There’s no shadow of doubt that the Akita is an appealing dog that looks noble, majestic and a tad bit intimidating. While this breed is not as common as other more popular breeds, seeing one will leave an everlasting impression to the viewer. For many good reasons this breed was cherished in its country of origin.
This is an ancient breed originating in Japan. Its name derives from the Akita province, found in the mountainous regions of Northern Japan. Originally, this breed was utilized for hunting wild boar, Asian black bears and the occasional Sika deer and keeping it at bay until the hunters arrived. Around the 1600s, he was used as a guardian for the Japanese nobles. Akita ownership back then was strictly restricted only to the Imperial family and governing aristocracy. The fortunate pooches got valuable collars and the finest meals.
The breed was then crossed with German shepherds during World War II to keep the breed alive as most non-military dogs were culled during that time . Often killed for its coat which was used to line the jackets of Japanese soldiers, the breed was soon on the brink of extinction.
In 1931, the Akita breed became a Japanese Natural Monument. In 1937, Hellen Keller, after being fascinated by the story of Hachiko, introduced the breed to the United States. Unfortunately, the puppy she was given as a gift perished from distemper, but the Japanese government soon gave her another. More Akitas made their way to the USA after American servicemen who were stationed in Japan brought along more specimens. The result was a more robust dog than the Japanese version and a diversion from the fox-like Akita-Inu. In 1972 the breed was accepted by AKC and categorized under the working group,
This bred takes the guardian role seriously and will not back down from challenges. Even though he’s attentive to his surroundings, he’ s not too quick to sound the alarm, so when he barks he does so for a good reason. With his family, he’s sweet and affectionate. If you have ever watched the movie Hachiko, you’ve missed out on a great portrait of this dog’s personality. Just like the character in the movie, the Akita is a loyal companion that will follow you from room to room.
By nature, this breed can be mouthy, but not in a way that denotes aggression. It’s this breed’s way to get your attention and that may include gently mouthing your hands to conduct you somewhere. You can take advantage of this natural predisposition to train your Akita to carry your slippers or bring you the newspaper or the remote.
Other interesting behaviors involve cleanings its face like a cat after eating, or stalking prey with a low-held body.
The Akita’s appearance denotes a powerful dog that deters wrongdoers. The bear-like head is big, the ears are triangular, strongly erect and small ..The eyes are also triangular,and dark brown. The feet are cat-like, the tail is carried over the back.
There are different standards when it comes to the Japanese Akita known as the “Akita Inu” and the American Akita. American Akitas are acceptable in all coat colors and 3 patterns (whether solid, brindle or pinto) A black mask is permitted; whereas the Japanese Akitas are only allowed to be red, fawn, sesame, white, or brindle. When it comes to the coat, as a spitz breed, the Akita boasts a double coat meant to protect from inclement weather. There are two varieties: the standard coat length and the long coat which is considered a fault in the show ring.
The Ideal Household
While this breed doesn’t bark much, expect him to be vocal under the form of grunts, grumbles and moans. His talkative nature makes him quite entertaining.
Don’t plan on keeping this dog alone in the yard for extended periods of time; this breed craves companionship and time with his family. As seen in the movie Hachiko, this breed will want to be you. Fail to provide him with companionship and he’ll become frustrated in the yard which may yield to destructive and aggressive behaviors. This breed can be territorial.Make sure your fence is very secure. This breed may not do well in a condo or apartment.
Because of his needs for training and socialization, this breed does better with experienced owners. He needs some daily exercise and mental stimulation, but despite his size not as much as other large dogs. This is not an overly active breed. Plan to dedicate at least half hour to an hour a day. If you live in a cold climate,your Akita will be happy Akitas love romping in the snow. Indeed, in the old times, this breed excelled in climbing steep mountains covered by snow.
According to the American Kennel Club’s breed standard,, consider that this breed may not get along with other dogs, especially those of the same sex. This breed does better as being the only dog. When it comes to getting along with other pets, consider his past as a hunter. Chasing other pets may come natural to this breed.
With kids, Akitas make wonderful, protective protectors, but as with other large dog breeds, safety is a must. This breed can be protective of food, so keep children away during meal time. This breed does better with older children who have learned how to handle and respect dogs. Always supervise all interactions between children and dogs.
This breed requires loads of early socialization as he’s naturally wary of strangers. Training is a must with this breed; weighing in at around 100 pounds, you’ll have to take time to teach him acceptable behaviors. While highly intelligent, you may encounter a few challenges because of this breed’s stubborn streak. You must use, positive, reward-based techniques with this breed. Harsh, training based on compulsion may trigger defensive behaviors.
When it comes to potty training, this breed learn quickly. This is a clean breed that can be fastidious on finding the right potty area, and most likely it’ll be out of the house.
Expect this double-coated breed to shed a whole lot. You’ll find stray hairs just about anywhere, especially when he blows his coat, twice a year. Make sure you arm yourself with a powerful vacuum.
This is a fairly strong breed, but may be predisposed to certain conditions. Because they tend to grow quickly as puppies ,special care is needed to prevent orthopedic problems. For instance, his large size makes him susceptible to hip dysplasia and his deep chest makes him prone to bloat. Other possible conditions include hypothyroidism, several auto-immune diseases and hereditary eye problems. The lifespan is about 10 years.
Where to get one
Akita Club of America
This is breed targeted by breed-specific legislation. Take a look at our guide for getting insurance.
Interesting fact: when a child is born in Japan,the family receives a small statue of an Akita to wish health, happiness, and a long life.