The Akita is a large and powerful dog breed with a noble and intimidating presence. They were originally used for guarding royalty and nobility in feudal Japan. These dogs also tracked and hunted wild boar, black bear, and sometimes deer.
The Akita is a medium breed of dog originating from the mountainous regions of northern Japan. There are two separate varieties of Akita: a Japanese strain, commonly called Akita Inu (inu means dog in Japanese) or Japanese Akita, and an American strain, known as the Akita or American Akita. The Japanese strain comes in a narrow palette of colours, with all other colours considered atypical of the breed, while the American strain comes in all dog colours. The Akita has a short double-coat similar to that of many other northern spitz breeds such as the Siberian Husky, but long-coated dogs can also be found in many litters due to a recessive gene.
The Akita is perhaps the most renowned and venerated of the native Japanese breeds. Although it bears a likeness to dogs from ancient Japanese tombs, the modern Akita is the result of a concerted nineteenth century effort to restore seven native Japanese dog breeds. The Akita, largest of these breeds, was restored using many breeds, including indigenous Odate dogs, which were used as the best representatives of native Japanese animals. Over time, Japanese breeders selected against many traits descended from some ancestors, including black mask, pinto pattern, and substantial size; whereas American breeders perpetuated those traits. In 1918, the Akita-inu Hozankai Society of Japan was formed to preserve the original Akita, and in 1931 the Akita was designated as one of Japan’s natural monuments.
The most honoured Akita of all time was Hachiko, who greeted his master every evening at the train station to accompany him home. When his master died at work one day, Haichiko waited for him, and continued to return and wait for his master every day until he died nine years later on March 8, 1935. Today, a statue and annual ceremony pay homage to Haichiko’s loyalty. The first Akita arrived in America in 1937, when Helen Keller returned from Japan with one. Following World War II, servicemen returned home with Akitas from Japan. The breed’s popularity grew slowly until it received AKC recognition in 1972. Since then, it has steadily gained admirers and continues to grow in popularity. The Akita is now used as a guard and police dog in Japan.
The Akita does not back down from challenges and does not frighten easily. Consequently, they are fearless and loyal guardians of their families. Yet they are also affectionate, respectful, and amusing dogs when properly trained and socialized.
An Akita is bound to shed quite a bit, and you may be wiping some drool from their face if you bring one home. Certainly, owners should be prepared for some clean up. Furthermore, they tend to be stubborn and are not overly fond of strangers. While those can be good traits for a watchdog, they’ll need an experienced trainer if they’re to interact with other animals or people. The Akita is not a suitable pet for novices.
That said, dogs of this breed are faithful companions that will be attached to the right human for life and shower them with adoration and love. Therefore, if you and your family are up for the challenge and consider adopting an Akita, you’ll have a lifelong friend who won’t let you down.