The Akita Dog

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*Learn more about the breed below and some of the products recommended by our team of experts, which include veterinarians, explosive detection dog handlers and the dog obsessed.

Overview of the Akita Breed

The Akita hails from Japan, where it was bred to protect royals and other nobility. It was also used as a hunting companion, and used its incredible sense of smell and profound courage to track bear and boar. This dog has an appearance that some might consider intimidating, thanks to its broad head and muscle build. It’s covered with a coat of dense, fluffy fur, its ears stand erect, and its eyes are dark and intense.

Though the Akita was highly regarded in Japan, Americans may not have known about this breed if it weren’t for Helen Keller. The renowned political activist who was best known for her ability to overcome her handicaps (deafness and blindness) was a devoted dog-lover. While speaking in Japan in 1937, Keller met a famous Akita, Hachiko, and fell in love. She requested an Akita from the Japanese government; they honored her request, and hence, this breed was introduced to the US.

Akitas are incredibly loyal to their human companions, though they often do not get along well with other animals. They long for the company of their humans, though they can also be independent. They are excellent hunters and are often used to track black bears and other large prey by hunters in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Akita Food and Health

Akitas require a diet that is primarily made up of pure animal protein. In fact, many Akita owners feed their Akitas a strict meat-only diet. However, they do require nutrients from other foods (like vegetables) in order to flourish. To ensure your Akita is meeting its nutritional needs, feeding him high-quality commercial dog food is recommended. Two great choices include this hypoallergenic dog food and Wellness Natural Limited Ingredient food.

Your Akita should eat anywhere from 3 to 5 cups of food a day, divided into two separate meals; however, the amount he eats should be based on his size, age, and activity level. For instance, those who are used for hunting should eat more calories than those who live a more sedentary lifestyle. Speak to your vet to find out exactly how much you should feed your Akita.

Though the Akita is quite powerful, it is prone to several health conditions. These dogs can suffer from bloat, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and sebaceous adenitis, a condition that causes excessively dry, scaly skin that can be quite uncomfortable. Given the healthcare needs of these dogs, investing in pet insurance is a wise decision. You can get an affordable policy that offers great coverage from a number of reputable companies, including Geico, Nationwide, and Allstate. With this insurance, you won’t have to foot the entire cost of your dog’s medical care.

Leashes and Collars for your Akita

Collars and leashes are must-haves for all dogs, including Akitas.

For this powerful breed, you will need a collar and leash that can properly support the dog, and that you can easily control. For a collar, make sure that you consider the size of his neck; you should always be able to slip two fingers between the dog’s neck and the collar. Also, consider a collar made of a gentle material to prevent matting and pulling on his fluffy fur. Paracord and nylon are great choices for this breed.

If you prefer, you can use a harness with your Akita. This breed has a tendency to pull if it is not properly trained or if it picks up a scent. A harness can prevent unnecessary strain on his neck and it evenly distributes his weight. Like a collar, a harness should be made of materials that won’t snag or mat his fur.

Your leash choice should depend on the nature of your dog and your purposes. For example, if you are training him, a lead made of rope can be very useful, as it is gentler on your hands and often easier to control. Whatever type of lead you choose, make sure that it is made of durable fabric, like braided leather. As mentioned, this breed is very powerful and you want to ensure you have complete control of him as he is walking.

If you are unsure which leash, harness, or leash to use, ask your vet to point you in the right direction.

Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Akitas

A crate can be a very useful tool for an Akita. While these dogs long for human companionship and do not like spending time alone, they do need training and a safe place for those times when you cannot be with them.

When selecting a crate, always consider the size of your Akita. He will need enough room to stand and turn around comfortably; however, you do not want him to have excessive space, as this will detract from the purpose of a crate: training and providing a “den”-like atmosphere.

If your Akita is a puppy and you plan on using a crate with him as he grows, you’ll need to ensure that it fits his growing body. To avoid purchasing several crates, invest in one that features a divider that can be used to adjust the amount of space he has inside, such as this Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate.

A bed provides a warm, comfortable, and supportive space for your Akita to sleep. Choose something that will afford him enough space to spread out, as this breed likes his room while he sleeps. A bolster or pillow-style bed should work well. If he is showing signs of hip dysplasia, an orthopedic bed, like this Gray Orthopedic Dog Bed, is a good option, as it will offer him the support he needs.

Though your Akita will prefer being inside with you, if he is going to be outside for long periods of time, make sure you provide him with a dog house. This structure will protect him from the elements and provide a safe haven outside. A dog house should fit the size of the Akita and offer enough room for him to move about comfortably. It should also offer features that will ensure his comfort. For instance, if you live in an area that receive a lot of rain, such as Washington or Oregon, an elevated dog bed will keep him up off the ground. Operable windows are also a great feature, as they provide much-needed airflow. Some excellent options for dog houses for your Akita include the Petmate Indigo Dog House and the Tuff-N-Rugged Dog House.

Akita Toys

Akitas are quite intelligent and need mental stimulation in order to prevent them from getting into mischief. They also require exercise. Offer your Akita a variety of toys so that he can receive both the exercise and mental stimulation that he needs.

According to many Akita owners, this breed enjoys playing with toys that squeak. Stuffed toys that resemble animals or balls that squeak are good choices; however, do consider the construction. They can easily tear through soft materials with their powerful jaws.

Akitas also like to play fetch, so rope toys, balls, and other toys that they can chase after should all be offered. For times when you cannot play with your dog, an automated ball tossing toy is a wonderful solution. This type of toy will release a ball so that your dog can chase after it when you can’t throw something for him.

Puzzle toys like the Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Toy Puzzle are also a good idea, as they provide mental stimulation. Your dog will have to work a variety of pieces and move them into the right place, and upon doing so, a treat will be released. Other good toy ideas for this breed are toys that dispense treats or durable chew toys.

Grooming Insights for Akita owners

When it comes to grooming, Akitas are considered pretty low-maintenance. However, they do still require some degree of grooming. They have very fluffy fur that sheds a lot during the spring and fall, though otherwise, the shed very little. To remove the dead fur, combing or brushing on a weekly basis is recommended. Using a deshedding tool also helps to release natural oils in the skin, thereby maintaining the health of his coat and skin.

When it comes to bathing, do so sparingly. Akitas have a natural instinct to clean themselves, and their coats are designed to repel dirt. However, they do require a bath every once in a while; for example, when they’ve rolled into something smelly. For baths, make sure you have plenty of space and use something like this Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo to avoid irritating his skin. You can also use a product like SynergyLabs Medicated Shampoo if he is exhibiting signs of irritation.

Flea and tick prevention are extremely important for this breed, as these pests like to get trapped in their dense fur. There are several products available, including the Preventic Tick Collar, as well as washes and powders that can repel ticks and fleas; however, speak to your vet to find out which option will work best for your dog’s needs.

Akita Accessories

There are several accessories on the market that you might want to consider using with your Akita.

Training tools can be particularly useful. For example, a training collar can be used to teach your dog commands, as can clickers. A cooling mat will keep your dog comfortable on hot days. If your dog is showing signs of hip dysplasia, a ramp can help him get up and down stairs with greater ease.

When choosing accessories for your Akita, think about his lifestyle and disposition, as well as your goals, and you will certainly be able to find products that will suit your needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about large breeds like the Akita, DogGear has all the information you need!