The Akita, (pronounced a-KEE-ta), and also known as (Akita inu or Akita Ken), is a Breed of large dog originating in Japan, native to the island of Honshu in the region of Akita in Japan, where it has remained unchanged for centuries, named for,AkitaPrefecture, where it is thought to have originated. “Inu” means “dog” in Japanese, although in practice this animal is nearly always referred as “Akita-ken,” based on the Sino-Japanese reading of the same Kanji. Today, the Akita is considered the national dog of Japan and is designated as a Natural Monument.
Recent Dna Analysis found that the Akita was among the most ancient dog breeds. The breeds ancestors were dogs for many uses, first as an Imperial guard dog, used by matagi for hunting of deer and bear, andmany were used to guard the emperor and his children. Also, as a fighting dog, for sledding, and for police, army and guard work. TheAkita has keen hunting abilities and can even hunt in deep snow. He has a soft mouth, so he is suitable for waterfowl retrieval. These dogs, usually called matagi inu, were not as large as modern Akita. dogs.A stamp of the Akita “Tachibana” is on a Japanese postage stamp. Small statues of the Akita are often sent to ill people to express a wish for their speedy recovery, and to parents of newborn children to symbolize health.
In the Edo Period, Dewa Province, (present-day Akita prefecture), was ruled by the Satake Clan. Since the Satake were tozama daimyo , which was considered rebellious,they were given restrictions by the Tokugawa Shogunate in all military areas. The clan decided to encourage dog fightingaround 1630 in order to make it possible for the samurai to retain their aggressive edge in a way that would not offend the shogunate. Dog fighting became especially popular in the Odate area. Dog fighting enthusiasts in the area began to interbreed matagi inu with dogs indigenous to the area. These dogs, which later turned into the Akita, were called Odate inu at that time.
After the Meiji Restoration, Which ended Japan’s closed door policy people began to breed Akita with many dogs from other regions in Japan, such as the Tosa, and large, western dogs began to enter Japan. Akita were also bred with German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Mastiffs. This resulted in the breed losing many of its Spitz-like characteristics. Akita were later bred with Hokkaido and Karafuto dogs (also known as the Sakhalin Husky), after the First Sino-Japanese War.
In the Taisho Period, the mayor of Odate Town began a movement to preserve the Akita. By this time, the Akita had begun to turn into a mixed breed as a because of excessive breeding with other dogs. Watase Shozaburo, a Japanese zoologist that successfully proposed the Law for Protection of Natural Monuments alsoworked towards preserving the Akita breed. As a result, the Akitainu Introduction Foundation was created in May 1927 by the mayor of Odate, and nine Akita dogs were designated as natural monuments in1931. In 1932, the faithful Akita dog Hachiko was featured in an article in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper,leading to the popularity of the breed. When Helen Keller visited Akita prefecture in 1937, she expressed a desire to have an Akita dog. An Akita called Kamikaze-go was given to her within a month. When Kamikaze-go later died because of Canine distemper his brother, Kenzan-go, was promptly sent to her. By 1938a breed standard had been established and dog shows had been held, but such activities stopped after World War II began.
During THE WAR the lack of food caused the breed to lessen in numbers. The dogs were captured for the use of their fur to to warm army uniforms. People began to bred Akitas with shepherds to avoid capture. In, 1945, at the end of the war there were fewer than twenty purebred Akita dogs in Japan.The postwar period brought a liking to the dog and many occupation soldiers wanted a Akita, because it was by far the largest Japanese dog. American servicemen brought Akitas to the US after World War II. The fact that Helen Keller had an Akita also became well-known when she came to Japan in 1948 and thanked people in Akita for the dogs she was given. Most of the Akita dogs at this time had many German Shepherd-like characteristics. These dogs are currently known as Dewa line, or Dewa type Akitas.
The largest of the Japanese Spitz-type breeds, the Akita, is a powerful, solid, well-proportioned and distinctive looking dog. Strong and muscular with a flat, heavy head and strong, short muzzle. The Akita is slightly longer than he is tall with a broad, deep chest and level back. The head is broad and shaped like a blunt triangle. The stop is well-defined and there is a shallow groove going up the center of the forehead. The small, erect ears are carried forward and in line with the neck. The small, triangular eyes are dark brown. The nose is generally black (brown is permitted on white Akita’s, but black is preferred); the lips are black and the tongue is pink. The teeth should meet in a scissors, or level bite (scissors is preferred by most breeders). The tail is carried high and curled over the back. The Akitahas webbed, cat-like feet – which makes it a fine swimmer.
The double coat is composed of a harsh, waterproof outer coat insulated with a thick, soft undercoat.
Akitas come in only five colours: Red, Fawn, Sesame, Brindle, and Pure White. All except white must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, body and tail. All colors are accepted in the American Akita. The Pinto color is not accepted as a Japanese Akita color, but is as an American Akita color. In the U.S., some breeders interbreed the original Japanese type with the heavier American type, which is larger, and allows more colors.
The Akita is classified in the Working Group by the American Kennel Club. Although different breeds contributed to the modern Akita, including both hunting dogs and some dogs used as competitive fighting dogs. The Akita’s ancestry dogs used for fighting, the
modern day Akita breeders avoiding breeding from dogs that are known to have aggressive natures. In general, the modern day Akita is very laid back, and has an easy-going temperament which makes it a very good family pet.
They are excellent house dogs. They are very clean and that they are very easy to house break. Akitas have been described as almost “cat-like,” as they are clean and odorless. They require moderate, but regular exercise. Akitas are known to be very quiet dogs, only barking “when there is something to bark about”. Akitas may take a while totrain because they are easily bored and can be stubborn. Akita are highly intelligent, and will only obey a task if they see the point of it. They are not trick dogs. They are also a dominant species, and will not take orders from a weak or abusive leader, requiring a firm but loving education.
As far as the family children are concerned, there are few worries. Akitas are devoted, patient friends and protectors of children. Akitas are typically very gentle with children, and it is said that Japanese mothers often left their children with only the Akitas to watch over and protect them. However, while an Akita may love “his” children, he will not necessarily love their friends, especially if teased, and can be aloof with strangers. Common sense should prevail, and adequate supervision of pets and children is generally a good idea. Having said this, a well socialized Akita can be an excellent companion.
The loyalty and devotion displayed by an Akita is phenomenal. The typical pet Akitawill follow you from room to room, yet has the uncanny ability not to be underfoot. Your Akita lives his life as if his only purpose is to protect you and spend time with you. This trait is evident in the tale of Hackiko, a dog remembered in Japan for his loyalty, who returned to the train station every day for the rest of his life to wait for him.
It is felt by some that combining the two types leads to improved appearance and genetic health by increasing genetic diversity. In the United States, there is only a single Akitabreed registered by the American Kennel Club, whereas they are separated into two breeds in every other country in the world except Canada. In other countries the breed has been separated into two breeds: the Akita and the American Akita. The American Akita is seen by some American breeders as being a different breed than the Japanese and these breeders advocate a splitting of the one breed into two.
Health problems known to affect this breed include: Canine herpesvirus, a strain of the Herpes virus that happens to affect canines.
Progressive retinal atrophy, (PRA), an adult-onset condition which gradual degeneration in the eye cells (i.e. rods & cones)
UVEOdEMATOLOGICAL SYNDROME, (UDS)
Sebaceous adenitis, an autoimmune condition which attacks and destroys the dog’s sebaceous gland.
Canine Hip Dysplasia
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV = “Bloat” or “Torsion”)
Akita owners should take special note of the high incidence of GDV (Gastric dilatation volvulus) in this breed. Excess gas trapped in the dog’s stomach causes “bloat”.wisting of the stomach (volvulus or “torsion”) causes or is caused by excess gas. GDV is an emergency condition requiring immediate veterinary treatment. Akita owners should be alert to the symptoms of GDV and know the location of the nearest emergency veterinary facility. Pemphigus,This causes the autoimmune system to attack the dog’s skin (leading to pustules).
Akitas in UK and USA/Canada surveys had a median lifespan of the Akita , which is similar to other breeds of their size. In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (32%), cardiac (14%), and gastrointestinal, including bloat/torsion (14%). In a 2000-2001 USA/Canada Health Survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (21%), GDV (=bloat/torsion, 21%), musculoskeletal (15.5%), and autoimmune (7%).
Left unattended in the backyard or in a kennel, they can develop “personality” problems, and may become destructive to the yard due to boredom. They are highly pack oriented, thus, isolating them from a social environment causes them great stress.
The Akita will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors and will do best with a large yard. The Akita needs moderate but regular exercise to stay in shape. It should be taken for long daily walks. The Akita is a large dominant dog. Akitas should never be taken to off-leash parks due to this dominant behavior. Akitas properly socialized and raised with other animals usually accept them as members of the family. An Akitas can be extremely aloof.
The coarse, stiff, short-haired coat needs significant grooming. Brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. This breed sheds heavily twice a year.
The Akita male dogs stands about 26 to 28 inches (66 to 71 cm.) and the Females 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 cm.). The male weights about 75 to 120 pounds (34 to 54 kg.) and Females 75 to 110 pounds (34 to 50 kg.). The litter size is 3 to 12 puppies(Average 7 or 8) and the Akita’s life span is 11 to 15 years.
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Classification and breed standards:
FCI: Group 5 Section 5 #255 Stds
AKC: Working Stds
ANKC: Group 6 – (Utility) Stds
CKC: Group 3 – (Working Dogs) Stds
KC (UK): Utility Stds
NZKC: Utility Stds
UKC: Northern Breeds Stds
ACA = Akita Club of America
FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale(FCI is not a registry and does not issue any pedigree)
AKC = American Kennel Club
UKC = United Kennel Club
KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
NKC = National Kennel Club
NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
CKC = Continental Kennel Club
APRI = American Pet Registry Inc.
ACR = American Canine Registry
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