20 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About American Akita

American Akita

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Known for their distinctive looks and loyalty, the American Akita is an aggressive, large, and intelligent dog breed. With dominant characteristics in their personality, training American Akitas can be challenging and should ideally begin early, starting with American Akita puppies. If you are new to this breed, here are 20 interesting facts about the American Akita.

1. Japanese Counterparts

American Akita

It may sound peculiar, but the American Akita and Japanese Akita, despite sharing the same ancestral bloodline, are actually considered two distinct breeds. The primary difference between the American Akita and its Japanese counterparts lies in their appearance. The American Akita boasts a “bear-like” face with a robust bone structure, while Japanese Akitas exhibit a more “fox-like” resemblance. This disparity in appearance is the result of years of deliberate interbreeding by American breeders aiming to create larger and more imposing Akitas.

The American Akita‘s distinctive facial features, characterized by a broad and powerful skull, a well-defined stop, and deep-set eyes, contribute to its formidable and commanding presence. The heavy bone structure further adds to its overall robust appearance. These intentional breeding efforts have shaped the American Akita into a breed that exudes strength and aggression.

In contrast, the Japanese Akita possesses a more refined and delicate appearance, with a fox-like face that showcases a slightly different set of facial features. The divergence in appearance between the two breeds is a result of the distinct breeding goals pursued by American and Japanese breeders.

It is important to note that these differences in appearance do not affect the inherent qualities and traits that both breeds share, such as loyalty, intelligence, and protective instincts. While the American Akita may possess a more imposing and muscular physique, both breeds are known for their unwavering loyalty and their ability to form strong bonds with their families.

2. Threatening but Noble

American Akita

The American Akita possesses a unique combination of being threatening yet noble. If you have ever encountered this breed, you may have noticed their intimidating first impression. These dogs can be quite imposing, particularly when someone intrudes upon their personal space.

Due to their historical role as protectors, Akitas have developed a strong sense of loyalty and a natural inclination to guard their territory and loved ones. This inherent protective nature can make them appear formidable to outsiders. However, beneath their imposing exterior lies a breed that, with the right approach, can become a devoted and loyal companion.

To forge a bond with an American Akita, it is crucial to approach them with respect and give them the space they need to become comfortable. Akitas appreciate individuals who acknowledge their boundaries and show them the proper respect they deserve. Building trust and earning their friendship takes time and patience.

Once an American Akita considers you a trusted friend, you will experience their unwavering loyalty and devotion. They are known to form deep connections with their families and can become incredibly affectionate and protective. By understanding their noble nature and approaching them with the right attitude, you have the opportunity to develop a lifelong friendship with this remarkable breed.

3. Helen Keller

American Akita

Helen Keller, a beloved figure admired by many, had a special connection with the American Akita. She holds the distinction of being the first person to officially import Akita dogs into the United States. During her visit to the Akita region in Japan, the birthplace of the Akita breed, Helen Keller encountered this remarkable breed and was immediately captivated by its charms. The story of a loyal Akita named “Hachiko,” who faithfully waited for his deceased owner at a train station for a decade, deeply moved her.

Inspired by the loyalty and devotion exemplified by Hachiko, Helen Keller was gifted her very own Akita. She named him “Kenzan-Go.” This marked the beginning of her personal journey with the breed, and she became an ardent advocate for the American Akita. Through her affection and admiration for these dogs, Helen Keller played a significant role in popularizing the breed in the United States.

Helen Keller’s appreciation for the American Akita extended beyond their physical attributes. She recognized their exceptional loyalty, intelligence, and unwavering devotion to their owners. This made them an ideal companion for her, as they shared a deep understanding of the importance of trust and companionship.

Her involvement with the American Akita not only showcased her love for animals but also helped bring attention to the breed’s remarkable qualities. Her endorsement served as a testament to the breed’s value and helped establish their reputation as a loyal and beloved companion.

4. Calm Personality

American Akita

The American Akita is known for its unique blend of a calm personality and an intimidating temperament. This combination makes them an excellent choice as a household pet. While they possess a natural wariness towards strangers, they can exhibit a calm and composed demeanor when in a peaceful environment.

The calm nature of this breed is a testament to their overall temperament and ability to adapt to different situations. When raised in a loving and nurturing environment, with proper training and socialization, they can exhibit a serene and balanced demeanor. Their calmness is particularly evident when their training focuses on developing their personality in a positive and constructive manner.

However, it’s important to note that American Akita are fiercely protective and can switch to their aggressive side when they sense potential danger or perceive a threat to their family or territory. This innate protective instinct is deeply ingrained in their nature, making them exceptional guard dogs.

To ensure the development of a calm personality in American Akita, it is crucial to provide them with consistent and firm training from an early age. Proper socialization, exposure to different environments, and positive reinforcement techniques can help shape their behavior and instill a sense of calmness in their overall demeanor.

5. Can be a Selfish Dog

American Akita

The American Akita is known for its independent and dominant personality, which can sometimes manifest as possessiveness towards their owner. Unlike some other dog breeds that are more inclined to share and be friendly with other pets, Akitas have a tendency to be selfish when it comes to their possessions, including food and their human companion.

This possessiveness stems from their strong bond with their owner and their innate protective nature. Akitas are known to form a deep and loyal attachment to their family, and they can become highly devoted to their chosen person. They see themselves as the guardian and protector of their owner and may display possessive behaviors as a way to safeguard their loved ones.

It’s important to note that this possessiveness is not necessarily a major problem, but rather a characteristic of the breed that can be managed with proper training and socialization. When American Akita puppies are taught to respect boundaries from an early age, they can learn to be more accommodating and understanding. It’s crucial to provide them with structured socialization experiences, allowing them to interact with other dogs, animals, and people in controlled and supervised environments.

6. No Warning on Attacks

American Akita

The American Akita is a breed known for its strong and assertive temperament. One interesting fact about Akitas is that they often show no warning signs before launching an attack. Unlike some other dog breeds that may display visible signs of aggression such as barking, growling, or changing their stance, Akitas have a reputation for their stoic and composed nature, which can make it difficult to predict their behavior.

This lack of warning signs before an attack is a characteristic that owners should be aware of and take into consideration. It emphasizes the importance of responsible ownership and understanding the breed’s temperament. While Akitas can be loving and loyal companions, they also possess a strong protective instinct, which can manifest as aggression in certain situations.

To prevent accidents and ensure the safety of everyone involved, it is crucial for owners of American Akita to prioritize proper training and socialization from an early age. By exposing them to various environments, people, and other animals, they can learn appropriate ways to interact and respond to different stimuli. Early socialization also helps them develop good behavior patterns and provides an opportunity for owners to gauge their reactions to various situations.

7. Breed Recognition

American Akita

The recognition of the American Akita as an official breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) is an interesting aspect of its history. It highlights the journey and development of the breed within the United States. The AKC, a prominent organization dedicated to promoting purebred dogs, played a significant role in acknowledging and categorizing the American Akita.

In 1955, the American Akita was recognized by the AKC, but it was initially placed under the “miscellaneous class.” This classification was a temporary designation given to emerging breeds that were not yet eligible for full recognition. It allowed the AKC to monitor and evaluate the breed’s development before granting it official status.

It was not until 1972 that these dogs received recognition as a working-class breed from the AKC. This recognition solidified the breed’s status and affirmed its purpose as a working dog with specific traits and abilities. The American Akita‘s attributes, such as its strength, loyalty, and protective nature, contributed to its classification as a working breed.

An interesting turning point came in 1974 when the registration of Japanese Akitas was discontinued by the AKC. This decision allowed the American Akita to develop its own distinct bloodline and breed standard, separate from its Japanese counterparts. With the discontinuation of Japanese Akita registrations, the American Akita breed could further evolve and be recognized for its unique characteristics and lineage.

8. Snow Country Dogs

American Akita

One notable physical feature that demonstrates their cold-weather adaptation is their large and webbed feet. The size and webbing of their paws allow them to navigate through snow with ease. The webbing acts as a natural snowshoe, providing better traction and stability in icy and snowy conditions. This adaptation enables them to move comfortably and efficiently through the snow, making them well-suited for snowy landscapes.

The American Akita‘s preference for low temperatures is evident in their behavior. They thrive in colder climates and often show increased activity and enthusiasm during winter months. A snowy environment provides them with opportunities to engage in their natural instinct for play and exploration. You may find them happily romping and frolicking in the snow, enjoying the winter weather to the fullest.

Living in colder regions or providing them access to snowy environments can greatly enhance their overall well-being and happiness. Engaging in snow activities, such as playing fetch or taking them for walks in the snow, can provide them with both physical exercise and mental stimulation. The cold weather stimulates their natural instincts and can contribute to their overall satisfaction and contentment.

However, it is important to note that while American Akita are well-suited for colder climates, proper care should still be taken to ensure their comfort and safety in extreme conditions. This includes providing adequate shelter, monitoring their exposure to harsh weather, and protecting them from extreme cold or snowstorms.

9. Excellent Watchdogs

American Akita

American Akita are renowned for their exceptional skills as watchdogs, ranking alongside other popular guard dog breeds such as Rottweilers and German Shepherds. Bred originally for guarding nobility and royalty in feudal Japan, they possess a natural instinct to protect their owners and territory.

One of the key characteristics that make American Akita excellent watchdogs is their wariness towards strangers. They have a keen sense of discernment and are quick to detect any potential threat or intrusion. When unfamiliar individuals approach their territory, Akitas exhibit a cautious and suspicious demeanor, closely observing their surroundings and assessing the situation. This inherent distrust of strangers acts as a deterrent to potential intruders and helps ensure the safety of their owners and property.

In addition to their vigilance, this breed possess a combination of qualities that further enhance their effectiveness as watchdogs. Their strength and imposing stature make them physically intimidating, deterring potential intruders through their sheer presence. Their courage and fearlessness enable them to confront any perceived threat head-on, displaying unwavering loyalty and protection towards their family.

Moreover, the overall temperament of the American Akita lends itself well to the role of a watchdog. They are naturally assertive, self-assured, and possess a strong sense of territory. These traits, combined with their loyalty and protective instincts, contribute to their effectiveness in alerting and deterring intruders.

10. Inactivity

American Akita

While American Akita are known for their imposing size and strength, they are not inherently an active breed. Despite their robust physique, Akitas tend to have a relatively low energy level and can be quite inactive if not properly stimulated. It is crucial for owners of American Akita to understand this aspect of their temperament and take appropriate measures to ensure their well-being.

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining the health and overall condition of American Akita. Engaging them in exercise helps to keep them fit, manage their weight, and prevent potential health issues that may arise from a sedentary lifestyle. Adequate exercise also promotes mental stimulation, which is equally important for their overall well-being.

Furthermore, incorporating mental challenges into their routine can be highly beneficial. Activities such as obedience training, puzzle toys, or scent games can engage their intelligence and keep them mentally stimulated. Akitas thrive on mental engagement and enjoy tasks that require problem-solving or learning new skills.

It is important to note that the exercise requirements of American Akita may vary based on their age, health condition, and individual preferences. Owners should consult with their veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to determine the appropriate amount and type of exercise for their specific Akita.

11. Life Span

American Akita

The lifespan of an American Akita, like any other dog breed, can vary based on various factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, healthcare, and overall lifestyle. On average, the lifespan of an American Akita ranges from 10 to 12 years. However, with proper care and a healthy lifestyle, they can live up to 15 years or even longer.

To ensure that your American Akita lives a long and healthy life, it is important to prioritize their well-being. Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial in maintaining their overall health and longevity.

Routine veterinary check-ups and preventive healthcare measures are vital in detecting and addressing any potential health issues early on. Regular vaccinations, parasite control, dental care, and grooming contribute to their overall health and can extend their lifespan. Additionally, maintaining a clean and safe living environment helps to minimize the risk of accidents or exposure to harmful substances.

Providing a loving and supportive environment is also crucial for their well-being. Regular socialization with other dogs and humans, positive reinforcement training, and mental engagement contribute to their overall happiness and longevity. Building a strong bond with your American Akita and providing them with a stable and nurturing home environment can positively impact their lifespan.

12. Healthy Breed

American Akita

One common health concern in American Akita is hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly. This can lead to pain, lameness, and arthritis. Elbow dysplasia, a similar condition affecting the elbow joint, is also seen in Akitas. Regular exercise, a healthy weight, and responsible breeding practices can help reduce the risk of these conditions.

Autoimmune diseases are another potential health issue in American Akita. These conditions occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells and tissues. Examples include autoimmune thyroiditis and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring can help detect and manage these conditions.

Hypothyroidism, a disorder in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, can also affect American Akita. Symptoms may include weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems. Routine blood tests can help diagnose and manage this condition.

Pseudo-hyperkalemia, a condition in which potassium levels appear elevated in blood tests, can occur in some Akitas. It is typically a benign condition and does not cause health problems or require treatment.

While these genetic diseases are a concern, responsible breeding practices, such as health testing and avoiding close inbreeding, can help reduce the incidence of these conditions. It’s important for potential Akita owners to research and choose reputable breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs.

13. Clean Dogs

American Akita

American Akita are known for their cleanliness and lack of strong dog odor, which sets them apart from many other breeds. Unlike some dogs that may have a distinct smell, Akitas are relatively odorless, making them a great choice for owners who enjoy close contact and cuddling with their pets.

One reason for their cleanliness is their grooming habits. Akitas are known for their cat-like grooming behavior, as they often lick themselves to keep their fur clean. They have a thick double coat that helps to repel dirt and debris, and their grooming instincts help to keep their coat in good condition. While they may not require frequent baths, regular grooming sessions are still necessary to maintain their coat’s health and appearance.

In addition to brushing, regular cleaning of their ears, teeth, and nails is essential for maintaining their overall hygiene. Akitas can be prone to ear infections, so it’s important to keep their ears clean and dry. Regular teeth brushing helps to prevent dental issues and keep their breath fresh. Trimming their nails regularly is important for their comfort and mobility.

While Akitas are naturally clean dogs, it’s still important to provide them with a clean and hygienic living environment. Regularly cleaning their bedding, providing fresh water, and keeping their living area free from dirt and debris will contribute to their overall cleanliness and well-being.

14. Family Companions

American Akita

American Akita are known for their loyalty and strong bond with their owners, which makes them excellent family companions. They have a deep affection for their human family and can be incredibly devoted and protective. 

The loyalty of American Akita extends to all members of the family, including children. They can form strong attachments and become wonderful companions for kids. However, it is crucial to supervise interactions between Akitas and children, especially younger ones, to prevent any accidents or misunderstandings. Teaching children how to properly interact with dogs and respecting the Akita’s personal space is essential for a harmonious relationship.

Training is key when it comes to raising an American Akita as a family companion. Early socialization is crucial to expose them to various people, animals, and environments to ensure they develop into well-rounded and confident dogs. Positive reinforcement methods work best with Akitas, as they respond well to praise and rewards. Consistency, patience, and firm leadership are important in their training process.

15. Vocalizations

American Akita

Despite their calm personality, American Akita are not completely silent dogs. While they may not bark as frequently as some other breeds, they are known to vocalize in their own unique way. Akitas have a range of vocalizations that they use to communicate and express themselves.

When an American Akita feels the need to alert their owners or protect their territory, they may bark. Their bark can be deep, powerful, and quite impressive, making it clear that they mean business. Akitas have a natural instinct to guard and protect, and their bark serves as a warning to potential intruders or threats.

In addition to barking, Akitas may also growl to express their displeasure or to communicate their boundaries. Growling can serve as a warning sign that they are feeling uncomfortable or threatened. It’s important for owners to pay attention to their Akita’s body language and understand the context in which the growling occurs.

What sets Akitas apart is their unique vocalizations, often described as mumbles or grunts. These sounds can be quite endearing and may sound more like rumbling or talking than typical barking. Some Akita owners find these noises to be charming and entertaining, adding to the overall personality of the breed.

16. Dominant Dog

American Akita

American Akita are known for their dominant nature. As noble dogs, they possess a sense of pride and grace that is evident in their temperament. It’s important for owners to understand and manage this dominant trait to ensure a harmonious and well-behaved Akita.

Socialization plays a vital role in the development of an Akita’s behavior. Early and consistent socialization is crucial to help them interact positively with other dogs and animals. Akitas can be wary of unfamiliar dogs, especially those of the same sex, due to their strong territorial instincts. Proper socialization can help mitigate potential aggression or dominance-related issues.

It’s important to note that Akitas have a high prey drive, which stems from their origins as guarding and hunting dogs. They may exhibit a strong chase instinct towards small animals, including cats. To prevent any harm or undesirable behavior, it is essential to introduce them to other pets in a controlled and supervised manner. Proper training and positive reinforcement techniques can help redirect their natural instincts and teach them appropriate behavior around smaller pets.

17. Difficult to Train

American Akita

The dominant nature of Akitas requires owners to establish themselves as confident and authoritative leaders. Consistency and patience are essential when training this breed. It’s important to set clear boundaries, be firm yet gentle, and provide positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors. Harsh or forceful training methods can be counterproductive and may lead to resistance or even aggression.

One of the challenges in training American Akita is their tendency to become easily distracted. They may have difficulty maintaining focus for extended periods, which can make it harder to teach them complex commands or tasks. Breaking down training sessions into shorter, more frequent sessions can help keep their attention and prevent boredom.

Starting training early is crucial for American Akita puppies. Socialization, basic obedience commands, and leash training should be introduced as soon as they join your household. 

Patience is key when training an American Akita. These dogs respond best to positive reinforcement techniques such as rewards, praise, and treats. Consistency in expectations and training methods is essential to ensure that the Akita understands what is expected of them. 

Seeking the assistance of a professional dog trainer experienced with strong-willed and dominant breeds can be beneficial. They can provide guidance, offer techniques tailored to the Akita’s specific needs, and help address any training challenges that arise.

18. Grooming Specifics

American Akita

During shedding periods, it is recommended to groom an American Akita daily. This helps to remove loose fur and prevent it from accumulating around the house. Regular brushing helps to reduce shedding and keep their coat healthy and tangle-free. Using a de-shedding tool or a slicker brush can be effective in removing the loose fur and preventing matting.

When the shedding period is over, grooming becomes less demanding. Their clean nature and minimal doggy odor make them relatively low-maintenance during non-shedding periods. Brushing their coat once or twice a week is usually sufficient to keep their fur in good condition. It also helps to distribute natural oils and maintain a healthy shine.

Aside from brushing, regular maintenance of their nails, ears, and teeth is essential. Trimming their nails every few weeks helps prevent overgrowth and discomfort. Checking and cleaning their ears regularly helps to prevent infections, as Akitas can be prone to ear issues. Additionally, regular teeth brushing promotes good oral hygiene and prevents dental problems.

Bathing an Akita should be done on an as-needed basis. Akitas have a self-grooming tendency similar to cats, and they usually keep themselves clean. Bathing them too frequently can strip their coat of its natural oils and cause dryness. When bathing is necessary, using a mild dog shampoo and ensuring thorough rinsing is important.

19. Working Dogs

American Akita

The strength, intelligence, and temperament of the American Akita make them suitable for different working roles. In the past, they were used as sled dogs, harnessing their power and endurance to pull heavy loads across snowy terrains. Their strong build and robust physique made them valuable assets in transportation.

Furthermore, the American Akita’s protective instincts and loyalty make them well-suited for roles in law enforcement and military work. Their alertness and ability to assess threats quickly can make them valuable assets in search and rescue operations, detecting narcotics or explosives, and other tasks that require reliable working dogs.

Their intelligence also plays a crucial role in their work capabilities. American Akita have the capacity to learn and understand complex commands and tasks. With consistent and positive training methods, they can be trained to perform a wide range of duties and respond to various situations effectively.

However, it is important to note that not all American Akitas will excel as working dogs. Individual temperament and characteristics can vary within the breed, and not every Akita will possess the desired traits for specific working roles. Careful selection and evaluation of each dog’s temperament and abilities are necessary when considering them for working purposes.

20. Sporting Dogs

American Akita

The heritage of the Akita breed traces back to their ancestors being used for hunting boars and deer in Japan. This background has instilled in them certain characteristics and instincts that can make them excel in sporting activities.

To harness their potential as sporting dogs, proper American Akita training is crucial. Due to their dominant nature and tendency towards inactivity, it requires dedicated time and effort to train them effectively. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement methods are key when preparing them for sporting events.

Once an American Akita is adequately trained and conditioned, they can participate in various sporting competitions and excel in them. Their physical strength, agility, and endurance enable them to perform well in events such as tracking, agility trials, obedience trials, and even weight-pulling competitions. Their competitive spirit and determination make them formidable contenders in the sporting arena.

In summary, the American Akita is an intriguing breed with a captivating history and distinctive traits. Their impressive size, loyalty, and versatility make them a remarkable companion. Discovering these lesser-known facts about American Akitas is certain to enhance one’s admiration for these majestic dogs.

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