If you are looking for a loyal, intelligent, and fluffy companion, you might want to consider the Akita dog breed. Akitas are native to Japan and have a long and fascinating history. They are also known for their distinctive appearance and personality. This blog post will share ten interesting facts about the Akita dog breed that will make you love them even more.
- 1 A brief history of the Akita dog breed
- 2 Importance of learning about the breed
- 3 Physical Characteristics
- 4 Temperament
- 5 Health Issues of Akita dog
- 6 Hypothyroidism
- 7 V. Famous Akitas
- 8 Akita Inu vs. American Akita
- 9 Akita in Pop Culture
- 10 Akita in Sports
- 11 Akita as a Pet
- 12 Conclusion
A brief history of the Akita dog breed
The Akita dog breed has a long and rich history that dates back to the 1600s. They were originally bred as hunting and fighting dogs, capable of taking down large prey such as elk, wild boar, and even bears. They were also companions for samurai warriors and nobles, who valued their courage, loyalty, and dignity.
In 1931, the Japanese government recognized the Akita as a natural monument and a national treasure. One of the most famous Akitas was Hachiko, who became a symbol of loyalty and devotion after waiting for his deceased owner at Shibuya Station every day for ten years.
After receiving an Akita puppy as a gift during a trip to Japan in 1937, Helen Keller popularized the breed in the United States. Since then, the species has split into two subspecies: the American Akita (the Great Japanese Dog) and the Japanese Akita (also known as the Akita Inu). The American Akita is more extensive, heavier, and bear-like, whereas the Japanese Akita is smaller, lighter, and fox-like.
The following table summarizes some of the differences between the two varieties:
|24-28 inches at withers
|24-28 inches at withers
|Short and dense
|Short to medium and thick
|Red, white, brindle, or sesame with white markings (urajiro)
|Any color or combination of colors
|Triangular with small ears
|Broad with large ears
|Almond-shaped and dark brown
|Any shape and color
|Curled over the back or against the flank
|Curled over the back or against the flank
Importance of learning about the breed
The Akita is not a breed for everyone. They are independent, dominant, and territorial dogs that require early socialization, training, and leadership. They are also very protective of their family and property, which can make them wary of strangers and aggressive towards other dogs.
The Akita also has special needs regarding grooming, exercise, and health. They have a thick double coat that sheds twice a year heavily and needs regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles. They are active dogs that require at least an hour of daily exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. They are also prone to health issues like hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, eye disorders, and bloat.
Therefore, before adopting an Akita, it is essential to do your research and make sure you can provide them with a suitable environment, lifestyle, and care. The Akita is a loyal, courageous, and dignified dog that can be an excellent companion for experienced and responsible owners who understand their needs and respect their nature.
Akita dogs are large, powerful, and majestic dogs originating in Japan. They have two types: the Japanese Akita Inu and the American Akita. Both types share some common physical characteristics, such as:
Size and weight
According to the American Kennel Club, Akitas stand 24 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 70 and 130 pounds, depending on their gender and type. Females are usually smaller than males, and American Akitas are generally heavier than Japanese. Akitas are considered a large breed of dog that needs plenty of space and exercise.
Coat and colors
Akitas have a thick, double coat that protects them from harsh weather conditions. They shed heavily twice a year, especially in spring and fall. They need regular brushing and grooming to keep their coat healthy and clean. Akitas come in several colors and patterns, depending on their type. The Japanese Akita Inu has four colors: brindle, red fawn with black tips, red fawn, and white. They do not have black masks. The American Akita has all colors and markings; some have black covers and white blazes on the forehead.
Eye shape and color
Akitas have small, triangular eyes that are dark brown. They have sharp and alert expression that reflects their intelligence and loyalty. Their eyes are slightly slanted and set well apart on their broad head. Their eye shape and color give them a distinctive appearance that sets them apart from other breeds.
The Akita dog is a breed of ancient Japanese origin known for its loyalty, courage, and dignity. Akitas are natural guardians of their families and can protect their loved ones. They are also independent and strong-willed dogs that need consistent training and socialization from an early age to prevent aggression toward strangers and other animals.
Akitas are not recommended for first-time dog owners or families with young children, as they can be too powerful and dominant for them. However, Akitas can be loyal and affectionate companions for experienced and responsible owners with proper care and respect.
Some of the characteristics of the Akita temperament are:
Loyalty and protective nature:
- Akitas are devoted to their family and will defend them from any perceived threat. They are wary of strangers and often intolerant of other dogs, especially those of the same sex. They must be introduced to new people and pets carefully, gradually, and always supervised when interacting. Akitas are unsuitable for apartment living or areas with high traffic, as they can be noisy and territorial.
Independent and stubborn:
- Akitas are intelligent and confident dogs that like to make their own decisions. They can be challenging to train and require firm and consistent leadership from their owner. They do not respond well to harsh or harmful methods but to positive reinforcement and rewards. Akitas need mental stimulation and physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They enjoy activities like hiking, jogging, agility, or obedience training.
Good with children:
- Akitas can be gentle and playful with children they know well, but they are not recommended for families with young or inexperienced kids. Akitas are large and powerful dogs that can accidentally knock over or injure a child.
- They can also be possessive of their toys and food and may not tolerate rough handling or teasing from children. Akitas need to be taught how to behave around children, and children need to be taught how to respect and interact with Akitas safely. Akitas should always be supervised around children, especially those unfamiliar or visiting.
Health Issues of Akita dog
Large and devoted dogs with Japanese origins, Akitas are. They are renowned for their bravery, intelligence, and love for their families. However, they are also prone to health problems that can lower their quality of life, like many purebred dogs. The most typical medical issues that Akitas may experience are listed below.
- This is a condition where the hip joint does not fit together properly, causing pain, inflammation, and arthritis over time. Hip dysplasia can affect Akitas of any age, but it is more common in older dogs. The severity of hip dysplasia can vary from mild to severe, and it can affect one or both hips. The symptoms of hip dysplasia include limping, difficulty rising or jumping, reluctance to exercise, and reduced range of motion. X-rays and a veterinarian’s physical examination can be used to identify hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia in dogs may be treated with painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, weight loss, physical therapy, or surgery, depending on the dog’s age and condition.
- is the inability of the thyroid gland to produce enough thyroid hormone, which controls metabolism and other bodily processes. Akitas can develop hypothyroidism at any age, but older or middle-aged dogs are more likely to experience it. Weight gain, sluggishness, hair loss, dry skin, cold intolerance, and behavioral changes are all signs of hypothyroidism. Blood tests and clinical signs can both help a veterinarian identify hypothyroidism. Synthetic thyroid hormone is used as a lifelong medication to treat hypothyroidism.
- This is a condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, cutting off the blood supply and causing shock and death if not treated immediately. Bloat can affect Akitas of any age, but it is more common in large and deep-chested breeds.
- The causes of bloat are not fully understood. Still, some factors that may increase the risk include eating too fast or too much, drinking too much water after eating, exercising too soon after eating, stress, or genetic predisposition.
- The symptoms of bloat include restlessness, drooling, panting, abdominal distension or pain, retching or vomiting unsuccessfully, and collapse. Bloat is a medical emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention.
- The treatment for bloat may include decompressing the stomach with a tube or a needle, stabilizing the dog with fluids and oxygen, and performing surgery to untwist the stomach and prevent a recurrence.
The table below summarizes some of the vital information about these health issues:
|Limping, difficulty rising or jumping, reluctance to exercise
|X-rays and physical examination
|Pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, weight management, physical therapy or surgery
|Weight gain, lethargy, hair loss dry skin cold intolerance behavioral changes
|Blood tests and clinical signs
|Lifelong medication with synthetic thyroid hormone
|Restlessness drooling panting abdominal distension or pain retching or vomiting unsuccessfully collapse
|Clinical signs and x-rays
|Decompressing the stomach with a tube or a needle stabilizing the dog with fluids and oxygen surgery
As an Akita owner or prospective owner, you should know about these health problems and take precautions to lower their risk. For example, feeding your dog a high-quality diet in small portions throughout the day, avoiding exercise right after eating, maintaining your dog’s weight, getting regular veterinary check-ups and screening tests for hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism, spaying or neutering your dog to prevent hormonal changes that could cause bloat, and seeking iv treatment are all preventive.
Your Akita will live a fulfilling life if you care for them.
V. Famous Akitas
Akitas are a large and powerful breed of dog that originated from Japan. They have thick coats, curled tails, and loyal personalities. Akitas are also known for their history, culture, and celebrity owners. Here are some famous Akitas that you might have heard of:
Hachiko is the most famous Akita in the world. He was a loyal dog who waited for his owner at a train station every day, even after his owner died. His story became a legend and inspired many books and movies. Hachiko has a statue in Shibuya, Tokyo, and is considered a national symbol of loyalty in Japan.
Kenzan-go was an Akita who belonged to Helen Keller, the famous author, and activist who was blind and deaf. She was the first person to bring an Akita to the United States in 1937 after being impressed by the breed during her visit to Japan. Kenzan-go was a gift from the Japanese government and became Keller’s faithful companion.
Taro was an Akita who starred in the movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, based on Hachiko’s story. Taro played the role of Hachi as a puppy and charmed the audience with his cute and expressive face. Taro was trained by Mark Harden, a renowned animal trainer who has worked with many Hollywood stars.
Akita Inu vs. American Akita
If you are looking for a loyal and devoted dog, you might be interested in the Akita breed. However, did you know there are two types of Akitas: the Akita Inu and the American Akita? These dogs have some similarities and significant differences that you should know before choosing one as your pet. Here are some main differences between the Akita Inu and the American Akita.
Differences in physical appearance
The Akita Inu and the American Akita are large dogs, but the American Akita is larger and heavier than its Japanese brethren. While the Akita Inu can weigh up to 120 pounds and stand up to 26 inches at the shoulder, the American Akita can weigh up to 130 pounds and stand up to 28 inches.
Another difference is in their head shape and facial features. The American Akita has a broad, bear-like head with small, deep-set eyes and a black nose. The Akita Inu has a more fox-like authority with almond-shaped eyes and a lighter nose. The ears of both dogs are triangular and erect, but the American Akita’s ears are slightly larger and broader than the Akita Inu’s.
The coat color and texture also vary between the two types of Akitas. The American Akita has a thick, double coat that can come in many colors and patterns, such as red, gray, black, silver, pinto, and brindle. The Akita Inu has a softer, single coat with only four colors: red fawn, sesame, brindle, and white.
Differences in temperament
The Akita Inu and the American Akita are loyal, protective, and independent dogs that form strong bonds with their owners. However, they also have some differences in their personality and behavior.
The Akita Inu is more reserved and calm than the American Akita. It is less aggressive and more tolerant of other dogs and animals. The Akita Inu is also more affectionate and playful with its family but can be aloof and wary of strangers.
The American Akita is more confident and assertive than the Akita Inu. It is more territorial and dominant and may not get along well with other dogs or pets. The American Akita is also more alert, making it a good guard dog. However, it can also be stubborn and willful, requiring firm and consistent training.
Both types of Akitas need early socialization and obedience training to prevent behavioral problems. They also need regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
Here is a table that summarizes some of the differences between the Akita Inu and the American Akita:
As you can see, there are many differences between the Akita Inu and the American Akita that you should consider before choosing one as your pet. Both dogs are beautiful and loyal companions but have different needs and preferences that you should be aware of.
Akita in Pop Culture
The Akita is a breed of working dog that originated in the mountains of northern Japan and was designated as a natural monument by the Japanese government in 1931. The Akita has been featured in various movies and TV shows, symbolizing loyalty in Japanese culture. Movies and TV shows featuring Akitas
Some of the movies and TV shows that have featured Akitas are:
- Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009): A film based on the true story of Hachiko, an Akita who waited for his owner at the Shibuya train station every day for ten years after his owner’s death.
- Eight Below (2006): A film about eight sled dogs, including two Akitas, who survive in Antarctica after being left behind by their human expedition.
- The Last Samurai (2003): A film set in 19th-century Japan, where an American soldier befriends an Akita named Taro.
- The Simpsons (1989-present): A long-running animated sitcom that has featured an Akita named Santa’s Little Helper in several episodes.
Akita is a symbol of loyalty in Japanese culture.
The Akita is widely regarded as a symbol of loyalty, courage, and faithfulness in Japanese culture, thanks to its noble appearance and strong bond with its owner. The Akita is often given as a gift to celebrate the birth of a child or to wish someone good health and happiness.
The Akita is also associated with samurai values, such as bravery, honor, and loyalty. The most famous example of an Akita’s loyalty is Hachiko, who became a national icon and inspired statues, books, and films.
Akita in Sports
Akita as a sled dog
Akitas are well-adapted to cold and snowy environments thanks to their thick coat and webbed toes. They have been used as sled dogs in Japan and other countries, especially mountainous regions. With stamina and endurance, Akitas can pull heavy loads and run for long distances. They are also independent and alert, making them suitable for navigating challenging terrains.
Akita as a hunting dog
Akitas are also skilled hunters, capable of tracking and taking down large game such as boar, elk, and bear. They have a strong prey drive and a fearless attitude, which makes them formidable opponents for their quarry. Akitas are also loyal and protective of their owners, often accompanying them on hunting trips and guarding them against danger.
Akita as a Pet
If you want a loyal, intelligent, and independent dog breed, consider getting an Akita. However, before you bring one home, you should know about their exercise and training needs, grooming requirements, and suitable living conditions.
Exercise and Training Needs
Akitas are large and energetic dogs that need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. They enjoy walking, jogging, hiking, playing fetch, and swimming. You should provide them with at least an hour of exercise per day, preferably in a fenced area where they can run freely.
Akitas are also intelligent and stubborn dogs that need early and consistent training to learn good manners and obedience. They can be dominant and aggressive towards other dogs and animals, so socialization is crucial. You should use positive reinforcement methods and avoid harsh or physical punishment. Akitas respond well to firm and confident leadership from their owners.
Akitas have a thick and double coat that sheds heavily twice a year. They need regular brushing to remove dead hair and prevent mats and tangles. You should use a slicker brush or a rake to groom your coat at least once a week and often during shedding seasons. You should also trim their nails, clean their ears, and brush their teeth regularly.
Akitas do not need frequent bathing, which can dry their skin and coat. A mild shampoo designed for dogs would help if you only bathe them when dirty or smelly. You should also dry them thoroughly after washing them to prevent skin infections.
Suitable Living Conditions
Akitas are unsuitable for apartment living, requiring much space and exercise. They are best suited for homes with large yards or gardens where they can run and play. They can tolerate cold weather well but should be kept inside for long periods. They need human companionship and attention and can become bored and destructive if left alone for too long.
Akitas are loyal and protective of their family but can be wary of strangers and guests. It would help if you supervised their interactions with children and other pets, as they can possess their food and toys. Akitas are not recommended for first-time or inexperienced dog owners, as they require a lot of commitment and responsibility.
In this article, we have learned some interesting facts about the Akita dog, a working dog breed that originated in northern Japan’s mountains. We have seen how the Akita is a powerful, muscular, and loyal dog that can be trained for various tasks and activities. We have also learned about the history and culture of the Akita and how it is considered a national treasure in Japan.
Suppose you are fascinated by this breed and want to learn more. In that case, you can visit some of the websites referenced in this article or contact a reputable Akita breeder or rescue organization. The Akita is not a dog for everyone, but it can be an excellent companion and friend for those who can appreciate its unique personality and needs.