The JACA Standard

To current fanciers, the Japanese Akita is well known for its faithful and loyal companionship and is recognized as a symbol of courage and luck to the Japanese. An arrogant pride is clearly visible and his courage comparable to the Samurai warrior. Once used as a hunting dog, the Japanese Akita today is a devoted companion.

General Appearance

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 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.


Tight, clean and dark in color.


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.

Disqualifying Faults

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.

The following illustration shows the correct measurement and proportions of the considered “perfect” Japanese Akita. It clearly shows the Japanese Akita to be a square, 10–10 dog. This is the diagram used by the Japanese in all the seminars.
*All images above are used with permission from the Japanese Akita Club book, “Akita”.