Golden Akita

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Golden Akita
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Though the Akita Inu has a reputation for being protective and somewhat hostile, the Golden Retriever is known for just the opposite and is celebrated around the world for being laid-back and loving. Mixing the two should theoretically result in a dog with a well-rounded personality, though it is always difficult to predict the temperament of a hybrid and even those from the same litter can develop into quite different adult dogs.

Often maintaining many of the Spitz-like features of the Akita, the Golden Akita usually has a thick coat, curled tail and may even have the distinctive erect, triangular ears. Though called the ‘Golden’ Akita, not all breed members will have gold fur and may have a coat that is white, brown or even red. A large dog with a bulky body, the Golden Akita is both tall and strong with a stocky conformation.

About & History

The Golden Akita or Golden Akita Retriever is a mixture of the kind-hearted Golden Retriever and the fearless Akita Inu. Like many other modern hybrids, little is known about when or where the first Golden Akita came to be. However, we know plenty about each parent breed and can analyse their history to understand more about the Golden Akita.

The Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds all over the world thanks to its good nature and easy-going attitude. Developed sometime in the mid 1800s within Scotland, the goal of creating the Golden Retriever was for hunters to have a dog that could retrieve prey as easily on water as they could on land.

The Flat-Coated Retriever was crossed with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel by Dudley Marjoribanks, who is also known as Lord Tweedbanks, a prominent and well-respected man in his day. It was in 1903 that the Kennel Club officially recognised the new breed within their Gundog group and not long after they were imported to America and Canada. While most individuals are now kept as pets, they have retained their sporting ability and also make superb therapy dogs.

The Akita Inu

The Akita, or Akita Inu, comes from northern Japan and is one of the oldest native breeds. Having lived in isolation on an island for centuries, they remained unchanged for many years. However, during the 20th century, they were outcrossed with breeds, such as the German Shepherd and English Mastiff, both in order to bolster breed numbers and to provide them with certain features that were thought of as desirable at the time.

The original purpose of the Akita was as a hunter and they were employed to pursue prey as intimidating as wild boars and bears, which they did without hesitation. Their job was to flush out the animal and then keep them at bay while the human hunter arrived. It is widely believed that Helen Keller (the American author and activist) was the first person to import Akitas to the United States.


The Golden Akita certainly possesses many features of the Akita though tends to retain the characteristic golden fur of the Golden Retriever. Their skull is large and round with an impressively broad forehead and ears that either flop forward in a semi-erect position or stand upright in a triangular shape. Their circular eyes are a deep brown colour and give the dog a calm and noble expression. The body of the Golden Akita is rectangular and robustly built with relatively long limbs, making them quite tall. While it is desirable for breed members to have the curled, Spitz-type tail of the Akita parent, some will have the straight, well-furred Retriever tail.

Weighing in at between 30kg and 40kg and reaching heights of 50cm to 66cm, these dogs are taller and heavier than the average Golden Retriever. They have thick and solid muscles, though still retain a good deal of athleticism.

Interestingly, not every Golden Akita will have golden fur and coat colours can include white, red, brown and black. Their coat is dense and straight and they retain the classic ‘plushness’ of the Spitz -type dog. The fur is known to shed a great deal and requires frequent brushing.

Character & Temperament

A dog that forms strong bonds with those in its family, the Golden Akita will dedicate itself to its masters and put them above all others. They can be extremely affectionate and are gentle and patient with children if trained to be so from a young age.

The somewhat wary nature of the Golden Akita makes them an excellent watch dog and they are always on high alert. Similarly, they have the ability to make fantastic guard dogs and will not hesitate to protect their family and possessions. This trait can be a positive and a negative and it is important that owners dedicate plenty of time to socialising the Golden Akita to avoid territorial nature within the home when wanted guests are around.

Though the Golden Retriever is known for being a ‘friend to all’, this is certainly not the case with the Akita and it can be hard to predict if the Golden Akita will be tolerant of all people and animals. Owners can improve the odds by socialising them intensively when they are puppies and ensuring they have positive experiences.


Smart and eager to please, most Golden Akitas have the potential to do well in their training. Some dogs will possess a stubborn streak and there can sometimes be a ‘power play’ in younger males especially. This sort of conduct must be nipped in the bud and trainers need to consistently emphasise the Golden Akita’s place within the household, not tolerating any domineering or aggressive behaviour.


Most Golden Akitas will live long and healthy lives but there are a number of conditions which need to be monitored for, particularly before a decision is made to use a dog for breeding.


Bloat is known by veterinarians as ‘Gastric Dilatation Volvulus’ and tends to be a condition that is seen in larger dogs with deep and wide chests. While it is not fully understood why some dogs will develop bloat during their lives while others never do, there are several theories.

Researchers think that a dog’s diet, how quickly they eat, how soon after they eat that they exercise and from what height they eat, can all be contributing factors. The key with bloat is to bring the dog to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible, as any delay in treatment could result in a fatality.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is one of the most common orthopaedic issues suffered by pedigree and hybrid dogs and can be largely avoided through the use of screening programmes and responsible breeding. It is advised that every breeding Golden Akita has their hips scored and that only those with low enough hip scores should be used to reproduce.

Allergic Dermatitis

Dogs with skin allergies will typically be chronically itchy and will have skin that is red, inflamed and prone to infections. Dogs can be allergic to a wide range of things, including foods, grasses and house dust mites. For most, the aim is to control their symptoms through a mixture of allergen avoidance and long-term medications.

Diagnostic tests do exist which can help determine what a dog is reacting to and there is the option of then using tailored immunotherapy injections to help increase tolerance and control symptoms.

Exercise and Activity Levels

As both parent breeds have quite high exercise demands, it is no surprise that the Golden Akita is not one to sit around doing nothing with its day. This is a dog that craves interaction and enjoys getting stuck in to any activity on offer. Couple this attitude with the large size of the dog and it soon becomes apparent that this breed needs plenty of space within the home and should also have access to a big back yard.


While the coat of the Golden Akita is not prone to matting, it can be very thick and does shed profusely, especially during warmer weather. Due to this, it is advised that they are brushed outside at least once a day to help strip away the dead fur that builds up.

For those whose ears flop over, they are particularly prone to ear infections and should have their ears checked on a regular basis for any redness or discharge. Ear canals should be thoroughly dried after a swim or a bath and most dogs benefit from routine ear cleaning.

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