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Akita Temperament: When resolute courage meets unwavering loyalty

Akita Inus are often considered one of the most difficult dog breeds to own. They are known for their independent, dominant and protective temperament.


If you're considering adding an Akita Inu to your family, it's essential to educate yourself on the breed's character and weigh if they're suitable for your lifestyle. Too often, novice dog owners choose a breed that might not be appropriate for them.


We'll discuss the breed's personality traits and challenges so you'll know if the Akita is right for you by the end of this post. Let's dive right into our little Akita adventure!




Table of contents




Akita Inu Temperament
It's hard to distinguish a red fawn Akita Inu puppy from a Shiba Inu puppy

Akita Inu History: Where are Akita Inus from?

The Akita Inu, with its dignified demeanour and unwavering loyalty, has captivated hearts worldwide. But have you ever wondered about the origins of this esteemed breed?


The story of the Akita Inu begins in the rugged landscapes of Japan, where these noble dogs were revered as symbols of strength and courage.


Originating from the Akita Prefecture on the island of Honshu, Japanese nobility bred these dogs for hunting large game, such as deer, boar, and even bears, during the feudal era. Akita Inu means "the dog of Akita".


Some people tend to call the breed the Akita Inu dog. As "Inu" means dog, people say the "Akita dog" dog. So let's start this blog post by referring to the Akita simply as the Akita Inu.


The Akita belongs to the six breeds of dogs native to Japan. They are: The Akita Inu, Hokkaido Inu, Kai Ken, Kishu Ken, Shikoku Ken and the Shiba Inu. The Akita is the largest breed in this family.


They were bred as fighting and hunting dogs, primarily to hunt larger animals like elks, deer and even bears. Therefore, they had to be feisty, independent and able to sustain themselves. Due to their bravery, they're seen as the national treasure of Japan, symbolising prosperity and good fortune.


The 20th century posed challenges for the Akita Inu, including World War II and the aftermath of industrialisation, which led to a decline in population and purity. However, dedicated efforts by enthusiasts and breeders helped revive the breed, preserving its heritage and ensuring its continued existence.


In the post-war era, the Akita Inu gained international recognition, partly thanks to the story of Hachiko, the legendary Akita known for his unwavering loyalty to his owner. Today, Akita Inus are cherished worldwide for their noble temperament, striking appearance, and unwavering devotion to their families.



Akitas registered in the UK 2023

In Q3 2023, 45 Akita Inus were registered with the UK Kennel Club. The numbers show a steady love for this fascinating dog breed. 2022 saw a decline vs 2021, with 190 Akitas registered with the UK Kennel Club.

2021 total

Total 2022

Q1 2023

Q2 2023

Q3 2023

226

190

55

57

45



Akita Inu Temperament
The difference between a Shiba Inu and an Akita Inu is best seen with both breeds next to each other

What is the Temperament of the Akita Inu?

Because of their breed's historical background, the Akita possesses an inherent, independent temperament, embodying fierceness and athleticism that were once essential for confronting formidable opponents like brown bears.


Accommodating and training an Akita requires proficient handling and blending firmness with gentleness to navigate their strong-willed nature.


Novice dog owners may find the Akita's assertive demeanour challenging to manage, so careful consideration is crucial before welcoming one into their home. Let's delve deeper into what makes the Akita breed uniquely suited to experienced handlers.


Training must be conducted calmly and consistently for this exceptional dog breed. Prospective owners should carefully consider if they possess the necessary qualities to effectively lead an Akita, as any display of weakness may result in the dog assuming dominance and potentially leading to rehoming situations.


Conversely, resorting to harsh or violent methods can provoke aggression in Akitas, illustrating the delicate balance required when handling them. Even seasoned dog behaviourists and trainers acknowledge the complexities of working with Akitas, emphasizing the significant challenge they present.


Akita Inu Temperament
The Akita Inu is a strong and athletic dog not recommended for a first-time owner.

Early socialization is crucial for Akitas, as their territorial nature can lead to same-sex aggression if not properly introduced to other dogs.


Given their temperament, Akitas may exhibit dominant behaviours in the presence of other canines.


Therefore, it's advisable to keep them leashed during walks and only allow off-leash activity in fenced areas or when no other dogs are present to prevent potential conflicts.


Akitas are known for their meticulous nature, often carefully keeping their coats clean by regularly licking their paws and fur.


This fastidious behaviour extends to their housebreaking tendencies, making it generally easier to train Akita puppies.


Akitas typically bark sparingly, reserving their vocalizations for emergencies, making them naturally adept guard dogs without needing specific training. Their hunting instincts and stealthy approach make them formidable protectors, often catching intruders off guard. Akitas are known to willingly put themselves in harm's way to ensure the safety of their loved ones.


Like many breeds, leaving Akitas unattended for extended periods is not advisable, as their loyalty may lead to separation anxiety and destructive behaviours. Consider your schedule carefully to ensure your dog's well-being and mental health.


Akitas are naturally wary of unfamiliar individuals, making it challenging to enlist the help of dog walkers or neighbours during the day. Due to their territorial nature, Akitas may display aggression towards strangers and should be handled cautiously. While they may not be lap dogs, Akitas excel as diligent and resilient working guard dogs, showcasing their intelligence and capability to protect their territory.


Akitas need plenty of outside space, and apartment living won't be suitable. They are athletic and naturally predisposed to patrol "their" area; hence, a more extensive garden will tire them out. As Akitas originated from Japan's mountainous and snowy Akita prefecture, long outdoor walks and hikes will make your dog thrive. Get a handsfree lead, and off you two go!




It's essential to prioritise supervision when Akitas are in the presence of small children, especially if the dog needs to be adequately socialised. Take proactive measures to teach your child how to approach the dog respectfully and interact safely. Consider enrolling your dog and child in obedience classes or training sessions to foster positive interactions and reinforce appropriate behaviour. Always remain vigilant during their interactions to prevent any potential accidents or misunderstandings.


When properly trained and nurtured, the Akita exhibits an unwaveringly loyal and affectionate temperament, forming deep bonds with their family members, including children. The owner best handles obedience training to strengthen the bond and establish clear communication between the dog and their human companions.


Akitas are renowned for their devotion, loyalty, and cleanliness, displaying affectionate behaviours at home that create an unparalleled mental connection with their owners. Whether snuggled up on the couch or embarking on outdoor adventures, your Akita will eagerly participate in any activity, cherishing every moment spent with you.


Are you a novice owner and still determined to get an Akita? Set yourself up for success by focusing on developing a consistent leadership style. Knowing and being aware of all the above points is a decent start, but the experience is more important. If you have never handled a dog, try dog walking or volunteering in a dog rescue centre to get some experience.



What are the differences between a Shiba Inu and an Akita Inu?

If there is a dog breed that gets muddled up constantly, it's these two! Although their similarity is striking, they're two different breeds. The Shiba Inu is a much older breed. The Shiba Inu shape is similar to the Akita, including the hooded ears and the plush coat; the Shiba Inu looks more fox-like and much smaller.


While the Akita can reach up to 39kg in weight for a male, the Shiba weighs a maximum of 11kg. Although matching the intelligence of the Akita, the Shiba Inu is not as dominating in their behaviour and is less territorial. Breed standard Akita colours are red fawn, white, sesame and brindle.


At this point, you might be asking yourselves another question. Isn't there an American version of the Akita? Yes, there is.



Differences between the American Akita and the Japanese Akita Inu

The American Akita diverges from its Japanese counterpart as it is not a purebred Japanese Akita. Initially introduced to the United States in 1937, the American version underwent crossbreeding with other breeds, such as the German Shepherd, a measure taken to prevent breed extinction during World War II.


Consequently, the American Akita exhibits a larger and bulkier build than its Japanese relatives. This physical disparity led to the UK Kennel Club officially separating the American Akita and Akita Inu in 2006, though they are still considered one breed in some regions.


Additionally, it's important to note that the Akita may be classified as a potentially dangerous dog in certain countries like Ireland, Spain, and Malaysia, necessitating measures such as muzzling in public spaces.



Are Akita Inu good guard dogs?

Yes, Akita Inu are excellent guard dogs due to their instincts and protective nature. They originated from Japan and were initially bred to guard nobility and hunt large game.


Akita Inu is loyal to their family and is inherently wary of strangers, making them effective guardians. Their imposing presence, coupled with their alertness and intelligence, further solidifies their role as formidable protectors.


However, early socialization and training are crucial to ensure they exhibit appropriate guarding behaviours and are not too imposing on guests or the mailman. The Akita Inu's innate qualities make them a top choice for those seeking a reliable guard dog, but without training the Akita might exhibit worrying traits.



Are Akita Inu good family dogs?

Akita Inus can be good family dogs but requires proper socialisation, training, and supervision, particularly around small children and other pets. They are known for their loyalty and affection towards their family members, but their intense and independent nature means they may not always tolerate rough handling or unfamiliar situations. Akita Inus can form strong bonds with their families and be loving and protective companions with guidance and care.



6 Gift Ideas for Akita Inu Lovers

The blog post unveils six unique gift ideas tailored for Akita Inu Lovers, offering a range of options to suit various tastes and preferences. From practical accessories to charming decorative items, each suggestion aims to delight and cater to the passion shared by Akita lovers worldwide.


Gift Idea for Akita Inu Lovers: #1 Akita Inu Glass Art

A stunning Akita Inu glass art figurine serves as an exquisite gift for Akita Inu enthusiasts, capturing the majestic beauty of this beloved breed with intricate craftsmanship. Perfect for adorning shelves or mantelpieces, this glass figurine adds a touch of elegance to any Akita lover's home décor.

Akita Inu Temperament


Gift Idea for Akita Inu Lovers: #2 Akita Inu Scarf

An Akita Inu scarf makes a thoughtful gift for Akita Inu enthusiasts, offering both warmth and style with its charming Akita-themed design. Whether worn as a fashion statement or a cosy accessory, this scarf will surely delight any Akita lover with its depiction of their favourite breed.

Akita Inu Temperament

Gift Idea for Akita Inu Lovers: #3 Akita Inu Coaster

An Akita Inu coaster is a practical and charming gift for Akita Inu enthusiasts, adding a touch of canine elegance to their coffee or dining table. With its intricate Akita-themed design, this coaster protects surfaces and celebrates the beauty of the beloved Akita breed in everyday life.


Gift Idea for Akita Inu Lovers: #4 Akita Wooden Figurine

An Akita wooden figurine is a delightful gift for enthusiasts, showcasing this esteemed breed's grace and elegance with natural charm. Crafted from fine wood, this figurine adds rustic sophistication to any décor, serving as a timeless homage to the beloved Akita Inu in its most authentic form.


Akita Inu Temperament


Gift Idea for Akita Inu Lovers: #5 Engraved Akita Glass

An Akita drinking glass is a delightful gift for Akita enthusiasts, combining practicality with artistic flair as it showcases the beloved breed in elegant detail. With its charming Akita-themed design, this glass adds a canine charm to every sip, making it a cherished addition to any Akita lover's drinkware collection.


Akita Inu Temperament


Gift Idea for Akita Inu Lovers: #6 Akita On Wood Home Decor

Akita On Wood home decor is a heartwarming gift for Akita enthusiasts, blending natural beauty with the beloved breed's timeless elegance. Crafted with care, this piece captures the essence of the Akita Inu against a rustic wood backdrop, adding warmth and character to any living space.


Akita Inu Temperament




Akita Inu Temperament
Akita Inu are not for the faint-hearted dog lover. They require firm but gentle leadership at the same time. You need to learn to walk a fine line

Akita Inu Temperament in a Nutshell

  • Powerful and courageous making them exceptional guard dogs

  • Requires calm and consistent leader with the knowledge of training dominant dog breeds

  • Able to establish an extraordinary bond leading to unwavering loyalty towards their owner

  • Requires a lot of space and is not suited for apartment living

  • Can’t be left alone, and a dog walker might not be an option





Top 10 Female Akita Inu Names  


Top 10 Male Akita Inu Names  





Potential health issues in the Akita breed

Navigating the health landscape of the Akita Inu breed requires a keen eye and proactive measures. When welcoming an Akita puppy into your home, sourcing from reputable breeders is your first defence against potential health issues. Remember, this blog post serves as a directory, but nothing replaces the invaluable insights from your trusted veterinarian.


Prepare for the journey ahead by acknowledging the potential for significant medical expenses. While larger breeds like the Akita Inu may entail higher healthcare costs, it's important to note that not all Akitas will face the same hereditary challenges. However, by equipping yourself with knowledge about common ailments, you empower yourself to detect warning signs early and seek timely intervention.


Remember, being informed is the first step toward ensuring a lifetime of happiness for your beloved Akita companion.


A few common conditions are below:


Amelogenesis Imperfecta (AI): A hereditary dental condition that affects the enamel development in Japanese Akitas, leading to abnormalities in tooth structure and appearance. This condition can cause issues with tooth sensitivity, susceptibility to dental decay, and difficulty chewing for affected dogs.


Hip/ Elbow Displasia: Hip and elbow dysplasia are common orthopaedic conditions in Japanese Akitas, characterized by abnormal development of the hip and elbow joints. These conditions can cause discomfort, lameness, and decreased mobility in affected dogs.


Progressive Retinal Atrophy: An inherited eye disorder that gradually leads to vision loss in Japanese Akitas, starting with night blindness and progressing to complete blindness. Regular veterinary check-ups and genetic testing are essential for early detection.


Lymphocytic Hypothyroidism: A common endocrine disorder in Japanese Akitas, characterised by the immune system attacking the thyroid gland, leading to decreased thyroid hormone production.


Von Wildebrant’s Disease: A hereditary bleeding disorder commonly found in Japanese Akitas, characterised by a deficiency in von Willebrand factor, a protein essential for blood clotting.


Many of these conditions can be treated if caught early, but it's essential to work with a reliable veterinarian familiar with this breed to ensure your dog receives proper care.


Most diseases are inherited in a recessive manner. It means the puppy must inherit both parents' genes to become affected. The puppy becomes a carrier if the mutation is only present in one parent. Hence, choosing a reputable breeder who has done genetic testing on their litters is vital.


The more aware you are of these diseases, the higher the chances you can prolong your dog’s life if problems arise. Same as with your child, be aware of all required vaccinations, risks and even risks outside your home. This blog post, for example, outlines all toxic spring plants that can harm your dog.


The more you know, the better you will be prepared.


Many dog owners are unaware of the danger in some pet toys and accessories that can worsen health issues when they innocently buy cheap products from the Far East. Avoid synthetic rubber playthings like chew bones or tug o' war ropes from polyester; polyester collars could cause skin irritation and are not breathable like natural materials. Swap out those harmful materials with eco-friendly pet products from hemp here at Hooman’s Friend. Breathable, eco-friendly and sustainable!




Akita Inu Fun Fact

Fascinatingly, during the 17th century, the Akita breed held significant status in Japan, exclusively reserved for Japanese aristocrats as a symbol of prestige and nobility. The ownership of these majestic dogs was accompanied by elaborate feeding rituals and adorned with lavish collars and leashes, reflecting the owner's social rank and status.


Despite their esteemed status, the fate of the Akita Inu took a significant turn during the Meiji era (1868-1912) when Japan underwent a period of modernisation. Emperor Taisho's decree in the early 20th century allowed citizens outside the aristocracy to own Akita Inus, marking a shift in the breed's accessibility and cultural significance.



Is the Akita Inu a good dog breed for me?  

Deciding if the Akita Inu is the right dog breed for you depends on various factors such as your lifestyle, experience with dogs, and ability to provide the necessary training and socialisation. Akitas are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective nature, making them excellent companions for experienced owners who can devote time to their care and training.


However, they can also be strong-willed and independent, requiring consistent leadership and firm guidance. It's essential to research the breed thoroughly, consider your living situation and commitment to training, and meet with breeders or rescue organisations to determine if the Akita Inu best fits you and your family.




Owners voices

"To follow soon"

To learn more about other dog breeds, check related articles or sign up for our newsletter here. This will also trigger a code for 15% off your first order of our eco-friendly pet products. We are working hard to add all dog breeds as soon as possible to have a whole extensive library!


The Akita Inu is a loyal and brave dog with an independent temperament that can make an excellent pet for the right person. However, before you bring an Akita into your home, it's important to read beyond this article, consult a breeder and speak to a vet.



Akita Inu Summary Info box

Size

Large

Dog Size

66cm - 77cm

Dog Weight

48kg- 55kg

Bitch Size

62cm - 66cm

Bitch Weight

42kg-46kg

Grooming

Medium

Feeding Need

Medium

Tendency to drool

Low

Energy level

High

Tendency to bark

Low

Tendency to dig

Low

Attention need

Medium




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