Akita Colors and Patterns

Akitas come in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns. They are one of the only breeds that allow any color or pattern under AKC guidelines. The Akita Inu is red, white, or brindle. According to standards, the red or brindle must have white or Urajiro markings on the cheeks, the chest, the belly, the tail and on the legs. They do not have a black mask.

All known Akita Colors & Patterns

The colors of the American Akita vary. A combination of the following 2 or 3 colors is most common:

  • White – both overcoat and undercoat are solid white.
  • Black – this color is a bit rarer than others. Overcoat and undercoat may have a different hue.
  • Red – a deep, rich reddish tint.
  • Fawn – this color covers a range of tints the beige palette from pale biscuit to caramel.
  • Brown – a deep chocolate or coffee hue, far deeper than beige.
  • Silver – a shiny grey hue.

Color is also the element that differs regarding the American Akita versus the Akita Inu. All American Akitas are patterned, except a solid white.

A short explanation of common terms:

  • Brindle is actually the striping pattern found on a different solid color. When both are dark, like black and brown, it might be difficult to detect unless looking precisely. Usually, it is a combination of basically two colors: silver, red, fawn, brown or black.
  • Overlay is a solid base coat with a different color falling on the tips of the black coloring guard hairs (the outer layer of fur). The overlay can appear on all the basic colors: black, red, fawn, brown, and silver.
  • Pinto is a pattern of any color on a body of white, and that color covers more than 1/3 of the body.
  • Undermaked pinto or mismark means a color that covers less than 1/3 of a body.
  • Hood is a white body with a solid-colored head. Akita with colored ears would be considered white with head markings.
  • Mask – is the area around eyes, just where a common mask would be. The following are typical colorings of this type of marking:
    • Self-masked is when the head color is the color of the body.
    • White mask or the White-faced – white markings on reds or brindles. That is why sometimes it is also referred to as Urajiro markings. Considered rare in Japan and still is the most popular there.
    • Black Mask – is the most typical of all masks, no matter what color are the over- and undercoat.
    • Black Mask with Urajiro (White) Markings -in addition to the main color the white markings are usually on the chest, belly, back and/or front legs and tail.
    • Black and White Mask – this will be a black&white combination and the markings are also on the head.
  • Undercoat shading is when 1 distinct color is on top of the other. These 2 distinct colors seem to be mixed, first, you see the one tint and only then a lighter or darker undercoat, that is why the dog looks shaded. That’s really amazing! Usually, you may see the following combinations:
    • Black with brown undercoat
    • Black with red undercoat
    • Black with fawn undercoat
    • White with red undercoat

Eyes and Nose colors

  • Eyes – preferably dark brown
  • Nose – black is preferred. For whites brown color is acceptable.

Remember that the color of your Akita has not to be as important as Akita’s health, temperament, and type. Finding an Akita that fits your personality is also more important than the color.

A very high percentage of Akitas need this color descriptor in addition to one of the primary colors. White markings are any markings that appear on the neck, chest, belly, legs and/or tail. Akitas have a wide range of colors as shown below.

Akita Colored Black Masked Red

1 Black Masked Red

The red color is rich, brilliant and clear. A white background is on the neck, the chest, on the legs, under the belly and sometimes under the tail. White markings are well balanced. Black mask covers the area between eyes and nose, including lips. Undercoat color may differ from the outer coat.

Akita Colored Fawn Black Overlay

2 Fawn, Black Overlay

Black stripes on a fawn background. This pattern includes what are called “blue brindles” which can be quite exotic looking. The background is a pale fawn and the stripes are a pastel gray-blue. This is quite an uncommon color.

Akita Colored Silver Black Overlay

3 Silver, Black Overlay

This is black striping and black edging on a silver background. The head is mostly dark-grey or even black.

Akita Colored Brown With White Markings

4 Brown With White Markings

The overcoat is brown. The brown color should show a deep chocolate hue. If it is lighter, the color would be fawn. White markings are well balanced. The markings can fall anywhere, usually on the chest, stomach, back and/or front legs and tail (full or tip).

Akita Colored Fawn

5 Fawn

This color covers the range of hues in the tan spectrum from pale to light. Undercoat hue may differ a bit from the outer coat.

Akita Colored Golden Fawn

6 Golden Fawn

Golden stripes on a fawn background. The base coat is light fawn and their overcoat is deeper. That gives the dogs coat a golden shading. Sometimes there is a black mask.

Akita Colored Silver Fawn

7 Silver Fawn

Silver stripes on a very pale fawn background are a beautiful pastel greyish blue. The head is mostly dark-grey or even black. It is very rare.

Akita Colored Fawn Brindle

8 Fawn Brindle

Black striping on a fawn background and white markings.

Akita Colored Hooded

9 Hooded

This term describes the dog that is predominantly white, but has a secondary color, usually on the head and sometimes additionally on the body. The secondary color has less than one-third of the body in color, usually its a white body with a colored head with small patches of color on the body.

Akita Colored Longcoat

10 Longcoat

The long coat Akita is thought to be the result of breeding the Russian “Karafuto” dog with the Japanese Akita to produce a longer thicker coat to help with the harsh cold climates. This lovely dog is not “kennel club breed standard” so it can not be shown, and is therefore unlikely to be bred by registered breeders. The long coat is often described as looking like a teddy bear. Colors vary.

Akita Colored Red Brindle

11 Red Brindle

Black stripes on a red base. The red color is deep, rich reddish tint and tone.

Akita Colored Self Mask Red

12 Self Mask Red

The head is the same color as the markings. The red color covers both the body and the head.

Akita Colored Split Mask

13 Split Mask

The mask is usually black and has some white which splits the face.

Akita Colored White Faced Red

14 White Faced Red

The color is deep, rich reddish tint and tone. The face and the rest of the coat are white.

Akita Colored White

15 White

The white color is most often is mixed or may be solid. Pure with no additional is

Akita Colored Black Brindle

16 Black Brindle

This is actually a fairly rare color. Overcoat at first glance appears to be black but on closer inspection obviously has at least a few stripes. Some black brindles can be deep black, some can be less. In most cases, there is some shading or the undercoat is a different color. In fact, most Akitas have some shading of outer or undercoat.

Akita Colored Edging

17 Edging

And edging or etching refers to the beautiful black pattern sometimes found on the edges of the colored portions on a pinto or marked dog.

Akita Colored Blue Brindle

18 Blue Brindle

This pattern is when the undercoat is a biscuit fawn color and the stripes are a beautiful pastel greyish blue. At a first glance may be defined as a fawn brindle. It is very rare.

Akita Colored Silver Brindle

19 Silver Brindle

Black stripes on a silver background. The undercoat does not have any fawn hue and that is why it differs from a blue brindle.

Akita Colored Brown Brindle

20 Brown Brindle

Black stripes on a solid brown background. Sometimes the brown base can be rich and dark, thus the brown seems to be black.

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