Japanese Akitainu – The Japanese Hunting Dog

It is well-known that Japan has produced numerous breeds that possess incredible characteristics. From the Japanese Spitz to the Shiba Inu, each of these dogs are sure to give their owners a wonderful time. One dog included on the list of Japanese canines is the hunter: Japanese Akitainu.

The Japanese Akitainu is a beautiful breed that is equipped with various traits, which allows it to perform on the field. Widely known as a hunting dog, Akitainu proves its title by helping hunters in the field. Like other Japanese breeds, Akitainu is a dog with an interesting origin. Ever since its early existence, the Japanese already saw its potential as a mighty hunter capable of taking down various small to large game animals. With all these said, we can say that the Akitainu is a perfect combination of beauty, power, and intelligence, making it a genuinely lovable dog. 

Origins of the Japanese Akitainu

Like most breeds produced in Japan, the Japanese Akitainu has its share in Japanese dogs’ great history. It was once a breed that showcases its dominance on the field but later on faced the brink of extinction. Interestingly, it was restored to its former glory and became a part of the nation’s pride. 

We can trace back the origins of the Japanese Akitainu to hundreds of years ago in the mountainous region of the Tōhoku region. During this time, a specialized breed was produced by the Matagi hunters to help them in the field. 

Based on their name, they called the dog Matagiinu, also known as the Matagi dog; they used the dog to assist them in the hunting field, tracking dog targets and sending signals to its master. It was known to hunt large mammals, which is why it quickly gained recognition from many hunters. Besides hunting, the dog also earned a reputation as an efficient guard dog, which was made possible by its strong working skills. This great dog produced by the Matagi hunters is what historians often consider the ancestor of the Japanese Akitainu. 

Furthermore, the Japanese Akitainu also participated in activities other than hunting and guarding; the breed was crossed with large Mastiffs, which made it capable of battling in the fight ring. However, despite the breed’s greatness on the field, there comes a time when it nearly went extinct. 

During the early 20th century, the Japanese Akitainu faced the brink of extinction. It didn’t take long for AKIHO or the Akitainu Hozonkai, an organization concerning the breed, to take measures in restoring the Japanese Akitainu to its former glory. From the date of its establishment, the organization continued to work on reproducing the breed; however, all of their work almost went in vain due to the effects of World War II. After the horrific event, there was again a catastrophic decline in the population of the breed, wherein speculations state that sixteen specimens remained to exist. Thankfully, breeders continued to give the breed a fighting chance and started again on their reproducing process. 

As expected, the group succeeded in reviving the breed. Their work led to a breakthrough in the lifestyle of the Akitainu, wherein it was introduced to the United States in the late 20th century. This event opened new opportunities for the breed and began to reach the stage that it has today. 

Characteristics of the Japanese Akitainu

Height: 22 – 27.5 inches

Weight: 55 – 75 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 years

Hypoallergenic: No 

The Japanese Akitainu is a relatively large breed that could stand up to more than twenty-seven inches tall and weighs up to seventy-five pounds. The massive size of the breed allows it to excel in various forms of canine tasks; in its case, hunting. 

Moreover, the breed’s appearance surely speaks for itself; it is known for its beautiful and fluffy coat. At the same time, the breed boasts its sleek look that resembles a fox. This feature present in the Japanese Akitainu is what makes it attractive to many dog lovers, even for hundreds of years ago. 

In addition to the Japanese Akitainu’s fascinating appearance, hunters admire the breed for its powerful body and keen intelligence. Its mental ability is superior, which makes it an excellent hunting dog; it can work on different tasks and still produce outstanding results that are sure to catch the attention of any dog breeder.