|Country of origin:||Japan|
|Registries:||AKC, UKC, CKC|
|Breed Group:||AKC: Working Group,
FCI: Group 5 Section 5 #255
|Size:||51–86 lb (35–50 kg),
22–26 in (56–66 cm)
|Lifespan:||11 to 15 years|
|Training:||Difficult; can be
|Grooming:||Lots of brushing|
Overview of the Majestic Canine
The Akita dog breed, a large and powerful canine, is native to Japan and is also known as Akita Inu. Initially bred for fighting, the breed’s purpose shifted to hunting when dogfighting declined. The Akita’s imposing presence and strength make it an attractive choice for a companion, guard dog, or police dog. However, its strong-willed and aloof temperament, combined with potential aggression towards other dogs and humans, means it is best suited for experienced handlers. The breed should never be left unsupervised around children due to its strength.
The Akita Breed’s History
The Akita, or “Great Japanese Dog,” originates from the mountains of northern Japan. This breed can be divided into two variations or strains: the Japanese Akita (Akita Ken) and the American Akita. Some countries consider these strains as separate breeds, while others, such as the United States and Canada, classify them as the same breed with differing attributes.
The Akita is believed to have originated from the Odate region on the island of Honshu in Japan, which is why it was initially called the Odate dog. In Japan, Akitas symbolize health and happiness, and they hold a special place in Japanese culture. When a child is born, it is customary to receive an Akita statue, showcasing the breed’s importance in the country.
During World War II, the Akita breed was on the brink of extinction due to malnutrition and subsequent culling by the Japanese government. However, the breed was reintroduced to its native mountainous region, where it repopulated and recovered. American soldiers who admired the breed brought Akitas to the United States, where the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1972.
Akita Breed Size: Distinctive Dimensions
- Female Akitas: 51-64 pounds (23-29 kg), height 22-24 inches (56-61 cm)
- Male Akitas: 71-86 pounds (32-39 kg), height 24-26 inches (61-66 cm)
Akitas are a large breed, with females averaging 51-64 pounds (23-29 kg) and males averaging 71-86 pounds (32-39 kg). The breed’s size is complemented by its distinctive features, such as a double coat for warmth during harsh Japanese winters and a curled tail that arches over the back. American Akitas typically have heavier builds and bear-like heads, while Japanese Akitas have lighter builds and fox-like heads. Both variations have small, dark eyes and black or white facial masks.
Akita Temperament: A Loyal and Dignified Companion
Akitas are known for their cat-like nature, grooming themselves with their paws and displaying courage and dignity. They can be territorial and are often wary of strangers, but they are fiercely loyal to their families. While Akitas are great with children and make excellent family dogs, they may not get along well with other dogs due to their dominant personalities. In some cases, they may not tolerate dogs of the same sex.
Akita Breed’s Fame: Hachi – A Heartwarming Tale of Loyalty
The Akita breed gained international fame and recognition through the heartwarming and true story of Hachiko, an Akita Inu who became a symbol of loyalty and devotion. This story was brought to life in the 2009 movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” starring Richard Gere. Hachiko, affectionately known as Hachi, would accompany his owner, Professor Hidesaburo Ueno, to the Shibuya train station in Tokyo every day and wait for his return in the evening. Tragically, Professor Ueno passed away suddenly while at work, and Hachi continued to wait for him at the station for over nine years until his own death.
The story of Hachiko touched the hearts of people worldwide and led to a deeper appreciation for the Akita breed’s unwavering loyalty and devotion to their owners. In honor of Hachiko, a bronze statue was erected at Shibuya station, which has become a popular meeting spot and a symbol of love and loyalty. The movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” helped to further popularize the Akita breed and showcase their incredible bond with humans, making them a desirable and treasured companion for many dog enthusiasts.
Akita Health: Common Health Concerns and Lifespan
Akitas are more prone to autoimmune disorders and stomach bloating than some other breeds. Proper breeding practices are essential to minimize the risk of such health issues. Despite these common health concerns, Akitas typically have a lifespan of around 11-15 years, which is a testament to their overall resilience and vitality.
Grooming Needs of the Akita Breed
Create a grooming plan:
- Daily brushing
- Regular shedding maintenance
- Bathing every few months
- Checking nails and ears daily
Akitas are often classified as low-maintenance dogs, but they do require some consistent grooming due to their double coat. Daily brushing and weekly shedding maintenance are necessary to keep their coat healthy. Akitas can be heavy shedders, experiencing substantial shedding twice a year. Bathing every few months is recommended, along with daily checks on their nails and ears to prevent any potential issues.
Breed Diet: Nutritional Needs and Examples
- High-quality dry kibble
- Lean meats (chicken, turkey, beef)
- Fish (salmon, sardines)
- Vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas)
- Fruits (blueberries, apples)
Akita dogs require a nutritious and well-balanced diet to maintain their health and energy levels. High-quality dry kibble, lean meats, fish, vegetables, and fruits can all be part of an Akita’s diet. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best nutritional plan for your individual Akita, considering factors such as age, weight, and activity level.
Exercise Requirements for the Akita Breed
- Daily walks
- Agility training
Although Akitas don’t have excessive energy levels, they still require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Daily walks, fetch, agility training, hiking, and swimming are all great ways to engage your Akita and keep them healthy and happy.
Akita Training Tips for Success
Akitas are intelligent and obedient, responding well to training when approached with patience and consistency. Socialization from an early age is crucial to ensure a well-rounded and well-behaved Akita. Kennel training and secure fencing are essential due to their hunting instincts and potential to climb or dig. Consistent, positive reinforcement and a firm, fair approach will help establish a strong bond between you and your Akita, leading to a rewarding and lifelong relationship.
Living Conditions: Understanding the Akita’s Environment
Akitas are best suited to living environments that provide ample space, both indoors and outdoors. They can adapt to various living situations, including houses with yards and apartments, as long as they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation. However, this breed may not be suitable for first-time dog owners or households with multiple dogs due to their dominant and strong-willed nature. Additionally, Akitas should not be left unsupervised around children or other pets.
The Key to a Well-Rounded Akita
Proper socialization is vital for the Akita breed, as it helps them develop into well-adjusted and well-behaved adult dogs. Early and consistent exposure to various environments, people, and other animals will help your Akita become more comfortable with new experiences and reduce the likelihood of aggression or fearfulness. Puppy training classes, dog parks, and regular walks in different settings are excellent ways to socialize your Akita and ensure they develop into a confident and friendly companion.
Akita Breed: A Furry Symbol of Health and Happiness
The Akita breed is a majestic and powerful canine that is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. With a rich history and a reputation for loyalty and courage, the Akita has become a beloved companion for many families. Their unique features, along with their intelligent and dignified nature, make them a truly remarkable breed. With proper care, socialization, and training, an Akita can be a rewarding and loving addition to any home that appreciates and respects their strong-willed temperament and needs.