The largest of Japan’s seven native breeds, the Akita specialized in hunting and guarding. Beloved in Japan as loyal pets and companions, the breed was named one of the country’s national monuments in 1931. Helen Keller brought the first Akita to the U.S. when she returned from a trip to Japan; American servicemen also brought back the dogs from World War II. Recognized by the AKC in 1972, the Akita continues to gain admirers.


Large; females 24 to 26 inches, 75 to 95 pounds; males 26 to 28 inches, 85 to 115 pounds.


Any color, including white, brindle, or pinto.


Bold, alert, dignified, and courageous; devoted and protective of family members; can be aggressive toward other dogs.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Experienced in obedience training and time for daily physical exercise.


Daily outdoor runs (leashed or in a yard with a 6-foot fence), weekly brushing (more often during seasonal shedding) and cool climate.

Life expectancy:

10 to 12 years.