Species group: Working Group dogs
Other name(s): Japanese American Akita; Great Japanese Dog
The Akita, the tallest of the Japanese dog breeds, was developed in the 1600s by a Samurai seeking to create a guardian dog with a warrior's spirit. When the sport of dog fighting came into fashion in the 1800s, the dogs were bred to be larger and larger. As a result of this heritage, the Akita is a powerful, protective breed that must be socialized with care. Its aggressive instincts means that it should probably be reserved for the single pet home with a responsible owner who possesses a good grasp on canine psychology.
In 1927, a group formed in Japan to restore the original appearance of the Samurai "Akita Matigas" look. As a result, the Akita is slowly diverging into two separate breeds-- the Akita Inu, which is more like the older Japanese breed, and the American Akita, which retains the larger size of the fighting dog heritage. In 2006, the Kennel Club (UK) recognized the Japanese Akita Inu and the (American) Akita. Most other countries worldwide do the same. However, the American Kennel Club (US) still regards the two forms as members of the same breed. If you plan to show your dog, know where your club stands on the issue so you can make the right choice for you.
A well-trained Akita can be a loyal pet indeed. Helen Keller was one of the earliest Americans to own an Akita. However, their demanding personality means they aren't considered a good choice for the novice pet owner.
Appearance / health:
The Japanese Akita and American Akita began to diverge in type through the middle and later part of the 20th century. Japanese Akita fanciers focused on restoring the breed as a work of Japanese art. American Akita fanciers bred larger, heavier-boned dogs.
Both types derive from a common ancestry, but marked differences can be observed between the two. First, while American Akitas are acceptable in all colors, Japanese Akitas are only permitted to be red, fawn, sesame, white, or brindle. Additionally, American Akitas may be pinto and/or have black masks, unlike Japanese Akitas where it is considered a disqualification and not permitted in the breed standards. American Akitas generally are heavier boned and larger, with a more bear-like head, whereas Japanese Akitas tend to be lighter and more finely featured with a fox-like head.
The coat of the Akita requires considerable grooming. Do not over-bathe as this will remove their coat’s natural waterproofing. Brush regularly to control shedding. The Akita has a heave shed twice yearly.
Akitas require a moderate amount of daily exercise, whether in the form of a walk or jog, or a good romp in an enclosed yard.
Some of the more common health issues in the Akita can include:
Behavior / temperament:
The first thing that should be kept in mind about the Akita is that they were bred for fighting as well as for a very good temperament. The Akita can be described only as fiercely devoted to their owner(s). While this seems a desirable trait to many, in the Akita it can lead to aggression towards people other than their owner(s). This is one breed where extensive, consistent socialization as a puppy, as early as possible, cannot be emphasized enough to prevent the later development of aggression, shyness to a grossly undesirable degree, suspiciousness, and even outright aggression toward other people.
All that said, the Akita is typically a dignified, composed, courageous, faithful, playful, and affectionate breed with their owner(s) and they will protect them with their life.
The Akita is rated high in learning rate; medium in obedience; high in problem solving. The Akita can be very domineering; therefore, an experienced owner who knows how to be firm, fair, consistent, and alpha is a necessity for the Akita. Please note the use of the phrase “experienced owner.” The word “owner” is pointed out because the training of an Akita cannot be left to a trainer or handler unless the only person you want them to obey is the trainer or handler! This is a “hand’s on” breed when it comes to training.
It is imperative that the owner(s) of the Akita establish their authority as soon as the puppy is acquired and maintain that dominance throughout the life of the dog. If the owner(s) do not establish that alpha position and, instead, entrust the training of their dog to a trainer or handler, the Akita will never see his owner(s) in the alpha position and the owner(s) will never be fully in control of the dog.
This is also the time when the puppy must be heavily socialized to people outside the family, as often and as regularly as the owner(s) can make it happen, even if it mean rearranging their usual schedule in order to get this vital socialization need met.
The Akita is known to challenge his owner(s) where matters of obedience are concerned – he is headstrong and his natural high level of intelligence will cause him to occasionally question your authority. Many owners have found that it necessary to physically take their Akita down in the proper manner of showing dominance, including shaking their scruff. You cannot force the Akita to do anything; instead, you must show them what they are to do. Never, ever hit or otherwise physically harm your Akita, or any dog, in order to show your dominance as doing so does not have the desired effect; rather, it will demonstrate to the dog that you are to be feared and, if you are feared, the natural instict is to strike out or run.
It vocalizes with many interesting sounds, but it is not an excessive barker. The Akita is far more likely to growl and grumble at strangers and intruders rather than bark. However, a bored Akita will become more vocal.
fluffy coat, original nanny dog, lovely life partner, strong guarding instincts
small animals, small children, strange people, high prey drive
firm hand, black masks, relatively silent dog, movie Hachi
A great gift
Kaios (pronounced like chaos) was a birthday gift from a friend. The friend could no longer keep the dog as he was headed off to college, so Kaios became a part of our family. This was an amazing experience with the Akita breed, and I would definitely have another if the opportunity presented itself. Akita's are large dogs, and Kaios was at the bigger end of the spectrum. At his prime, he weighed 130 pounds; he was a strong and sturdy dog. With his very protective nature and house-rumbling bark, it was easy to see how some found him intimidating, but he was actually a very gentle and well-behaved dog. His training and temperament made him safe and obedient. He was easy to walk and cuddle, although playing in the backyard did leave large divots. The only drawback to Kaios was his very thick coat that did require regular brushing to keep under control, otherwise, he was the perfect family pet..
From KimKutchan Jun 8 2015 11:31AM
Happy, Healthy, and Energetic
Our dog is 10 years old and still keeping up with the best of them. We've always tried to get him out on morning walks everyday, and have also started to add hiking into the mix twice a week. He's loving being able to explore and meet new people. We have friends with a dog ours is friendly with and the two of them together have a blast every time. .
From KochewlooKitty 12 days ago
A little grumpy and stubborn
Akitas are so gorgeous! One of my favorite dogs to look at, and I tried twice to find one with a good temperament. Unfortunately, it seems to be a breed thing, or maybe just terrible luck - training was nearly impossible with these guys. They like to do their own thing and are very playful, but also their own creature. Too much attention and they seem to be annoyed, rather be left to their own devices.
Care is really simple as their coats tend to take care of themselves, and they always seemed to be impeccably neat creatures - always self-grooming and prepared..
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