The history of the Akita is about four hundred years old. It was first created in the Akita eastern province of Japan. The breed was named after its birthplace. The initial idea of the Japanese to breed this medium-sized dog is still not clear as two sides fight on the subject. One says that the Akita was bred for fights while the other – for hunting. The more reasonable explanation would be that the animal was created for the use of helping humans to ward off vile and carnivorous wolves and boars from their homes and were later used as fighting dogs as the sport was very popular at the time. Fortunately, soon after its birth, though, the practice of starving and letting two dogs go at each other for the sole purpose of amusement was forsaken by society. Today, the puppy is popular as a domestic animal in western families but is also still used as a hunting helper. It was once a very popular dog but during the 1930s, when the western civilization was becoming almost a mania in Japan, the local breeds’ popularity suffered. Hence, the Akita became a privilege to the very rich and noble families, turning into a symbol of prosperity, fortune and god health. After the huge fall in numbers of the Akita, the Japanese declared it a national treasure in order to promote the breed.
Akita physical characteristics
The physical characteristics of this breed are similar to the ones of similar dogs, but also unique in some aspects. Similar to many working dogs, the Akita has a double-layered fur, which gives it a very soft feeling and plush-ness. The shorter lower layer combined with the longer upper provide warmth and an ability to sustain more humid surroundings without getting wet. The Akita’s strong and sturdy body makes it a perfect hunter and chaser while its slightly webbed paws have rendered it an able swimmer. The very head of the dog is very useful as its triangular form lets it bite easier and the strong jaws won’t let the target go. Its small and dark eyes are positioned deeply into the skull and give it a rather distinctive look. Its ears are small and pointy as well a curved. The most unique characteristic of the Akita, though, is the tail of the dog. It I shorter than its body and is upturned, almost over the animal’s body. The average life expectancy of these animals is from 9 to 15 years and the litters are as diverse. One can have from three to as many as twelve puppies! This is why many owners prefer to neuter their dogs.
Fighter and hunter
As the dog was initially created to be a great fighter and hunting assistant, its behaviour is very suited for these two roles. The Akita has not changed a lot since its first birth in the 1600s and is still aggressive, strong-willed and dangerous. It is not a good animal to have if the owner is inexperienced as it needs a combination of strictness and gentleness to train and teach the dog. Due to its heavy fur coat, the Akita also sheds twice a year and needs to be brushed daily during these periods. It is a perfect guard dog as this breed’s habits are characterised as lacking trust and being very suspicious of strangers. This, however, means that they are loyal dogs and can live well with the owner’s family once the bond is created.
One should also note that the dog is keen on carrying items in their mouths as a habit of hunting that is a part of their DNA. The animal is also prone to some illnesses. Even if it’s a guard dog of choice for the westerners and a hunting pal for many in and out of Japan, the Akita can develop medical conditions related to their hips, knees, hyperthyroid. These, however, are all typical problems for most of the larger dogs and, considering that this one is also a very strong and active canine, are not something exceptionally dangerous if cared for.