The Akita dog originated from Japan in the northern mountainous regions of Honshu Island. Ownership of these dogs was once restricted to royalty and the aristocracy. The Samurai bred fighting dogs by crossing them with larger breeds. They were used for a variety of tasks including hunting, draft work, fighting, guarding and herding.

The breed was declared a Japanese National Monument in 1931 and even today it has a spiritual significance for the people of Japan. Small statues are given as gifts especially when a baby is born or when someone is ill. The breed is extremely loyal. The town of Shibuya has erected a bronze statue in memory of an Akita named Hachi-Ko. When his master passed away while at work, the dog continued to meet the train for nine years. Helen Keller was also the proud owner of an Akita, the first one to come to America. After World War II the breed was lucky to escape extinction.

Akitas have a strong desire to be pack-leaders, even within their human family. Supervision is needed for other pets, visitors and children. Small pets may be perceived as prey and aggression is often directed towards other dogs. It does not need training to take on a role as a guard dog.

The Akita will not tolerate teasing. They are a very intelligent dog and tire quickly of repetitive training. Mental and physical stimulation will keep them happy and healthy.

It has the large head and thick, curled tail that typifies Spitz-type dogs. The rounded ears are wide at the head. Triangular, dark brown eyes are deep set in the skull. As pups, they house-train easily and are very clean. The main genetic diseases are hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism and, to a lesser degree, degenerative myelopathy, blood disorders and blindness.

The Akita is a calm, self-confident dog, not demanding of attention or exercise. Although, you will have to walk your dog every day if you want to keep him to his ideal weight.

These are heavily boned, muscular dogs weighing between 34 and 50 kgs (75 to 110 pounds). They do not bark much but have some vocalizations particularly with people they know well. The feet are webbed with thick pads. The coarse outer coat may be a different color to the soft, thick undercoat and they sometimes have a masked face. They shed twice a year heavily and need regular brushing.

These powerful dogs stand 22 – 27 inches tall and can weigh as much as 125 pounds. The coat is thick and comes in several colors including brindle, fawn, red, sesame, and white. They shed an average amount of their hair, although they heavy shedding comes twice yearly.

The are healthy dogs with an average lifespan of 10-14 years. But, like all purebred dogs, they are prone to some diseases, such as hypothyroid, progressively retinal atrophy and hip and kidney problems.

They are normally very loyal and highly protective dogs. They bond strongly with their family and are good with children and tolerant of other pets. They are known to have a passionate greeting on meeting their owners. This involves a lot of squirming about and making happy grunting sounds.

The Akita will not suit a novice owner. Their inherent survival instincts and strength need to be tempered with training and socialization. A well-trained dog will be loyal and affectionate to its family and manageable in other situations. A committed owner with some experience will find the Akita rewarding and a loving companion.

March 5th, 2016

Posted In: Pet