Japanese Akita Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- The Japanese Akita is a large breed of dog of sturdy conformation. They have a coarse and straight outer coat with a soft undercoat. The Akita is a double coat, waterproof breed. The outer coat is harsh, straight, and stands slightly off the body. The under coat is dense, soft, and close to the body. The hair on the head, legs, and ears is short, while the hair on the tail is long and profuse. They typically shed their coat twice a year. They also have a broad head, pricked triangular ears and a curled tail. Akitas are large, powerful dogs with much substance and dignity. Their proud head carriage and stance is enhanced by their small ears and dark eyes. Their well-muscled limbs ensures that their movement is vigorous and resilient.
- Other Names:Akita Inu, Japanese Akita, Shishi Inu
- Country Of Origin:Japan
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Utility
- White, brindle, sesame, and red fawn. All colours except white should have white marking at various parts of their bodies.
- Akitas are in general a docile breed with an easy going temperament. They require a moderate amount of exercise and are also known to be quiet and faithful, highly intelligent, fearless, and spontaneous. They thrive on human companionship and are extremely loyal to their family and those they know, but are wary and aloof of strangers. They are exceedingly protective of their family, their territory, and of their food. They are particularly aggressive toward other dogs and pets. They will get along with older, very well behaved children within their family unit, but will not tolerate children they don't know. Akitas make excellent guard dogs, although they are not excessive barkers. They do not do well if left alone for extended periods of time. For this reason, they are not well suited for a two career family. They require an inordinate amount of attention. Akitas are not recommended for the novice dog owner, or owners who are placid and submissive. Their hunting instincts are strong and this must be remembered at all times.
- Akitas have a moderate stride length but are powerful with it.
- Care and training:
- The Akita requires significant grooming with a firm bristle brush on a daily basis. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary with a mild shampoo to prevent stripping the coat of the natural oils.
This is a bossy but intelligent breed and, therefore, needs to be controlled. Having said that, however, they do react badly to harsh methods of training. Never hit or punish an Akita. They need firm, loving discipline. It is absolutely imperative that they know who their master is or they will take charge. They do best with patience, kindness, firmness, fairness, and consistency. Akitas typically prefer to be clean and is easier to housetrain than manyother breeds.
- Overall Exercise:
- 2 hours per day.
Akitas require a lot of exercise to keep them well-muscled. That said, if you do have to miss a walk one day, they will accept it without a fuss. Do remember these are hunting dogs and great care should be taken when allowing them to run freely.
- Feeding Requirements:
- Akitas are not fussy eaters and in relation to their size do not eat a vast amount.
- Personal Protection:High
- Suitability As Guard Dog:High
- Level of Aggression:High
- Compatibility With Other Animals:Low
- Suitability for Children:Low
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:5-7
- Life Expectancy (yrs):10-12
- Health issues:
- Autoimmune disorders, degenerative myelopathy, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), and other eye problems.
- The Akita is the tallest of Japan's native breeds. Their other name, Shishi Inu, means "large dog." Akitas date back over three hundred years and take their name from the prefecture of Akita in northern Japan on the island of Honshu. Here, the winters were brutal, and the Akita grew tough in such a land. Developed in 1630 by a Samurai, the Akita was produced to be an excellent fighter, guardian and hunter of large game. Over the years they were bred and used for hunting large game such as bear, deer and wild boar. By the time the 1800s rolled around dog fighting was a popular sport, and thus the breed was used for that purpose as well. In 1927 some fanciers formed the Akita-inu Hozankai Society of Japan in order to restore and preserve the original Akitas, not the ones bred to fight. There was a statue erected of an Akita in Shibuya Station in Tokyo around 1920 to commemorate a faithful Akita that would arrive every day to greet his master at the station, and continued to do so even 10 years after his death! The Akita almost became extinct several times. In Japan, it's image is often used to represent good health. In 1931 the Japanese government designated the Akitas as a National Monument and one of Japan's national treasures. Japan has placed an emphasis on maintaining the breed, the same emphasis as on the Shiba Inu. The first official Akitas made their way to America in 1937 in the hands of Helen Keller as she brought back one from a trip to Japan. Later during World War II, servicemen took some home with them and the breed expanded. In 1972 they were recognized by the AKC, and they today their popularity steadily grows.