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Akita Dog Unraveling the Enigmatic Elegance and Remarkable History

Akita Dog

The Akita, a formidable and imposing dog breed, originates in Japan. Renowned for their unwavering loyalty, fearless courage, and independent nature, Akitas has captured the hearts of dog enthusiasts worldwide. These majestic canines typically showcase stunning coats in shades of white, brown, or brindle, accentuated by their thick, weather-resistant double coats. Originally, Akitas were bred for a daunting task – hunting large game like bears and boars. Their exceptional bravery and strength made them invaluable in this pursuit. Beyond hunting, Akitas also found purpose as guard dogs, where their loyalty and courage were highly prized. When considering adding an Akita to your family, it’s advisable to prioritize adoption through rescue organizations or shelters. This choice offers a loving home to a needy dog and aligns with ethical principles. However, if you purchase from a breeder, it becomes paramount to select a reputable one.

About Akita Dog

  • Origin: Hailing from Japan, this breed has a rich heritage.
  • Size: Akitas are classified as large dogs, making them quite substantial.
  • Breed Group: They belong to the Working group of dog breeds known for their strength and utility.
  • Lifespan: Akitas typically enjoy a lifespan of 10 to 15 years when well-cared for.
  • Coat: These canines sport a dense double coat, which can be short or long-haired.
  • Temperament: Akitas are characterized by their unwavering loyalty, dignity, and reserved nature around strangers. However, they are affectionate and protective when it comes to their family.
  • Exercise Needs: While not overly demanding, Akitas still requires moderate exercise. Regular walks and playtime sessions are essential for their well-being.
  • Training: Due to their independent streak, early socialization, and consistent, firm training are key to molding a well-behaved Akita.
  • Grooming: Keeping their coat in top condition requires regular brushing and occasional grooming sessions.
  • Health: Akitas can be susceptible to specific health issues, including hip dysplasia, autoimmune disorders, and genetic conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for their health and well-being.

Akita Dog Overview

The Akita Dog is a large, imposing dog with a powerful presence. They have a big head, small triangular eyes, and a confident stance that can deter troublemakers. Akitas are famous for their unwavering loyalty to their owners and can be incredibly sweet and affectionate towards their family. They are like loving protectors who follow you, seemingly dedicated to serving you. Akitas are courageous and natural guardians of their family. They are stubborn and won’t back down from challenges. They don’t bark unnecessarily but are vocal, making cute grunts, moans, and mumbles. Some owners say Akita’s mutter to themselves, while others believe they offer opinions on various matters. However, they tend to be aloof and quiet around strangers. They are naturally cautious around new people but will be welcoming if their owners are present. Socializing Akita puppies or retraining adult dogs with exposure to friendly individuals can help reduce their wariness. Nevertheless, Akitas remain dignified and reserved, not party animals.

Akita Dog History

The Akita gets its name from the Akita province in northern Japan, where it is believed to have originated. This breed has a history dating back to the 1600s when it was used to guard Japanese royalty and for hunting purposes, including fowl and even bears. Notably, the Akita was brought to America by the renowned Helen Keller, who held a special place in the hearts of the Japanese. The Japanese highly respected Helen Keller and even took her to the statue of Hachiko, a famous Akita known for his unwavering loyalty in the 1920s. Hachiko would wait for his owner daily at the train station, even after the professor passed away, until Hachiko’s death a decade later. Impressed by the breed’s loyalty, Helen Keller expressed her desire for an Akita and was gifted Kamikaze-go, the first Akita to come to America. Unfortunately, Kamikaze-go died young due to distemper, which deeply saddened Keller. Upon hearing this, the Japanese government gave her Kamikaze’s older brother, Kenzan-go. Keller described Kamikaze as “an angel in fur” and praised the Akita breed as “gentle, companionable, and trusty.” After World War II, American servicemen returning from Japan brought back more Akitas. Thomas Boyd produced the first Akita stud to sire puppies in the U.S. in 1956. The American Akita gradually developed into a sturdier dog than its Japanese counterpart, leading to a split in the breed’s standards that still exist today.

In 1972, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Akita Club of America, but the division between the American and Japanese Akita enthusiasts remains. What remains undisputed is the Akita’s historical combination of fearlessness and loyalty. This was exemplified at the London Zoo, where an Akita puppy was chosen to help raise an orphaned Sumatran tiger cub due to its fearlessness and protective nature. The Akita played a vital role in the cub’s upbringing, showcasing its unwavering devotion to its charges. This breed is truly fearless, supremely confident, and exhibits unyielding loyalty to its family.

Akita Dog

Akita Dog Size

Male Akitas typically measure between 26 to 28 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh between 85 to 130 pounds. On the other hand, female Akitas generally stand around 24 to 26 inches tall and have a weight range of 70 to 110 pounds.

Akita Dog Personality

The Akita Dog is a strong-willed, alert dog, naturally cautious around strangers but incredibly devoted to their family. They are smart, brave, and can be assertive. They often show aggression towards other dogs, particularly those of the same sex, making them best suited for single-dog households. With their family, Akitas are loving and enjoy playtime. They relish being part of daily family activities. Akitas are prone to carrying toys and household items in their mouths.

Contrary to the belief that they don’t bark, they can indeed be quite vocal, often grumbling, moaning, and barking when they feel it’s necessary. It’s important to note that Akita’s strong personality can be overpowering. They aren’t suitable for first-time dog owners and require a confident owner who can provide firm yet loving discipline. Regular exercise is crucial for this active breed to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. The Akita’s natural protective instincts can turn into aggression if not managed properly or lacking proper upbringing. Training and early socialization are essential for Akitas, but their stubbornness may require extra patience when teaching them good canine manners.

Akita Dog Health

Akitas are generally robust dogs, but like all breeds, they can be susceptible to specific health issues and conditions.

  1. Hip Dysplasia: This inherited condition occurs when the thighbone doesn’t fit properly into the hip joint. While some dogs may display signs like pain and lameness in their rear legs, others may not show obvious discomfort. X-ray screening is the most reliable method for diagnosis. Akitas with hip dysplasia should not be used for breeding, and responsible breeders ensure that the parents have been tested and are free from this condition.
  2. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat): This life-threatening condition affects large, deep-chested dogs like Akitas. It can occur when dogs eat one large meal daily, consume food quickly, drink excessively after eating, and engage in vigorous exercise. Bloat causes the stomach to distend and twist, preventing the dog from belching or vomiting. Immediate veterinary attention is crucial if you suspect bloat, as it can lead to shock and death.
  3. Hypothyroidism: This disorder affects the thyroid gland and can result in conditions such as epilepsy, hair loss (alopecia), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin problems. Hypothyroidism is treatable with medication and dietary management.
  4. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a group of eye diseases that gradually lead to retina deterioration. It typically starts with night blindness and progresses to daytime vision loss. Many affected dogs adapt well to their reduced or lost vision as long as their environment remains consistent.
  5. Sebaceous Adenitis (SA): A serious issue in Akitas, SA, is a genetic condition often misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, allergies, or other skin problems. SA leads to inflammation and eventual destruction of the sebaceous glands in the skin, which produce sebum to prevent skin dryness. Symptoms, such as dry, scaly skin and hair loss on the head, neck, and back, usually appear between one to five years of age. While primarily cosmetic, SA can cause discomfort, and treatment options vary based on the severity of the condition and may include skin biopsies.

Akita Dog Care

Akitas thrive and are happiest when they live indoors with their families. They are not hyperactive dogs, but they do require daily exercise. Giving your Akita 30 minutes to an hour of activity each day is usually sufficient. Preferred activities include brisk walks, jogging (for adult dogs over two years old), and playful romps in the yard. However, it’s advisable to avoid dog parks due to the Akita’s potential for aggression towards other dogs. Because Akitas are highly intelligent, keeping their routine varied is essential to keep them engaged. A bored Akita can develop behavioral issues like excessive barking, digging, chewing, or aggression. They thrive when included in family activities and should not be left alone for extended periods. A securely fenced yard is crucial for the Akita’s safety and anyone entering their territory. While they are generally well-behaved with visitors when their family is present, they can become protective in the absence of their owners.

Akitas are natural protectors and will guard against perceived threats. Raising an Akita puppy requires special care, as they undergo rapid growth between four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders. Feeding them a high-quality, low-calorie diet to prevent excessive growth is recommended. Additionally, it’s important to avoid letting your Akita puppy run and play on hard surfaces like pavement. Normal play on grass is safe, but forced jumping or jogging on hard surfaces should be avoided until the dog is at least two years old and their joints are fully developed. Puppy agility classes with one-inch jumps are suitable for their age and development.

Akita Dog

Akita Dog Rescue Groups

Akitas are sometimes acquired without a full understanding of the responsibilities of ownership. There are numerous Akitas in need of adoption or fostering, and several rescue organizations exist that may not be listed here. If you cannot find a rescue organization in your area, consider contacting the national or local breed clubs for guidance on locating an Akita rescue organization.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Akita is a remarkable and unique breed known for its loyalty, strength, and protective nature. While they make loving family companions, it’s essential to understand their specific needs and characteristics. Akitas thrive when integrated into the family’s daily activities and require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and potential behavior issues. Adopting or fostering through rescue organizations is highly encouraged for those considering adding an Akita to their family, as there are often Akitas in need of loving homes. If you cannot find a local rescue, national and local breed clubs can connect you with Akita rescue organizations.

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