(Akita Inu or Japanese Akita)
Japanese dogs are classified by size, with an Akita being a large dog, ranging in height from 24 - 28 inches, and weighing anywhere from 75 to 120 pounds. The Akita comes in a wide range of colors. Some dogs have masks or blaze on their face. The Akita has a double coat, which makes them waterproof. Their thick outer coat is rough and straight, with a soft and dense undercoat. With this thick coat, they really enjoy playing out in the snow.
The Akita is an impressive breed with a powerful presence. They are very dignified and devoted to their owners, making them protective and good watch dogs. They are independent and strong willed, which can make training difficult. Their nature can be aggressive (they were originally fighting dogs), so they many not take well to other dogs of the same sex, and may also be aggressive with other pets. They generally do fine with children, but may be protective of them when other children are around. They are often aloof and a bit stand offish around strangers.
The Akita is a very intelligent dog. And though they can be aggressive, their nature is basically calm. They are not super cuddly dogs, but they are very loyal to their families. With their assertive natures, the Akita can become destructive or difficult to handle when bored.
The Akita's grooming requirements are fairly light, needing a good brushing about once a week. A grooming rake or pin brush works best. They are heavy shedders in the spring, requiring more frequent grooming during that time. Due to the heavy shedding, they are not well suited to owners with allergies.
The Akita originated in Japan, and according to DNA analysis, is one of the most ancient dog breeds.
The precursor of the Akita is the Matagi dog, which was used primarily for hunting large game. The Akita was primarily developed from the Matagi in the northernmost region of the island of Honshu in the Akita prefecture, from which the dog derived its name. Besides hunting, the Akita was also used as a guard dog.
During World War II, the Akita population was greatly reduced, this was due to two reasons: lack of food, and the capture and use of them for their warm fur for army uniforms.
The Akita breed began to flourish during the occupation after the war due to the efforts of Morie Sawataishi and others. For the first time Akita's were bred for a standardized appearance. Many US Serviceman fell in love with the breed and brought them back to America. They have slowly become a popular breed in the US.
The Japanese bred dogs tend to be smaller than the American counterpart. Also, in America, any color is acceptable, but in Japan only red, fawn, white, sesame or brindle are permitted while black masks are not allowed. There is debate whether there should be two accepted breeds of Akita's, but currently the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs consider the American and Japanese Akita's to be two types of the same breed, allowing free breeding between the two. But in other parts of the world, they are treated as two separate breeds.
With the Akita's strong will and assertive nature, it is very important from the first moment that you bring the Akita home, that he knows that you are the boss. They need a powerful owner to match their powerful presence. A timid or submissive owner will be overpowered by the Akita. It is important to teach the Akita that he is subordinate to you. One example of this would be to teach your Akita to sleep on the floor next to your bed versus in your bed with you. That way you can still enjoy each others company, but he learns that he is submissive to his master. Though maintaining such firm level of control can be challenging for some, Akita dogs are very intelligent, and therefore very quick learners.
It is very important while training your Akita to maintain a consistent, daily routine so that you dog knows what to expect. Make sure that your training balances praise and correction. During your dogs puppy months, stick to simple and basic behaviors, more advanced training can take place after your Akita puppy reaches 4-6 months.
Make sure you train your Akita to know his boundaries, this is important for his safety to stop the possibility of your dog running out in the street. Also, difficult behaviors or personality issues can be fixed with patience, though a professional trainer can be used for more challenging problems.
The most important thing that you can do is to get your Akita from a reputable breeder that is known for breeding healthy dogs. But there are a few different conditions that are occasionally seen in Akitas. These include: hip dysplasia, gastric torsion or bloat, eye and dermatological conditions.