Akita is a large size breed which was originated from the northern mountainous regions of Japan. There are two different varieties of this breed. The Japanese strain is called Japanese Akita or Akita Inu, while American strain is known as American Akita.
The average lifespan of Akita is around 10 to 13 years. Akita has a similar lifespan to other large size breeds such as German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. The aging profile of dogs mainly depends on their size. Large size dog breeds like Akita usually live shorter because of more genetic disorders and early aging. They aged more quickly than small size breeds.
In this article, we will discuss the common genetic disorders that can shorten the life expectancy of Akita and effective ways to improve their lifespan.
How Long Do Akitas Live?
According to American Kennel Club, The average lifespan of Akita is around 10 to 13 years which is a fairly handsome amount of lifespan for such a dominating dog breed like Akita.
We can’t predict the Akita life expectancy precisely as it depends on many factors such as diet, exercise, and bloodline. Most of the Akita die around 10 to 13 years of age. However, they can always live longer with your immense care, attachment, and companionship.
Did You Know?
In 2011, the world’s oldest dog was Akita which successfully completed 26 years of lifespan. And makes its place in the World’s Guinness Book of World Records in the year 2011.
However, there are multiple ways to improve their lifespan and allow them to live much longer with you. We will discuss them in detail in the below sections later on.
Factors That Determine the Life Expectancy of Akitas
Whenever you want to bring a new four-legged friend or companion at home, you should always consider what type of breed have a longer lifespan and can stay longer with you.
You will be wondering what the factors which can determine the lifespan of your Akita are. These factors can be pre and post, but they can affect the life expectancy of the breed.
The factors that are controlling the life expectancy are as follows;
- Genetic Pool
- Family history
Purebred small breeds or designer breeds comparatively live longer because of their strong genetic pool which ages slowly as compared to large size or jumbo size dogs.
So, you must choose the right breed which can live longer until and unless you are fond of some large size breed, which is typically famous such as German Shepherds. And you are less concerned about their overall lifespan.
The genetic history of any breed can be proved as the most crucial factor which can help you determine its lifespan. Consult with the breeder about the parents of your Akita.
Ask the breeder how long do your Akita’s parents live and what diseases they are likely to develop. It can give you a pretty good idea about their lifespan.
You can also determine the lifespan of your Akita by its size. Large size dogs usually age more quickly and have a shorter life expectancy than smaller size dogs.
Small size dogs often live more than 15 to 16 years, medium and large size dogs like Akita live around 10 to 13 years, and some giant size dog breeds such as mastiff live only 7 to 8 years.
Akita is considered a large size dominating working breed having an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years, as we have discussed above.
You should get a rough idea about the average lifespan of this breed by considering the average lifespan of other large size breeds such as German Shepherd.
Akita is a working dog breed that needs plenty of exercise regularly to work around. They are a bit stubborn because of their dominating nature. If they don’t exercise or work enough, they can easily become overweight and unhealthy.
Regular exercise also increases the immunity to illness of your Akita. It enhances blood circulation, reduces stress, and decreases blood pressure. Regular physical activities also keep your Akita happy and energetic.
If you want to prolong your Akita’s life expectancy, provide them enough exercise. You can bring them outside for a walk or play some games with them such as hide-and-seek. Avoid exercise them directly after eating. They are prone to bloating.
Diet is the key to longevity and healthy life. A scientific study by Belgian researchers shows that diet is one of the largest factors that can affect the lifespan of a dog.
Diet is a crucial factor that can determine how much your Akita can live and stay with you. Always plan your Akita’s diet and make sure it has a sufficient amount of nutrients and calories to keep your Akita fit and healthy.
How to Make Your Aktia Live Longer?
Let’s discuss how you can enhance the overall lifespan of your Akita. We know that every dog can live longer than its usual age if you provide them proper care and regular exercise.
The following are some of the proven ways to improve your Akita’s life expectancy:
- Special Care
- Family Activities
- Balanced Diet
Special care should be given to the puppies when raising them. Akitas usually grow faster from the age of three months to 7 months, making them prone to bone disorders.
Low-calorie diet and high-quality food prevent them from growing more quickly. Also, don’t make them run on hard surfaces such as pavements. Playing on grass is okay for them.
We know that Akita is a working dog breed used as a guardian. They are not hyper, but they need plenty of actives such as exercise for 30 or 1 hour daily, jogging (for adult two-year-old), brisk walk, and romping in the yard are their favorite activities.
Engage your family members in different activities with Akita, and don’t leave them alone as they can become aggressive and depressed.
A balanced diet is critical to enhancing the lifespan of your Akita. 3 to 5 cups of high-quality dry food is recommended daily in a day. Keep track of your Akita’s weight and adjust their diet accordingly to maintain a healthy weight of your Akita.
Every individual dog is different and one diet doesn’t need to fit every dog. You can consult your veterinary for formulating the right nourishing diet for your Akita to stay healthy.
Common Health Problems of Akita
A dog owner must know the most common health problems or concerns about his or her companion. Every breed comes with some inherited or genetic disorder from their parents, whether it’s a purebred or designer breed.
Some of the most common health problems of Akita are as follows;
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Sebaceous adenitis (SA)
- Hip dysplasia
Gastric dilation-volvulus is concerned with the stomach and abdomen of your Akita. The stomach is twisted and fills up with gases and fluids, and this condition is known as bloating. It is usually caused by one sizeable big meal in a day, repeated and, excessive water and food intake in a day.
It can also cause by exercising vigorously after eating. The main symptoms of this disorder include a drop in blood pressure, distending the abdomen, salivating excessively, and retching without having vomiting.
They also become depressed, restless, lethargic, and weak. Consult your vet immediately if these symptoms arise.
Hypothyroidism is a disease related to thyroid glands. It is the condition in which thyroid glands don’t produce enough amount of thyroid hormones. It is a necessary hormone for the metabolisms of your Akita, which helps in the digestion of food.
Hypothyroidism can lead to many other secondary issues such as constipation due to slow metabolism, epilepsy, hair loss (alopecia), lethargy, obesity, and some skin issues. It can be treated with proper medication and diet.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive retinal atrophy or PRA is a group of degenerative eye disorders in the dogs. It is also known as progressive rod and cone degeneration (PRCD).
In this disorder, the retina of the eyes is affected. The rod cells in the retina programmed to die themselves, which are essential for the vision in the dim lights.
Night blindness is the main symptom of this eye disorder. Your Akita could face difficulty in its vision. Your Akita can become completely blind slowly if PRA is suspected.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PRA despite the rapid advances in medical technology. But the good news is that PRA is not a painful illness. Most of the dogs adapt and adjust their vision when they become slowly blind.
Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)
Sebaceous adenitis (SA) is a skin disorder, which is caused by the inflammation of the sebaceous glands under the skins. The gland is eventually destroyed after inflammation.
They are responsible for producing a fatty secretion called Sebum, which prevents the skin from drying out.
The main symptoms of this disorder include typically dry and scaly skin, hair loss on the neck, back, and top of the head. Thickened skin, unpleasant odor with other secondary skin infections are also the symptoms of this disorder.
Treatments for SA include biopsy of the skin by your vet and a variety of different skin treatments.
Nearly every breed is susceptible to hip dysplasia. It is the most common inherited or genetic disorder among the dog breeds including Akita.
Medium and large size breeds are more prone to hip dysplasia. In this disorder, the balls and socket of the hind legs don’t fit with each other causing difficulty in the movement.
It can occur as early as five months or later at any point in your Akita lifespan, the main symptoms include lameness and stiffness in the hind legs. Hip dysplasia can be treated with corticosteroids or anti-inflammatories given as a nutritional supplement in the diet.
My Final Thoughts
Akita is a very powerful and dominating watchdog that needs plenty of activities to be engaged with. Otherwise, they can become rude and aggressive.
If you plan to add an Akita puppy into your family, you can expect them to live with you for 10 to 13 years. Giving them proper care, regular exercise, and balanced diet help to improve their lifespan.
The oldest Akita known was 26 years when dead in 2011, which shows the flexibility of their gene pool with the right care and love.
Their life expectancy is very comparable to other large size breeds. Due to their large size, they usually age faster and live shorter than other smaller size breeds such as Chihuahua.