Akita Inu is one of the oldest dog breeds on Earth. It has been bred in the northern regions of Japan. It is a proud, strong, and devoted loyal pet.
Akita Inu is breed of spitz-like dogs bred in the north of Japan (Akita prefecture). They have a muscular build and thick short hair. They have independence, requiring persistent training, and respectful attitude, and dominant nature. This breed is suitable for experienced dog breeders, for calm, self-confident people. Two breeds are sometimes classified as different – the Akita Inu (“authentic” subspecies) and the American Akita.
* The characteristics of the Akita Inu breed are based on an assessment by lapkins.ru experts and feedback from dog owners.
According to information from ancient historical sources in Japan, the ancestor of modern representatives of the breed is the Matagi Inu (Matagi is an ethnic group of hunters, Inu is a “dog”). Akita Prefecture on the island of Honshu is considered the region of origin of Akita Inu. Matagi Inu and its ancestors served people as irreplaceable assistants in hunting, allowing them to hunt even very large or dexterous animals: Japanese macaques, bears, wild boars.
In the XII-XIII centuries, a new popular entertainment appeared in Japan represented by dogfighting. It became a cruel selection for these dogs, leaving only the strongest, fierce, and hardiest. In the 19th century, a wave of industrialization swept across the country, many residents moved, the number of crimes increased. Because of this, the Matagi Inu was retrained to guard property. At the same time, bullmastiffs, mastiffs, and Great Danes reviving the tradition of dogfighting. Increasingly, the Akita has been crossbred with these dogs to get more aggressive and larger dogs.
This caused the concern of Japanese dog breeders because the breed began to lose its features, so in 1931 Akita Inu was transferred to the status of a natural monument at the state level. Breeders actively engaged in the revival of the breed, selecting only its best representatives for breeding. In 1934, the first official standard was introduced, but over time it had to be adjusted. Around the same time, the breed received its modern name, and in 1967 a thematic museum was opened.
Akita Inu suffered during the Second World War: these dogs almost disappeared. They suffered from hunger, became victims of barely surviving people, their skins were used for clothing. At the end of the war, a government decree was issued to exterminate all dogs unsuitable for military use, since a real rabies epidemic began in Japan.
After the war, a new round of restoration of the Akita Inu breed began, the greatest contribution to which was made by Morie Savataishi. it is thanks to him that these unique dogs have survived to this day. Purebred individuals had to be collected throughout the country, but this has served its purpose. The American military liked the charming and proud Akita, so the breed was brought to the United States.
The American branch of this breed appeared precisely after the Second World War when the US military began to take puppies to their homeland. Interestingly, they were mainly interested in large mestizos with similarities to bears, and not purebred dogs. This was in the hands of Japanese breeders who did not want to share the breed that was so hard to reconstitute.
Breeding experiments continued in the United States, where it was possible to obtain more massive dogs with a menacing appearance. It is why we have two varieties of the breed with significant differences now. The Americans managed to gain recognition from the AKC (American Kennel Club is an organization engaged in the registration of purebred dogs and new breeds) only after refusing to import new dogs from Japan. This led to a strong restriction of the gene pool, and hence the development of the breed. The Japanese, on the other hand, continued to work on the colors, since they had a large variety of genes at their disposal. Today Akita Inu is considered a good companion, devoted protector of the owner and his property.
The Japanese variation of this breed is named the Akita Inu. These are stocky and, at the same time, graceful physique. The head with small ears resembles a fox. Only a few color options are recognized. The fur must be short, with a white mask on the face.
The variation from the USA is called the Big Japanese Dog or American Akita. These are exceptionally large dogs with a heavy bear-like head. Almost any color is accepted, including black or with a dark mask.
Akita Inu feels equally comfortable in temperate or cold climates. There are several breed features, such as:
The adult males have a height of 66-71 cm at the withers and weight from 45 to 59 kg. The females have a height of 61-66 cm and weight from 32 to 45 kg, while their body length is slightly longer than that of males. The Japanese breed variation is slightly lighter and smaller. Eight-week-old puppies usually have such parameters, as:
The growth of dogs is slow, the development of the animal finally ends only by three years. Puppies are quite actively gaining weight (up to 7 kg per month), after reaching 35-49 kg their development slows down, but does not end until the age of three. Don’t worry if your pet doesn’t quite fit into the existing growth standards because these standards are very generalized. In general, there is dynamics of Akita Inu growth:
The classic standard is a dense short fur about 5 cm, which is quite long on the neck and tail areas. The cover is erect, the underfur is very thick and downy. Akita Inu can have only one color, such as:
American Akita all are in any color. Long-haired dogs are often born as a result of a combination of recessive genes of the father and mother. By nature, they are like their Japanese brethren but do not fit into the standard, therefore they are considered culling in Japan.
Puppies have lowered ears, and adult dogs have erect ears, facing forward and slightly to the sides. They do not accept this position very soon, and this is influenced by two factors, such as:
It often happens that ears fall back or only one ear turns out to be standing. This process takes from ten weeks to six months, so there is no need to worry until the dog grows up to six months. Be sure that the position of the ears going to be fine.
The eyes are brown (preferably as dark as possible), small and deep. They have a triangular shape that is noticeable from birth. In dogs of light color, black “eyeliner” is allowed, which only emphasizes a special cut.
In pedigree dogs, the tail is downy, thick, rolled into a tight ring. Puppies have a straight tail that curls up in the first two months of life. If the dog is asleep or just relaxed, the tail may untwist slightly, but never becomes straight. Visually and to the touch, this part of the dog’s body does not change even during the molting period. The fluffy donut-like tail balances the big head of the pet.
The description of the paws is equal to all standards. It is straight, with thick pads, similar to a cat’s ones. In both varieties of Akita, the fingers are tightly closed, which allows them to swim well. In this case, not only the front but also the hind limbs are involved. However, most dogs of this breed do not like to swim: they enter the water only when absolutely necessary.
The life expectancy of the Akita Inu is approximately 10-12 years. Females live a little longer than males, but statistically, the difference is small: it is only about two months. This indicator is the same for both variations of the breed. Before World War II, Akita’s life expectancy was much longer (about 14-15 years), but the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left its imprint on dogs’ genetics forever.
It is difficult to briefly describe the nature of this breed. Akita are very versatile dogs. The American subspecies are distinguished by more serious habits, the Japanese ones are more playful and frivolous. At the same time, most representatives of the breed are not useless couch pets or overly sullen dogs. There are several main character traits.
Central to education is the socialization of puppies. The most important time is from three weeks to four months: this time completely determines whether a dog can get along with a person or not, whether it grows up aggressive, how it will react to new people and animals in the future. Akita Inu must understand that only the owner defines the boundaries of his or her inner world, having the rights of a leader. Introduce the dog to as many places, events, people as possible. The understanding of the world, which was laid down at this stage, becomes entrenched by the year and can no longer be corrected. Don’t forget that you should get all the vaccinations and wait for a little before “going out into the world”.
From the first day the puppy moves to a new home, a hierarchy should be designated. Some owners are touched by the cute puppies and allow them to behave in an inappropriate way, but already at an earlier age, Akita understands everything and probes the boundaries of his leadership. The owner should be caring, loving, and calm, but with a strong character. If the dog doesn’t recognize its owner as an undeniable dominant, trouble will soon arise. It comes to the point that some people abandon or even put the dog down at the vet because they failed the dog’s education.
Some more facts are no less important.
Despite the dislike for enclosed space, Akita Inu is well suited both for living in a city apartment and for keeping in a private house. In any case, it is extremely important to provide long walks during which the dog can spend his energy. Start to introduce the outside world to your dog after passing all the vaccinations.
Akita Inu molt twice a year: in the period from January to February and from May to June. During this period, the dog must be combined every day or at least 3-4 times a week. The rest of the time, combing out four times a month is enough. Constant molting is possible in a home with very warm and dry air. Another reason is disease There is no need to cut the pet’s “coat”. There are other recommendations for care.
Teach your dog to any procedure even as a puppy. With an adult dog, you may simply not be able to handle it or cause stress and loss of dog confidence.
This breed is healthy, especially if the puppy does not have serious birth defects. Sometimes they suffer from genetic diseases; they are sensitive to certain drugs. Among congenital and age-related ailments, there are:
Buy purebred puppies only from eminent reliable breeders. The main signs of a healthy baby of the Akita Inu breed are:
Pay attention to the color and shape of the Akita Inu’s eyes. If eyes are round and light, this is not a purebred pet. Features of the eye are necessarily congenital, and the color changes with age only to a lighter one. The bite must be correct, the pigmentation of the nose and mouth must be uniform. If you are buying a puppy older than six months, and his tail has not twirled yet, this is a bad sign. If you plan to participate with your per in competitions or exhibitions, you better choose the puppy with help of an experienced dog handler. When purchasing a regular pet, it is enough to use the average standards.
The standard cost of the purebred Akita Inu puppy is from 400 to 1100 dollars. Cost varies depending on few factors, such as: