The Akita, a magnificent and ancient breed hailing from the mountains of northern Japan, has captivated the hearts of dog lovers worldwide for a century. Revered for their dignified demeanour, unwavering courage, and steadfast loyalty, Akitas hold a special place in the hearts of their native land, where they are celebrated as family protectors and symbols of good health, happiness, and long life. In this article, we delve into the remarkable journey of the Akita breed over the past 100 years, from their origins in Japan to their current status as cherished companions and working dogs.
Origins and Recognition
The Akita’s history dates back centuries, when they were initially employed as hunting and fighting dogs. Their strength, powerful build, and unyielding spirit made them invaluable assets in various tasks. In 1931, the Japanese government officially designated the Akita as a “natural monument,” recognizing the breed’s cultural significance and historical importance.
The Akita’s fame spread beyond Japan’s borders when the first Akita was brought to the United States by the renowned Helen Keller in 1937. The breed’s popularity grew steadily, and in 1973, they were finally admitted into the show classifications of the American Kennel Club (AKC), solidifying their place in the world of dog enthusiasts.
Characteristics and Appearance
Akitas are burly, muscular, and heavy-boned spitz-type dogs, boasting an imposing stature that demands attention. Standing 24 to 28 inches at the shoulder, they possess a dense double coat that comes in various colours, including the striking all-white coat. Their broad, massive heads are accentuated by dark, shining eyes and erect pointed ears, exuding an expression of alertness and intelligence—a true hallmark of the breed. Akitas’ full, curled-over tails balance their regal appearance, emphasizing their confidence and poise.
Temperament and Personality
In their temperament, Akitas showcase a mix of traits that make them both awe-inspiring and affectionate companions. While they are calm and devoted to their family, they tend to be aloof and wary of strangers, embodying a natural protective instinct. Akitas form strong bonds with their inner circle, showcasing unwavering loyalty and affection towards those they love.
However, their independence and strong-willed nature require early socialization to ensure they interact well with people and other animals. Additionally, they are generally not excessively playful as adults, preferring more reserved and dignified behaviour when surrounded by their family.
Care and Upkeep
As a medium-activity level breed, Akitas need at least an hour of daily exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Activities such as long jogs, vigorous play, and mental challenges like agility or scent work are recommended to keep them content and happy. Akitas are known to enjoy colder weather and snow but might be prone to overheating in hot temperatures.
Proper coat care includes regular brushing, especially during heavy shedding periods, which occur twice a year. Occasional bathing helps maintain their clean and lustrous coat. Responsible pet owners should be aware of potential health concerns such as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV), patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism, ensuring regular veterinary check-ups to catch any issues early on.
As we celebrate a century of the Akita breed’s existence, we are reminded of their significance in Japanese culture and their growing popularity worldwide. Akitas embody a unique blend of strength, loyalty, and independence, making them beloved family protectors and devoted companions. Through the years, they have showcased their dignity, courage, and unwavering loyalty, making them an integral part of countless families across the globe.
As we look forward to the next hundred years of the Akita breed, let us continue to cherish and honour these majestic dogs, preserving their legacy as symbols of good health, happiness, and long life for generations to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Simran Sharma is a fellow Pet Owner who loves learning about the world of Pets. She loves to spread knowledge in this field and loves to see the world through this filter.