A dog breed with a rich history and personality, the Akita is treasured by an entire nation and the families it’s a part of. Find out more about this Japanese dog breed on the BestBullySticks Breed Spotlight.

History & Background: Originating from the island of Honshu in the region of Akita in Japan, the Akita Inu has lived a relatively unchanged life from its ancestors. In fact, the Akita is one of seven dog breeds considered a “Natural Monument.” In Japan, the Akita (natively pronounced AH-ki-ta instead of the Western version of a-KEE-ta) has been used in various capacities including police, military and guard dogs. This breed is also known for being a great hunting dog because of its “soft” mouth and ability to hunt in inclement weather.

Akitas were first brought to the US by Helen Keller in 1937 when the Japanese government gave Keller an Akita as a gift. This dog’s name was Kamikaze-go but sadly died shortly after Keller brought the dog back to the states. The dog’s brother was given as a gift in the next year and was named Kenzan-go. After WWII, many US Soldiers brought Akitas back to the states. Today, the original Japanese Akita and the American Akita are thought to be two separate breeds.

Height: Males: 26 to 28 inches; Females: 24 to 26 inches

Weight: Males: 100 to 145 pounds; Females: 80 to 120 pounds

Coat: Akitas sport a thick, double coat. The undercoat is soft, dense and shorter than the outer coat. The outer coat is straight and stiff. Short hair appears on the head, ears and legs while the length of hair at the withers and rear are close to 2 inches. Only the tail has longer hair.

Color: This dog has wonderful coloring, showing clear and bright colors in any hue or combination. Markings can include a mask or blaze. True Japanese Akitas don’t allow black masks, though the American Akita does.

Appearance: The Akita shows his largess from head to tail. Akita sport a large head, thick necks and a powerful body. Facial features include small, triangular, forward tilting ears, a broad muzzle and small, deep-set eyes. With a deep chest, wide ribs and plenty of muscle, Akitas are quite substantial dogs. The large tail is carried high and over the back in a curl.

Temperament: Akitas are known for their alert nature and their proud stance. Though he is courageous, Akitas are normally docile and great with families. A naturally confident dog, training must be consistent. An unusual thing about the Akita is the noises it makes instead of barking.

Health & Grooming: Hip dysplasia, thyroid and eye problems are all common for the Akita. This dog lives an average of 10 to 12 years. Akitas also need lots of exercise to make them a well-behaved and happy dog.

Because this dog has such an interesting coat, the Akita needs brushing with a firm bristle brush. Bathing should only occur when necessary as it could remove the waterproof quality of the Akita’s coat. Akitas usually shed heavily twice a year.

Product Suggestions: The Akita needs a challenging and hearty chew, which is why the 15 – 18” Jumbo Braided Bully Stick is a perfect match! Long-lasting with great health benefits, this all-natural bully stick is sourced from free-range, grass-fed Brazilian beef.

Toss your Akita a durable flying disc dog toy from Planet Dog! The Orbee-Tuff Zoom Flyer will fly long distances, is soft in your dog’s mouth and has a minty scent. Non-toxic and recyclable materials make up this USA Made dog toy. And it comes in a glow-in-the-dark variety!

Do you know or own a Akita? Tell us your Akita story in the comments section below!

Curious about a dog breed? Check out our full list of Breed Spotlights to learn about some amazing dog breeds!