20 Cool Facts You Didn’t Know About the American Akita

When it comes to beautiful dogs, the American Akita breed is considered by many to be close to the top of the list. These bear-looking dogs are not only stunning; they’re equally adorable and cuddly considering their large size. The American Akita has quite a unique look to them that’s easily recognizable compared to other breeds.

As a matter of fact, all American Akitas come in sable colors, and they all have a black mask. They all have pinto markings or color patches as well. But there’s more distinction to American Akitas than just their colors. Their plush tails are as attractive as anything and are actually a type of individual identification. Each Akita’s tailset is distinct to the individual dog. If you were to look at a group of Akitas, you’ll notice that very few have similar looking tails.

This beautiful breed of dogs has been around a while and has been serving as family companions for a while now. They’re great pets to have around because of their temperament. American Akitas are known for their loyalty and the strong bonds they develop. Having an American Akita as a companion is an experience that not many people or families get to enjoy. This breed may not always be the first choice when it comes to family dogs, but only Akita owners know what it’s like to live with a breed that’s considered majestic by most. If you’re looking to own one of these great pets, here are 20 cool facts about the American Akita.

Japanese counterparts

Although they come from the same ancestors and contrary to popular assumptions, the American Akitas and Japanese Akitas are actually not the same breed of dogs. They are not two types of the same breed—they are completely different and separate dog breeds. Even though they have some similarities, the two Akitas are actually very different from each other. Both dog breeds originated from Japan. However, because of interbreeding over the years, American Akitas began to branch off and develop specific qualities. The new breed started to branch off during the Post-WWII era. This was the time when many Americans started bringing the Akita back to the United States. Since then, breeders began to produce larger and heavier-boned dogs compared to their Japanese counterparts.

Threatening but noble

These dogs are huge; in fact, they can grow up to 130 lbs. and up to about 26 inches tall. American Akitas are very regal, so much so that they almost have an air of nobility about them—when they walk, sit, or whatever they may be doing. As regal as they may seem, these dogs can also seem very threatening. That’s probably mainly because of their size alone. Their bodies can be quite intimidating, especially if you’re encountering them for the first time. If you’ve never met an Akita before, you might get a little frightened and in some ways you should. But give this dog a chance; be nice to it, and soon before you know it, you’ll find that you’ve just made a friend with a beautiful breed of dog.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller was known to be a dog aficionado. She was even known to have owned a Boston terrier at some point during her college years. Also, Keller was credited to have been the first person to import an Akita into the United States. At one time, Keller was in Japan for a speaking engagement. She extended her stay in Japan after her engagement and decided to go visit the Akita area. This was where she came across the breed and fell in love instantly. Keller heard the story of Hachiko, one particular Akita that was so loyal to his owner that the dog waited for his owner Ueno at the train station for ten years even after Ueno had died. Keller received her Akita as a gift, and she called him Kenzan-Go.

Calm personality

American Akitas are known to be typically calm dogs. It falls along with their regal characteristics and personalities. Many pet owners appreciate the calmness of the Akita, but don’t get us wrong. These dogs also have a swtich that can be turned on if ever their anger is invoked. In fact, Akitas can switch their calm dispositions to an aggressive one in just a matter of a couple of seconds. This happens when they’re feeling threatened. These dogs have an impressive intuition and instinct for such scenarios; it actually makes for a good household pet. At least you’ll know that you’ll be protected no matter what (if you’re the owner at the very least). Have this dog if temperament is a priority—you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Can be a Selfish dog

It’s rare to hear about a dog that’s not willing to share, but the American Akita is unique in that way. These dogs are known to be quite possessive. They’re not going to like sharing their food or even their treats. And that’s not just sharing with other dogs or pets. Even though an American Akita will develop a relationship with the entire family, it’ll be completely attached to one particular owner. These dogs will be passionately attached to that one owner and will actually be very possessive of him or her. American Akitas will not want to share their owner, not even with other people. Don’t worry if that selfishness sounds like a bit much for you, the Akita will learn to appease eventually. The key is in respecting boundaries, something that you’ll need to teach your Akita starting from when it’s still a puppy.

No warning on attacks

Picture a dog that’s about to get down in fight or one that’s about to attack. Typically, anyone will be able to tell if a dog is getting ready to attack. The usual signs will be there. Maybe you’ll hear a low growl, or maybe you’ll see some teeth baring. You might see a dog change its stance in preparation to lunge. You might hear a lot of loud barking or pacing back and forth. Regardless of what it may be, it’s easy to pinpoint that they’re signs of an impending attack. With the American Akita, however, you won’t see any of these signs. An Akita will never show any sign that it’s about to attack and will just do it. It’s a dangerous capability and something that even pet owners should be aware of.

Breed recognition

The Akita was brought into the United States long before it was recognized as a breed. The first organization to do so was the American Kennel Club, or the AKC. The AKC recognized the American Akita as an official (and separate) breed in 1955. At first, the AKC classified the breed under the miscellaneous dog class. Even further, the AKC didn’t finalize the American Akita breed standard until 1972, about 17 years later. That was when the breed was transferred to the working dog class. When the AKC cut off registration of Japanese imports, the divergence between the American breed and Japanese breed began to grow. Soon, the new American breed had formed and it’s still pretty much the same type of dogs we see today.

Snow country dogs

We mentioned earlier that these dogs were known for a long time as “snow country dogs.” The reason for this is because these dogs love snow. As a matter of fact, they prefer to live in the cold and snow rather than anywhere else that might be warmer. These dogs even have larger and webbed feet that allow them to walk on snow better. American Akitas’ ancestors originated from some of Japan’s coldest regions; it makes sense that they will have the predisposition to live in the cold weather. As many Akita owners will notice, these dogs will actually start to become more active as soon as winter begins to roll in. They love to play outside in the snow.

Excellent watchdogs

Many people obtain dogs for the very reason of getting watchdogs. While the most common and obvious choice for watchdogs includes Rottweilers and German Shepherds, the American Akita are actually some of the best as well. They are powerful and intimidating. In actuality, this is not a modern capability. Akitas have been used in centuries past to be watchers and guards, and they have always been known to be some of the most loyal protectors of people. Their bravery surpasses that of any other dogs. Other qualities that make them very good guarddogs include their strength, fearlessness, protectiveness, possessiveness, and their suspicions towards strangers. As a matter of fact, some countries consider the American Akita to be a dangerous breed. If you’re going to have some people over, make sure that they’re forewarned, and vice versa; make sure that you let your Akita know that a guest is coming, so it doesn’t attack your guest.


As agile and alert as these dogs are, you’ll be surprised that they’re actually not very active dogs. It’s hard to imagine that fact considering the built of their bodies. While the American Akita is not normally active, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it exercise. On the contrary, you should be giving it more regular exercise because it will not do it by itself. Daily exercise will keep your Akita healthy, but it will also prevent it from getting bored. You can probably guess what happens when an American Akita gets bored—not just destruction but complete behavioral issues. Some of the best exercises include short walks, casual games, or even a simple game of fetch.

Life span

Most of us get attached to our dogs. We treat them as part of the family; we live with them on a daily basis. When they get sick, we also feel their pain. When they are excited, we feel their excitement as well. Most of us allow our dogs’ lives to become integrated into our lives. It becomes sad, then, when our dogs get sick and passes on. While many dogs may live up to 20 years, it’s really quite rare. The average life span of the American Akita brand is roughly 10 to 12 years, but some might live up to 15 years. Even then, it still seems short according the human aging standards. What might help prolong their lives is the best and healthiest lifestyle. The longer American Akitas live, the longer you’ll have them as a companion.

Healthy breed

Generally speaking, American Akitas are considered to be a fairly healthy breed. However, the breed is a result of inbreeding to begin with, so you can imagine that the gene pool in the United States is very small. This means that the American Akita is prone to many genetic diseases. Some of the most common ones include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, pseudohyperkalemia, and many more. While that may sound alarming, there’s a way to keep your Akita’s health intact. It’s quite simple. All it takes is proper care and proper feeding—things that you should be doing for your dog anyway. High quality foods should be top priority; make sure your dog has good dry foods and mix them with fresh foods once in a while. This will make sure that your Akita will be as healthy as they can be.

Clean dogs

American Akitas are surprisingly a clean breed. They’re actually one of very few breeds that will take care and clean itself, much like a cat does. These dogs are considered to be one of the cleanest dogs around. And on top of that, the American Akita breed does not develop any dog odors—they have no odor at all. That’s a great thing for owners, especially since these dogs love to cuddle. You wouldn’t want to snuggle with a dog that’s smelly or dirty anyway. With the American Akita, you won’t need to worry about dirt so much. However, it doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t need to bathe your dog—you do. You just wouldn’t have to do it as often.

Family companions

For the most part, American Akitas are considered to be great family dogs. They are extremely affectionate creatures that will be loyal to you and your family. However, remember that Akitas have a possessive quality that will make them selfishly attached to one particular human owner. The American Akita may be calm most of the time, but it will participate in activities whether it involves play or just daily routine. Akitas are highly intelligent creatures that refuse to be ignored as well. They pay attention to how they’re treated; so as long as you treat them well, they will do the same for you. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with children. American Akitas are great playmates for children as long as the children play nice.


Being that they’re calm dogs, you almost expect American Akitas to be extremely quiet. For the most part they are quiet dogs, but it doesn’t mean that they won’t bark. As a matter of fact, Akitas can be just as loud as any loud barking dog you can think of. Luckily, they’re not ones that will engage in unnecessary and excessive barking. In addition, American Akitas actually have various vocalization types that are quite amusing. These dogs are known to make grunting and mumbling sounds. You never know what they may be saying when they grunt or mumble, but they’re surely adorable sounds that you wouldn’t mind hearing from your Akita. They’re better than loud and excessive barking on any given day.

Dominant dog

The American Akita is a dominant dog. It’s full of dignity and pride, and it stands with just that kind of temperament, especially when it comes to other dogs. Being as territorial as they are, Akitas tend to be more dominant when it comes to other dogs. This usually leads to aggressive behavior, especially towards dogs of the same sex. It might not be a great idea to have two American Akitas in one household. Also, you should think twice about getting smaller pets as well. Akitas used to be bred for hunting and fighting, so they have a natural prey drive. If they come across smaller animals in their territory such as cats, the dogs will undoubtedly chase them and kill them once the smaller animals have been captured. If you were to have smaller pets or other dogs at home, make sure you socialize your Akita before you bring it home to other animals.

Difficult to train

If you are going to own an American Akita, make sure that you can dominate it—at least more than it will try to dominate you. You’ll have to be able to make your Akita submit to you; if not, your dog will completely take control of everything. This is the reason why American Akitas are not recommended for first time pet owners. They don’t take to training very easily. It’s difficult for them to focus for long periods of time. You have to be very patient and consistent with training for it to work. In addition, no one else should train your American Akita other than yourself. We already know that these dogs tend to create strong bonds with their owners; therefore, they really just won’t listen to any other trainers.

Grooming specifics

When it comes to grooming, you should know that the American Akitas are very easy to groom. You already know that they like to keep themselves clean, so that’s one less work for you. You’ll have to brush your Akita at least once or twice each week. Unfortunately, they will shed quite a bit. The good news is they only shed in periods. Every year, your American Akita will go through heavy shedding about two to three times each year. When you notice the onset of shedding and during the heavy shedding period, you should brush your dog’s hair at least once a day. This will help ease the shedding a bit until the period passes.

Working dogs

It should come to no surprise that American Akita dogs are useful working dogs; that’s their classification to begin with. While they have been used primarily for watching, guarding, hunting, and fighting, Akitas are also known to be great at other types of jobs. They’re excellent army dogs, as they’re quite fierce and strong. They’ve also been used as sled dogs many times in the past, which is also due to their strength but also their intelligence. Akitas can also be reliable rescue dogs and therapy dogs. It takes a while to train these dogs to work these jobs, but once the Akita gets it, it becomes the perfect worker. American Akitas that are trained properly and respectfully will be the best workers you can ever come across with.

Sporting dogs

All the attributes of the American Akita might prove that they’re not the best sporting dogs, but the opposite is actually true. Even though the Akita may tend to be calm and slow, some of its other attributes are useful in some sporting events. These dogs are incredibly strong and highly intelligent. These qualities alone can prove to be useful for the Akita to succeed in specific sporting events such as dog obedience trials, weight pulling, agility, protection competitions, and even tracking.

Don’t expect the Akita to compete and succeed in dog racing though; they most likely will never win. But if this is something that you’re looking forward to doing with your American Akita, you’ll have to make sure that you’re ready to dedicate enough time and effort towards training. If you think housebreaking an Akita is difficult, you might want to think twice about training it for competition. If you do decide to go forward with it, you’ll be incredibly proud and glad that you stuck through with it. Your American Akita will prove to be an incredible champion.

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