The Akita is the largest of the Japanese Spitz breeds, the Akita was originally bred to hunt large game such as bear, deer and wild boar. The breed dates back approximately 300 years. In 1931, the Japanese Ministry of Education proclaimed the Akita dog to be a natural monument and all necessary steps were taken to preserve the Akita breed. It was Helen Keller who brought the first Akita to North America in the 1930s after she was given the dog on a visit to Japan. However, it was returning servicemen who had been stationed in Japan who brought the Akita breed back in numbers at the close of World War II.
Akitas are large, powerful dogs with much substance and bone. They have a broad chest and neck which serves as a solid base for the Akita's large head. The massive head in combination with the small triangular shaped eyes and small erect ears give the Akita dog an intimidating, yet dignified, expression. The Akita is a very balanced looking dog, being only slightly longer than it is tall. The tail is curled and carried over the back, which serves to balance with the dog's head. The male Akita is larger than the female. The males range in weight from about 100 to 130 pounds, while the females range from 70 to 100 pounds.
The coat of the Akita is short to moderate in length, but very dense and consists of two layers. The Akita's undercoat is very soft and is the primary insulator, while the outer coat, or the guard hair, is slightly longer and coarser. The Akita will not enjoy hot weather and its coat does lighten considerably during the hotter spells. The Akita is more suited to the coldest of climates. Akitas are large and powerful dogs that don't fit into every family. They have distinct character traits that we love but can cause difficulties for inexperienced owners who don't know what to expect. They are courageous, loyal and devoted to their families but often aloof with strangers. They make great watchdogs because they are territorial which can cause problems. They are quick to learn good habits or bad! It is important to establish early on just who is boss. Consistent, fair discipline makes a happy confident Akita. No one wants to own an uncontrollable bully so early obedience training is essential. Akitas can be dog aggressive as they struggle to be 'top dog', so it is important that the owner spends time to socialise them as pups so they learn to tolerate other animals.
All breeding stock should be hip scored also eye tests are recommended. Some of the health problems that can affect Akitas include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Hyperkalaemia (Skin diseases)
- Uveo-Dermatological Syndrome (VKH)
- von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)
- Susceptible to anesthesia, due to small heart size
- Entropion (eyelids rolling inwards)
- Ectropion (eyelids rolling outwards)