Akita Shepherd: The Akita German Shepherd Mix

an akita German shepherd mix playing in the snow
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An Akita German shepherd mix is a cross between an Akita Inu and a German shepherd. Akita German shepherds are also known as Akita shepherds and shepkitas.

Akita German shepherds grow to 24–28 inches and weigh 75–125 pounds as adults. They’re intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs with an independent streak. The average lifespan of an Akita German shepherd is 10–13 years.

Shepkitas are calm, nurturing companions to children, but they should always be supervised around young children.

Because of their large size, Akita shepherds have high exercise requirements, and inactive people or people with mobility issues may struggle to keep up with this breed.

Akita German Shepherd Mix Quick Summary

Akita German shepherd mix standing in a backyard
Photo from dogsblog.com – a website that helps rehome dogs.


Common names: Akita German shepherd mix, Akita shepherd, shepkita
Origin: United States
Parent breeds: Akita Inu and German shepherd
Breed group: Hybrid
Size: Large
Height: 24–28 inches
Weight: 75–125 pounds
Colors: Gray, brown, black, brindle, silver, white, red, sable
Coat: Double coat, medium length
Life expectancy: 10–13 years
Temperament: Intelligent, protective, loyal, independent
Shedding: Moderate shedder
Barking tendency: Low
Cost: $250–$750

Akita Shepherd Appearance

German shepherd Akita mix with a red harness
Photo from dogsblog.com – a website that helps rehome dogs.

The Akita shepherd typically has the German shepherd’s coloring and head shape, with the bulky build of the Akita. Akita German shepherds are big dogs with thick, dense coats and long, fluffy tails.

Size and Weight

Akita German shepherds are classed as large dogs, growing to 24–28 inches tall and weighing 75–125 pounds.

The height and weight of the dog depend on the size of the dog’s parents, and whether the dog’s body is more similar to the German shepherd’s or the Akita’s. Dogs that take after the Akita are bigger than dogs that take after the German shepherd.


The Akita German shepherd has a thick, medium-length double coat in colors including white, gray, brown, black, brindle, silver, and red. Sometimes, the dog’s coat is a single color, and other times, the coat is a combination of two or three colors. German shepherd black and tan markings are common on Akita shepherds.

The Akita shepherd’s undercoat is thick and fluffy, and the outer coat is coarse and wiry. Akita German shepherds are moderate shedders and are prone to ‘blowing’ their coats, or shedding their undercoats when the weather warms, to make way for a light summer coat. Akita German shepherds aren’t allergy-friendly dogs.

Head and Face Shape

The Akita German shepherd typically has the head shape and facial features of the German shepherd, with a long muzzle, triangular ears, a black nose, and dark, rounded eyes. The dog’s head is generally wider and thicker than the German shepherd’s due to its Akita parentage.

Akita Shepherd Origins

The German shepherd Akita is thought to have originated in the USA in the 1950s, after being brought to the country from Japan. The goal of breeding the two dogs was to combine the German shepherd’s loyalty with the Akita’s protective nature.

For a dog to qualify as an Akita German shepherd, one of the dog’s parents should be a pure German shepherd, and the other parent should be a pure Akita.


The Akita Inu is a large working dog breed originating from Japan. Akitas were originally bred to hunt animals like elk, and for dogfighting purposes. Akitas are now popular family dogs known for their affectionate but independent nature. This breed has a dense, short-to-medium-length coat in colors including white, brindle, fawn, and sesame.

Akita German shepherds generally inherit the Akita’s large size and protective nature.

German Shepherd

The German shepherd is a working dog that originated in Germany at the end of the 19th century. The breed was first bred to herd sheep and later served in public service roles. Today, these dogs are still used as police dogs and companion dogs, as well as family pets. The German shepherd has a medium-to-large build with a medium or long double coat in tan or red and black.

Akita German shepherds usually inherit the German shepherd’s loyal personality, long muzzle, and triangular, pointed ears.

German Shepherd Akita Mix Personality and Temperament

A happy German shepherd Akita mix walking around in a backyard patio
Photo from dogsblog.com – a website that helps rehome dogs.

The German shepherd Akita is an intelligent dog that is loyal and protective of its owners. These dogs have an independent streak, and some dogs are difficult to train due to their stubbornness. Akita Shepherds are suitable for experienced dog owners who know how to train their dogs from an early age.

Taking Care of a German Shepherd Akita Mix

Taking care of a German shepherd Akita is moderately challenging. The dogs have big appetites and a lot of energy to burn, and their medium-length fur requires weekly grooming.

Food Needs

The ideal Akita German shepherd diet should consist of high-quality, nutritious kibble formulated for large, medium-energy dog breeds. Provide five or six cups of food per day, divided into at least two meals.

The dog’s size, activity level, and age affect the frequency of feeding. Akita shepherds are prone to weight gain if they’re overfed. Akita shepherd puppies need more food than adult dogs, so their diet should be monitored and adjusted as they grow.

Grooming Needs

The Akita German shepherd has medium-length fur that sheds seasonally. The dog’s coat requires brushing once or twice a week throughout most of the year, and daily brushing during the shedding season in the spring.

Aside from brushing your Akita shepherd, bathe your dog and clean the dog’s ears once a month, and trim the dog’s nails as necessary.

Exercise Needs

Akita shepherds are athletic, hard-working dogs with medium-to-high exercise needs. Provide at least one hour of daily exercise for your Akita shepherd to keep the dog active and healthy.

Ideally, German shepherd Akitas need two hours of exercise per day, including a daily walk, playtime, and moderate-intensity activities. Akita shepherds are big, lively dogs that need access to the outdoors, so they’re not suitable apartment dogs.

Mental Needs

The German shepherd Akita mix is a smart, alert dog that needs at least one hour of daily mental stimulation. Good brain games to play with an Akita shepherd are:

  • Scatter feeding which encourages the dog to search for food around your home
  • Interactive puzzle toys and feeders
  • Stuffing toys with food for your dog to nibble out (only use special toys designed for this purpose)

When playing games involving treats, don’t overfeed your German shepherd Akita. Treats shouldn’t exceed 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

Common Health Concerns

The Akita German shepherd mix is prone to some of the health conditions that affect the German shepherd and the Akita. These include:

  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia: A skeletal disease that causes the ball and socket of the elbow and hip joints to grow abnormally and become unstable. This causes pain and difficulty walking. Elbow and hip dysplasia can be treated with physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and, in severe cases, surgery.
  • Bloat: A medical condition, known as gastric dilation-volvulus (GVD), occurs when a dog’s stomach twists due to gas, fluid, or too much food. Dogs with bloat are restless and have swollen or distended abdomens. Prevent bloat by feeding your dog small meals and discouraging your dog from eating too quickly. Bloat is treated with surgery.
  • Dry Eye: A condition that occurs when the dog’s eye doesn’t produce the normal amount of tears. Dry eye typically affects both eyes, causing inflammation and other eye disorders, like conjunctivitis and eye ulcers. Redness in the eyes, frequent blinking, and thick discharge are signs of dry eye. Dry eye treatments include eye drops, artificial tears, and eye wiping.

Take your dog for regular health checkups to ensure health conditions are detected early. Exercise and avoid overfeeding your dog to prevent health issues associated with obesity.

Training an Akita German Shepherd Mix

Akita German shepherds are headstrong, eager to please, and intelligent, which means they’re easy to train, but they’re known to test their owners’ boundaries. Consistent training is essential for these dogs to thrive, and you should train your dog as early as possible.

Start training your Akita shepherd puppy as soon as you bring it home. Assert dominance and use positive, reward-based training to encourage obedience. Begin by teaching your Akita shepherd basic commands, toilet-training, and leash-training.

German shepherd Akitas are smart enough to learn complicated tricks, so training shouldn’t end when the dog becomes an adult. Continue to train your Akita shepherd throughout its life to give the dog purpose and mental stimulation.

Akita German Shepherd Mix Cost

The Akita German shepherd is priced as a mid-range dog.

How Much Is an Akita German Shepherd Mix?

An Akita German shepherd mix is $250 to $750 USD. The price of the dog depends on age (puppies are around $300 more expensive than adults), colors and markings, and parentage. Adopting an Akita German shepherd mix incurs a fee of about $200 and is more affordable than buying a dog from a breeder.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise an Akita German Shepherd Mix?

The cost of raising an Akita German shepherd mix is about $80 per month. This includes the cost of food, grooming, healthcare, and optional services, like professional training and dog sitting.

Should You Get an Akita German Shepherd Mix?

The Akita German shepherd mix is beautiful, loyal, and intelligent, but the dog isn’t suited to all people or lifestyles.

Akita German Shepherd Mixes are Suitable for:

Akita German shepherds are stoic dogs with a nurturing nature, so they’re great pets for families with children. Due to their large size and high energy needs, Akita shepherds are best for active households with a backyard.

Akita German shepherds are highly alert, protective dogs, and they’re incredibly loyal to their owners. If you’re looking for a guard dog that will keep your family safe, the German shepherd Akita mix is ideal for you. The breed gets along well with other pets as long as it’s introduced gradually and carefully.

Akita German Shepherd Mixes are NOT Suitable for:

Akita German shepherds are big dogs that need lots of space, so they’re not suitable for apartments or homes without a backyard. Due to their exercise requirements, Akita shepherds don’t make good pets for inactive people or people with mobility issues.

Akita shepherds are headstrong and willful, so they’re not suitable for people who don’t have the time or patience to train pets from an early age. Because Akita German shepherds have a prey drive for small animals, the dogs shouldn’t be introduced to small pets unless properly socialized.

About John Woods 301 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

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