Japanese Akita Inu

Last updated November 2011

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Large, well-balanced, sturdily built dog of Spitz type. Very slightly longer than high.


Alert and agile. Thick triangular ears, pricked and inclined forward. Dark eyes, set and shaped to give a distinctive appearance. Stand-off coat with brilliant colours and defined markings. Tightly curled tail.


Dignified and composed with a courageous character.

Head and skull

When viewed from the front the head appears rounded due to well-developed cheeks. From above, the head appears as a blunt triangle. Broad skull, flat and free from wrinkle. Defined stop and distinct furrow. Muzzle straight, of good depth, tapering gradually. Skull to muzzle proportions 3:2. Nose large and black except in white dogs where flesh coloured is acceptable. Lips tight with dark pigment.


Placed moderately apart, relatively small, almond shaped, dark brown and obliquely set. Eye rims dark and tight.


Thick, triangular and slightly hooded, with rounded tips. Proportionately small, set moderately well apart, pricked and inclining forward. Closely following the line of the back of the neck.


Strong jaws with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Full dentition and well-developed teeth.


Thick and muscular, of moderate length, without dewlap. Pronounced crest blending with back of skull.


Shoulders moderately laid back with well-developed muscles. Elbows set close to chest. Forelegs well boned and straight when viewed from the front. Pasterns slightly sloping.


Length from point of shoulder to point of buttock slightly greater than height at withers, as 11:10. Females may be slightly longer. Strong, level back. Chest deep with well-developed forechest. Moderately sprung ribcage with well-defined tuck-up. Short coupled with a broad and muscular loin.


Strong and muscular with moderate angulation. Well-developed thighs. Moderate turn of stifle. Strong hocks, turning neither in nor out.


Round, arched and tight with thick pads. Turning neither in nor out.


Set high. Thick, full and of good length. Tightly curled over the back. Uncurled tail highly undesirable.


Moderate strides that demonstrate an efficient, rhythmic and resilient gait, converging towards the centre line at speed. Stilted gait undesirable.


Outer coat course, stand-off and straight. Slightly longer at withers and rump. More profuse on tail. Undercoat soft and dense. No indication of ruff or feathering.


Red fawn; Sesame (red fawn hairs with black tips); Brindle; White. All the foregoing colours, except white, must have ‘urajiro’ markings, which may be less visible on the brindle, where it may be a greyish frosted overlay of the main coat colour. (Urajiro – whitish coat on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, on the undersides of jaw, neck, chest, body and tail, and on the inside of the legs). The urajiro markings must blend in gradually with the main coat colour and not extend above the elbow or hock. White markings in the main body coat are undesirable.


Height at withers: dogs 64-70cms (25¼-27½ ins); bitches 58-64 cms (22¾-25¼ ins).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.