Easily recognized by its bear-shaped head and a curly tail, it is easy to see this striking-looking breed has a strong Spitz oriented background. An extremely regal and elegant looking dog, the Japanese or United States Akita is considered one of the larger breeds of canines, with the United States breed the largest. They are not only gorgeous but very peaceful, calm, and even-dispositioned. Its beautiful curly tail sweeps over the top of its back into a very gentle double curl adding to their classical look.
The males of this breed weigh more than 100 pounds, with the females weighing slightly less at 80 pounds. Considered as a new United States breed, their Akita is becoming more and more popular due to a very striking and extraordinary appearance, finalized with an extreme charismatic personality.
Overall, the Akita is the type of dog who has a very strong-looking body, enhanced by a beautiful thick double-coat. The coat is of a medium-length, with a very coarse and heavy outer coat for protection from the water in nature or swimming. The under coat provides a wooly and dense undercoat for weather extremes. A curly tail is very much required, or it can be disqualification if occurring in the show-ring.
There are brindle, white, sesame, and red fawn colors in this breed, with a certain amount of white on certain parts of the body--chest, body, tail, cheeks, and muzzle--in order for it to be accepted as an Akita in Japan. The only exception is the pure white Akita. Also, in Japan a pinto-colored Akita is not accepted as in the United States which as 1/3 color on them.
An old breed in Japan, the Akita was used for many things in the past--guarding the superior Japanese Emperors and hunting. After WWII, their numbers had diminished to a couple of dozen as the armies killed them to use their fur for warmth during the war. Today this breed is considered as the most primitive of Japan's ancient breeds.
Considered the largest of the Japanese Inu breeds, in July of 1931 Japan's Akita Ken became Japan's national monument and national treasure. Over the years this gentle and kind dog baby-sits the little Japanese children while their mother's worked in the grain fields, and hunted bear and wild game for the family's welfare. Considered a loyal companion, their "matagi inu" was an extremely versatile breed
The Akita is a people-dog who is also a very desirable social dog, preferring a pack atmosphere over being alone. Considered a clean dog that is very intelligent, they are extremely easy to housebreak as they are very laid back in personality.
Unfortunately, they also have a tendency to be "alpha" over other animals with a dominant essence. They also do not like to be alone, especially as they are a pack animal who needs to be in a group. If left alone too long, they can become bored very easily as they usually have a tendency to develop an owner attachment personality.
Excellent around children, they are very gentle and patient, yet they also have a very possessive attitude toward "their children" which means they may protect the child from other pets or other animals. Raising this breed around animals should be done at an early age, in order to socialize them for companionship. This will prevent aggression and developing into a non-socialized animal.
Some health problems affect the Akita breed--some of them are considered viral while others are considered genetic. Before purchasing any puppies of this breed, make sure the parents are clean and have passed all health testing.
Two of the most major concerns for the Akita's health are CHD and PRA. CHD (canine hip dysplasia) refers to a condition where the hip socket does not operate very well, causing instability inside the hip joint over they years and when overweight. PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) is involves a gradual deterioration of the dog's retina. Night blindness develops and progresses to total blindness. With many minor health conditions, most are relatively rare and can usually by a veterinarian.
The coat of the Akita is of medium length, consisting of a very soft undercoat that is part of its thick double coat. This double coat requires weekly brushings with specific grooming tools--a grooming-comb and a steel Pin-brush--for the most effectiveness. Cleaning the face with a soft damp cloth should be done around the eyes, ears, and nose area.
This breed does not require any trimming or shaving, yet they blow their coat twice a year. Looking like a "blowed apart cottonball," this is a time that lasts a couple of weeks, usually early in the spring and in the early spring or early fall/late summer. During this time it is beneficial for both the dog and owner to use an undercoat rake.
A very strong and athletic dog, pulling in weight pulling activities or sledding are part of who they are. Considered an excellent exercise tactic, it is important to not utilize these exercise methods until after they are one-and-a-half years old to completely develop muscles and bones.
If a large enough yard or exercise area is provided, the Akita can self-exercise through there own methods. Two dogs can supply adequate exercise if they are raised together and have been socialized properly. If these large areas cannot be provided, then walking or jogging are sufficient methods.
If the Akita is healthy and exercised properly, they make calm and peaceful house dogs for the entire family without demonstrating any destructive behavior. But routine exercise should be provided.
Large as the Akita is, it will require a strong owner/trainer as they have a very strong-will and obtain the alpha attitude over weak and subordinate owners. They are extremely intelligent dogs who require very little time to learn things--both good and bad.
A steady routine should be provided for the Akita, consistent on a daily basis so the dog knows exactly what is expected from him, similar to their role when they were first developed. Simple basic commands should start as a puppy, with more advanced ones age four to six months.
Boredom is a fault if they are not trained adequately or have enough attention provided to them. This is a dog that needs to be stimulated physically and mentally at all times.