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How Fast Can Akitas Run?

How Fast Can Akitas Run?

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The Akita is a hardy dog from the snowy mountainous regions of Akita and Odate, Japan. More than a thousand years ago, this robust dog served as the hunter’s companion as well as a backup weapon. Breeders originally bred the Akita to bring down elk, boar, and the Yezo bear, without hesitation – since more than a thousand years ago, hunters had only bows to take down their prey! During that age, people valued the Akita Inu or “Akita” for its sharp primal hunting instincts, fearlessness, and loyalty…but what about its speed?

How fast can the Akita run? The Akita is a large, athletic breed built for strength and stamina rather than speed. However, this Japanese breed can still run up to 28 mph (twenty-eight miles per hour) in short bursts and maintain around nineteen miles per hour for two miles when necessary!

You may be wondering how the Akita managed to track and kill such a big game with such limited speed. The answer comes down to breeding, stamina, and strength. In the following sections of this article, we are going to take a close look at the Akita breed and answer questions such as: How fast can Japanese and American Akitas run? Do Akitas make good running dogs? Can Akitas be trusted off-leash? How strong is the Akita?

How Fast Can Japanese Akitas Run?

The Japanese Akita is the original Akita breed. Breeders bred the Akita specifically for fearlessness, their hunting traits, and loyalty to their masters. The primal instincts of the Akita taken out of context in modern society can sometimes translate to stubbornness. One thousand years ago, however, the Akita was a powerful hunting companion capable of self-direction.

The Akita can run up to twenty-eight miles per hour for short durations and maintain a speed of nineteen miles per hour for as far as two miles. When it comes to longer distances, the Akita loses interest and tires quickly.

American Akita Speed

Since the Akita came to America in 1937, selective breeding led to the development of the American Akita. The American Akita physically differs from the Japanese Akita as it has a big bear-like head and muscular frame.

The American and the Japanese Akita run at similar speeds and have comparable stamina despite their physical differences.

The American and the Japanese Akita run at similar speeds and have comparable stamina despite their physical differences.

The American Akita edges ahead of the Japanese Akita when it comes to strength simply because of its larger mass and more defined musculature.

Are Akitas Good Running Dogs?

Although many of the Akita’s characteristics remain the same as they were a thousand years ago, there is a considerable difference between the stamina of the Akita that was bred as a hunting partner a thousand years ago and the Akita of today.

A thousand years ago, the Akita had to hunt, corner, and kill beasts larger than itself – a feat requiring the dog to travel over long distances, have incredible stamina, and be fearless. These days, however, the Akita no longer has to corner elk, boar, and bear or travel such long distances to do so. This change in purpose has led to a physical change in the breed as well.

Domestication has lowered the Akita’s stamina, and what was once seen as fearlessness now translates to stubbornness – that said, the essence of the original breed remains intact.

The Akita of one thousand years ago ran long distances and had the stamina needed to do so. As the Akita became increasingly dependent on humans, however, the need for increased stamina dropped. The dog that used to chase wild beasts became a dog with medium-level energy that is quick to tire during strenuous activity.

Today, the average Akita requires approximately two hours of exercise daily, including walking, participating in sports, playing fetch, etc. When it comes to running, though, the Akita enjoys shorter runs, but many owners observe that anything over the two-mile mark will cause boredom and lead to your Akita looking for mischief (which spells bad news for you since you are on the other end of the leash!)

In short, if you are a sprinter or looking for a running partner for a couple of miles, the Akita can make a great running friend, but anything longer than that, and you are setting yourselves up for failure.

If you are looking for a long-distance running partner, like the Akita, the Siberian Husky is a member of the Spitz family of dogs, but breeders have selectively bred for speed and endurance. So, where the Akita can cover a couple of miles before losing interest and running out of steam, the Siberian Husky can run at a maximum speed of thirty miles per hour. Over long distances, the Husky can cover as much as one-hundred-and-fifty miles a day at between nine and ten miles per hour!

You might also consider the Alaskan Malamute if you are looking for a distance runner with a build like the Akita. A bigger dog breed than the Husky, the Alaskan Malamute is also a Spitz breed but was bred for distance running rather than speed and distance. The Alaskan malamute can run at a maximum speed of twenty-five miles per hour and can run as far as forty miles at one time! The average running speed of the Alaskan Malamute is around eight miles per hour.

Can Akitas Be Off-Leash?

Like many breeds bred for hunting, Akitas do not do well off-leash. Just catching the scent of something can send this natural hunter into hunting mode, and you will be left chasing your dog until he tires or realizes that you are not playing with him.

It is also worth noting that the Akita does not always appreciate the companionship of dogs, other animals in general, and they are wary of strangers, so an off-leash Akita can lead to dogfighting, eating prey animals like squirrels, and even biting incidents.

Many dogs can be trained to work off-leash by an experienced trainer, but there is hesitancy with certain breeds. For the uneducated, there is the assumption that your Akita is going to attack them. This assumption can lead to aggressive behavior simply because someone is acting defensively or unusually toward your dog.

There is also a hesitancy to allow certain dogs off-leash when they have hunting behavior in their DNA. Since the Akita began as a hunting dog, there is plenty of hunting instinct in its DNA, and if that primitive instinct takes over, there is a good chance that your Akita will take off and get injured or injure something else.

How Strong Is The Akita?

Following years of service as hunting companions, the Akita became less of a hunting partner and more of a guardian and protector. The Japanese emperor and the emperor’s Samurai Soldiers used the Akita to protect both people and property.

This occupation drew on the strengths of this former hunting dog while still allowing them the independence that this breed has always thrived on. During this time, the Akita was so revered that only the emperor – or the emperor’s Samurais – were permitted to own the breed.

As modern times crept in, the focus switched to the physical prowess of the Akita. Men began using the once-royal dog for bull baiting and dogfighting. Between this and the use of Akitas for meat and fur to line military uniforms, the Akita barely made it out of Japan alive.

But what is it that led men to use the Akita as a soldier and later fighter? It comes full circle back to one of the traits that make this breed a great hunter – strength.

The Akita has a bite force of between three hundred and four hundred pounds per square inch and can pull three to four times their body weight. These qualities combined with the Akita’s muscular frame and square, sturdy build sadly made it the ideal candidate for unethical dog fighting and bull baiting activity.

Fortunately, these immoral activities are slowly being shunned as law enforcement crackdown on animal cruelty. In May 2007, The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act was passed into law and made dogfighting a federal felony with maximum penalties of a $250,000 and three-years in prison!

These days, the powerful Akita is getting to work in much more beneficial ways. You will find this ancient Japanese breed serving as protectors, guardians, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, and sports competitors!

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