History & Characteristics of Akita Dog Breed

“The Japanese dog breed Akita is one of the smartest dog breeds on earth,” writes pet blogger Farah. Therefore, in this second part of our series on Japanese pets, she tells you more about the history and characteristics of the Akita dog breed.

A 1953 Japanese poststamp of the Akita-Inu. The dog breed originated in Japan, and is a Natural Monument of Japan. Picture from Wikipedia.

History of Akita Dog Breed

Akita is a very popular dog breed that originates from the mountains of northern Japan. Due to its Japanese history, this dog is also known as the national dog of Japan, and the government has designated this specific breed as a natural monument. During ancient times, Akita was used for hunting and fighting but nowadays, it’s also used by police and military after training.

Akita is a powerful and dominant dog breed that does not welcome strangers, but there is no match for Akita when it comes to loyalty toward the owner. After World War II, Akita was almost extinct, especially due to food shortages in Japan. Due to War, many dogs of this breed were killed for fur as it was mainly used in the military uniforms at that time.

 Fortunately, World War II also gave a new life to this breed as many American Soldiers bought the Akita puppies in the United States after returning from the War. The first Akita dog was bought from Japan in the United States by Hallen Keller in 1937.

Akita Inu, ancient Japanese type. 15-months-old red brindle male called V’Kumo of Neko-ken and the 2 months old, blue brindle female A’Miyu go des Tresors de Nirveau. Both owned by Anna Matheis, Belgium. Picture from Wikipedia.

Coat Type

The Akita coat type varies from short to medium in length. The thick and soft coat of Akita makes it a perfect choice for colder climates. Moreover, the coat of Akita becomes thin during warm months, so this dog can also survive in warm climates. The unique appearance of Akita is one of the most common reasons behind its growing popularity.

Hachiko - History and Characteristics of Akita Dog Breed - Japan Fans
Akitas are known for their loyalty. This is Hachikō, who became legendary after waiting every day for his master to return at Shibuya Station in central Tokyo. Picture from Wikipedia.

Characteristics of the Akita dog breed

Here are the following most noteworthy characteristics of Akitas:


Akitas are widely known and preferred for their loyalty to their owners. Due to their nature, these dogs can develop a very strong bond with their pet parents in a short time. The protective instinct of Akitas makes them one of the perfect choices for the best guards and watchdogs.


The Akita is one of the smartest dog breeds on earth. These dogs always remain alert and never stop learning due to their protective instinct. When it comes to dog training, Akitas can quickly pick new tricks compared to other dog breeds that require both time and effort. Akitas are also known as independent thinkers; that’s why they can identify any potential threat quickly.


Have you ever heard about self-grooming? Well, Akitas are best known for their self-grooming habits, and they also have very little doggy odor. Compared to other dog breeds, Akita dogs are more conscious of cleanliness.

Best Guard Dogs

As discussed earlier in this article, Akitas are one of the most loyal dog breeds with protective instincts. They are powerful and courageous to identify any intruder or stranger on time. Akitas remain alert all the time, and they also keep watch on the entire family to perform this guarding duty well. However, Akitas require proper obedience training to prevent unnecessary aggression every time.

History and Characteristics of Akita Dog Breed - Japan Fans, Japanese Art & Culture from the Centre of Utrecht, Japanse kunst en cultuur in Utrecht, Japans cultureel centrum
Picture from Wikipedia

Are there any Disadvantages of the Akita Dog Breed?

Despite their outstanding characteristics, there are some cons of Akitas that you must consider before owning this dog.


For those with limited experience around dogs, Akitas are not suitable for them due to their aggression. If we talk about Akita dog temperament; they do not tolerate other dogs easily as they can fight back for no reason. This specific breed requires a lot of positive socialization with training to accept new people and situations; otherwise, they are very challenging to handle. If you plan to own Akita as a family pet, you may need to hire a certified dog trainer.

Prey Drive

As discussed earlier, Akita is a Japanese breed used for hunting; therefore, the prey drive of these dogs for hunting remains active most of the time. It’s recommended to keep these dogs on a leash, especially while walking in a strange area.


Even though Akitas have a unique self-grooming ability, they are also big shedders. Their thick double coat keeps changing throughout the seasons; that’s why Akita owners need to brush their dogs regularly. You may need to invest in a good vacuum cleaner to get rid of the mess due to their shedding.

History & Characteristics of Akita Dog Breed – Final Thoughts

We hope our brief guide on the history and characteristics of Akita Dog Breed has provided you with valuable information. If you plan to own an Akita dog, never buy it from an irresponsible breeder or pet store. If you want to manage the aggressiveness of these dogs, it’s better to hire a certified dog trainer because they have the right experience and skills.

History and Characteristics of Akita Dog Breed - Japan Fans
Olympic figure-skating champion Alina Zagitova receiving a Japanese Akita in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Picture from Wikipedia.

This is the second blog in our series on Japanese pets, written by pet blogger Farah. The first blog is about the Shiba Inu, and in it, we also meet Tenko, the adorable Shiba Inu of Japan Fan Vanessa.

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