FCI American Akita Standard #344 June 1, 1999
Origin: Japan
Development: USA
Utilization: Companion Dog
Classification FCI: Group 5 .


In the beginning, the history of the AMERICAN AKITA (formerly Great Japanese Dog) is identical with the development of the Japanese Akita. Since 1603 in the Akita region, Akita Matagis (medium sized hunting dogs) were used as fighting dogs. From 1868, the breed was crossbred with Tosa (a mixture of Shikoku with German Pointing Dogs, St. Bernard Dogs or Great Danes) and Mastiffs. The size of this breed increased, but characteristics such as erect ears or curled tail, which are associated with the Akita (Spitz type) were lost. As in 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, the breed were nevertheless preserved as a large Japanese breed and in 1931 was designated as Natural Monument.

During World War II (1939-1945), it was common to use dogs as a source of fur for military garments. The police ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs other than German Shepherd Dogs used for military purposes. Some fanciers tried to circumvent the order by crossbreeding their dogs with German Shepherd Dogs. When World War II ended, Akita’s had been drastically reduced in number and existed as three distinct types: 1) Matagi Akita’s 2) Fighting Akita’s 3) Shepherd Akita’s. This created a very confusing situation in the breed.

During the restoration process of the pure breed after the war, Kongo-go of the Dewa line enjoyed a temporary, but tremendous popularity. Many Akita’s of the Dewa line, which exhibited characteristics of the Mastiff and German Shepherd influence, were brought back to the United States by members of the military forces. The Akita’s from the Dewa line, intelligent and capable of adapting to different environments, fascinated breeders in the United States and the line was developed with increasing number of breeders and a great rise in popularity.

The Akita Club of America was established in 1956 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the breed (inscription into the stud book and regular show status) in October 1972. However, at this time, the AKC and the JKC (Japan Kennel Club) did not have reciprocal agreements for recognizing each other’s pedigrees and therefore the door was closed for the introduction of the new bloodlines from Japan. Consequently, Akita’s in the United States became considerably different from those in Japan, the country of origin. They developed as a type unique in the United States, with characteristics and type unchanged since 1955. This is in sharp contrast with the Japanese type that was crossbred with Matagi Akita’s for the purpose of restoring the original pure breed.


Large-sized dog, sturdily built, well balanced, with much substance and heavy bone. The broad head, forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, relatively small eye’s and erect ears carried forward almost in line with back of neck, is characteristic of the breed.


The ratio of height at withers to length of body is 9 to 10 in males and 9 to 11 in bitches.
The depth of the chest measures one-half of the height of the dog at withers.
The distance from tip of nose to stop corresponds to the distance from stop to occiput as 2 does to 3.


Friendly, alert, responsive, dignified, docile, and courageous.


Massive, but in balance with the body, free of wrinkles when at ease.
Head forms a blunt triangle when viewed from above.


Skull: Flat and broad between ears. A shallow furrow extends well up on forehead.
Stop: Well defined, but not too abrupt.


Nose: Broad and black. Flesh color permitted on white dogs only, but black always preferred.
Muzzle: Broad, deep and full.
Lips: Black and not pendulous; tongue pink. Flesh colored lips permitted in white dogs only.
Jaws/teeth: Jaws not rounded, but blunt, strong and powerful. Teeth strong with regular and full dentition; scissors bite preferred, but level bite acceptable.
Eyes: Dark brown, relatively small, not pronounced, almost triangular in shape. Eye rims black and tight; flesh-colored eye rims permitted in white dogs only.
Ears: Strongly erect and small in relation to the rest of the head. If the ear is folded forward for measuring length, tip will touch upper eye rim. Ears are triangular, slightly rounded at tip, wide at base, not set too low. Viewed from the side, the ears are angled forward over the eye’s following the line of the neck.


Thick and muscular with minimal dewlap, comparatively short, widening gradually toward the shoulders. A pronounced crest blends harmoniously into the base of the skull.


Longer than high. Skin not too thin, neither too tight nor too loose.
Back: Level
Loin: Firmly muscled
Chest: Wide and deep. Ribs well sprung with well developed brisket.
Underline and Belly: Moderate tuck-up.


Large and well furnished with hair, 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 on flank. Root large and strong. The terminal bone of tail reaches hock when let or pulled down. Hair coarse, straight and dense, with no appearance of a plume.


Forequarters: Forelegs heavy-boned and straight as viewed from front.
Shoulders: Strong and powerful with moderate layback Pasterns: Slightly sloping forward in an angle of approximately 15 degrees to the vertical.
Hindquarters: Strongly muscled, width and bone comparable to forequarters. Dewclaws on hind legs customarily removed.
Upper thigh: Strong, well developed, parallel when viewed from behind.
Stifles: Moderately bent.
Hocks: Well let down, turning neither in nor out.
Feet: Straight, cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads.


Powerful, covering ground with moderate reach and drive. Movement parallel when viewed from front and behind, back remaining strong, firm, and level.


Hair: Double-coat. Undercoat thick, soft, dense and shorter than outer coat. Outer coat straight, harsh/stiff and standing somewhat off body. Hair on head, lower legs and ears short.
Length of hair at withers and rump approximately 5 cm, which is slightly longer than on rest of body, except tail, where coat is longest and most profuse.


Any color like red, fawn, white, etc; or even pinto and brindle. Colors are brilliant and clear, and marking are well balanced, with or without mask or blaze.

White dogs (solid in color) have no mask. Pinto have a white ground color with large, evenly placed patches covering head and more than one-third body.

Undercoat may have a different color from the outer coat.


Height at withers:
For males: 66-71 cm (26-28 inches)
For bitches: 61-66 cm (24-26 inches)


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.

Feminine dogs, masculine bitches
Narrow or snippy head
Any missing tooth (except 2 of the PM1 and/or M3)
Spotted tongue
Light eye’s
Short tail
In or out at elbows
Any indication of ruff or feathering
Shyness or viciousness


Light in substance
Light bone


Butterfly nose or total lack of pigmentation on nose on dogs other than white.
Drop, hanging, or folded ears
Under or overshot bite
Sickle or uncurled tail
Dogs under 63.5 cm (25 inches), bitches under 58.5 cm (23 inches)

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