A long time ago, while I was on my trip to Japan, I got myself a lucky charm figurine of a miniature Akita, made of sterling silver. At that time, I didn’t know much about Akitas, or miniature Akitas.
The kind salesman told me a story about Akitas and their most famous representative, Hachiko, and I fell in love. He also told me that some people tend to create a smaller version of this big dog, and they call it the Miniature Akita.
So, I wanted to share all my knowledge about those delightful miniature wonders with the rest of the world.
I gathered as much information as I could from the experiences of owners all over the internet, and put it in one place. I hope this article will be of help if you are about to get yourself a precious Miniature Akita Inu.
I also hope that you will enjoy this mini journey to seek for a hidden Japanese wonder.
A Miniature Akita
There is so much fuss about this precious little version of a magnificent Japanese breed. A Miniature Akita is not your everyday small dog that you could easily find or run into on every corner.
And, when you run into it, you will probably be in a dilemma as to whether it is really an Akita or some other breed. It is not a coincidence that the Miniature Akita is often confused with the Shiba Inu. But, we will get to that.
If you start your research on information on the Miniature Akita at some reputable Canine Clubs, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), you will probably be very disappointed because you won’t find any relevant information.
You may guess the reason for such an outcome. The Miniature Akita is just not recognized as a distinctive breed. But, there is a lot of information about the “regular” Akita, and we can draw a lot of conclusions from there.
Still, the question remains: What exactly is a Miniature Akita, and how do we get one? And, where do we get one? And, why do we even want one?
One might want this shrunken version because they are in need of the perfect small guard dog, and they don’t have the conditions to keep a big one.
One thing is for sure… it is a shrunken version of a standard pooch, and there are few ways to get one.
But, before we dig into the process of shrinking the Akita (and it does not include washing at a high temperature… just kidding), let’s learn something more about the breed itself.
Many of the brave warriors could be found among Indian dog breeds. And, then we have our six amazing dog breeds from Japan – a Nihon – ken. All of them carry the title of Japanese national dogs. What an honor!
One of these amazing dogs is the subject of our article, just in a tiny version.
About The Akita Inu
The Akita Inu is one of those legendary dog breeds that has a long history that is full of mystery, legends, and great achievements. The Japanese Akita Inu is one of the oldest dog breeds out there.
All dogs have wolf ancestors, but some dogs even resemble wolves in appearance. Our Akita Inu is one of the wolf-like dog breeds no matter if it is a standard or a miniature version.
It is maybe because it is one of the spitz-type dogs, which means he is well equipped for cold weather. His equipment includes a pointy muzzle and ears, a lot of fur, and a lot of fat.
A long time ago, while Japan still had royals that were ruling the country, and while the country was feudal, these royal people needed some serious protection.
And, what does one protector have to be? He has to be strong, intimidating, loyal, and affectionate, and the Akita breed is all that, and even more.
He is not just a protector, but also a mighty fighter and hunter. And, he is not just your everyday hunting companion. The Akita dog is a big game hunter that is brave enough to face deer, bears, and boar.
So, all the experience from the courts of royal Japan makes this Japanese spitz what he is today – a noble and mighty dog breed.
A Fun Fact About The Akita Inu
I bet that you have cried along with the Hachiko of the same name, where the dog waits for his master at the train station. But, the master never returns. I know that I have cried my eyes out.
You certainly recognize the dog from the movie. It is our Akita who is the star… a good old Hachi.
The woman who first brought the Akita to America was a name by itself – the famous Helen Keller. She was on a visit to Japan, and she was told the story about Hachiko.
It melted her heart, and she expressed a desire to have one. So, by the grace of the Japanese government, she got her puppy, and it was the beginning of the “love affair”.
Hellen claimed that her Akitas were angels in fur, and I can not disagree.
Once, in the London Zoo, one Akita even helped raise a tiger cub that lost his mother. Only the Akita (of all the animals) had the necessary courage, loyalty, and calmness for such a task.
Physical Characteristics: Akita Inu Vs Miniature Akita Inu
When the Akita puppy is born, he looks like a Polar bear, especially if he is white. As he grows up, he becomes more of a bear-like dog.
That is because he grows very big, and that is part of the reason why some dog owners want a smaller version in the shape of a Miniature Akita Inu.
Height And Weight: Standard Vs Miniature Akita
When you translate it into numbers, you get 70 to 100 pounds of a heavy female dog on average, and 100 to 130 pounds of a heavy male dog.
According to the Akita growth chart, females will grow from 24 to 26 inches, while males will grow from 26 to 28 inches. I must admit that it is a fairly large dog for sure, and the Akita owner must provide some serious living conditions for a dog this big.
Well, these certainly aren’t the traits of our miniature version.
Miniature Akitas resemble a Shiba Inu, and they would probably grow from 14 to 17 inches on average if they are male, and 13 to 16 inches if they are female.
The same is with weight, where males could reach 23 pounds on average, and females could reach 17 pounds on average.
Besides the stamina of this dog, maybe the next most impressive trait is the coat.
Miniature Akita Coat And Colors
Akitas have a rich double coat, with a dense undercoat that makes them very fluffy and adorable. And, that masks their reputation of being a dangerous dog.
There are a lot of breeders who offer Akitas in different shades. You will find them among brindle dog breeds, white dog breeds, black dog breeds, red dog breeds, brown dog breeds, fawn, silver, and many other shades.
The Personality Of A Miniature Akita Inu
Likewise, his bigger companion, the Miniature Akita inherited all the sassines and boldness you can find in the standard version.
There is a reason why Akitas are considered as an aggressive dog breed. Even the mini version can be proof that poison comes in small bottles.
The Miniature Akita is a true little protector of his family and his home, so it is clear that you have some serious watchdog material here.
This breed is also famous for the fact that it does not bark, but it mumbles. But, don’t take this literally – it is a dog, after all, and you will hear him bark, although not as often as other breeds.
Miniature Akita And Other Dogs
The Miniature Akita is able to show some real dominance towards the other canines. But, that is just a matter of showing who is the boss.
But, when it comes to their human companions, don’t expect anything less than the constant expressions of pure love. This is their way to express the desire to become a family member, and not just a family pet.
Miniature Akita And Children
By having a reputation as a family dog, it is expected from a dog to be able to tolerate younger members of a family. With some proper dog training, this pooch will be able to really get along with young children.
But, remember to always keep an eye on the play just for the case.
Miniature Akita Exercise
Yes, one more thing… it is an Akita, after all, even though it is a very small Akita. This is a dog that needs exercise to let out all the energy it has.
Maybe the effect of his boredom wouldn’t be as destructive as the standard Akita, but still, it is not something you should strive for. So, put on some sneakers and get moving!
The Health Of A Miniature Akita Inu
When it comes to avoiding health problems, the first and most important step is to find a reputable breeder.
Lets see now, what are the most common health issues that a Miniature Akita and his owner could face.
PRA Or Progressive Retinal Atrophy
As the name itself states, it is damage to the retina in the eye. The first symptom is the loss of night vision, and then after some time, day vision diminishes also.
Dogs are creatures that have other senses emphasized so they can rely on them, too. So, if you don’t change their surroundings, they can adapt to deteriorated or lost sight very well.
SA Or Sebaceous Adenitis
This is a health issue that is commonly connected to the Akita breed. It is a condition that is transferred via genes, and it is the name for a problem with glands that are placed in the skin.
These glands have the job of keeping the skin moist by secreting a special oil called sebum, and when this process is interrupted, the skin becomes dry and irritated.
It is not a life-threatening problem, but imagine that you constantly have itchy skin. It is not pleasant for sure.
Gastric Dilatation – Volvulus
Sounds complicated, but it is a tough word for bloat. But, even though bloat itself doesn’t sound dangerous, it actually can be.
It is caused by stomach twisting that causes blood pressure to drop and the blood can no longer circulate normally, which could end fatally.
It can be prevented by offering your dog smaller portions of dog food more often in a day, along with water. It is very dangerous if a dog eats a huge amount of food and drinks a huge amount of water all of a sudden.
This is maybe the best known problem in many dog breeds. It is a problem connected with hips and joints where they become unable to fit together properly.
Since it is a problem that transfers from generation to generation, breeders often take care to stop the reproduction of dogs that carry these genes.
There is one gland in the throat that is very important for many processes in the body.
It is called the thyroid gland, and its dysfunction can cause many other conditions.
The most common dysfunction is hypothyroidism, which can cause either obesity or an excessive loss of weight, problems with hair, skin, and so on.
Training Of A Miniature Akita Inu
The training and socialization process should be taken seriously, and should be started in puppyhood. The Akita Inu breed is known to be a bit challenging to deal with.
It is good to introduce your young Miniature Akita to as many people as you can. But, make sure you introduce him to friendly people, and teach him to have confidence and trust in other people.
You must be wary during the training. Consistency is one of the milestones of any training, but there is a key to Miniature Akita training.
Miniature Akita owners must be respectful during the training, and that is something that your dog will give you in return.
A Fun Fact About The Miniature Akita Inu
Many dog owners say that this high-energy, active dog is not only physically active, but also his mouth never stops working. It is a dog with an opinion, and it has something to say about any topic that is on the “menu”.
Another thing this unusual dog is fond of doing is carrying stuff in its mouth. Or, just putting anything in its mouth, including your wrists. No wonder he drools a lot.
But, don’t be afraid – it is not an attack or a bite or something. It is the way that this dog likes to tell you that you mean a lot to him. Or, that he just wants you to take the leash and take him for a walk.
To avoid this funny behavior, try to give him some kind of task, or something to carry around.
Sometimes, it is not clear if your Miniature Akita is actually a cat or a dog. They are known to show some cat-like behaviors, and they don’t try to hide it!
They are not ashamed to lay in the middle of your living room and start with their daily hygiene. They will lick their body all over just like that.
And, that is not all! I have already said that it is not usual for them to bark, and that they will vocalize and moan the other way. But, you could be surprised to find out that they sometimes make something that sounds like a purr.
And, on top of it all, these dogs have an emphasized prey drive that they sometimes express by lurking their victim in the manner of a cat. This means their chest goes down to the ground, and then they suddenly attack without a noise.
How Was A Miniature Akita Developed?
As in any other dog breed that has its miniature version, there are several ways to develop a shrunken pooch.
To be precise, there are three ways that were shown to be successful, and we will tell a little bit more about each of them.
All of them have their pros and cons.
Developing A Miniature Akita: Breeding From The Runts
First, we need to define what a runt is. Explained simply, it is the puppy in the litter that has a disadvantage from the beginning of his life because he is the smallest, and therefore, the weakest in the litter.
This leads to another disadvantage, which is the inability to get to the milk. Because he is the weakest, he may be the last to get to the mother’s milk, for example, and that means he will develop slowly.
This means a weaker immune system, which can make him prone to all sorts of illnesses.
Being a runt doesn’t necessarily mean that the puppy is ill, but it can have more chances of becoming sick because he is the weakest. And, that is some sort of side effect to this method.
Otherwise, this method is something that can work very well in the process of developing miniature dogs. Think about it… if you keep pairing the smallest dogs together, their offspring will inherit their traits in future generations.
But, there is also a bigger chance of transferring some rare diseases if you pair cousins or brothers and sisters.
Developing A Miniature Akita: Crossbreeding With A Smaller Breed
This method is a true wheel of fortune because you never know what you will get once you take the chance and mix the Akita with other breeds.
You can either mix a male or a female Akita with some other smaller breed. But, to be honest… it is maybe best to mix a female Akita here because it sounds more ethical unlike otherwise.
There are many possible outcomes here. The offspring can take after the Akita when it comes to personality traits, but still be as big as the Akita is.
Then, he can take after the smaller parent, but won’t express the personality of the Akita.
Some of the popular attempts are combinations with the American Pit Bull Terrier, where you get an AkitaPit, then a combination with a Border Collie, where you get an Akita Collie.
There is also a combination with a Corgi, where you get a Corgita, and a mix with a Siberian Husky, where you get a Huskita. You can also try combining with a Labrador Retriever.
Developing A Miniature Akita: Bringing The Dwarf Gene Into Combination
Yeah, it is what you think it is. It is actually a medical term called chondrodysplasia, and it is the inability to grow within the standards of the breed due to a disruption in growth.
Dwarfism in dogs often expresses itself in the form of shorter legs. And, bringing this gene in won’t guarantee you a miniature version of a dog.
Also, there are a few side effects like enlarged joints, and problems with the spine and limbs.
What Dog Looks Like A Miniature Akita?
If you need a guard dog, for example, but you can’t afford a big guard dog, then getting a smaller version like a Shiba Inu or a Miniature Akita is a great choice. It is good to mention that an Akita Inu is among the most expensive dog breeds out there.
But, why did I mention Shiba Inu?
The Shiba Inu is another adorable Japanese national breed. It is much smaller than the Akita, but it may look exactly the same to the untrained eye.
That is why some people confuse these two breeds. But, they are not so far away from each other. They are both protectors and hunters, although the Shiba Inu can’t hunt big game because he is so small.
We can apply an ancient Latin proverb: nomen est omen – because the Shiba is literally a little dog.
This high-quality brushwood dog is certainly a sight you can encounter in your visit to Japan because it is among the most popular breeds to behold. I mean… just look at their colors.
Did you know that there is even a smaller version of the Shiba Inu?! Take a look at the Mame Shiba Inu.
To Wrap Up On The Miniature Akita
So, what are your impressions of the Miniature Akita? Did you find it suitable for your household? Or, have you changed your mind, and now you are more about the Shiba Inu.
Whatever you decide, just remember that there are two versions of the Akita – the Japanese Akita, and the American Akita. It is a dog with a fairly moderate lifespan that requires a lot of attention, either size you choose.
The Miniature Akita has its own pros and cons, and it is up to you to make up your mind. I wish you good luck, and I hope that you will be lucky to find one.