The lush double coat requires consistent upkeep; Akitas drop their undercoat seasonally.
Although known to be a quiet dog (they are known as the "Silent Hunter" in Japan), the Akita has strong guarding instincts and will sound the alarm if an intruder breaks into their house. Akita temperament can range from calm to bouncy and aggressive, so the breed should always be supervised around small children and other animals. Akitas like to be "pack leader," so obedience training is also necessary for a harmonious household. The breed will groom itself like a cat, but daily brushing is still necessary, as is daily exercise.
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds. The Akita is a large breed and has a lifespan well into its teens.
What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
They have an attractive thick double coats - a soft undercoat and longer protective guard hairs - which not only makes a stunning impression but protects their skin from dampness. Because of their coats, they are odorless making their presence in the home a pleasure at all times. So many endearing qualities can make you overlook the twice yearly profuse shedding of their undercoat. Daily brushing makes the process bearable for you and your Akita. Trim nails regularly and check ears weekly for signs of dirt or infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Akitas are quiet, fastidious dogs with a natural guarding instinct. Wary of strangers and often intolerant of other animals, Akitas will gladly share their silly, affectionate side with family and friends. They thrive on human companionship and are absolutely miserable when ignored. Though Akitas are independent thinkers, they train well if a firm but loving hand is applied beginning in puppyhood. Large, powerful dogs hardwired for protecting those they love, Akitas must be well socialized from birth with people and other dogs.
Working with responsible breeders, the common health challenges of Akitas listed below may be prevented, diagnosed and/or treated through the analysis of blood work, X-rays, thorough physical exams performed by a qualified veterinary medical professional, and/or genetic screening tests. Additionally, the health ailments Akitas are predisposed to many times may also be prevented through careful consultation with your personal veterinarian and breeder. For example, Akitas may experience bloat or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) a condition associated with stomach bloat. Akita dogs are particularly susceptible to this condition, when the stomach twists due to a variety of reasons.
This condition is severe and requires immediate, emergency veterinary treatment. Akita owners should be alert to the symptoms of GDV and know the location of the nearest 24 hour veterinary medical facility. This condition without treatment (and sometimes with) is fatal. Akitas may have progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). This adult-onset condition gradually leads to the degeneration of the retina causing blindness and cataracts. Canine hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joints that causes arthritis, may be found in Akitas. Reputable breeders test potential parents for this before breeding to reduce the likelihood of the disease.