Akita Inu is a Japanese breed of large dog. Named for Akita Prefecture, where it is thought to have originated, it is sometimes called the Akita-ken based on the Sino-Japanese reading of the same kanji. In most countries (with the exception of the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs), it is considered a separate breed from the American Akita, as requested by the Japanese Kennel Club. "Inu" means "dog."
The breed stands anywhere from 60 - 66 cm (24 - 26 in) at the withers. Females weigh anywhere from 30 - 45 kg (70 - 100 lb) and males are 35 - 54 kg (75 - 119 lb). The Akita Inu comes in only five colors: Red, Fawn, Sesame, Brindle, and Pure White. All except white must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, body and tail. Black masks, as seen in the American Akita, are not permitted in the Japanese Akita Inu.
All colors are accepted in the American Akita. The Pinto color is not accepted as a Japanese Akita color, but is as an American Akita color. In the U.S., some breeders interbreed the original Japanese type with the heavier American type, which is larger, and allows more colors. It is felt by some that combining the two types leads to improved appearance and genetic health by increasing genetic diversity. It has often been commented that the Japanese Akita has an extraordinary elegance. There is only a single Akita breed registered by the American Kennel Club; in all other countries besides Canada the breed has been separated into two breeds: the Akita Inu and the American Akita.