6 American Akita Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know

6 American Akita Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: May 15 2023


The American Akita is an impressive breed. You don’t have to particularly like them to agree with that statement. These dogs are not for everyone, and they will require special owners that will know how to handle them. They can be described as bear-like, which isn’t all that surprising. You only need to look at them once, and you will get the same idea.

American Akitas might not have the longest history, but the breed they come from surely does. If you are thinking about getting one of these dogs, you should read about their character first. You don’t want to end up with a dog that will be too much to handle. In the meantime, we bring you a list of our favorite American Akita fun facts.

1. Not the same as the Japanese Akita

The American Akita, or as it is called in the US, Akita, is actually not the same breed as their Japanese counterpart, the Akita Inu. American Akitas are the descendants of the Japanese Akita, but they are not the same breed. The history of the American breed starts in the 1940s. The history of the Japanese breed starts thousands of years in the past.

We prefer the classification FCI has for these dogs. They are two distinct breeds and shouldn’t really be put in the same basket. It is true that they share many characteristics. Still, there are significant differences when it comes to their looks and standard. The famous Hachikō was a Japanese Akita Inu.  You can read more about him here - 7 Most Famous Dogs in History.

2. They are clean

One of the characteristics the American Akita shares with their Japanese ancestors is their love for cleanliness. Some owners describe them as having cat-like cleaning routines. These dogs are fluffy and have thick coats, but they love taking care of it themselves. It is really great to live with a dog that will do most of their grooming themselves.

akita in the snow

However, one thing you should know about them is - they shed like crazy. These dogs inherited their coat from the Akita Inu. That means they have a thick, double coat that has to keep them warm in the coldest weather. That also means they have a longer, protective outer coat and a short, wooly undercoat. When the shedding season comes, the amount of hair that comes out of the American Akita is unbelievable.

3. Loyalty

Their Japanese ancestors are known as “the most loyal dogs in the world.” Luckily, this is a characteristic they inherited. American Akita fun fact number 3 is their undying loyalty. These dogs attach themselves to one owner, and they will do absolutely anything for them. However, before that happens, the owner needs to earn the dog’s trust. Only then will the dog be loyal and obedient.

While loyalty does seem like a loving trait most dog owners love in their American Akitas, it can become a problem if the dog needs to be rehomed. If an owner cannot take proper care of the dog anymore and needs to give them up, the rehoming process will most likely be a failure. Even if a family member takes the dog, their loyalty will stay with their original owner.

4. Origin is not entirely known

The origin of the American Akita is still a bit unclear. The Japanese strain was pretty isolated in their native country. The Japanese government didn’t allow these dogs to be exported. However, there is an interesting (unconfirmed) story about how the American Akita actually came to life. After the American occupation of Japan in the 1940s, the American soldiers were fascinated by the fighting version of the Akita dog. The Japanese mostly hid their dogs from Americans, but one man wanted to sell his dog, so he can buy food.

The story says that the Japanese merchant sold his Akita to an American soldier, but the soldier didn’t know it wasn’t a pureblooded Akita. It was actually mixed with German Shepherds. After the initial Akita purchase, soldiers bought more and more of these dogs and brought them back. In the meantime, the US government blocked Japanese imports, so the breed was developed as a strain of the original Japanese Akita. The ban on imports was lifted in 1992, but the breeds are now very different.

5. They adore the cold and snow

How about this for an American Akita fun fact? These dogs are descendants of dogs from mountainous regions of Japan, so it is not that surprising they feel most at home in colder climates. However, the American Akita’s love of snow can be a bit comical. They will try to eat it, roll in it, and even might choose to nap in it.

american akita in the snow

American Akita’s ancestors were used as hunting dogs, among many other uses. They still have a high prey drive, and hunting behavior can be clearly seen as soon as the snow sticks to the ground. If left unchecked, the American Akita will stay out in the snow all day, looking for potential prey.

6. They are fantastic watchdogs

If you are looking for a watchdog, you can be sure you will not go wrong with choosing the American Akita. For thousands of years, these dogs were also used as protectors and watchdogs on Japanese farms. This is a trait that stayed with them until today. They are keenly aware of their surroundings, and you can be absolutely sure nothing will pass your American Akita unnoticed.

Watchdogs were traditionally powerful dogs. Not only will they let you know something suspicious is going on, but they will also protect you in case something happens. These bear-like dogs will never back down from a fight. However, that type of behavior can become problematic. You should train your dog if you want to have an obedient American Akita at home.

Want to know more fun facts about the Japanese strain of Akita? Check out this article - Akita Inu - What You Don't Know.

World Dog Finder team

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