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Origin: The Akita Inu is native to the island of Honshu in the region of Akita in Japan, where it has remained unchanged for centuries. The Akita Inu is considered a national dog of Japan and is one of seven breeds designated as a Natural Monument. The breed has had many uses, such as police and military work, a guard dog (government and civilian), a fighting dog, a hunter of bear and deer and a sled dog. The Akita Inu is a versatile hunting dog, able to hunt in inclement weather. The Akita's soft mouth makes it possible for him to work as a waterfowl retrieval dog. The dog is considered sacred and a good luck charm in the country of Japan. Small statues of the Akita Inu are often given to new parents after babies are born as a gesture of good health and to sick people as a gesture of a speedy recovery. In 1937 the first Akita, who was named Kamikaze-go was brought to the United States by Helen Keller. The dog was a gift given to her during her trip to Akita Prefecture. Kamikaze-go died of canine distemper not long after she adopted him. In July of 1938 another Akita named Kenzan-go, who was the older brother of her first Akita, was given to her as an official gift from the Japanese government. After World War II many serviceman brought Akita Inu dogs to the USA.
Life Expectancy: About 10-12 years
Health Problems: Prone to hip dysplasia, both hypothyroid and autoimmune thyroiditis, immune diseases like VKH and Pemphigus, skin problems like SA and eyes (PRA, Micro, entropion) patella and other problems with the knee.
Grooming: The coarse, stiff, short-haired coat needs significant grooming. Brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. This breed sheds heavily twice a year.
Temperament: The Akita is docile, intelligent, courageous and fearless. Careful and very affectionate with its family. Sometimes spontaneous, it needs a firm, confident, consistent pack leader. Without it, the dog will be very willful and may become very aggressive to other dogs and animals. It needs firtm training as a puppy. The objective in training this dog is to achieve a packleader status. It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an order in its pack. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined. You and all other humans MUST be higher up in the order than the dog. That is the only way your relationship can be a success. If the dog is allowed to believe he is the leader over the humans he may become very food-possessive as he tells the humans to wait their turn. He eats first. Considered a first-class guard dog in Japan, Japanese mothers would often leave their children in the family Akita's care. They are extremely loyal and thrive on firm leadership from their handlers. They should definitely be supervised with other household pets and children. Although the breed may tolerate and be good with children from his own family, if you do not teach this dog he is below all humans in the pack order he may not accept other children and if teased, Akitas may bite. Children must be taught to display leadership qualities and at the same time respect the dog. With the right type of owner, the proper amount of daily mental and physical exercise and firm training, they can make a fine pet. Obedience training requires patience, as these dogs tend to get bored quickly. The Akita needs to be with its family. It vocalizes with many interesting sounds, but it is not an excessive barker.
Size: Height: Males 26 - 28 inches (66 - 71 cm) Females 24 - 26 inches (61 - 66 cm)
Weight: Males 75 - 120 pounds (34 - 54 kg) Females 75 - 110 pounds (34 - 50 kg)
Exercise & Living Conditions: The Akita will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors and will do best with a large yard.The Akita needs moderate but regular exercise to stay in shape. It should be taken for long daily walks.
Group & Organization Recognition:
APRI = America's Pet Registry, Inc.
ACA = Akita Club of America
ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
ACR = American Canine Registry
AKC = American Kennel Club
CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
CKC = Continental Kennel Club
DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
NKC = National Kennel Club