The Akita Inu is a large dog breed that originated in the Northern region of Japan. The American Kennel Club and Federation Cynologique Internationale currently distinguish this breed as being separate from the American Akita.
The word Akita is the name of the region in Japan from which these dogs originated, and the word Inu is simply the Japanese word for dog.
The Akita Inu became a Japanese symbol in 1931, and today is recognized as the national dog of Japan. It has also recently been recognized as one of the oldest breeds of dogs through the use of DNA science.
Akita Inu dogs are only recognized in five colors; pure white, brindle, sesame, red, and fawn. Other colors are not accepted as true Akita Inu. All Inus have white fur on their muzzle, sides of the face and on their body with no clearly-defined lines.
The Akita Inu is the largest of the three spitz breeds originating in Japan. This breed can range in size from 70 to 119 pounds and will stand 24 to 26 inches tall. Their bodies are longer than they are tall, though generally well proportioned, and their head has a triangular shape.
The breed's bodies are generally strong and muscular with a plush tail and thick double coat of fur. They also have webbed feet which makes it easier for them to swim.
With proper care the Akita Inu has an expected life span of ten years.
The breed was well known in Japan as being protective and faithful to his owners while also being intelligent and docile as long as he is not provoked. Like most naturally-bred guard dogs, the breed needs obedience training, early socialization and a recognizable pack leader who exhibits consistent authority and rules with the dog. Without training and socialization the breed could become aggressive with other breeds and animals, especially those smaller than itself.
Training should not include methods of force as the breed will recognize this as a threat and the animal's dominant nature will take over. The dog will cooperate best through example and reward, and will respond well to firm but not harsh commands.
Care should be exercised when introducing new people to the dog or when guests enter the home due to their protective nature.
As an intelligent breed, the Akita Inu tends to bore easily and it is best to keep toys on hand and allow the dog ample chances for exercise for when you are unable to give them your full attention.
The Inu is capable of living indoors or outdoors. The dog can be kept in apartment buildings since it is known not to bark excessively. However, if you choose indoors or an apartment, the dog will need to be taken out for a good amount of exercise at a minimum of twice per day or behavioral problems will surface.