Sunday, August 5, 2012

#9 The Akita

It's week two of the count down of the most expensive dog breeds to own. Our list is from an article on Main St from last summer. Last Sunday, we looked at Great Danes, and today we move on to the Akita. Here's the list in case you missed it:

10. Great Dane
9. Akita
8. Basset Hound
7. French Bulldog
6. American Pit Bull Terrier
5. American Staffordshire Terrier
4. Samoyed
3. Rottweiler
2. Bernese Mountain Dog
1. American Bull Dog

Photo from

The Akita is a breed that originated in Japan. It is a large breed with a very heavy coat, sometimes referred to as a double coat. They are revered in Japan and are used for multiple purposes: as companions, guard dogs, and also for hunting. The coloring can vary tremendously and so does their temperament. The Akita is slowly gaining popularity in the United States, and was first introduced to the US by Helen Keller [AKC].

Typical health issues for the Akita include:
  • Skin: Hot Spots, Allergies
  • Hormones: Addison's Disease, Hypothyroidism
  • Behavior: Aggression, Panic Disorders, OCD (tail chasing)
  • Digestive: Bloat, Malabsorption, Spleenic Torsion
  • Eyes: Cataract, Entropion, Glaucoma, Retinal Dysplasia
  • Heart/Blood: Hemophilia, Thrombocytopenia, Von Willebrande's Disease
  • Musculoskeletal: Hip Dysplasia, Myasthenia Gravis, Osteochondritis, ACL Tears
Being a large breed, like the Great Dane, the Akita has large breed problems including bloat, hip dysplasia, and osteochondritis. Unique to the Akita are problems with the skin and behavior.

The heavy, double coat of the Akita can lead to chronic skin problems such as Hot Spots and allergies. Hot spots are localized allergic reactions with secondary bacterial infections. The heavy hair coat makes it hard to manage the condition by trapping both allergens and bacteria while making it difficult to treat. These conditions require ongoing treatment which does not often yield very good results. 

The Akita's temperament can range from docile to aggressive. Considering the variation among temperaments within the breed, it's paramount to get a good family history for the dog in question before bringing it into the home. Although familial history is not a guarantee of behavior, it can be a strong indicator. Unless you are a trained animal behaviorist, it is not easy to modify behavior and there's no need to be macho about this. Akitas are very nice dogs, however, they have their limitations as to how they will behave with different owners. Akitas perfer to be "pack leaders" and without a strong personality in the home, can easily become domineering and aggressive. Known as "silent hunters," many experts caution owners to never leave an Akita alone with small children or animals.

Things to Consider

  • Akitas are a large breed that need plenty of space and exercise. Because of their temperament, daily exercise is a requirement. A bored and restless Akita is more likely to act aggressively.
  • The heavy coat of the Akita requires daily grooming, even though Akitas will often "groom" themselves like a cat.
  • The Akita requires an "Alpha Male" personality within the household to maintain household tranquility and keep behavioral problems at bay.
  • Akitas require a good and balanced diet, keeping in mind musculoskeletal and skin issues.
  • Bred to be working dogs, Akitas need to be kept mentally active! An Akita would be a good choice for special training and sometimes work as therapy dogs.
  • Insurance at an early age is highly recommended because of high medical costs for this breed's peculiar health issues.
Join in on the discussion and help create awareness! Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences with Akitas both good and bad

Check back next Sunday for #8 The Basset Hound.


  1. Om living with Akita now which is about 10 min have to 11 and a half years old at the only refuses to put it down and have a beervery very very severe skin disorder and refuses to use the bathroom outside just lose his files while walking and doesn't even notice that along with a crush someI can't stand dog anymore how can I tell him in a better way complete does not listen to me the dog needs to be put into the fat to be seen and put down

  2. I have had no medical problems whatsoever and myne is 12 years old and a strong playful female. Guess I got lucky as far as medical needs

  3. Kelly roberts.. do you not know how to speak english and \ or type properly? Cant fully understand fully to reply or to help you...?