The Akita is a dog breed from Japan that is famous for its dignity, courage, and loyalty. In its native land, it is recognized as a family protector and a symbol of good health, happiness, and long life. This breed does not back down from challenges and it cannot be frightened easily. Yet, it is also an affectionate, respectful, and amusing dog when properly trained and socialized. Let us know more about the origins and characteristics of the Akita dog breed.
The name Akita came from the province of Akita in Northern Japan where they are also believed to have originated. The breed’s known existence goes back to the 1600s during the time when the breed guarded Japanese royalty. They were also used for hunting fowl and large game including bears,
The Akita breed was introduced to the United States by Hellen Keller. She was held in high esteem by the Japanese and was took to Shibuyu to show her the statue of Hachiko, which was an Akita who achieved worldwide fame for its loyalty in the 1920s. The owner of Hachiko was a professor who returned from work each day at 3pm and this devoted dog met him every day at the train station. When its owner died, Hachiko still continued its daily vigil until it died a full decade later.
Hellen Keller expressed her desire to have an Akita for her own that’s why she was presented with a puppy which was the first Akita brought to the United States. She named it Kamikaze-go. She was so delighted with it that’s why when it died, she was deeply saddened. When the Japanese government heard of this, they officially presented her with the older brother of Kamikaze named Kenzan-go.
After the Second World War, returning American servicemen who were stationed in Japan brought back more Akitas. In 1956, Thomas Boyd was credited to have produced the first Akita stud to sire puppies in the United States. Eventually, the American Akita evolved into a more robust dog compared to the Japanese Akita, however, there are those who wanted to remain true to the Japanese standard. This split had cause a decades-long battle which led to the delay in acceptance by the American Kennel Club.
In 1972, the AKC finally accepted the Akita Club of America. But until today, the split is still wide and is a matter of great concern to Akita fanciers on both sides.
Characteristics of an Akita
Average height: 2 feet – 2 feet and 4 inches tall at the shoulders
Average weight: 70 to 130 pounds
The Akita belongs to the working dogs breed group and they can live from 10 to 12 years. Male Akitas can grow from 26 to 28 inches and can weigh from 85 to 130 pounds. Females on the other hand, can grow from 24 to 26 inches tall and can weigh from 70 to 110 pounds.
The American Akita has many different colors and color combinations such as black, white, chocolate, and a combination of white or brindle. They are double-coated, with the undercoat being very dense and plush, while the topcoat is short.
The Akita is a willful dog that is naturally wary of strangers but it is also extremely loyal to its family. Akitas are alert, intelligent, and courageous dogs and they can be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex that’s why they are best suited to a one-dog household. They enjoy the companionship of the family and they are affectionate and playful and always want to participate in daily activities.
In Japan, the Akita symbolizes happiness, longevity, and health. If you’re given a small Akita-shaped statue by a Japanese friend, that means “Get Well Soon”, or if someone has just had a baby. It is their way of telling a loved one that they wish them good health.
Akitas can be great with kids, but you need to always supervise interactions between them and your kids because when they are mistreated, they can become a liability and may even cause danger to your child. They are better for families with older children.
Caring for an Akita
The Akita dog breed will love it if it will live inside the home with their family. They are not very energetic dogs but they also need daily exercise such as thirty minutes to an hour of brisk walks, jogging, and romping in the yard. Visiting a dog park might not be a great idea for Akitas because they are aggressive towards other dogs and pets. You don’t want to get them bored as well because that might lead to behavior problems such as barking, digging, aggression, and chewing. It is also important to have a securely fenced yard if you have an Akita for the safety of your pet and of strangers who may mistakenly come into their turf.
Grooming the Akita is very easy. But since they are heavy shedders, vacuuming your home will be a frequent activity for you. To reduce the amount of hair in your home, weekly brushing can help, and it also keep their plush coats healthy. They have self-grooming habits but you should also bathe them every three months or so. Their nails should be trimmed once a month and their ears should be checked weekly for dirt, redness, and bad odor which indicate infection.
For the Akita breed, the recommended amount of food to be given daily is 3 to 5 cups. This depends on the size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level of your Akita. You can also talk to your vet about formulating an appropriate diet for your pet.
If you’re looking for a loyal dog to keep as a pet at home which can also protect you and your family, the Akita dog breed might be the perfect choice for you. They are faithful companions that will be attached to the right owner for life and shower them with adoration and love.