This mixed dog is not for everyone. It is for experienced dog owners or those who are confident that they know how to deal with such a powerful and strong-willed dog.
The Akita Pitbull mix is often simply called the Akita Pit, and it is not a crossbreed that you will find on every corner. It is a rare mix, but not because of the Pitbull — it is because of the Japanese Akita.
But, don’t get discouraged because of how rare this crossbreed dog is. There are certainly places in the U.S. where you can get one for yourself. If you know how to handle a dog that has quite a mind of its own, then yes — the Akita Pit is the dog that will make you proud to be a dog owner.
They have an interesting look – they are loyal, but not as affectionate as you might expect a dog to be. They will be by your side and show you they would give their life for you, but cuddles and kisses? Not so much…
Leave that excessive tail-wagging for a Pomeranian and a Golden Retriever. This is a serious, medium-sized dog that will firmly stand its ground and be your protector and best friend for the rest of its doggy life.
The Akita Pit has the best of both dogs used in its breeding. If you’re interested in what you can expect from this dog, starting from physical looks to temperament and health, keep on reading.
It’s time to see why this dog is so fascinating…
What Is An Akita Pitbull Mix?
As the name suggests, this is not a purebred dog, but a crossbreed — a mixed dog. But, it is not simply a mutt or a mongrel — not that there’s anything wrong with such dogs. The difference is that the Akita Pitbull mix dog has two purebred dog parents, which makes it a hybrid dog.
A hybrid dog is the same as a designer dog. We know who the parents of a designer dog are, and we know that they are purebred. In our case, it is a purebred Akita and a purebred American Pitbull Terrier.
Now, I don’t know if you know much about Akitas, but I know you have heard of American Pitbull Terriers. Whether it’s a good or a bad thing you heard, you have to admit that they are mighty dogs.
This is why the Pitbull mix is also a powerful dog, especially if it’s a mix between a Pit and another strong purebred dog — like the Akita Inu or the Japanese Akita.
When I say ‘powerful’, I mean they look strong and agile as if they could go from the door to the end of the yard in a second! And, they probably could, so you should watch out if you are entering a property with Akita Pits guarding it.
They are not naturally aggressive, but quite reserved with strangers, and people often use them as watchdogs or guard dogs. Don’t get me wrong… you should be careful when you are entering any property with dogs guarding it, no matter if it’s a Husky, a Rottweiler, or a Great Dane.
A dog taught to protect its territory will act defensively, and we should enter the property at our own risk. Better to call someone than to simply stroll into a yard full of guard dogs.
Now, back to the Akita Pitbull mix — let’s meet the dog parents!
Who Are The Parents?
We found the reason (two reasons) why this dog is so amazing. The reason lies in the parent breeds. Both dog breeds used in breeding Akita Pitbull mix dogs are perfect dogs for someone who doesn’t like small, fluffy dog breeds, but rather wants to have a “real” dog.
Mind you, my personal opinion is that every dog is a real dog. It doesn’t matter if I see a German Shepherd or a neighbor’s French Bulldog — it’s a dog!
But, different people like different things, and we are not here to argue about tastes. We are here to agree that the Akita Pitbull Mix dog is a pooch that will make you say “wow”. And, it’s the pretty cool genes that this dog has that make you say that.
So, who are the parents?
In this article, we are talking about a dog that is a mix of the Japanese, not the American Akita. The Akita Inu (or Japanese Akita) is one of the national treasures of Japan, originating in the 1600s in Northern Japan provinces.
They were originally bred as hunting dogs, especially for large game, such as bears. That’s why Akitas don’t bark a lot — it would be counterproductive and, of course, very bad for the hunting party if their hunting dog scared all wild animals with its barking.
After a while, Japanese people realized that their lovely Akita dogs were more than just hunting dogs. They also used them as guard dogs, and later, unfortunately, for dog fighting.
Akitas are large dogs that can weigh more than 70 pounds, and be taller than 27 inches. But, as with most dog breeds, there is a miniature Akita Inu that doesn’t grow taller than 17 inches.
Generally, Akitas are not open to strangers, and they don’t like to show affection that much. They are more of a calm and alert type of dog, always on the watch, making sure everyone is safe.
American Pitbull Terrier
Known as the “bad guys” of the dog world, these dogs are often misunderstood. People avoid having American Pitbulls as family pets because of their original purpose for breeding.
They were used in dog fighting and bull-baiting for years before it was finally banned, and before people realized what an awful thing they were doing to these poor animals.
Even though these dogs have intimidating looks, they are not naturally aggressive! The American Pitbull Terrier is a great family member — loyal and affectionate.
But, they are strong dogs with high energy levels, which demands someone who has time and patience to keep these dogs mentally and physically active.
Both Akita Inus and American Pitbull Terriers need a firm hand to keep them obedient. Not because they will run around and attack people, but because they can become very stubborn if left on their own.
Good, early socialization is the key to owning not only an Akita Pitbull-mix dog, but any other Pitbull-mixed dog breed, whether it’s a Bloodhound Pitbull or a Whippet Pitbull mix — their activity levels need to be well taken care of.
The American Pitbull Terrier is a medium-sized dog that can weigh from 30 to 60 pounds, and stand up to 20 inches.
As for their coat color, they can come in many coat color variations. This trait will largely influence the future coat color of the Akita Pitbull mix puppies.
What Do They Look Like?
When it comes to the physical characteristics of a mixed dog that comes from crossbreeding two very different dog breeds, we can never know for sure what the puppies will look like.
This is the case with Akita Pitbull mix puppies. In general, they will resemble both parent breeds — the body of the Pitbull, and the ears of the Akita… a true mix.
We can guess what the puppies will look like, but they can have different physical traits even if they are from the same litter. One dog can weigh 30 pounds, and its brother or sister can be more than 40 pounds.
But, at least there can’t be five possible options. A new mixed dog can either look like an Akita Inu or like an American Pitbull Terrier.
The Akita Pitbull mix puppies can inherit the typical broad and square-shaped head from the American Pitbull Terrier, or they can have the fox-like, narrow head, with full cheeks — like the Japanese Akita.
The mixed puppies will usually have a head that says, “this dog is a pitbull mix”, but they will have a longer muzzle and more narrow of a head than the purebred APBT.
The ears are usually triangular and erect, just like the Akita’s, but some puppies can inherit the so-called rose-shaped ears, typical of a Pitbull. We are talking about the natural ear shape of a Pitbull. Cropped Pitbull ears are just for fashion, and they don’t have any impact on the dogs’ health.
As you can see, there are numerous possibilities that make each mixed dog a truly unique dog. In essence, it’s a game of genes, and who has the more dominant ones.
Body and Size
If you crossbreed an Akita Inu and an American Pitbull Terrier, you can be sure your new puppies will grow up to be taller than 20 inches. They can be as tall as the Akita — around 26 inches, or they can lean on their Pitbull side and be around 20 inches tall.
Their weight can vary, too. They can be anywhere from 30 to 70 pounds. But, they will usually be somewhere in the middle — around 50 pounds.
Their weight depends on the American Pitbull parent. If the Pitbull is heavier, the puppies will be heavier, too. In either case, you will be having a medium-sized to large dog that will need space to fully shine.
This mixed-breed dog looks strong and muscular. It definitely looks like a powerful dog that can run, jump, and stand its ground when in danger.
Coat Type And Grooming
Akita Pitbull mix puppies can inherit two types of coat from their parents:
- Double coat
- Single coat
The double coat comes from the Japanese Akita. In the official American Kennel Club breed description, it stands that Akitas have three coats. One is an outer coat that is coarse and stands off the body as guard hairs.
The two inner coats are soft and thicker. The one closer to the skin is wool-like, and the thickest of the three, and it can be of a different color than the outer coat. The hair is medium-length.
But, there is a long-haired Akita Inu, too. They are rare, and they are not within the AKC standards for this breed.
On the other hand, the American Pitbull Terrier has one coat layer, with smooth and shiny, short hair. Even though they are short-haired, they do shed. You will need a proper Pitbull brush to keep the fur shiny and to keep the hair from falling on everything you own.
Akita Inus shed as well — a lot. They have a double coat that will need lots of grooming in order to avoid tangles, and to keep the thick coat healthy and good-looking.
In most cases, your Akita Pitbull mix dog will need weekly brushing to keep everything in order. More frequent brushing is required during the shedding season.
The coat color of the Akita Pitbull mix (or any other crossbreed dog) depends on the coat color of the parent dog breeds. If you want to guess the coat color of future mixed puppies, just look at the parents.
American Pitbull Terriers can have any coat color or pattern. The only coat color that the United Kennel Club does not recognize is the merle Pitbull coat color. Other than that, they can be tri-colored, black and white, brindle, black, or any other color combination.
The Akita Inu can have three coat colors, according to the AKC standards. Those colors are red, brindle, and white. They also have special markings called urajiro — white or light cream underside shadings.
Because of so many possibilities, there are no standard coat colors for the Akita Pitbull mix. They can inherit any coat color or marking from both parent breeds. The most usual colors are:
- Red and white
- Light cream
One of the physical traits that tell us the dog is an Akita mix is the tail and its position. Akitas have a high-set tail that is well-curled over the back. According to the AKC breed standards, the perfect tail almost forms a full circle. It is also a bushy and fluffy tail with thick roots.
However, the American Pitbull has a completely different type of tail. Its tail is thin, muscular, and set low when the dog is resting. Some people also choose to dock the tail, but the natural tail of a Pitbull is medium-long, and it does not curl.
This means that their mixed offspring can inherit both types of tail, or a mixture that resembles both parents. For example, a tail can either be bushy, but set low or it can be thin, but curled over the back.
As long as the tail doesn’t represent a health issue or that it does not get in the way of the dog’s normal daily activities, it doesn’t matter if it’s docked, curled, long, or short.
What Is Their Temperament?
The temperament of the Akita Pitbull mix dog is what makes it so interesting for dog owners around the world. But, as mentioned, their temperament is also a reason why these dogs are not for every owner.
They are quite independent and agile, without a lot of warmth toward other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. They need a confident owner who knows what and how to keep this dog obedient.
Even though these dogs won’t have a lot of patience and love for strangers, they are the best dogs when it comes to family life. Their love for their owner comes from both sides of the gene pool. Both Akitas and Pitbulls are well-known for their loyalty.
Remember Hachiko? He was a Japanese Akita that waited for his owner at the train station to come back from work every day for years, even when the owner wasn’t alive anymore.
This type of loyalty is embedded in this breed’s genetic code, and that code will pass on from the Akita to its mixed offspring.
And, to make things even better — the American Pitbull Terrier, both male and female, are also very loyal towards their human family members.
All of this means that the Akita Pitbull mix dog is a great choice if you are looking for a trustworthy and loyal furry companion. But, let’s see what you need to do to make sure strangers or other dogs won’t cause trouble for your Akita Pit.
Every dog has to have proper early socialization. This means they have to be introduced to other dogs, pets, and strangers and neighbors from an early age. This is how we teach our dogs that they shouldn’t bark or bite other people or dogs.
In essence, we are teaching them to be either friendly or tolerant, and calm around strangers. Obedience training should start early on as well — when the dog is around seven weeks old. But, socialization starts earlier — literally from day one.
Responsible breeders start this process by getting their puppy used to all kinds of noises that are a normal part of every household. They also introduce their puppy to small children so that they will know how to behave when they grow up into adult dogs.
Of course, it is never too late to socialize an aggressive dog or a dog that is extremely afraid of everything or everyone. They will need a lot of positive reinforcement and patience, but they are worth all the “trouble”.
This is another important part of owning an Akita Pitbull mix. They will need to go through the dog training process, and you can either do it on your own or you can hire a professional dog trainer. Either way, you will have to continue keeping the dog obedient by showing confidence.
You are the alpha in your home, so knowing how to control the high prey drive of your dog when you go to the park is very important. There are special Pitbull harnesses and Pitbull shock collars that can help you in the training process of your Pitbull mix.
The most important part of dog training, whether your dog is an Akita Pit or a purebred dog, is patience and lots of positive reinforcement.
This mixed dog is very active, and they will need a good amount of daily exercise to keep them healthy. A dog that doesn’t have enough mental and physical stimulation will get bored, and eventually be destructive.
It can also change its behavior from being a silent dog to being a barking dog, or it can start misbehaving by, for example, peeing on the carpet or chewing objects that it shouldn’t chew.
So, take your Akita Pit for a long walk or let it run and play for at least thirty minutes. Give them enough time to sniff and explore. You can also give them interactive toys for dogs while you are away in order to keep them calm and entertained.
If you are wondering how often you should walk your dog, you can take a look at this complete guide and find out what suits your dog the best: How often do you walk your dog?
What Are The Health Issues?
Just like any other dog, the Akita Pitbull mix can develop some health issues during its lifetime. There are also hereditary diseases that can affect this crossbreed dog.
In general, they don’t have a lot of health problems. The best option would be to get a dog from a responsible dog breeder who breeds only those dogs that do not have hereditary diseases that they can transfer to their offspring.
1. Autoimmune Disorder
Unfortunately, there are autoimmune disorders that cannot be genetically tested. These disorders include:
All of these autoimmune disorders affect the Akita Inu dog breed. Because these disorders are hereditary, they can also be a problem for the Akita Pitbull mix puppies.
2. Heart Diseases
This is a health issue that can affect both the Akita and the American Pitbull Terrier. This means that their mixed puppies have a double chance of developing some form of heart problem. The most common heart issue that Pitbulls have is aortic stenosis.
This is an issue that means the walls of the aorta are thick and rigid, not allowing blood to freely pass through it. The aorta is a blood vessel through which oxygenated blood leaves the heart and goes into the body.
The symptoms of this disease are often so minimal that the disease goes unnoticed and untreated for years. If it is this type of so-called mild aortic stenosis, then a dog can continue its life without big changes in its lifestyle.
But, if the issue is serious, we can notice these symptoms:
- Lack of energy (lethargy)
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness (fainting)
3. Joint Problems
A lot of big dog breeds have joint problems. The most common joint problem for the Akita Pitbull mix dog is hip dysplasia.
This issue develops during the growth process, and it results in a loose joint, which eventually leads to degenerative joint disease and/or osteoarthritis. Some of the symptoms of hip dysplasia are:
- Weakness in the hind legs
- Pain in the hind legs
In general, a dog with a hip issue will avoid using the affected leg. They will either limp or they will have a “bunny” gait, where they look as if they are hopping.
If you suspect your dog has hip issues, then the best and only option is to take your dog to the vet. They can do an X-ray of the hip joint, and give proper treatment options.
4. Eye Problems
Another health issue that can affect the Akita Pitbull mix dog is progressive retinal atrophy. This is an eye disease in which the retina of the eye keeps deteriorating, which eventually leads to blindness.
If it is the hereditary form of this disease, the first symptoms can be seen when the puppies are two to three months old. The signs are often either misinterpreted, or they go unnoticed. You may see your dog:
- Bumping into things
- Having night blindness
- Getting nervous in the dark
- Having more dilated pupils
Unfortunately, there is no currently-available treatment for progressive retinal atrophy.
5. Teeth Problems
Taking care of your dog’s teeth is important for dogs that are prone to dental issues and for those that are not.
We should use special toothpaste made for dogs, as well as dog toothbrushes. There is also an option called a “finger brush” that you can use that will not only clean the teeth, but massage the gums at the same time.
Akita Inus are especially prone to a dental problem called amelogenesis imperfecta. This is an issue where a dog’s tooth cannot produce enough healthy enamel, leaving the tooth prone to tooth decay.
There is a DNA test for amelogenesis imperfecta, which is called AI/FEH (Amelogenesis Imperfecta/Familial Enamel Hypoplasia).
Whether your dog has teeth problems or not, we can help our pooches by giving them smaller food servings twice a day — one in the morning, and the other one in the evening.
What Is The Average Lifespan?
The average lifespan of the Akita Pitbull mix dog depends on the average life expectancy of both dog breeds used in their making.
This means we should look at the Akita and the Pitbull’s average lifespan. For Akitas, it is approximately 12 years. For American Pitbull Terriers, it is around 15 years.
So, you can expect your Akita Pit to live anywhere from 12 to 15 years. Of course, they can live longer than that. This is just an average number. But, if you take excellent care of your dog, and you get it from a responsible breeder, it can live up to 20 years!
In essence, the Akita Pitbull mix is an excellent family dog that will show its loyalty and affection to its owner. They won’t be very open to strangers, and because of that, you will need to properly socialize your dog.
Your Akita Pit will need good training as well, and you will need to be confident and firm in giving commands. They are strong and agile dogs that require an experienced dog owner.
But, if you socialize and train your dog, it will become the perfect addition to your home. These dogs are great guards and watchdogs. Because of their size and high activity level, it would be best to keep this dog in a house – not in an apartment building.
But, with proper training and scheduling, they can thrive and be happy anywhere. Just make sure you are giving this dog a good amount of daily exercise — go to the park, hike, run, play fetch… whatever it takes to keep the dog active.