Akita dogs have a reputation for being an expensive dog breed, but how much does an Akita dog cost? The Akita is a large breed of Japanese dog, known for being highly intelligent and some of the most reliable guard dogs. They originated in the Akita province of Japan around the 17th century and were only owned by members of the royal family. Used primarily as guard dogs and hunting dogs, they have broad chests, thick double coats, curled tails, and come in many different colors such as white, black, red, brown, pinto, and brindle.
Helen Keller brought the first Akita to America in 1937 after visiting Tokyo and seeing the statue of Hachiko that had been erected in 1920. Hachiko belonged to a professor in Tokyo and walked to and from the train station with him every day. After the professor died at work, Hachiko continued this routine daily until he died nine years later (in fact, Hachiko was the inspiration for the Futurama episode "Jurassic Bark"). The Japanese Akita is typically called the Akita Inu while the American Akita is simply called the Akita.
How Much Do Akita Dogs Cost?
Purebred Akita puppies from reputable breeders will vary between approximately $600 and $2000, depending on the breeder, bloodline, American Kennel Club (AKC) papers, and verifiable family health history. Females are typically more expensive than males, as they can be used for breeding/selling additional puppies. Before purchasing an Akita puppy, verify that they are coming from a high-quality Akita breeder, even if they are a normal family or amateur backyard breeder.
The average cost of an Akita puppy is roughly $1000. In addition, you will need to purchase all of the supplies necessary to care for a puppy which can average approximately $500.
The Akita is a large dog breed, averaging between 60 and 120 lbs in weight and 24-28in in height. In fact, they almost disappeared after WWII. In Japan, food rationing made it difficult to feed the large dogs. Today, the average yearly cost of feeding your pup should be roughly $400, though puppies will need more food than their adult counterparts. Like most puppies, Akitas will do well on a high protein puppy food, which can be a little more expensive than grain based foods.
Akitas shed often and need to be groomed frequently; Akita dog owners should be prepared to vacuum early and often due to their double coat of a soft undercoat and coarse outercoat. Double coat dog owners should be used to dealing with coat blow, but it can take many new dog owners by surprise. The Akita is a very clean dog and should not be given a bath unless they absolutely need one. Also, only use dog shampoo to prevent damage the natural oils on their skin. In addition, they need to be brushed every day with a firm brush. They need to have their teeth cleaned every other day, their ears cleaned weekly, and their nails checked and clipped once a month.
The average yearly cost for grooming expenses for an Akita dog is approximately $240.
Akita puppies will need to have regular checkups for deworming and vaccinations; it is recommended for all pets to spay or neuter unless you are working as a recognized breeder. Akita dogs are not prone to many health issues, and purebred dogs with AKC papers will have significantly fewer issues than a Akita puppy from a puppy mill. Adult Akita dogs are prone to health problems such as hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and eye problems. In addition, veterinarian recommend that all pets be microchipped and given monthly heartworm and flea/tick medication.
The average costs of vet bills and medical/health supplies for an Akita puppy is approximately $900 for the first year (including spay/neuter) and $700 for subsequent years. The average cost of pet insurance, should you choose to get it, is $600 per year.
Akita owners should be aware that Akitas are very loving with their families, however they are naturally extremely protective and are not naturally inclined to socializing with other people or animals. They can be aggressive to other people and animals if they are not extensively socialized. Akita dogs also need a significant amount of training. However, they are very intelligent, willful, and stubborn, and are not for amateur trainers. The Akita is also an active breed that needs several long walks per day or a large fenced yard. You may need to hire a dog walker for walks during the day or board them if you are going out of town overnight.
Owning an Akita is not for everyone, and this Japanese breed of dog needs a lot of time, energy, and love over their 10-12 year lifespan. On average, owning an Akita will cost you approximately $4,000 for the first year (including the puppy cost) and approximately $1,500 for subsequent years just to cover all the basics. Much like the cost of a Dalmatian puppy, or the cost of a Husky puppy, this price is nothing to sneeze at, but can be worth it for dog owners looking for a specific breed.
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This article was originally published January 11, 2022.
READ MORE: 10 Popular Japanese Dog Breeds
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