Genetic Diversity Testing for Akita



The Akita Club of America donated $2500 that will be used to test Akitas affected with sebaceous adenitis (SA) and Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease (VKH)! This is open for all types of Akitas. The goal is to collect samples from 50 SA and VKH Akitas for research under Dr. N.C. Pedersen. The purpose of the research is to see possible genetic connections or risk factors in diseased dogs by comparing their samples to those from healthy Akitas.

If you have any type of Akita dog who has one of these diseases and if you would like to participate in this study, the $50 fee is waived and some additional enrollment information is required.

To see if your dog qualifies for enrollment, please email:

Saija Tenhunen -

If you have already submitted a diversity test for your Akita with one of these diseases, your dog is still valuable to the ongoing Akita research. We will need additional information for enrollment that will take a few moments of your time. If you are willing to have your previously submitted sample used in this project, please contact Saija Tenhunen (

The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL), in collaboration with Dr. Niels C. Pedersen and staff, has developed a panel of short tandem repeat (STR) markers that will determine genetic diversity across the genome and in the Dog Leukocyte Antigen (DLA) class I and II regions. This test panel will be useful to breeders who wish to track and increase genetic diversity of their breed as a long term goal.

Genetic diversity testing of Akita is well established and we feel that almost all of the existing alleles at the 33 STR loci and DLA class I and II regions have been identified. Any new alleles or haplotypes are likely to occur at very low frequency. We will continue to add new alleles and haplotypes when they are found and to adjust frequencies if necessary. We have confirmed that Akita exist as two varieties, Japanese (AKJ) and American (AKA). Blends involving crossing between varieties also have been identified and genetically characterized as intermediate. As of September 2018, we have tested 524 dogs from all three of these groups (117 AKA, 341 AKJ and 62 Blends), and the results of our preliminary genetic diversity testing have been updated.


$80 one test per animal
$70 when combined with a diagnostic test


Results reported as:

Short tandem repeat (STR) loci: A total of 33 STR loci from across the genome were used to gauge genetic diversity within an individual and across the breed. The alleles inherited from each parent are displayed graphically to highlight heterozygosity, and breed-wide allele frequency is provided.

DLA haplotypes: STR loci linked to the DLA class I and II genes were used to identify genetic differences in regions regulating immune responses and self/non-self recognition. Problems with self/non-self recognition, along with non-genetic factors in the environment, are responsible for autoimmune disease.

Internal Relatedness: The IR value is a measure of genetic diversity within an individual that takes into consideration both heterozygosity of alleles at each STR loci and their relative frequency in the population. Therefore, IR values heterozygosity over homozygosity and uncommon alleles over common alleles. IR values are unique to each dog and cannot be compared between dogs. Two dogs may have identical IR values but with very different genetic makeups.

Daily updated statistics are here.

See our PDF