Akitas seldom bark but can make a range of other unusual noises. These are a large, broad and powerful dog but with a well balanced body. The head is triangular when seen from above and the upright ears seem a little too small for it. Their fluffy tail curls up and over their body. They have a very thick but quite short double coat and can come in any colour.
The Akita was originally bred in Japan for fighting but has since been steered towards guarding and hunting. After the second world war, some larger versions of the Japanese Akita, favoured by the US troops, were taken back to America and these are what are known as Akitas today. The slightly smaller Akitas, more typical of the original Japanese ones are known as Japanese Akita Inus.
They are an excellent guard dog, affectionate, very brave and loyal to their owners. They have a tendency to be aggressive to people outside the family so need firm training. They tend to be intolerant to other animals and other dogs. They need regular mental and physical exercise but not excessive amounts of physical activity.
They need a good deal of brushing and will shed heavily at certain times of the year. They should only be bathed when necessary as this removes the coat's natural waterproofing. They can be prone to a number of problems, with hips, thyroid, skin, eyes, immune diseases and knee problems.