All colors are accepted in the American Akita. The Pinto color and black masks, as seen in the American Akita, are not permitted in the Japanese Akita Inu. In the U.S., some breeders interbreed the original Japanese type with the heavier American type, which is larger, and allows more colors. It is felt by some that combining the two types leads to improved appearance and genetic health by increasing genetic diversity. It has often been commented that the Japanese Akita has an extraordinary elegance. There is only a single Akita breed registered by the American Kennel Club; in all other countries besides Canada the breed has been separated into two breeds: the Akita Inu and the American Akita.
The American Akita featured in the center does not have a correct head or ear set. For correct conformation, please see the puppies below, shown with permission and courtesy of
Mike and Donna Bennett of Liberty Akitas
Two male pups - Japanese on the left and American on the right (Liberty's Dr Feelgood)
These are two female akita pups - Japanese on the left and American on the right (CH. Liberty's La Te Da)
This square upright dog, one of two large breeds in Japan, is well balanced, with well-developed muscles and tendons. The skin is free of wrinkles and not loose. The male and female are clearly distinguishable from each other. Japanese Akitas are dignified, quick, and agile. Balance is very important in the overall picture of the dog. Because of efforts made to restore the breed to its origins, upon first glance, an oriental look must be evident, as well as an expression of intelligence and air of aloofness. The breed stands anywhere from 24–26 in (60–66 cm) at the withers. Females weigh anywhere from 70–100 lbs (30–45 kg) and males are 75–119 lbs (35–54 kg). The Akita Inu comes in only five colors: Red, Fawn, Sesame, Brindle, and Pure White. All except white must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, body and tail.
According to the Japanese Akita Cub of America, the Akita Inu should be :
The head is in proportion to the body with no loose skin or wrinkling. When viewed from the front, the head should look as though it would fill a circle. The fullness of the cheeks as well as the coat on the cheeks and neck contribute to this look. The forehead is broad, flat with a distinct furrow extending from the stop toward the top of the skull.
The ears of a Japanese Akita are pricked and rather small in size, equally triangulated, thick and slightly cupped, and correctly angulated forward off the back of the neck. They are rounded at the tip and should be wide set.
Eyes should be relatively small, equally triangular in shape and slightly raised at the outside corners. They should be deep set, and dark brown in color – the darker the better. Eye rims should have very dark pigment, almost giving the appearance of eyeliner.
Muzzle and Nose
When viewed from the top of the head, the muzzle should be round and full tapering to a blunt triangle but not pointed. Nose should be black with flesh or liver color permissible on white dogs only. Lips should be tightly drawn with no looseness and with dark pigment.
Teeth should be strong and powerful and have a scissor-bite with no missing teeth.
Neck should be short, thick and muscular with tight skin and no dewlap. Neck has proper angle in balance with the head.
Chest and Body
Well developed deep chest, with full rib cage and a well drawn up tuck up in abdomen. Back is strong and level with a broad and muscular loin. Males are square 10 to 10. Females may be slightly longer in proportion than males.
Shoulders are very moderately sloping forward and developed. Forearms are straight and elbows tight, neither turning in nor out. Adequate bone is essential for the proportion of dog. Pasterns are slightly slanted with 15 degrees the ideal.
The hind legs are thick and well developed with a powerful grip, thrust and stance. Back legs are moderately angulated with hocks neither turning in nor out.
Feet are cat-like, thickly padded, round, well knuckled and tight with a firm grip.
Tail is set high with a strong thick root. Thick and well curled over the back. When let down, it nearly touches the hock. Types - acceptable tails are: single curl, double curl, three-quarter curl, left or right curl.
Triple coated. Outer coat is a coarse, straight guard coat. The other two coats are as follows: One is thicker and somewhat soft and generally enhances the coat color. The other is closest to the skin and is generally thicker and wool-like in texture.
Acceptable coat colors are red, brindle and white. All colors except white must have urajiro (light cream or white markings or shading) on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the underside of the jaw, neck, chest, body and tail, and on the inside of the legs. Colors should be clear and bright.
Males, preferred is 24 ½ and over. Females, preferred is 22 ½ and over.
Brisk, powerful, and agile with the impression of stamina. Light on the feet. The dog will single track as speed increases.
Independent and reserved, especially around strangers, the Japanese Akita can give the impression of being aloof. Confident, smart and docile, it is a loyal and highly protective companion to its family members.
Round eyes, light eyes, short flat coat. Missing teeth, over or under shot bite, spotted tongue, straight erect ears, flat splayed feet, any dewlap or loose skin, over all poor condition.
Long coat, pinto markings, hood, mask, dropped ears, sickle or uncurled tail, cryptorchid or monorchid, butterfly or speckled nose, and overly aggressive or timid temperament.
For more information and diagrams on the Japanese Akita breed standards,
please visit the Japanese Akita Club of America site
As a northern breed, the appearance of the Akita reflects cold weather adaptations essential to their original function. The Akita is a substantial breed for its height with heavy bone. Characteristic physical traits of the breed include a large, bear-like head with erect, triangular ears set at a slight angle following the arch of the neck. Additionally, the eyes of the Akita are small, dark, deeply set and triangular in shape. Akitas have thick double coats, and tight, well knuckled cat feet. Their tails are carried over the top of the back in a graceful sweep down the loin, into a gentle curl, or into a double curl. All colors are permitted by the AKC Akita Breed Standard, and Pinto markings are also permitted.
Mature males measure typically 26-28 inches (66-71 cm) at the withers and weigh between 100-130 lb (45–59 kg).
Mature females typically measure 24-26 inches (61-66 cm) and weigh between 70-100 lb (32–45 kg).
Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973, the Akita is a rather new breed in the United States. It has grown steadily in popularity, in part because of its extraordinary appearance and in part because of its captivating personality.
According the the Akita Club of America, the Akita should be:
Large, powerful, alert, with much substance and heavy bone. The broad head, forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, small eyes and erect ears carried forward in line with back of neck, is characteristic of the breed. The large, curled tail, balancing the broad head, is also characteristic of the breed.
Massive but in balance with body; free of wrinkle when at ease. Skull flat between ears and broad; jaws broad and powerful with minimal dewlap. Head forms a blunt triangle when viewed from above. Fault--Narrow or snipey head. Muzzle--Broad and full. Distance from nose to stop is to distance from stop to occiput as 2 is to 3. Stop--Well defined, but not too abrupt. A shallow furrow extends well up forehead. Nose--Broad and black. Black noses on white Akitas preferred, but a lighter colored nose with or without shading of black or gray tone is acceptable. Disqualification-- partial or total lack of pigmentation on the nose surface. Ears--The ears of the Akita are characteristic of the breed. They are strongly erect and small in relation to rest of head. If ear is folded forward for measuring length, tip will touch upper eye rim. Ears are triangular, slightly rounded at tip, wide at base, set wide on head but not too low, and carried slightly forward over eyes in line with back of neck. Disqualification--Drop or broken ears. Eyes--Dark brown, small, deep-set and triangular in shape. Eye rims black and tight. Lips and Tongue--Lips black and not pendulous; tongue pink. Teeth--Strong with scissors bite preferred, but level bite acceptable. Disqualification--Undershot or overshot.
Neck and Body
Neck--Thick and muscular; comparatively short, widening gradually toward shoulders. A pronounced crest blends in with base of skull. Body--Longer than high, as to 10 is to 9 in males; 11 to 9 in bitches. Measurement from the point of the sternum to the point of buttocks. Chest wide and deep; reaching down to the elbow, the depth of the body at the elbow equals half the height of the dog at the withers. Ribs well sprung, brisket well developed. Level back with firmly-muscled loin and moderate tuck-up. Skin pliant but not loose. Serious Faults--Light bone, rangy body.
Large and full, set high and carried over back or against flank in a three-quarter, full, or double curl, always dipping to or below level of back. On a three-quarter curl, tip drops well down flank. Root large and strong. Tail bone reaches hock when let down. Hair coarse, straight and full, with no appearance of a plume. Disqualification--Sickle or uncurled tail.
Forequarters and Hindquarters
Forequarters--Shoulders strong and powerful with moderate layback. Forelegs heavy-boned and straight as viewed from front. Angle of pastern 15 degrees forward from vertical. Faults--Elbows in or out, loose shoulders. Hindquarters--Width, muscular development and bone comparable to forequarters. Upper thighs well developed. Stifle moderately bent and hocks well let down, turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws--On front legs generally not removed; dewclaws on hind legs generally removed. Feet--Cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads. Feet straight ahead.
Double-coated. Undercoat thick, soft, dense and shorter than outer coat. Outer coat straight, harsh and standing somewhat off body. Hair on head, legs and ears short. Length of hair at withers and rump approximately two inches, which is slightly longer than on rest of body, except tail, where coat is longest and most profuse. Fault--Any indication of ruff or feathering.
Any color including white; brindle; or pinto. Colors are rich, brilliant and clear. Markings are well balanced, with or without mask or blaze. White Akitas have no mask. Pinto has a white background with large, evenly placed patches covering head and more than one-third of body. Undercoat may be a different color from outer coat.
Brisk and powerful with strides of moderate length. Back remains strong, firm and level. Rear legs move in line with front legs.
Males 26 to 28 inches at the withers; bitches 24 to 26 inches. Disqualification--dogs under 25 inches; bitches under 23 inches.
Alert and responsive, dignified and courageous. Akitas may be intolerant of other dogs, particularly of the same sex.
Partial or total lack of pigmentation on nose.
Drop or broken ears.
Undershot or overshot.
Sickle or uncurled tail.
Dogs under 25 inches; bitches under 23 inches.
Approved May 12, 2009
Effective July 1, 2009
American Akita colors:
Black: This is actually a fairly rare color. In most cases there is some shading, or the undercoat is a different color. In fact most Akitas have some shading of outer or undercoat.
Black Brindle: This is for the brindle who at first glance appears to be black but on closer inspection obviously has at least a few stripes. Some black brindles are so black that the only way you know they are really a brindle is when the coat is shaved close. Many, especially pet, owners have found this out only when the dog has had to be shaved for surgery or other reasons
Brown Brindle: Black stripes on a brown background. Sometimes if the dog is heavily brindled it can look like it is brown stripes on a black background.
Red Brindle: Black stripes on a red background or the reverse as above.
Fawn Brindle: Black stripes on a fawn background. This pattern includes what are called "blue brindles" which can be quite exotic looking. The background is a pale fawn and the stripes are a pastel gray blue. This is a very uncommon color.
Silver Brindle: Black stripes on a silver background. Some confuse this with with fawn brindle, but to be a true silver brindle there should not be any fawn or reddish color to the stripes. The stripes are silver and black. Some people confuse the silver brindle with a blue brindle. If there is no hint of fawn, then it is not a blue brindle.
Brown, Black Overlay: The "overlay" colors will describe many Akitas. The base coat is brown but there are black hair tips that give the dogs coat a darker shading. The black overlay can be very sparse or quite heavy. If it is heavy the top of the dog including the neck, back and tail can look quite dark or black.
Red, Black Overlay: Red coat with black tips and/or guard hairs.
Fawn, Black Overlay: Fawn coat with black tips and/or guard hairs.
Silver, Black Overlay: Silver coat with black tips and/or guard hairs
Black, Brown Undercoat: Most so called black Akitas fit into one of these categories. At first glance the dog appears black but when you look closely there is shading and a lighter undercoat. Many fanciers refer to this as a "shaded black".
Black, Red Undercoat
Black, Fawn Undercoat
Black, Silver Undercoat
White, Red Shading
The following are the supplemental descriptors that may be used:
Black Mask: If your dog has no white markings, other than a very small spot on the chest, toes and/or tail tip and has a black mask, then this is the descriptor you should use along with one of the above colors.
Black Mask, White Markings: A very high percentage of Akitas need this color descriptor in addition to one of the primary colors. White markings are any markings that appear on the neck,chest, belly, legs and/or tail.
Black & White Mask, White Markings: This one is also quite common and self explanatory.
Pinto: For the Akita of one of the primary colors that has white markings on the body, other than on the neck, legs, chest, belly and tail. The white cannot cover more than 2/3 of the body. A very correctly marked pinto would have large evenly placed patches of color over head and more than one third of the body. If the head is the same color as the markings on the Akita (self masked) this descriptor is used.
Pinto, Black Mask: Most pinto Akitas would fall into this category or the next one.
Pinto, Black & White Mask
Less Than One Third Body Color: If the Akita is basically white but has color on the head and perhaps some on the back, this is the supplemental descriptor that should be used. Akitas commonly called "hooded" fall into this category.
White Mask: Most often associated with reds or brindles, but not always.
White Mask, White Markings
White Markings: If the Akita’s muzzle is neither black nor white but the same color as the rest of the dog (self masked) and the dog has white markings on neck, chest, belly, legs and or tail, this is the supplemental descriptor to use.
The future of the breed standards:
Responsible breeders will continue to strive for healthy, sound dogs that exhibit the ideals of American Akita type. Breeders will continue to select breeding animals for their distinct appearance, efficient movement, and dignified temperament. Fanciers will continue efforts to reduce orthopedic, eye, and autoimmune disorders through extensive health testing and selective breeding practices. Additionally, advances in veterinary medicine have brought genetic testing to many breeds, and Akita breeders hope that test will be developed for the Akita as well.
In all likelihood, the issue of dividing the Akita breed into the American Akita and Japanese Akita breeds will be revisited in the United States. Whether the Akita Club of America and its members will change this stance at any time in the future remains to be seen. While the Japanese 'variety' may have some trouble in the show ring, as it does not meet the accepted AKC or CKC breed standard, it is not disqualified from being shown. For now, American and Canadian Akita Fanciers can enjoy seeing the two distinct types competing together at home and separately abroad.
Copyright Rakki-Inu Akita Rescue 2016