarely on its family. The Akita is gentle and even motherly with children, and may be especially protective of them.
Caring for an Akita
With the proper physical and mental exercise every day, the Akita can be a calm and well mannered house pet. A long run or, even better, exciting game will keep the Akita happy and free from hyperactive behavior. The dog’s thick coat is fairly low maintenance, but should be brushed once or twice a week. Ears, eyes and feet should also be inspected regularly. The Akita enjoys cold weather and can live outdoors in fairly cool climates; hot weather is another story, however, and proper care should be taken to keep the dog cool and hydrated on hot days. Health concerns for the Akita include progressive retinal atrophy, canine hip dysplasia, osteosarcoma, hypothyroidism, lymphosarcoma, gastric torsion and pemphigus.