|Sensitivity to strangers|
|Affection for family|
|Suitable for first-time owners|
|Ease of grooming|
It is the “Great Japanese Dog”, we are talking about the American Akita.
The American Akita has been recently recognized as a canine breed by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). It used to be an integral part of the Akita Inu. It is also known as the Great Japanese Dog, and it is really sweet and affectionate. It is the ideal playmate for children and is very protective of its family.
It must be socialized since early puppyhood with people, and especially other dogs, since it tends to have a strong character, particularly with dogs of the same sex. It does not bark a lot, but since it shares some genes with the wolf, it tends to howl.
In the US, the Akita is used by the police and as a companion dog, but also as a guide dog for blind people. One important characteristic of these puppies s that they bite wood when they are teething.
The Akita is also known as the Great Japanese Dog. It is a dog breed that has been recently recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). It was included in the group of Spitz dogs and of primitive type.
This dog breed was previously considered as a variety of the Akita Anu. A study of 85 breeds revealed that the American Akita is the breed that, together with the Shiba Inu and the Chow Chow, have the least genetic differences with the grey wolf.
It is an ancient dog breed. In the 19th century, it was crossbred with the European Mollossers to increase its size. It was introduced in the United States after the Second World War, where it continues to be bred with the same physical appearance.
The History of the Akita Breed
The present Akita descends from the ancient Akita Matagis, who was widespread in the mountains region in the North of the Honshu island, in the Akita prefecture (it was named after this place). The Akitas were used to hunt deers, wild boars, and bears.
In the mid 19th century, this breed was crossed with the Tosa Inu and the Mastiff, with the objective of creating fighting dogs. As a result of this canine crossbreeding, the size of these dogs became greater. In 1908, fights between these dogs became illegal, and therefore, forbidden. The Akita, however, continued to be bred like a Japanese breed.
in the 20th century, this dog breed´s fame expanded thanks to the story of Hachi, whose nickname was Hachiko (you might have seen the movie). Hachiko used to accompany its owner, a college professor, to the train station where this teacher took the train to go to work every day. Then, Hachico would go back to wait for him when its owner returned from work.
When Hachiko was 18 months old, the professor had a brain stroke while at work and died. Hachiko never “accepted” his owner´s death and every day, until it died 9 years later, it always visited the train station to wait for its owner’s return.
In 1937, American author Hellen Keller, impressed by Hachiko’s story, visited the Akita prefecture and expressed the desire to have a dog of this breed. The first dog that was given to the writer by the local population, however, died a short time after; so the Japanese government agreed to give this author another one in 1939. These 2 dogs were the first specimens of this canine breed to enter the United States.
In Europe its history was different, During the Second World War, German police ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs2, except for the German Shepherd, the Akita’s coat might have been used to make military clothing.
After the war, the Akita’s population decreased drastically and 3 varieties were left:
- Akita Matagi
- Dewa: Fighting Akita
- Akita Shepherd
Many Akita of the Dewa breed was taken to the US by American soldiers. While the Americans fell in love with the Dewa breed, in Japan they tried to make this breed go back to “its original purity”. This is how the Akita Inu was born in Japan and the American Akita was created in the US.
Akita: Weight and Physical Appearance
It is a large dog with a sturdy physical build and a pretty heavy bone structure. The head is big, wide, and triangular. Even the eyes are triangular, small, and brown. The ears are small, erect, and drop to the front.
The fur is double, the outer one is straight and rigid, while the inner coat is thick and soft. The tail is always raised and it curls at the end. The Akita can be found in an ample variety of colors:
- White (no marking)
We can find many varieties with a striped and marked coat. It has a black marking typical of the breed.
Males usually reach up to 26-28 inches (66-71 cm), weighing around 132 lb (60 kg). Female American Akitas may reach around 24-26 inches (60-66 cm) weighing at least 77 lb (35 kg).
Given its genetic proximity to the wolf, it is possible to hear it howling, but in general, it rarely barks. Among the most frequent conditions that these dogs may suffer from, we might mention canine sebaceous adenitis and uveodermatologic syndrome.
Akita Puppies, in the US, are called “wood moths”, since they bite wood during their teething stage. They are very cute as one can see in the pictures.
It has a strong but calm personality, it is affectionate and protective of its family. Its joyful and playful nature makes it a great playmate and it is also extremely sweet with children.
At the same time, it is always on guard, attentive and it is distrustful of strangers. It has a strong vigilant instinct, so they need early socialization since early puppyhood with people and other dogs. They have a strong character, especially near dogs of the same sex.
The Akita is a dog that loves to be a companion. Besides, it is very obedient to its owner, whose presence and contact are always essential. It is a versatile dog when it comes to training. In the US it is not only used as a companion dog, but also as a guide dog for blind people and is also used by police forces.
It is fundamental when you adopt a puppy to visit a reliable breeder who will provide you with an official veterinarian certificate, in which it is formally stipulated that the animal is in perfect health and dewormed, besides you will have the security that your puppy has been:
- Raised to have good character and good health;
- Carefully selected (its parents were chosen without any genetic diseases);
- Properly socialized, so that it is not too aggressive or fearful;
- Vaccinated and well-cared for.
There are many breeders where you can find an American Akita specimen, so we advise you not to trust people who want to sell a puppy through internet ads.
American Akita: Price, and Puppies for Sale
To purchase an Akita puppy you will not spend less than 1000 dollars, or 800 English pounds, in some cases, 1500 dollars. Price fluctuation depends on the age of the specimen, breeding policy, pedigree, and any price won by the parents (in some cases, it may go up to 4000-6000 dollars).
Always remember to ask for pedigree papers, which is otherwise fundamental: it allows to verify the purity of the dog breed. An animal with a pedigree has certain characteristics that differentiate it from the rest.
Now that we have mentioned the most important aspects, you can go to your new four-legged friend, who is certainly waiting for you.
You may be interested in reading another article related to other dog breeds such as:
- Bergamasco Sheepdog
- Saarloos Wolfdog
- Fila Brasileiro
- Dogue de Bordeaux