The Akita is a native of Japan and was named for its city of origin. The breed was developed as a watchdog and all-purpose hunter in the mountains of northern Japan, where it can be traced back several hundred years or more. Traditionally, the Akita represents health and good luck to the Japanese people.
It is believed that the first Akita in the US was brought over by the famous Helen Keller, who grew fond of the breed while traveling in Japan.
After World War II, when Akitas were brought to the US by servicemen, popularity of the breed began to grow. The Akita was officially recognized by the AKC in 1972.
Akitas are seen in many colors. Commonly seen colors include brindle and pinto (each with white markings).
Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:
About the Breed:
The Akita is a noble, loyal and courageous dog of somewhat large size. In general, the Akita is quiet, deliberate and strong-willed, though the breed will bark when he thinks it necessary. Overall, the Akita makes an excellent protector of the home as well as a valued companion.
The Akita has a stiff, straight outer coat with a soft, thick undercoat. The breed sheds at a relatively high rate and will shed excessively about twice a year. Basic routine grooming is all that this breed tends to need for maintenance. Weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy and decrease shedding, and brushing should be done more frequently during peak shedding seasons.
Akitas are very smart dogs, but are also known to be willful and stubborn. This makes training a challenge but also a necessity. In addition, early socialization is key. The Akita has a strong prey drive, is often hesitant around strangers, and may not always get along with other dogs. Proper obedience training and socialization can help you keep your Akita under control and allow the better personality traits to shine through. In addition, this breed has a relatively high energy level and should get plenty of exercise - at least a daily walk or two.
The Akita can thrive in the right household, showing affection and great loyalty to its family. However, this my not be the ideal breed for the first-time dog owner. The breed may get along well with children if carefully socialized, and it will grow quite protective of them. If you decide the Akita is the right breed for you, you will have a loyal and steadfast companion for life.