Once Akita, always Akita.
The Japanese Akita belongs to the 5th Group FCI – Spitz and primitive type. They are indigenous to Japan, with the primary purpose to hunt big game such as the wild boar, deer or the dangerous Asian black bear, as well as pulling loads, guarding and later for dog fights. The name of the breed comes from Akita prefecture, on the island of Honshu, located in the northern part of Japan.
Akita has a fixed place in Japanese mythology and literature, and owning an Akita was connected to certain beliefs. These dogs enjoyed great respect and were of great value, bordering on worship. In 1927, AKIHO was founded – Akita Inu Honzonkai (Association for the protection of Akita) and in 1931 Akita was recognised as cultural heritage of Japan.
History, however, wasn’t benevolent to these beautiful and proud canines – after World War II, there were less than 20 Akita dogs left, which abruptly stopped the reconstruction of the breed.
In our life, there was already a number wonderful animals, but when the first Akita appeared in our house, the world turned upside down, we were head over heels and our fascination with the race is getting bigger every day. Akita is a strong, proud, often stubborn, and an extremely intelligent creature with a big heart that requires commitment and consistency in upbringing. However, today, in retrospect, I can say “takes one to know one” and this breed, like no other, is close to my heart.
Nowadays, the Akita plays the role of a family companion, which does not mean that she lost her courage and hunting instinct – if released from a leash, she could go hunting wild animals or the neighbour’s cat. That’s why, at least in most cases, it’s not a dog that you can walk without a leash. Akita will accept all animals with which she is brought up and will treat them as part of her pack. It has a strong sense of hierarchy and sometimes is bossy with a tendency to dominate, but also very sensitive. Therefore, it is extremely important to build a close, trust-based relationship, show who the leader at home is, and show our Akita her place is in the home-pack. In building this relationship, calmness, patience, but also decisiveness and consistency in action are very important because our Akita will often try to break the established rules.
The intelligent Akita is a master of contriving and dealing with different situations.
Not once have we wondered how on Earth has she broke out of a locked kennel, opened the front door, or handled herself in the storage room with dog food, although the bags were closed. Akita is an extremely vigilant observer, and putting the plan into practice is just a matter of time and favourable circumstances. When it comes to training, the basis is the right motivation and catching the individual predispositions and above all great fun. As long as there are a goal and a positive atmosphere, there is training. When Akita loses interest, there is no chance of repeating the commands.
Akita does not bark unnecessarily, but when something disturbs her, she will raise the alarm. Nobody enjoys it like her when after a literally five-minute absence, I return home. Talks, sings and roars, performs her wonderful and unique dance of joy with a shoe or a previously stolen sock in her teeth.
Akita is a dog which is affectionate towards her own family but treats strangers with a distance.
If it is properly socialised, it shows no aggression until provoked. Faithful and devoted protects members of her pack, sensing the threats perfectly. She is very attached to her own family and they like to have constant contact with people. That’s why my dogs occupy all the strategic places at home, from which they can watch the household.
Akita is an exceptional dog, a proud Japanese who should be treated with proper respect. Certainly, it is worth spending time and attention, providing the Akita with respect and trust -only then will we gain a faithful and devoted friend for our whole life together.
The Akita is a rather healthy and immune breed.
Although Akita Inu is generally a healthy breed which is resistant to diseases, there happen to be problems with eyes, hip and elbow dysplasia. As in every breed, food allergies can occur as well. Sometimes autoimmune diseases (SA, VKH/UDS) will show up although this happens rather rarely. We have to remember that as in people, the health of our dog is highly influenced by its diet.
Spitz and primitive type
Asian Spitz and related breeds
Without a working trial
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY
Originally Japanese dogs were small to medium in size and no large breeds existed. Since 1603 in the Akita region, Akita Matagis (medium-sized bear-hunting dogs) were used as fighting dogs. From 1868 Akita Matagis were crossed with Tosas and Mastiffs. Consequently, the size of this breed increased but characteristics associated with Spitz type were lost.
In 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, but this breed was nevertheless preserved and improved as a large Japanese breed. As a result, nine superior examples of this breed were designated as Natural Monuments in 1931.
During World War II (1939-1945), it was common to use dogs as a source of fur for military garments. The police ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs other than German Shepherd Dogs used for military purposes. Some fanciers tried to circumvent the order by crossbreeding their dogs with German Shepherd Dogs.
When World War II ended, Akitas had been drastically reduced in number and existed as three distinct types; 1) Matagi Akitas, 2) fighting Akitas, and 3) Shepherd Akitas. This created a very confusing situation in the breed.
During the restoration process of the pure breed after the war., Kongo-go, a dog of the Dewa line, which exhibited characteristics of the Mastiff and German Shepherd.
However, sensible learned fanciers did not approve of this type as a proper Japanese breed, so they made efforts to eliminate the strain old foreign breeds by crossbreeding with Matagi Akitas for the purpose of restoring the original pure breed. They succeeded in stabilizing the pure strain of large-sized breed as known today.
Large-sized dog, sturdily built, well balanced and with much substance; secondary sex characteristics strongly marked, with high nobility and dignity in modesty; constitution tough.
The ratio of height at withers to length of the body (from the point of the shoulders to the point of the buttock) is 10:11, but the body is slightly longer in bitches than in dogs.
BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT
The temperament is composed, faithful, docile and receptive.
The size is in proportion to the body. The forehead is broad, with the distinct furrow. No wrinkle.
Large and black. Slight and diffuse lack of pigment accepted in white dogs only, but black is always preferred.
Moderately long and strong with broad base, tapering but not pointed. Nasal bridge straight.
JAWS / TEETH
Teeth are strong with a scissor bite.
Relatively small, almost triangular in shape due to the rising of the outer eye corner, set moderately apart, dark brown: the darker, the better.
Relatively small, thick, triangular, slightly rounded at tips, set moderately apart, pricked and inclining forward.
Thick and muscular, without dewlap, in balance with the head.
Straight and strong.
Broad and muscular.
Deep, forechest well developed, ribs moderately well sprung.
Well drawn up.
Set on high, thick, carried vigorously curled over back; the tip nearly reaching hocks when letting down.
Moderately sloping and developed.
Straight and heavy-boned.
Well developed, strong and moderately angulated.
Thick, round, arched and tight.
Resilient and powerful movement.
Outer coat harsh and straight, undercoat soft and dense; the withers and the rump are covered with slightly longer hair; the hair on the tail is longer than on the rest of the body.
Red fawn, sesame (red fawn hairs with black tips), brindle and white. All the above-mentioned colours except white must have urajiro (Urajiro – whitish coat on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, on the underside of jaw, neck, chest, body and tail and on the inside of the legs).
HEIGHT AT THE WITHERS – There is a tolerance of 3 cm more or less.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
- Bitchy dogs/doggy bitches.
- Undershot or overshot mouth.
- Missing teeth.
- Blue or black spotted tongue.
- Iris light in colour.
- Short tail.
- Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
- Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
- Ears not pricked.
- Hanging tail.
- Long hair (shaggy).
- Black mask.
- Markings on a white ground.
- Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.