Origin: JapanAkita Breed

Type: Northern Breed/Utility

Weight: Male dog – 45–59 kg

Female dog – 32–45 kg

Height: Male dog – 26–28 inches/ 66–71 cm

Female dog – 24–26 inches/ 61–66 cm

Appearance: Akitas are heavy-boned dogs with a high weight to height ratio. Their coat is double, as would be expected in a breed adapted to cold weather and can be short or long, though only short coats are acceptable for show standard dogs. The head is large, sometimes described as ‘bear-like’. The tail is carried over the back in a curl. The Akita’s eyes are small, dark, and triangular in shape, while the ears are also triangular, erect and set at an angle following the arch of the neck. All colours are acceptable within the breed standard, possible variants include brindle, solid white, black mask, white mask, self-coloured mask and even different colours in the under and top coats.

Temperament: Akitas are territorial and can be reserved with strangers. They’re known to be intolerant of other dogs of the same gender and tend to take on a dominant role. On the positive side these are intelligent and courageous animals and renown for unwavering loyalty towards their owners. They’re sometimes referred to as ‘cat like’ and often groom themselves as cats would and also ‘stalk’ prey.

Skills: These are wilful dogs so don’t expect Akitas to be easy to train! They are most often used as companion dogs, as guard dogs or sometimes as therapy dogs. They need an outlet for their energy and do well in obedience, tracking, agility and weight pulling trials.

Behaviour Towards Other Animals and Children: Akitas need skilled handling and socialisation to bring out the best in their temperament and produce a well-socialised, safe adult dog. They’re not seen as a suitable choice for novice owners. Akitas can make great family pets having an affinity with children and can be socialised towards other pets. The sheer power of the breed does mean that you would never want to leave one unsupervised with young children.

Common Health Problems: Akitas are suspetible to a range of immune related conditions, these include: Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome, Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. There are two breed specific conditions: Immune sensitivity to vaccines, drugs, insecticides, anaesthetics and tranquilizers and Pseudohyperkalemia

Lifespan: 10 to 12 years.