We can certainly say that the Akita dog breed is a natural monument of Japan. Strong, powerful dog with excellent work ethic. They are a great symbol of their native land, but remained a popular dog breed to this day. The right Japanese pronunciation of their name is Ah-ki-ta.
Akitas were developed in the 17th century in the prefecture of northern Japan by a Japanese aristocrat. Since then, Akitas were an indispensable part of Japanese nobility and have served the purpose of a hunting dog throughout centuries. Akitas are indeed Japan’s symbol, a dog breed that is both a myth, a legend, and an important part of Japanese culture.
Even though the Akita is a huge, tough breed, it has been raised for decades as a household friend. Akita owners adore them because of their loyalty and dedication. The Akita will usually follow you from room to room in your house, as though its sole mission in life is to protect and entertain you.
The Akita, on the other hand, can be aggressive. The aggression is usually directed towards other dogs. They aren’t usually violent toward people, but they do have strong protective instincts, so be cautious when strangers enter your home. When it comes to children, the Akita will be just as loyal to them as any other family member. Of course, young children should never be left alone with large dogs in general, especially if they are new to the family.
Akitas are known for their intense loyalty, but they also like to be tidy and are easily housebroken. They are ideal to have in the home because of these two traits. The Akita has been compared to a cat because of how clean and fragrant they are.
History of the Akita dog breed
The Akita gets its name from the northern Japanese province of Akita, where they are thought to have originated. The Akita dog breed has been around since the 1600s, when it was employed to protect Japanese aristocracy and hunt fowl and large game such as wild boar.
Helen Keller was the one who brought this brave species to America. Helen Keller was held in regrad by the Japanese, who escorted her to Shibuyu to see the statue of Hachiko. He was a devoted Akita who rose to international fame in the 1920s. Most of you probably already know his story. Hachiko’s owner arrived at the Japanese train station every day at 3 p.m. When the professor died, Hachiko kept waiting every day until his own dead.
Helen Keller was gifted with an puppy, and then the first Akita was brought to America — a small pup named Kamikaze. Keller was absolutely in love with her pup, so it’s no wonder how heartbroken she was when he died soon of distemper. The Japanese government presented her with Kamikaze’s older brother, Kenzan, as soon as they learned of the news. Keller later described Kamikaze as “an angel in fur” and the Akita breed as “kind, companionable, and trustworthy.”
Returning American servicemen from Japan brought back more Akitas after World War II. Beginning in 1956, Thomas Boyd is credited with breeding the first Akita stallion to produce puppies in the United States. Many people saw the American Akita as a more substantial dog than the Japanese Akita.
Those who wished to adhere to the Japanese standard, however, were outnumbered. The result of this divide was a decades-long fight that resulted in the American Kennel Club delaying recognition. The AKC finally recognized the Akita dog breed in 1972. But the schism remains today, causing tremendous concern among Akita enthusiasts on both sides.
The Akita breed almost went extinct
These very hard times stopped dog owners from taking care of their pets properly. It got so bad in Japan that the government told all non-military dogs to be killed. The only breed that was not banned was the German Shepherd because it was used by the army.
In an effort to save their beloved Akitas, owners took their dogs to far-off places in the country. In order to save their dogs, some Akita owners mixed their dogs with German Shepherds and gave them German names. Thankfully, there were enough Akitas to save the breed from extinction after this dark time in history.
Akita breed traits and appearance
With his fluffy hair, rounded form, and comically large paws, the Akita puppy evokes a lot of “awws.” He does, however, grow up to be a strong canine. These dogs are, without a doubt, tough.
Because of his fluffy coat and fox-like face, it’s easy to fall in love with an Akita. Especially when they have a cute head tilt as they glance at you! They large head really makes the eye contact an experience. It will seem as if they can see right into your soul.
These dogs are incredibly large and have heavy bones. An American Akita’s shoulder height ranges from 24 to 28 inches, and the breed can weigh anywhere from 70 to 130 pounds. This is because of his wide mouth, sharp ears, and small, deep-set brown eyes. He has a thick double coat that can be any color, like white, brindle, or pinto. He has well-defined markings on his strong body. It sheds very little and needs to be brushed a lot. The Akita’s characteristic tail lifts in a fluffy curl over his back.
The Japanese Akita, often known as the Akita Inu, resembles the American Akita but is smaller. Another difference is that the Akita in the United States can be any color, but in Japan, the Akita is usually red, brindle, or white. The Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu look a lot alike, but they are very different when they are grown up. The Akita is a big breed, and the Shiba Inu is a small breed.
Male Akitas stand from 26 to 28 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh between 100 and 130 pounds. On the other hand, females stand from 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.
This dog has a short to medium-length coat that is very dense and very thick. The Akita has a thick, soft undercoat that makes it good for cold places, but the coat will thin out a lot in the summer. The outer coat, or “guard hair,” is a little longer and a little rougher. Several Akitas have long hair, and even though they aren’t able to show, they are still pretty dogs in their own right. White, brindle, and pinto are some of the colors of the Akita. There is a white background to Pinto’s body, but there are large patches of color all over the body, too. If the undercoat is different from the outer coat, the colors will always be clear and bold, even if they are two different shades. The Akita’s unique look has helped it become more and more popular.
Personality & Temperament of an Akita
Akita has many personalities, based on his surroundings. With owners and family Akita will be affectionate, playful, and gentle. On the other hand, the protective Akita will vary of strangers and aggressive towards other dogs, especially if they are of the same sex. When we talk about Akita we talk about the brave, strong, and bold dog with a strong personality. These dogs need an experienced owner that can discipline and handle them. Therefore, Akitas are not dogs for first-time owners.
Socializing the Akita puppy (or retraining an adult dog) with as many people who are friendly as possible can help soften the edge of their fear. An Akita will always be an Akita, not a party animal.
One of the Akita’s unique traits is mouthing. The Akita is a dog that likes to carry things around in their mouths, and this includes your wrist. They don’t mean this as a threat, but rather as a way of communicating with the people they care about. Depending on the reason, they may lead you to their leash, or they may act on any number of other smart ideas that come to them.
Many people find the Akita’s mouthing cute, but if you find it annoying, give your dog a job that requires him to carry something. They’d be happy to get the paper or your slippers for you, or get the mail or even the keys you keep forgetting about.
Are they good family dogs?
The Akita is brave and is a natural protector of their family, which makes them a good family dog. Nothing will be stopping them from taking on a new challenge. They are vocal, but they don’t usually bark when there is no good reason. They make grunts and moans that are fun to listen to. These pups seem to be talking to themselves, some owners say. Others say the Akita has their own ideas about everything, from how to load the dishwasher to when the kids should go to bed.
Akitas are very powerful, and these dogs will want to rule over you. Proper training is essential, and training should be done from the start. Because the Akita is so loyal, the relationship between the owner and the dog must not be broken by leaving the dog with a trainer while the owner is away.
People should be ready for training to take longer than it does for other types of dogs. Despite being very smart, the Akita is also very stubborn and willful, which can and does get in the way of training. Before you bring an Akita home, you should do a lot of research on how to train them. Not everyone can handle this kind of dog.
The Akita is a very social dog who needs a lot of time with their family. They don’t do well as an outdoor pet. Loyalty is what this breed is all about. When you make them live outside without having a family around, you aren’t living up to the Akita breed at all. As a dog gets lonely and bored, it can become destructive and aggressive.
Akitas enjoy spending time outside because of their thick coats and rugged heritage, and a fenced yard where they can explore and sniff is perfect.
Akitas love the cold, and when it arrives, they’ll run around in it (they even have slightly webbed toes to assist them walk through snowdrifts), eat it, and roll around in it to their hearts’ pleasure. If they don’t receive enough exercise, Akitas can get chonky.
While you don’t have to keep their paws moving all day, a daily jog or long walk will keep him fit and happy. Indoors, they’re content to follow their owner from room to room or stand on the floor and watch them.
Because the Akita has a high predation drive, he should be kept on a leash and under constant supervision when outside. This breed is normally calm, so barking isn’t an issue unless the dog is alerting its family to a guest or something strange.
A securely fenced yard is also necessary for the Akita’s safety as well as the safety of guests who may inadvertently enter their territory. When their family is around, they aren’t usually violent with visitors, but when their owners aren’t present, all bets are off. The Akita is a devoted guardian that will defend its territory against any harm.
When it comes to parenting an Akita puppy, more caution is required. Between the ages of four and seven months, these dogs grow at a rapid rate, putting them vulnerable to bone diseases. They thrive on a high-quality, low-calorie diet that restricts their growth. Furthermore, avoid allowing your Akita puppy to run and play on hard surfaces such as pavement; typical grass play is fine. Avoid forcing your dog to leap or jog on hard surfaces until they are at least two years old and their joints have fully developed.
Health Conditions & Lifespan
Akitas are generally healthy dogs. However, just like any other dog breed, they are prone to certain health issues and diseases.
The life expectancy of Akita is between 10 and 13 years on average.
The most common health issues in Akitas include:
Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia
HD is a hereditary disorder in which the femoral head doesn’t fit properly into the hip joint. Some dogs demonstrate pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, while others show no symptoms. Arthritis might occur in either case as the dog ages. Hip dysplasia dogs should not be bred. Reputable breeders provide evidence that the parents have been checked for hip dysplasia and are healthy.
GDV, often known as bloat, is a potentially fatal illness that affects large, deep-chested dogs such as Akitas. It’s especially problematic if they only eat one large meal per day, eat quickly, drink a lot of water afterward, and exercise vigorously. When the stomach is inflated with gas or air, it twists, causing bloat. Because the dog can’t belch or vomit to get rid of the excess air in their stomach, the usual flow of blood to the heart is slowed. The dog’s blood pressure falls and he goes into shock. The dog may die if medical help is not provided right away. If your dog has a swollen abdomen, is salivating excessively, and retches without vomiting up, it could be bloat. They may also feel agitated, melancholy, lethargic, or feeble, with a fast heart rate. It’s critical that you take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Thyroid disease is a condition that affects the thyroid gland. Epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin diseases are thought to be caused by it. Medication and diet are used to treat it.
Progressive retinal atrophy
PRA is a group of eye illnesses characterized by the progressive degradation of the retina. Affected canines become night-blind early in the disease and lose sight during the day as the condition advances. As long as their surroundings remain the same, many affected dogs adjust well to their restricted or lost vision.
In Akitas, SA is a severe issue. This difficult-to-diagnose hereditary disorder is frequently misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, allergies, or other illnesses. When a dog gets SA, the sebaceous glands in the skin become irritated and finally destroyed (for unexplained reasons). Sebum is a fatty secretion produced by these glands that helps to keep the skin from drying out. Symptoms commonly appear in dogs between the ages of one and five years old, and include dry, scaly skin and hair loss on the top of the head, neck, and back. Skin thickening and a foul odor, as well as secondary skin infections, can occur in severely affected dogs. Although the issue is mostly cosmetic in nature, it can be distressing for the dog. If your veterinarian suspects you have SA, she will take a skin sample and discuss treatment options with you.
Caring for an Akita
Even though it is a huge dog, the Akita is not a high-energy pup. This breed needs moderate exercise, such as a daily walk or a brisk jog around the neighborhood. Akitas enjoy playing, and chasing is their favorite game. This breed enjoys engaging in a lively game of fetch.
This breed thrives on a challenge, so setting up an agility or obstacle course in the backyard is a fantastic idea. Another fun game for an Akita is a frisbee toss, which involves some talent, coordination, and timing.
Grooming an Akita
Akitas don’t shed much most of the year, even though they have a dense and luxurious double coat. The exception is the shedding season when Akita’s dense undercoat comes into play. During the shedding season, you will find clumps of hair all over your house. Therefore, brush your Akita once a week most of the time and increase the frequency of brushing to every day during shedding season.
Akitas are generally clean dogs with very little to no doggy odor. However, you still need to bathe them regularly, trim their nails, hair as needed, and brush their teeth daily to prevent bad breath and gum disease.
An Akita should be fed high-quality dog food, whether cooked at home under the direction of your veterinarian or purchased professionally. An Akita’s diet, like that of other breeds, should be tailored to its age.
Akita puppies, for example, should be fed puppy kibble, which is designed to help a puppy grow and develop healthily. Adult dog food should be fed to an adult Akita, while senior dog food should be fed to an older Akita. Also, make sure to keep track of your dog’s weight and portion his meals to prevent overeating and obesity.
Trainability of an Akita
Training an Akita can be quite a challenge. These are very intelligent dogs, but they are also independent and can be stubborn. Therefore, you will need a lot of patience and persistence to succeed in your intentions.
The most important thing is to start with training why your Akita is still a puppy. Akitas are strong and powerful dogs with a strong guardian instinct. Therefore, it is essential that they are properly trained and socialized from an early age or they can be aggressive towards strangers and other dogs.
Also, remember that Akitas have a strong prey drive and will chase smaller animals. Therefore, Akita must always be on a leash during walks.
Interesting facts about the Akita
- There is a spiritual significance to this breed too. The Akita is so revered in Japan that the family of a newborn kid is frequently gifted with an Akita statue, which represents health, happiness, and long life.
- Visitors can encounter Akita dogs at a variety of enterprises in the Akita prefecture of Japan, including the Akita Dog Museum, the Akita Dog Visitor Center, the Ani Ski Resort, Furusawa Hot Springs, and the Royal Hotel Odate.
- Helen Keller fell in love with the Akita breed after hearing the story of famed Akita Hachiko, who patiently waited for his owner for nearly ten years at a train station, unconscious that the owner had died. Keller expressed interest in adopting one of these loyal dogs while teaching in Japan in the 1930s, and the Japanese government heeded her request; when Keller returned to the United States, she was followed by an Akita.
- Henry Cavill and his American Akita named Kal are two celebrity Akita pet parents. Kumi and Sato, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr.’s lovely Akita Inus, are also present.
Commonly Asked Questions
Is Akita a good family dog?
When properly trained and socialized, the Akita will be a good family dog and companion. Firm and loving discipline is required for an Akita. This dog may not be suitable for a family with little children because it is a large breed that does not tolerate mistreatment, whether intentional or unintentional.
Are Akitas banned in some states?
Yes, Akita has been banned in some states due to aggression. These states are Washington, Louisiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Michigan.
Do Akitas cuddle?
Akitas are probably the most loyal dogs in the world. Their reputation is not the best one due to the reports of aggression towards other dogs and strangers. However, when with family, Akita is friendly and affectionate. Akitas love to cuddle, but most of them won’t come begging for a cuddle.
Is this breed compatible with other animals?
The Akita is noted for being intolerant of other animals, particularly canines of the same gender. The Akita loves its human family, but most other living things are either prey or a threat to it.
As the lone pet in the house, the Akita thrives. An Akita may, of course, get along with other dogs if properly socialized and trained from an early age. However, when an Akita lives with other dogs or animals in general, you must exercise extreme caution.
What types of Akitas exist?
There are two sorts of Akitas: the original Japanese Akita and the American standard Akita. The weights and sizes varies, and the American standard permits a black mask, although the original Japanese breed standard does not.
According to the FCI, the American Akita is regarded a distinct breed from the Akita Inu in Japan and many other nations across the world. Both the American Akita and the Akita Inu are regarded a single breed with variances in type in the United States and Canada, rather than two distinct breeds.
Female vs. Male
If you’re thinking about having an Akita but aren’t sure whether you should have a male or female, here’s some information to help you decide. Male Akitas are often larger and heavier than female Akitas. Males are also more likely to form equal bonds with all members of their household. So, if you’re looking for a large dog that will fit in with your family, a male might be the best option.
Female Akitas are thinner and have less muscle mass than male Akitas. When they’re young, a girl is easier to train than a guy, and she’s more in need of your affection. A female Akita is also less aggressive and playful than a male Akita.
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