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Breed Group Group 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds
Sub-group 2-C: Asian Spitz Breeds
Origin Country Japan
Weight Males: 100-130 pounds. Females: 70-100 pounds.
Height Males: 26-28 inches. Females: 24-26 inches.
Other Name(s) Akita Americain, Akita Americano, American Akita, Amerikanischer Akita
Breed Type Pure
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Akita

Breed Group Group 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds
Sub-group 2-C: Asian Spitz Breeds
Origin Country Japan
Weight Males: 100-130 pounds. Females: 70-100 pounds.
Height Males: 26-28 inches. Females: 24-26 inches.
Other Name(s) Akita Americain, Akita Americano, American Akita, Amerikanischer Akita
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Breed Spotlight

Origins

These rough-coated pinschers have been around for centuries. As predecessors of the Brussels Griffon, it is also believed that they contributed to the Miniature Schnauzer. Originally, they were larger with longer muzzles. It is thought that, at some point, pug-like dogs or ancestors of the pug were mixed in, which resulted in the somewhat brachycephalic, smaller breed that we know today as the Affenpinscher. The German word affe translates to “ape,” or “monkey.” The term “pinscher” describes the group’s manner of working, using their mouth to bite or “pinch.”

Breed Characteristics

Head: American Akita: Substantial, broad throughout, but in proportion to the size of the dog. Mesaticephalic in type. Forms a blunt wedge when viewed from the front or from above. The topskull is broad; being as wide (from side to side measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). It appears flat when viewed from the front. In profile, the head may be flat or just slightly arched from well-developed muscles. The head is well-muscled throughout with pronounced cheeks and well-formed temporal muscles that create a median furrow that starts at the stop and runs up toward the occiput. The head is clean-cut, but may show wrinkling on the forehead when the dog is brought to alert.
Japanese Akita: The head is of moderate size and in proportion to the entire body. Mesaticephalic in type, it is wedge-shaped when viewed from above or in profile. The topskull is broad; being as wide (from side to side measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). It appears somewhat flat when viewed from the front. The head is well-muscled throughout with pronounced cheeks and well-formed temporal muscles that create a median furrow that starts at the stop and runs up toward the occiput. The head is clean-cut and free of wrinkles.
Eyes: American Akita: The eyes are moderate in size, but appear relatively smaller in comparison to the head size and substance. They are deeply set and almond to triangular in shape. The eye rims are tightly fitted and darkly pigmented. Eye color ranges from medium to dark brown. The eyes are never bulging, large, or rounded. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Japanese Akita: The eyes are somewhat small to moderate in size, but appear relatively small in comparison to the overall head features. They are almond to triangular in shape and obliquely set, with outer corners set higher than the inner corners. They are set moderately apart, with darkly pigmented and tightly fitted eye rims. The eye color may range from amber or yellow to dark brown. The eyes are never bulging, large, or rounded. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.

Ears: American Akita: The ears are triangular in shape, relatively small, and firmly erect with slightly rounded tips. They are set wide apart, but not low on the skull. They are carried with the tips slightly forward, with the curve of the ears being in line with the curve of the back of the neck. Ears should never be large, drop, broken, or set high on the skull. Properly sized and positioned ear tips will just touch the edge of the upper rim of the eye when folded forward.
Japanese Akita: The ears are relatively small, thick, and triangular, being wider at the base and tapering to slightly rounded tips. They are set moderately apart, but not low on the skull. They are firmly pricked, yet slant forward with the tips inclined toward the eyes.
Muzzle: Just slightly shorter than the topskull. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length, have good bone substance, are strong, well-developed, never appearing snippy or weak. The muzzle is slightly tapered from the base to the end.
Nose: The nose is large, broad, well-pigmented, and black, or self-colored according to the coat in the non-standard colored varieties. The nostrils are well-opened. Faded noses are permissible on white dogs.

Neck: American Akita: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, powerfully muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Japanese Akita: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.

Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: American Akita: Compact, solid, and good substance. The body is well-put-together, substantial, and powerfully muscled. It is never slight of bone or rangy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Japanese Akita: The body is sturdy, balanced, and well-muscled with moderate bone. It is never slight of bone or rangy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads
Tail: Set high on the croup, thick at the base, and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance to the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked or carried up over the back. The tail is of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail is carried curved or curled over the back
Movement: American Akita: Powerful, brisk, energetic, effortless, efficient, agile, and resilient. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Japanese Akita: Powerful, brisk, energetic, effortless, efficient, agile, and resilient. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: American Akita: The Akita is dignified and an independent thinker. He nobly keeps watch of all that he surveys and deems to be “his” property. Fiercely loyal and courageous, he makes an excellent companion and watch dog. The American Akita was once notoriously known as the Japanese Fighting Akita because it was developed from Akita strains that were used in the dog-fighting rings. While breeding for tolerance and acceptance of people and other dogs has been one of the improvements that Akita breeders have strived for, some individuals may be prone to intraspecific and same-sex aggression if early socialization and obedience are not implemented. The Akita is an immensely intelligent breed, so long as the subject he is being taught interests him. Otherwise, he can become disinterested in a task, what many people consider “stubborn.” Keeping tasks and activities interesting, motivating, and engaging is certain to gain his attention and compliance. While devoted and loyal to his people, he can be notoriously intolerant toward other dogs and animals, possibly displaying indifference or disinterest toward strangers as well. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
Japanese Akita: The Japanese Akita is a docile, self-composed, receptive, and devoted dog breed.
He is dignified and an independent thinker. He nobly keeps watch of all that he surveys and deems to be “his” property. Fiercely loyal and courageous, he makes an excellent companion and watch dog. While breeding for tolerance and acceptance of people and other dogs has been one of the improvements that Akita breeders have strived for, some individuals may be prone to intraspecific and same-sex aggression if early socialization and obedience is not implemented. The Akita is an immensely intelligent breed, so long as the subject he is being taught interests him. Otherwise, he can become disinterested in a task, what many people consider “stubborn.” Keeping tasks and activities interesting, motivating, and engaging is certain to gain his attention and compliance. While devoted and loyal to his people, he can be notoriously intolerant toward other dogs and animals, possibly displaying indifference or disinterest toward strangers as well. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds

Proportions: Continental Kennel Club recognizes two types within the Akita breed; the traditional Japanese and the American type. In either type, males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.
American Akita: Square to off-square with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is between 5:4 and 10:9. Females may be slightly longer. The body is solid, well-put together, substantial, with sturdy substance and moderately strong one.
Japanese Akita:
The Japanese Akita is a large, sturdy, and balanced dog breed. The body is strongly muscled, with moderate bone. It is both agile and athletic for a dog of his size and must never appear heavy in bone or excessive in mass. The body proportions are somewhat square to off-square, with the ideal body length (from point of the forechest to the point of the rump) to height (measured form withers to ground) being equal, or with the body length being just greater than height. The ideal body length to height ratios range from 1:1 to 11:10, with females being slightly longer than males. The body is well put together.

Head

General Appearance: American Akita: Substantial, broad throughout, but in proportion to the size of the dog. Mesaticephalic in type. Forms a blunt wedge when viewed from the front or from above. The topskull is broad; being as wide (from side to side measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). It appears flat when viewed from the front. In profile, the head may be flat or just slightly arched from well-developed muscles. The head is well-muscled throughout with pronounced cheeks and well-formed temporal muscles that create a median furrow that starts at the stop and runs up toward the occiput. The head is clean-cut, but may show wrinkling on the forehead when the dog is brought to alert.
Japanese Akita: The head is of moderate size and in proportion to the entire body. Mesaticephalic in type, it is wedge-shaped when viewed from above or in profile. The topskull is broad; being as wide (from side to side measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). It appears somewhat flat when viewed from the front. The head is well-muscled throughout with pronounced cheeks and well-formed temporal muscles that create a median furrow that starts at the stop and runs up toward the occiput. The head is clean-cut and free of wrinkles.
Expression: American Akita: Alert, strong, watchful, self-composed, capable, keen, and intelligent.
Japanese Akita: Dignified, self-composed, noble, keen, alert, watchful, and intelligent
Stop: Well-defined but not abrupt.
American Akita: Well-defined but not abrupt.
Japanese Akita: Somewhat defined.
Skull: American Akita:
The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 2:3, with the topskull being just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Japanese Akita:
The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1, with the topskull being equal to the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: Just slightly shorter than the topskull. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length, have good bone substance, are strong, well-developed, never appearing snippy or weak. The muzzle is slightly tapered from the base to the end.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and well-fitted over the teeth and jaws. They are never pendulous or loose. They allow for a blunt, wedge-shaped muzzle.
Nose: The nose is large, broad, well-pigmented, and black, or self-colored according to the coat in the non-standard colored varieties. The nostrils are well-opened. Faded noses are permissible on white dogs.

Cheeks: American Akita: Powerful and well-developed. The cheeks aid in giving the head it’s broad, powerful appearance and wedge-shape. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Japanese Akita: The cheeks are moderately developed and powerful. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level or scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized
Eyes: American Akita: The eyes are moderate in size, but appear relatively smaller in comparison to the head size and substance. They are deeply set and almond to triangular in shape. The eye rims are tightly fitted and darkly pigmented. Eye color ranges from medium to dark brown. The eyes are never bulging, large, or rounded. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Japanese Akita: The eyes are somewhat small to moderate in size, but appear relatively small in comparison to the overall head features. They are almond to triangular in shape and obliquely set, with outer corners set higher than the inner corners. They are set moderately apart, with darkly pigmented and tightly fitted eye rims. The eye color may range from amber or yellow to dark brown. The eyes are never bulging, large, or rounded. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.

Ears: American Akita: The ears are triangular in shape, relatively small, and firmly erect with slightly rounded tips. They are set wide apart, but not low on the skull. They are carried with the tips slightly forward, with the curve of the ears being in line with the curve of the back of the neck. Ears should never be large, drop, broken, or set high on the skull. Properly sized and positioned ear tips will just touch the edge of the upper rim of the eye when folded forward.
Japanese Akita: The ears are relatively small, thick, and triangular, being wider at the base and tapering to slightly rounded tips. They are set moderately apart, but not low on the skull. They are firmly pricked, yet slant forward with the tips inclined toward the eyes.

Body and Tail

General Description: American Akita: Compact, solid, and good substance. The body is well-put-together, substantial, and powerfully muscled. It is never slight of bone or rangy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Japanese Akita: The body is sturdy, balanced, and well-muscled with moderate bone. It is never slight of bone or rangy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: American Akita: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, powerfully muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Japanese Akita: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.

Chest: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Topline: Level from withers to croup. The back is short, broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is short, firm, and strong. The topline is never swayed or roached.
Croup: The croup is powerful, well-muscled, and may be level with the topline or just slightly (almost imperceptibly) sloped.
Underline: American Akita: A slight to moderate tuck up may be present, or the underline may run parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Japanese Akita: The underline is moderately to well-drawn up, but never wasp-wasted or excessively drawn in. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Tail: Set high on the croup, thick at the base, and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance to the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked or carried up over the back. The tail is of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail is carried curved or curled over the back

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: : Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers
Forelegs: American Akita:
Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, somewhat heavy bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Japanese Akita:
Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns
Pasterns: Never weak or broken
Hindquarters: American Akita: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of somewhat heavy bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump, or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Japanese Akita: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump, or within one paw-length behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well let-down rear pasterns
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads

Coat

Skin: American Akita: The skin is well-fitted, pliant, never appearing saggy or loose. It should allow for some flexibility without obscuring the outline of the dog.
Japanese Akita: The skin is tightly fitted throughout
Coat Type: Harsh, straight, weather-resistant outer coat with a soft, dense undercoat. Hair on head, ears, and lower legs is shorter. Hair on withers and rump slightly longer (approximately two inches). Hair on tail is longest and most profuse. Never with profuse ruff or feathering
Coat Color or Pattern: American Akita: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the American Akita breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.
Standard coat color variety: Any solid color ranging from light silvery cream, red, or dark brownish red, all with or without black mask (called fawn). Various shades of brindle, ranging from sparse light brindle, to medium brindle, to heavy or reversed brindle. Various shades of sabeling ranging from light sabeling (with black overlay) to dark sabeling or seal, all with silver, cream, or red undercoat, all with silver or black overlay, solid colors black, all with or without white markings covering less than one-third of the body (pinto), markings on the head and less than one-third of the body (called hooded), solid white, or white with silver, cream, red, silver, or black overlay. All with or without white markings (urajiro or sesame), all with or without black mask and mask extension overlay.
Non-standard coat color variety: Liver, blue, silver, Isabella solids, sables, brindles, fawns; all with or without white points (urajiro) or creams or tans with the non-standard colored masks and mask extensions (fawn), overlays with listed non-standard colors.
Japanese Akita: Black, goma sesame (black sable with white points), red sesame (red clear sable with white points), brindle, and solid white. All colors must have urajiro (white points). White patches are not permissible.

Movement

American Akita: Powerful, brisk, energetic, effortless, efficient, agile, and resilient. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring. Japanese Akita: Powerful, brisk, energetic, effortless, efficient, agile, and resilient. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

American Akita: The Akita is dignified and an independent thinker. He nobly keeps watch of all that he surveys and deems to be “his” property. Fiercely loyal and courageous, he makes an excellent companion and watch dog. The American Akita was once notoriously known as the Japanese Fighting Akita because it was developed from Akita strains that were used in the dog-fighting rings. While breeding for tolerance and acceptance of people and other dogs has been one of the improvements that Akita breeders have strived for, some individuals may be prone to intraspecific and same-sex aggression if early socialization and obedience are not implemented. The Akita is an immensely intelligent breed, so long as the subject he is being taught interests him. Otherwise, he can become disinterested in a task, what many people consider “stubborn.” Keeping tasks and activities interesting, motivating, and engaging is certain to gain his attention and compliance. While devoted and loyal to his people, he can be notoriously intolerant toward other dogs and animals, possibly displaying indifference or disinterest toward strangers as well. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed. Japanese Akita: The Japanese Akita is a docile, self-composed, receptive, and devoted dog breed. He is dignified and an independent thinker. He nobly keeps watch of all that he surveys and deems to be “his” property. Fiercely loyal and courageous, he makes an excellent companion and watch dog. While breeding for tolerance and acceptance of people and other dogs has been one of the improvements that Akita breeders have strived for, some individuals may be prone to intraspecific and same-sex aggression if early socialization and obedience is not implemented. The Akita is an immensely intelligent breed, so long as the subject he is being taught interests him. Otherwise, he can become disinterested in a task, what many people consider “stubborn.” Keeping tasks and activities interesting, motivating, and engaging is certain to gain his attention and compliance. While devoted and loyal to his people, he can be notoriously intolerant toward other dogs and animals, possibly displaying indifference or disinterest toward strangers as well. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.