Dog Breeds 101: Akita

Originating from the mountainous regions of Japan, the ancestors of the Akita were bred to hunt deer, wild boar, and bears. Originally, only the imperial family was allowed to own this dog. Depending on the leash the Akita was wearing, the Japanese were able to tell the dog’s rank as well as the owner’s status. Each dog had an individual caretaker that wore the same pattern embroidered on their leash. In 1931, the dog was recognized as one of Japan’s national treasures and the government will actually pay for their caretaking if the owner is unable to do so! [1]

Training must begin when the dog is young and on a consistent basis to ensure the dog understands that their owner is the head of the pack. If Akita owners do not clearly establish their leadership, they may not accept children and may bite when teased. This animal will not tolerate negative reinforcement and once this dog rebels, it will be extremely difficult to regain control. [2]

In addition to training, Akitas need sufficient mental stimulation and physical exercise to be happy. This breed is able to live in apartments provided that they receive such opportunities. This breed can live for 10 to 12 years.

Akitas come in many colors and patterns. These dogs, like Huskies, are built for the snow and have a muscular working dog build. [3]

Research shows that Akitas can be unusually territorial. They are also believed to be intolerant of dogs of the opposite gender. They are identified as quiet dogs with impressive guarding instincts. If an intruder breaks into the house, Akitas will inform everyone in the house. [3] Inexperienced dog owners are not recommended to adopt this dog. This breed is large, independent, dominant, strong, powerful and difficult to train. However, when Akitas perceive a threatening situation, they will protect their family until the end. [4]

Akitas are also known to be intelligent, careful, courageous and fearless. However, in some situations, they need to have a firm and confident trainer because they tend to be willful and stubborn. [5] This dog may not be the perfect fit for every family.

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[1] American Kennel Club, The Complete Dog Book: 20th Edition (Random House LLC, 2007).

[2] Dan Rice, The Dog Handbook (Barron’s Educational Series, 1999), p. 135.

[3] Dan Rice, Akitas (Barron’s Educational Series, 1997), p. 12.



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