The Japanese Akita Japans Most Popular Furry Export

The Japanese Akita Inu, also called the Japanese Akita, is one of five native Japanese dog breeds. These dogs have a rich history in Japan, known as the most popular furry export.

The Akita is a large dog breed that originated in northern Japan’s mountain terrain. Akita dogs are divided into two types: a Japanese strain known as Akita Inu (inu means dog in Japanese) or Japanese Akita, and an American strain known as Akita or American Akita.

The Akita is a strong, independent, and assertive breed that is typically reserved around strangers yet loving towards family members.

The Akita Inu has a rich history in Japan, including their high involvement during WWII. As a rarely aggressive dog, they do have a strong bite. Their sometimes aggressive nature does not mean they will always stay that way. 

They are a powerful dog who has paved the way for dog owners. The Akita Inu is a great breed for dog owners willing to give them the active attention they need.

What is the Japanese Akita?

The Japanese Akita is one of five native Japanese dog breeds exported to other nations. Their symbolic value in Japanese culture goes further than Japan itself. 

For centuries, dog owners have used the active Akita for many things such as agriculture, guarding, fighting, and companionship. The United States, Canada, Europe, and many other countries are common purchasers of Japanese Akita Inu breeds.

There is a controversy among Akita enthusiasts as to whether there are two distinct breeds of the dog. The American Kennel Club, considers American and Japanese Akitas to be two distinct breeds, banning cross-breeding between the two to remain purebred.

According to American Kennel Club, there are two separate breeds of Akitas, the Japanese Akita, and the American Akita. Both countries declare its breed to be the official “Akita”.

The History of the Japanese Akita

The earliest notable Akita Inu stood by the samurai as their loyal companions. However, the Akita really became popular in 1924 when an Akita named Hachiko became famous for its immense loyalty.

According to the article, this Akita’s owner passed away at work. Unknowing of his tragic fate, Hachiko returned to the bus station each day hoping that he would return. This continued for nearly ten years when Hachiko passed away.

Hachiko Statue Tokyo

The immense dedication of Hachiko was recognized in 1931 when the Akita Dog Preservation Society declared the Japanese Akita as a national treasure. 

They began breeding the Akita to ensure its purity. This breeding process continued until 1934 when the standard Japanese Akita was officially registered. The breed standard declares the blueprint for the ideal Japanese Akita Inu. 

The first reported Akita was brought to America by Hellen Keller in 1937 who visited the Hachiko statue. During the visit, she became enchanted by the dog and took one home for herself. The love for Akitas continued after World War II when many American soldiers brought home Akita dogs.

Why are Japanese Akitas Popular?

There are many reasons why the Japanese Akita is such a popular Japanese export. Their personalities and appearance make them one of the most desired canines. 

Furthermore, these Akitas are purebred, unlike the American Akita which is often cross-bred with other breeds like German Shepherds.

Japanese Akita Inu Personality

Akita Inu’s are an active breed that recommends multiple daily walks and large living space. If you have a small home or an apartment, you may reconsider an Akita.

The Akita makes a great companion for anyone who can match their high energy and provide them with the active lifestyle they need. If the Akita does not get its energy out, aggressive tendencies may potentially shine through.

Japanese Akita-Inu breed dog puppies

Japanese Akita Appearance

Take a look at the Akita and you will see why so many people adore this beautiful canine. The fluffy, multi-colored is coat is adorable. Despite being “cute”, Akita’s can become aggressive quite easily if they are not taken care of properly.

Many people recognize these adorable dogs from their memes online and their constant appearances in anime or manga. Their curly tails and upright ears make them resemble puppies for life.

The original fur color of the pure-bred Akita is tan, with a white underbelly. People consider the varied colorations of the Akita to be a result of cross-breeding. Since Japan focuses on pure breeding, most cross-bred Akitas are considered unpure and nonstandard breed Akitas. 

Japanese Akita Inu Events and Celebrations

Traditions and celebrations involving the Akita have existed for generations, spreading longevity and happiness throughout Japan as a result.

One of the most spectacular traditions is the annual Akita statue tradition wherein parents give newborns Akita statues. This influences a long and healthy life for newborns. Many other traditions and celebrations involve the precious Akita. 

The Akita Dog Museum

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Akita Dog Preservation Society’s foundation, the Akita Dog Preservation Society constructed the Akita Dog Museum in Ōdate City, Japan. Many statues and ancient artifacts of the Akita are displayed at the museum to celebrate the esteemed canine.

One of the main goals of the Akita Dog Museum is to educate visitors on the history of the Akita. Their secondary goal is to maintain the integrity of this courageous and proud Japanese breed.

This dog museum is an exciting place to enjoy and celebrate the Japanese Akita Inu. Each year between April and mid-November, visitors can experience real interactions with pure-bred Akita’s.

Akita Inu Dog Museum via Tripadvisor

Akita dog in a cafe in Tokyo, Japan

Newborn Akita Statue Tradition

One of the most important Akita traditions includes giving newborns an Akita statue. The Akita symbolizes good health, prosperity, and long life.

Giving Akita statues to newborn babies is a good way to promote healthier lives. In addition to this tradition, there are several other traditions performed on expecting mothers involving their bodies and the family.

Akita Inukko Dog Festival

The Akita dog festival takes place on the second weekend of February to thank Akita’s for their service and loyalty. This takes place mainly in Yuzawa City with various performances, fireworks, festivals, and dog parades patrol throughout the city streets. 

To celebrate the Akita in unison, every neighborhood builds an Akita Inu snowman. 

The Akita Inu loves cold temperatures so playing in the snow and enjoying the cold winter weather is a great experience for this loyal dog breed.

Inukko Dog Festival Official Site


The Japanese Akita is one of Japan’s most popular animal exports because of its popularity, symbolism, and value. These dogs are symbolic of long lives, bring high cultural value, and are generally well-mannered canines.

In 1937, the first Akita has exported to the United States thanks to the interest of Hellen Keller. Followed by WW2, many soldiers grew interested in these dogs as well for their hunting and guarding abilities By the 1950s people were actively breeding Akitas, with the intention to create a stronger and faster breed than ever before

An Introduction to the Akita Via Youtube

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.