The Akita is a large breed of dog originating from the mountainous northern regions of Japan.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
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Akitas have webbed toes to help walk on snow by distributing their weight more effectively. Historically, they keep their front dew claws because these "ice picks" help them climb out of icy water.
About this Breed
The Akita is a big, bold dog with a distinctly powerful appearance: a large head in contrast to small, triangular eyes and a confident, rugged stance. The mere presence of a powerful Akita serves as a deterrent to most who would cause trouble.
This breed is renowned for unwavering loyalty to his owners, and he can be surprisingly sweet and affectionate with family members. Imagine a loving protector who will follow you from room to room, whose entire mission in life seems to be simply to serve you.
The Akita is courageous, a natural guardian of his family. Stubborn and willful, he won’t back down from a challenge. He doesn’t usually bark unless there is a good reason, but he is vocal, making amusing grunts, moans, and mumbles. Some owners say the Akita mutters under his breath and seems to be talking to himself, while others say the Akita offers his opinion on all matters, from how to load the dishwasher to when the children should be put to bed.
While these charming “talking” traits are exhibited to family, the Akita is often aloof and silent with visitors. He’s naturally wary of strangers, though he will be welcoming enough to a houseguest as long as his owners are home.
Socializing the Akita puppy (or retraining an adult dog) with as much exposure to friendly people as possible can help soften the edge of his wariness, though an Akita will always be an Akita — a dignified and sober presence, not a party animal.
One of the Akita’s singular traits is mouthing. The Akita loves to carry things around in his mouth, and that includes your wrist. This is not an act of aggression, but simply an Akita way of communicating with those he loves. He may lead you to his leash because he wants to go for a walk, for example, or act on any number of other ideas that pop into his intelligent head.
Many owners are charmed by the Akita’s mouthing, but if you find it annoying, simply give your Akita a job that involves carrying something. He would happily get the newspaper or your slippers for you, or retrieve the mail or even those keys you keep misplacing.
Akitas on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Akita ancestry.