Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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An Aki-Poo is a crossbreed of the popular Poodle and the Akita Inu. Many Aki-Poos will retain the Spitz features of their Akita parent and will have a wedge-shaped face, erect ears and a curling tail. However, this does not hold true for all and some will have ears that flop to the side of their face and a tail that hangs down to the ground. Most will have an impressively dense coat that does not shed too much and can come in an array of colours with fawn and black being the most common.

The Aki-Poo has the potential to make a great addition to most families but benefits from strict training and ground rules from day one. They do have the potential to become hostile and overly defensive, though most can be taught to be accepting of other animals and humans with the correct socialisation.

About & History

The Aki-Poo is also known as the Akidoodle, Pookita or the Akitapoo. Though one may not initially associate the Akita Inu with the Poodle, this cross-breed has a lot to offer. Breeders have been creating ‘designer dogs’ for the last fifty years or so, though it is thought that the Aki-Poo has only been around for ten to twenty years.

The Poodle

The Poodle is the quintessential dog breed and is one that features in a large number of ‘designer dog’ breeds. This is because they offer a lot of great personality traits and come in toy, miniature and standard sizes. The Aki-Poo generally features the standard Poodle, rather than the other two smaller sizes. Poodles have been revered in France since the 1700ss but are known to have existed within Germany for several hundred years prior to this.

Traditionally, the breed was used as a hunting dog, retrieving waterfowl and bringing them back to their master. Some breed members would also be used to detect truffles. Over the years, Poodles became more popular as companion animals and show dogs and have also competed in a variety of canine disciplines, often scoring highly.

The Akita Inu

The Akita Inu is a courageous and spirited dog from Japan that has existed there unchanged for many centuries. They have always been renowned for their hunting ability and showed no fear when hunting large prey, such as boars and deer. Rather than attack the prey, they would flush them out, though never backed away from a challenge. The Akita rose to fame within Japan in the 1920s and 1930s and was declared a national Japanese monument at this time. This popularity was due to the story of ‘Hachiko’, a dog whose owner passed away when at work, but who would continue to return to the train station each day in hopes that he would appear. This demonstration of loyalty was seen as a hugely attractive quality and there was even a statue erected in the train station in the Akita’s honour.

During World War Two, the breed came close to extinction when numbers dropped so low that they had to be bred with other breeds, such as the German Shepherd and the Tosa Inu. It was in 1955 that the American Kennel Club recognised the Akita and placed them within their Working Group.


The Poodle and Akita are two breeds that look quite unlike each other, meaning that the appearance of the Aki-Poo can be variable. All dogs are sturdily-built and well-muscled, possessing good athletic ability. As most are produced from Standard Poodles, they will measure between 45cm to 64cm and will weigh between 20kg to 52kg.

Many Aki-Poos will have the erect, triangular ears of the Akita, though it is possible for them to have ears that flop down. Their muzzle tends to be wide and blocky and their eyes are dark and almond-shaped. They have a relatively thick neck that leads down to a solid body, supported on straight legs. While their tail may curl over their back like that of the Akita, in some individuals it will hang down and straight.

The double-coat of the Aki-Poo is thick and usually quite fluffy and soft. There are many different possible fur colours and shades, including white, fawn, brown and black.

Character & Temperament

As the Poodle and Akita each have very different temperaments, it can be difficult to predict which personality type the Aki-Poo will inherit. Those who take after their Akita parent more will be endlessly loyal and incredibly brave. They will be affectionate with their immediate family but cautious around others and can make excellent guard dogs. However, those who are more like the Poodle will tend to be more laid-back and welcoming of new people. They are not as defensive as the Akita and do not make such ideal guard dogs.

Most Aki-Poos will possess a good mix of characteristics from each parent and most are quite good-natured and lively. They get on especially well with the children of the family, though do need supervision when with them as they are large and cannot always be trusted.

Smart and adaptable, the Aki-Poo can do well in a number of disciplines and is a quick-learner. While some breed members are vocal, they tend to only use their voice when necessary, and incessant barking is rarely an issue.


It is vital to train and socialise the Aki-Poo extensively from an early age as it is possible for them to be unsure around new people and other animals if not familiarised with them from young. Those that are not sufficiently socialised can be overly-dominant and protective and can struggle to behave well in the presence of strangers.

Given the innate intelligence of the Aki-Poo and their desire to please their master, it is no surprise that they can be trained to a high standard. Their versatility means that they have the ability to do well in many areas. Most will respond best to positive reinforcement training and will work the hardest when food is around as a reward!


As the Aki-Poo is such a new cross-breed with very small breed numbers, it is incredibly important to monitor for disease within the population to prevent a high incidence of health issues. In particular, breeders are encouraged to be aware of the following conditions, which they are though to suffer most commonly from:

Hip Dysplasia

Dogs that are affected with hip dysplasia may start to show symptoms in their first year of life and owners will notice that they start to walk with a strange gait and may be refusing to play as much as they used to.

X-rays can confirm the disease and are also able to provide a ‘Hip Score’, i.e. an objective measurement of how badly the hips are affected. It is widely accepted that any dog with hip dysplasia should be removed from the breeding pool to prevent it from being passed on to future generations.


Some dogs are born with eyelids that curl inwards and can cause discomfort and scratch the surface of the eye. This is known as ‘entropion’ and can be fixed with a relatively straightforward surgery if necessary.


Bloat is a condition whereby the stomach of the dog fills up with so much gas and fluid that the abdomen appears visibly bloated when viewed from the outside. As these dogs are so uncomfortable, they will let their owner know that something is seriously wrong by whining, retching and pacing around the home. Without exception, these dogs need immediate veterinary intervention to deal with the bloat. The sooner they are seen, the better their prognosis.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A dog with good levels of energy and moderate exercise requirements, the Aki-Poo benefits from a couple 30-minute outings a day. They enjoy hikes over scenic routes and relish the opportunity to be off-lead when possible. Of course, this is not always achievable in public places due to their high prey drive, so it can be nice to have a fenced-in garden for them to access.

Importantly, owners should not neglect the mental development of the Aki-Poo and, as well as providing enough exercise, they should ensure that the mind of the Aki-Poo is constantly challenged. Fun and interactive games, as well as puzzles and toys, can help to keep them sharp.


Most Aki-Poos do not shed extensively and can be brushed twice a week to keep their fur in good condition. They should be introduced to their grooming regime from an early age to ensure they accept it. Those with floppy ears will need their ears cleaned out every one to two weeks and owners should be aware of the higher potential for ear infections in these dogs.

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