The Akita: The Image of Oriental Elegance

September 2, 2019
The Akita is famous because of the 2009 film Hachi: A Dog's Tale, and is the favorite breed of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. In today's article, we'll tell you more about the Akita. 

The origins of the Akita

Studies indicate that this breed appeared 3000 years ago. However, due to the isolation of its birthplace (the Akita prefecture), there are few remnants and answers regarding their history.

An Akita standing on snowy mountain.

The name of the Akita has changed throughout its existence, depending on the function it fulfilled. The names include Matagi-inu (hunting dog), Kurae-inu (war dog) y Odate-Inu (dog of good fortune).

Throughout the world, countries separate the Akita into two separate breeds. Akita Inu refers to the Japanese strain (inu means “dog”) and American Akita refers to an American strain. In the USA, these are considered two types of the same breed.

In ancient Japan, the Akita was used to hunt bears, given their medium size. Starting in the year 1065, breeders began to cross them with the English Mastiff and the Tosa. In doing so, they ended up with larger dogs, ideal for fighting. 

After the prohibition of dogfighting in 1903, the original breed was preserved and could develop. It became Japan’s national dog breed. In 1927, a society formed in order to protect the Akita. Furthermore, in 1931,  Japan declared the Akita a national monument.

In order to protect the breed, many Akita were sent to small regions where farmers kept them as guardians. After the war, the United States purchased many females, thus giving birth to the American Akito. This particular type has German Shepherd and Mastiff traits.

Since then, the Akita has enjoyed a very valuable reputation in its country. The Japanese consider it a symbol of prestige (only the noble could have them) and wealth. Furthermore, the Japanese believe that it is a talisman of good luck. For that reason, they give statues of Akita when someone is sick or a baby is born.

Characteristics and behavior

The Akita’s paws are similar to those of cats (web-footed). Its tail curls up onto its back and its fur is short and thick. As for size, it can measure up to 28 inches and weigh between 75 and 117 pounds (males). It is also an excellent swimmer.

As for this canine’s temperament, it stands out for its nonchalance in irritating situations. What’s more, it’s a reserved and quiet breed. Akitas can take on a dominant role when with other dogs. Therefore, it’s important to train them from when they are puppies in order for them to be mild-tempered pets.

An Akita close up.

At the same time, they are very affectionate, protective and loyal dogs. They have a friendly character and don’t bark very often.

Caring for your dog

This breed has a life expectancy of approximately 10 years. They are quite strong and can stand harsh weather thanks to their dense fur. The main problems that can affect them include hip displacement and ailments in their knees. They are also prone to thyroid gland dysfunction and imbalances in their immune system.

Brushing their fur on a daily basis is fundamental for the prevention of hair loss (they shed a lot during molting season). These dogs require at least a few minutes of daily exercise on a daily basis. The good news is that they adapt to any environment, whether it’s a house or an apartment.