Today, we are going to explore what colors an Akita can be, and what markings these dogs are allowed to have according to the standards of the breed. There are two kinds of Akita – Japanese Akitas and American Akitas – so we are going to look at the standards that both must adhere to.
An American Akita can be any color, including mixed colors. The American Kennel Association accepts red, white, brindle, pinto, silver, fawn, black, and mixed colors. The rules are stricter for Japanese Akitas and these must be fawn, brindle, sesame, or white. White Akitas will not have the standard markings that other Japanese Akitas have (known as urajiro markings).
Akita Colors And Patterns
Dogs come in all different shapes and colors, and Akitas are no exception. Akita colors and patterns can vary significantly, but you might be wondering what the accepted colors are and whether your dog falls into this category or not. It’s important to understand this, especially if you are considering trying to breed your Akita or you are interested in its pedigree. Unless you take the time to understand which colors are accepted, you don’t know whether your Akita meets the breed standards, and you cannot take it to shows.
The standards differ between American Akitas and Japanese Akitas. Far more colors are considered acceptable for an American Akita, whereas the Japanese Akita has fewer colors accepted.
And what about the patterns? How can these colors show up on your dog and what disqualifies them from shows or pedigree breeding? Akitas have many beautiful markings, but it’s just as important to pay attention to these as it is to pay attention to the coat color.
An Akita can have a mask of various colors or a mask combined with other markings. The markings will depend very much on what color your dog is, but note that a Japanese Akita’s markings are different from an American Akita’s markings. It is important for these markings to be present, and they are part of what makes Japanese Akitas so distinctive and instantly recognizable.
Do not ignore the markings on your Akita, whether you have a Japanese or an American Akita. These matter just as much as the color of its coat, and it’s important to recognize whether they meet the standards, or whether they are different.
The markings and color a dog has will be determined by its ancestry, so it’s a good idea to study the parents of any Akita puppy you are thinking of getting. Of course, if you are adopting from a shelter, this won’t be possible, so you will just have to examine the dog.
The parentage of an Akita makes a big difference to its looks, and most puppies will inherit their coat color from their mother or father.
If you want a puppy of a specific color, it’s a good idea to take a look at the different parents that currently have puppies, and choose ones that have colors that you like. You can then start examining the puppies for the colors and markings you like.
Japanese Akita Colors And Patterns
The colors for a Japanese Akita are surprisingly strict. The Japanese Akita is the origin of the Akita breed, and American Akitas are the result of breeding this with other kinds of dogs. The breed of Akita was recognized in America in 1972, but the Japanese Akita breed standard only accepts a handful of colors and markings.
The Japanese Akita is also known as the Akita Inu, and it can be:
The sesame Akita usually has light black tipping throughout its coat, but no heavy areas of black. The tipping can be across the head and body and should be reasonably even.
The white Akita should not have any other markings on its body, and no hint of any other color. However, the white Akita is not an albino and will have brown eyes.
Red Fawn Akita
A red fawn Akita is the commonest Japanese Akita and has a coat that is light, reddish-brown. Most people think of this color when they think of Akitas.
Finally, the brindle Akita is striped rather like a tiger. It commonly has black stripes on a red background or red stripes on a black background. The pattern of these stripes is quite specific.
However, color isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to standardizing the Japanese Akita. The markings that are accepted are also very strict. For a dog to be classified as an Akita Inu, it must have the urajiro markings, unless it is a white Akita (which cannot have these markings).
So, what are the urajiro markings? How do you know if your dog has them? Urajiro markings will be cream or white, and they are found on several breeds, including Shiba Inus and Japanese Akitas. The Urajiro markings will be found on the insides of the legs, the undersides of the jaw, the chest, the neck, the body, the tail, and the face. On the face, they will touch the cheeks and the sides of the dog’s muzzle.
These markings make the dog extremely distinctive, and they should blend in with the main color of the Akita Inu’s coat.
On brindle Akita Inus, these markings may be less clear, and may appear grayer, overlaying the main coat color rather than standing out from it. However, they must still be present and reasonably clearly defined.
Without these markings, the Japanese Akita does not meet the standards of the American Kennel Club, and it will usually not be permitted in shows or for breeding programs.
You should also be aware that if your Akita has white markings elsewhere on its body, not as a result of the urajiro markings, it may be disqualified from the breed standard, as these are not considered desirable.
American Akita Colors And Patterns
The standards for an American Akita are less restrictive, and it is much easier to get one of these dogs to meet the rules. An American Akita can be almost any color, and there is a great variety across the breed. The colors include:
American Black Akita
American White Akita
American Pinto Akita
American Brindle Akita
American Red Akita
Pinto and white are the most common colors for these dogs, but any of the colors above can be considered acceptable for the breed. What about markings? There are also multiple accepted markings, although many American Akitas are solid colors.
The accepted markings for an American Akita are usually white. Many American Akitas have large white patches, usually on their legs or tails. A lot also have white masks.
Some American Akitas have patches of other colors, including brindle, pinto, or black. Most American Akitas carry a mask of some sort, while Japanese Akitas do not.
The mask is a different color across the snout and some of the face. This is often black or white, but it can be any color. The mask generally covers the whole snout except the sides and often has a line of color running up the center of the dog’s forehead. It may spread onto the cheeks and might match the color of the dog’s ears.
American Akita Patterns will include:
Black mask and white markings Akita
White mask Akita
White markings Akita
Black mask Akita
Pinto with a black mask Akita
White mask with white markings Akita
Pinto with a black and white mask Akita
Black and white mask Akita
Note that the markings of the dog should be well-defined, large, and even. They should not be splatters of color, spots, or small patches all over. Many American Akitas have ablaze as well as a mask, which is considered acceptable.
The only color of American Akita that is not accepted is the merle. Although this is a beautiful dog, it is not considered part of the breed standard.
It’s worth taking the time to learn about Akita colors and patterns, even if you do not intend to breed or show your dog. It is still interesting to understand what the standards are, and what disqualifies an Akita from meeting them. If you have an Akita with unusual markings, you might be particularly interested in this.
Remember, the Japanese Akita standard accepts far fewer colors and markings than the American standard. However, even if your dog does not meet these standards, it will still prove a loving, intelligent, and dependable companion.