Akita dog breed comes from Japan, originating in the mountain regions of the north. They were originally hunters of boar and bear, but now they are mainly used as companion dogs. Akita can be excellent therapy dogs and watchdogs. They usually remain quiet by their charges, barking only when necessary. These smart, handsome, and intelligent dogs successfully compete in many categories.
Akita dog breed was developed in the 19th century to preserve and promote the desirable characteristics of certain native Japanese breeds. During the World War they were even bred with German Shepherds to make them useful in the war field. This gave rise to lack of standardized breed characteristics in Akita. An effort was later made to filter out the undesirable traits such as black mask, pinto pattern, and large size. But these traits were favored by American breeders, resulting in two different types.
The story of a faithful Akita named Hachiko endeared this fiercely loyal breed to people across the world. This dog used to wait for its master at the Shibuya train station every single day. One day, the master failed to return to the waiting dog because he had passed away at work. But the dog refused to give up hope and continued to wait for him at the usual spot for nine years more until it died finally.
Helen Keller is credited with introducing the first Akita to the United States. She described the dog as “gentle, companionable, and trusty.” This was followed by many dogs brought in by the American soldiers after the World War II. However it took many more years for getting AKC recognition for this dog, which finally came in 1972.
At 28” shoulder height, and over 100 pounds in weight, Akita is a good- sized dog. It has a large head with ears standing up. The Japanese Akito has light colored coat with white faces and underside. They are smaller than the American Akita which may have a darker coat and a number of different color patterns. Their thick, double coat is quite impressive. The small eyes and erect tail give it a constantly alert look similar to that of German Shepherds.
Akita dog breed is bold, proud, and independent. They tend to dominate other dogs and do not get along with other pets. Loyal to the family members and extremely reserved with strangers, these dogs are excellent as guard dogs. However, they are not to be kept with other dogs, especially one of the same sex.
Akita may be gentle and protective towards the children in its charge, but the unpredictability in its nature makes it inappropriate to expect good behavior at all times. Not a dog for novices, Akita needs strict discipline and firm handling by confident masters to reach their potential.
Grooming and exercise
Akita needs only weekly grooming sessions. A thorough combing will remove all the dead hair trapped in its coat. Their origin in the mountainous regions of Japan and their thick coat makes them extremely tolerant of cold, but Akita is not a dog for warmer areas. They are a breed for the outdoors, but they prefer to spend the nights with their human family.
Akita finds a good match in very active owners because they need to have their daily quota of exercise and mentally stimulating activities. When they don’t have plenty of exercise, these active and high-spirited breed starts to misbehave. A run in the park with their owner holding on to the leash may be sufficient to keep it within bounds. Since they are not great in getting along with other dogs, they shouldn’t be let loose to play in the park, even with the owner staying near at hand. They are quite unpredictable, and very aggressive when aroused.
Common health issues of Akita dog breed
This breed is riddled with several auto-immune diseases such as lupus erythematosus and hemolytic anemia. Endocrine dysfunction leads to conditions such as Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, Diabetes mellitus and hypothyroidism. They are prone to hip and elbow displacement, gastric dilation and torsion, certain types of cancers, and retinal atrophy.
Regular health check-ups are necessary to keep the dog in good health. Akita is expected to live for about 10 or 11 years.