Akita

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Akita Information

Lifespan

Akitas are born in litters of 5-6 puppies, with weaning from the mother at 8 weeks. Akita puppies go through a period of rapid growth between 4 and 7 months, and are fully grown within a year. The American Akita will grow to just over 100 lbs. and 28 inches. This breed lives up to about 12 years.

Temperament

There is a reason the Akita was so well regarded in Japan. The breed is known for being affectionate, adaptable, and loyal. Akitas are known for having a quiet or reserved personality, but have a reputation for being extremely active and protective. They are good with children, and excellent family dogs. It is said that Japanese mothers were known to leave their children with the dog, as it was certain to watch over them.

The Akita is a breed that seeks companionship, and loves to be around its owner or family. While they are not known to be noisy dogs, they do make huffing or groaning noises. They can actually be quite vocal without even barking! The Akita will be social and communicative with family members, but will be quiet or reserved with strangers or visitors. It is important that Akitas are socialized early on, to help make them more comfortable with new people or visitors. Akitas only bark when they are feeling threatened or protective of their owners.

Along with their tendency to mumble and groan, Akitas have some very amusing habits. Akitas will “mouth” things, including your hand, their leash, objects, etc. This is not intended to be an aggressive or destructive habit, but as a means of understanding the environment or communicating with the owner. Akitas will also groom themselves by licking their fur, in a manner similar to that of a cat. This is something they do quite frequently

Akitas were originally bred as resourceful, adaptive, and strong hunting dogs. They have bodies that are built for rough physical terrain, and reputation for being extremely courageous. It is said that Akitas do not back down from a fight. Akitas are extremely strong and fast, yet gentle enough to bring animals back undamaged. Akitas still hunt today.

This is an energetic breed that does well with a great deal of exercise and activity. Akitas are muscular and swift dogs. They can be trained in agility, strength, and other tricks. Because they love to mouth everything, they enjoy fetching and carrying.

Because they have such dominant personalities and were bred as hunters, Akitas can be aggressive with other dogs and animals. They do best as the only dog in the house, and will chase other pets. Also, because they are a breed that craves companionship, they do not thrive when left alone for extended periods of time. Akitas that are left to themselves in a backyard or in the home for long hours can become mischievous, destructive, and unfriendly.

That being said, Akitas still make wonderful family dogs and steadfast companions. It is highly recommended that those considering owning the breed do thorough research to make sure they can commit the time, energy, and training to this amazing breed of dog.

Health and Care

Akitas are not recommended for a first time pet owner, or for someone looking for a mellow dog. While know to be calm, this breed is definitely not lazy! Akitas have a lot of energy and are quite astute. They become bored very easily. They benefit from a great deal of exercise and varied activities. This is an excellent pet for someone who enjoys daily walks and exercise, and is able to spend a great deal of time with the dog.

Like most large, active breeds, the Akita will require frequent feedings (about 5-6 cups of food per day) and fresh water. A low fat, high protein diet is recommended. Akitas are susceptible to certain ailments; including hip dysplasia, bloat, retinal deterioration, and certain skin conditions. Regular visits with a vet familiar with the breed are advised.

Because of their beautiful and distinctive double coats, Akitas tend to shed often and will require regular grooming and bathing. Nails need trimming every few months, and it is important to occasionally check ear health.

The Akita has a dominant personality, and will want to be the boss. They are “pack” animals, and will want to be the “pack leader.” It is important for the owner to establish that themselves as the one in charge. It is essential that training is respectful, consistent, and is done by the owner, as this is a loyal breed that forms strong bonds with family members. Both puppies and older dogs can be trained with proper commitment and patience.

Because they can be aggressive toward other dogs and wary of strangers, Akitas do best with a fenced in yard where they have space to run around. They do not necessarily do well visiting the dog park, because they will want to challenge larger dogs.

Owning an Akita

For those seeking an Akita puppy, it is important to make sure that the breeder is licensed and reputable. Akitas will also make great pets when adopted as adult dogs. It is possible to retrain them, although it may require a bit of patience

Prior to purchasing or adopting an Akita, it is important the prospective owners do thorough research so that they understand the breed’s temperament and the amount of time and training pet ownership will involve. This is a breed that often ends up in pet shelters or with adoption centers because pet owners do not understand the nuances of owning this very intelligent and active breed of dog. Often, Akitas are sent to shelters because they are “aggressive” or because they are becoming destructive due to boredom and lack of attention. When planning to bring an Akita home, it is essential to be aware of the breed’s strong points and personality quirks, in order to guarantee a successful relationship for both the owner and the pet.

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