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AKC Standard

Here is the AKC standard for the Akita breed.


If it were necessary to describe the Akita in one word, "dignity" would suffice, for it is this concept that the breed embodies. Whether in proud stance or no-nonsense movement, the breed's dignified presence is its most distinct quality. Each element described in the standard is designed to contribute to this impression. 

There is an emphasis in Akita standards on the head. The overall broad and triangular head shape is brought to extraordinary impressiveness by the harmonizing triangular shape of the eyes and ears. The product is an alert and fearless expression. 

As a balancing agent, there is a large, full tail. It cannot trail behind or up in the air but must curl around to meet the dog's back or rest against his flank. 

The Akita is in the bottom range of the large-size breed category. His size and obvious strength leave a lasting impression on all who see him. At the same time, there is no harshness in his appearance, for the short, thick and lustrous double coat softens the rugged outline of muscle and bone. 

In his driving movement, the Akita combines great power with a precision and smoothness, which makes it seem as natural to be moving as to be standing still. Every step is a purposeful expression of the dog's own will. 

The breed character is reserved, silent, and dominant over other canines. Although the Akita is unruffled by minor irritations, he is alert toward other dogs, and any serious challenge is met with swift retaliation. 

With man, the Akita is a delightful companion. He gives in devotion and protection more than he could ever take in food and shelter. Friendly strangers are treated with respect, but trespassers find the door barred by an awesome figure.


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 square and powerful with minimal dewlap. Head forms a blunt triangle when viewed from above. Fault: Narrow or snippy head. 


    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. 


    Broad and Black. Liver permitted on white Akitas, but black always preferred. Disqualification: Butterfly nose or total lack of pigmentation on nose. 


    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 forward over eyes in line with back of neck.  Disqualification: Drop or broken ears. 


     Dark brown, small, deep-set and triangular in shape. Eye rims black and tight. 


     Lips black and not pendulous, tongue pink.


    Strong with scissors bite preferred, but level bite acceptable. Disqualification: Noticeably undershot or overshot.


    Thick and muscular; comparatively short, widening gradually toward the shoulders. A pronounced crest blends in with base of skull. 


    Longer than high, as 10 is to 9 in males; 11 to 9 in bitches. Chest wide and deep; depth of chest is one-half height of dog at shoulder. Level back with firmly muscled loin and moderate tuck-up. Skin pliant but not loose. Serious fault:  Light bone, rangy body. 


    Large and full, set high and carried over back 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.  Tails should be well-curled and full, with adequate length. Defective tails shown are: 1)set low, tip too blunt, short tail; 2) weak root, short tail, too little coat; 3) inadequate curl, too little coat, short tail; and 4) sickle tail (disqualification). 


    Shoulders strong and powerful with moderate layback. Forelegs heavy-boned and straight as viewed from the front.  Angle of pastern 15 degrees forward from vertical. Faults: Elbows in or out, loose shoulders. 


    Width, muscular development and bone comparable to forequarters. Upper thighs well developed. Stifle moderately bent and hocks well let down, turning neither in or out.


    On front legs generally not removed; 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 feathering.


    Any color including white, brindle, or pinto. Colors are brilliant and clear and markings are well balanced with or without mask or blaze. White Akita's have no mask. Pinto has a white background with large, evenly paced 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. Aggressive towards other dogs. 


  Butterfly nose or total lack of pigmentation on nose.
  Drop or broken ears.
  Noticeably undershot or overshot.
  Sickle or uncurled tail.
  Dogs under 25 inches; bitches under 23 inches.
Points to Remember

 The Akita is broad and powerful. This quality is more evident in dogs than in bitches. 

Reflecting the moderate degree of angulation in shoulder and stifle, the Akita's brisk and powerful gait is characterized by strides of moderate length. 

Akita ears are different from those of any other breed. They are small, set well apart on the broad head, and angled forward at about 45 degrees from the vertical. Ears are strongly erect. 

Most Akitas have no loose skin on their heads at any time. Under conditions of excitement, a slight wrinkle on the forehead is acceptable but not desirable. Characteristic of the breed is a furrow down the center of the forehead.  Loose and sagging lips are incorrect. 

The Akita eye is small, dark in color and triangular in shape. 

The Akita's impressive tail is a vital element in the total picture he presents. It is large and full to balance his imposing head. When the tail is brought down, the tail bone reaches the hock joint. 

The Akita topline is perfectly level, whether standing or moving.

Rich, clear colors are desirable. Especially with pintos, well-balanced markings are vital to the overall appearance. 

The neck is thick and strong, with a pronounced crest.

Splayed feet or long toes are incorrect.

The Akita's double coat is thick and dense. The outer coat is harsh but not wiry. The undercoat is soft. 

The only acceptable bites are scissors (upper teeth barely overlap lower teeth in front) and level (upper teeth meet
lower teeth exactly). 

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