The breed

kennel Cerberus Moravia American Akita

History

as have a fascinating history with early records showing that these proud dogs were once not only highly prized Akitas hunting and fighting dogs, but also as “good eating” in their native Japan. Their fur was used to make warm clothes and Akitas were also used by Japanese fishermen to herd fish into their nets. With this said, the actual history of the breed has been lost in time having become a little blurred over the centuries thanks to various translations from Japanese to other languages.

There is some evidence of similar looking dogs with erect ears and tightly curled tails having been around in 1150 AD and that dogs called Matagiinu having been highly prized by Japanese royalty for their hunting skills. At one point in history, only Japanese rulers could own an Akita and they gave their dogs unique collars that showed an owner’s rank.

Over the following centuries, the Akita’s popularity went through various stages of highs and lows, but it was during the Emperor Taisho’s reign at the turn of the 20th Century that their popularity rose again after the breed became prized in other countries of the world which included the UK, Spain and France where Akitas had become status symbols with royals and other people alike.

Today’s Akita owes much of their lineage and ancestry to the dogs that were breed in a mountainous region of Japan known as the Akita Prefecture although these dogs were bred and raised in many other regions of the land too. The Akita Inu Hozankai Society began recording a stud book in 1927 which kept a record of all parents and litters produced in Japan and the stud book still exists today with an end goal being to keep the breed as pure as possible in modern times.

More about Odate Dogs

The Akita was originally known as the Odate dog and they were first recognised as a national treasure in Japan in 1931 having been established as a “pure” breed by the Mayor of a region called Odate which is the capitol of the Akita Prefecture. This is the most northern province on the island of Honshu in Japan. It was the custom in Japan to name dogs after the region in which they were bred and as such the Odate became known as the Akita Inu which translated means Akita dog. They were the biggest among seven other Akita-type dogs that existed in 1931 in Japan. From that time onwards, records of the Akita were carefully kept with the end goal being the breed’s continued success.

At the outset of the WWII and following the end of the war, the numbers and popularity of the Akita fell thanks to the fact their fur and meat were in high demand which led to the breed nearly vanishing off the face of the earth forever. Luckily, a few Akitas survived and once again during the late 1940′s and the beginning of the 1950′s, breed numbers began to flourish. It was during this time that two bloodlines were established and it is from these bloodlines that most Akitas in other countries of the world are descended. It is thought that returning soldiers took Akitas back with them to their homelands which included to the UK, Canada and the United States.

The breed was diversified in the early 20th century with the introduction of the ‘American Akita’. In 1937 Helen Keller, the famous deaf blind linguist and activist, developed a fondness for the breed and was sent a dog named ‘Kamikaze’ who sadly died at a young age from distemper, but one of his litter mates named ‘Kenzan-go’ was sent over to her to replace the dog she lost. From this point the Japanese and the American breeds were bred differently from each other with Americans breeding dogs with heavier, larger physical traits while in Japan, breeders concentrated on producing smaller dogs. Today, the Akita is a well-recognised breed the world

Introduction

The Akita is known to be an intelligent, bright yet reserved and possessive dog by nature. However, they should never be timid nor should they be aggressive, but rather an Akita should be dignified, courageous and affectionate. They will defend their families without a second thought which in short means they make excellent watchdogs. Today, the Akita has fast become a popular breed in the UK and elsewhere in the world for good reason because when well socialised they make wonderful companions and family pets. The breed is native to Japan where the breed has always been highly regarded not only for their dignified, proud looks, but also for their loyalty and devotion to their owners as well.

There are in fact two types of Akita and although very similar, there are slight differences in appearance with the Japanese Akita being quite a bit lighter and smaller than the American Akita. They are part of the “Spitz” type of dog and have been around for around 300 years in their native Japan where they were bred as fighting dogs, but this changed and Akitas were used to hunt deer, wild boar and black bears.

The Akita is an impressive looking and courageous dog, but one that needs to be well socialised and trained from a young age to be a truly well-rounded dog. As such they are not the best choice for first-time dog owners, but do very well with people who know how to handle and manage them.

Temperament

Akitas are very intelligent dogs, they are independent thinkers with strong characters which means these dogs are not the best choice for first-time dog owners. They need to be handled and trained using a gentle yet firm hand and they need to know their place in the pack to be a truly well-rounded dog. It’s in an Akita’s genes to protect which is what they have always been bred to do which is a trait that should never be forgotten in this breed.

It would be fair to say that an Akita has an innate quality to defend and protect which means owners should always be very careful when introducing a dog to people and that anyone who visits the home is a welcome guest. Akitas are incredibly perceptive and easily recognise people whose intentions are not welcome without the need to be trained to do so. Their independent thinking is often mistaken for dog being stubborn which is not always the case. The Akita is quick to learn new things and this means they are ultra-quick to pick up any bad habits if they are allowed or if they are not handled correctly which is something to be avoided at all costs.

Although robust and strong dogs, they are quite sensitive by nature which means they benefit from positive reinforcement training and do not respond well to any heavy-handed handling. An Akita will form a very strong bond with an owner and they show their devotion in a calm and quiet way always wanting to know where an owner is, but never pestering them in any way.

They are known to be very good when around elderly people with many of them being used in retirement homes and hospices as therapy dogs. However, they are “bossy” dogs by nature and if left to their own devices will quickly display a dominant side to their character which is why they are not the best choice for first time dog owners.

 

The Akita is a good choice as a family pet, but with this said and as previously mentioned, it really does depend on how an Akita is socialised when young as to how they react around children. It goes without saying that kids must be taught to “behave” when they are around any dog and this includes how they act when they meet an Akita as to how the dog would react to them. It also goes without saying that any interaction between children and dogs needs to be supervised by an adult to make sure nobody gets too boisterous and that things remain nice and calm.

FCI American Akita Standard 

Origin: Japan 

Utilization: Companion Dog 

Classification FCI: Group 5  

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: 

   In the beginning, the history of the AMERICAN AKITA (formerly Great Japanese Dog) is identical

with the development of the Japanese Akita. Since 1603 in the Akita region, Akita Matagis

(medium sized hunting dogs) were used as fighting dogs. From 1868, the breed was crossbred with

Tosa (a mixture of Shikoku with German Pointing Dogs, St. Bernard Dogs or Great Danes) and

Mastiffs. The size of this breed increased, but characteristics such as erect ears or curled tail,

which are associated with the Akita (Spitz type) were lost. As in 1908 dog fighting was prohibited,

the breed were nevertheless preserved as a large Japanese breed and in 1931 was designated as Natural

Monument. 

  During World War II (1939-1945), it was common to use dogs as a source of fur for military garments.

The police ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs other than German Shepherd Dogs used for

military purposes. Some fanciers tried to circumvent the order by crossbreeding their dogs with German

Shepherd Dogs. When World War II ended, Akita’s had been drastically reduced in number and existed as

three distinct types: 1) Matagi Akita’s 2) Fighting Akita’s 3) Shepherd Akita’s. This created a very

confusing situation in the breed. 

  During the restoration process of the pure breed after the war, Kongo-go of the Dewa line enjoyed

a temporary, but tremendous popularity. Many Akita’s of the Dewa line, which exhibited characteristics

of the Mastiff and German Shepherd influence, were brought back to the United States by members of

the military forces. The Akita’s from the Dewa line, intelligent and capable of adapting to different

environments, fascinated breeders in the United States and the line was developed with increasing

number of breeders and a great rise in popularity. 

  The Akita Club of America was established in 1956 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted

the breed (inscription into the stud book and regular show status) in October 1972. However, at

this time, the AKC and the JKC (Japan Kennel Club) did not have reciprocal agreements for recognizing

each other’s pedigrees and therefore the door was closed for the introduction of the new bloodlines

from Japan. Consequently, Akita’s in the United States became considerably different from those in

Japan, the country of origin. They developed as a type unique in the United States, with characteristics

and type unchanged since 1955. This is in sharp contrast with the Japanese type that was crossbred with

Matagi Akita’s for the purpose of restoring the original pure breed.  

GENERAL APPEARANCE: 

Large-sized dog, sturdily built, well balanced, with much substance and heavy bone. The broad head,

forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, relatively small eye’s and erect ears carried forward

almost in line with back of neck, is characteristic of the breed.  

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: 

o The ratio of height at withers to length of body is 9 to 10 in males and 9 to 11 in bitches.

o The depth of the chest measures one-half of the height of the dog at withers.

o The distance from tip of nose to stop corresponds to the distance from stop to occiput as 2 does to 3.  

BEHAVIOR/TEMPERMENT:

Friendly, alert, responsive, dignified, docile, and courageous. 

HEAD: Massive, but in balance with the body, free of wrinkles

 when at ease.. Head forms a blunt triangle when viewed from above.  

CRANIAL REGION: 

Skull: Flat and broad between ears. A shallow furrow extends

well up on forehead.  

Stop: Well defined, but not too abrupt.  

FACIAL REGION: 

Nose: Broad and black. Flesh color permitted on white dogs only,

but black always preferred. 

Muzzle: Broad, deep and full. 

Lips: Black and not pendulous; tongue pink. Flesh colored lips permitted

in white dogs only. 

Jaws/teeth: Jaws not rounded, but blunt, strong and powerful.

Teeth strong with regular and full dentition; scissors bite preferred, but level bite acceptable. 

Eyes: Dark brown, relatively small, not pronounced, almost triangular in

shape. Eye rims black and tight; flesh-colored eye rims permitted in white dogs only. 

Ears: Strongly erect and small in relation to the rest of the head. If the ear is folded forward formeasuring length, tip will touch upper eye rim. Ears are triangular, slightly rounded at tip, wide at base, not set too low. Viewed from the side, the ears are angled forward over the eye’s following the line of the neck. 

NECK: Thick and muscular with minimal dewlap, comparatively short,

widening gradually toward the shoulders. A pronounced crest blends harmoniously into the base of the skull. 

BODY: 

Longer than high. Skin not too thin, neither too tight nor too loose.

Back: Level

Loin: Firmly muscled

Chest: Wide and deep. Ribs well sprung with well developed brisket.

Underline and Belly: Moderate tuck-up  

TAIL: 

Large and well furnished with hair, set high and carried over back or against flank in

a three-quarter, full, or double curl, always dipping to or below level of back.

On a three-quarter curl, tip drops well down on flank. Root large and strong. The terminal

bone of tail reaches hock when let or pulled down. Hair coarse, straight and dense,with

no appearance of a plume.  

LIMBS: 

Forequarters: Forelegs heavy-boned and straight as viewed from front. 

Shoulders: Strong and powerful with moderate layback Pasterns: Slightly sloping forward

in an angle of approximately 15 degrees to the vertical. 

Hindquarters: Strongly muscled, width and bone comparable to forequarters. Dewclaws

on hind legs customarily removed. 

Upper thigh: Strong, well developed, parallel when viewed from behind. 

Stifles: Moderately bent. 

Hocks: Well let down, turning neither in nor out. 

Feet: Straight, cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads.  

GAIT/MOVEMENT: 

Powerful, covering ground with moderate reach and drive. Movement parallel when viewed

from front and behind, back remaining strong, firm, and level. 

COAT: 

Hair: Double-coat. Undercoat thick, soft, dense and shorter than outer coat. Outer coat

straight, harsh/stiff and standing somewhat off body. Hair on head, lower legs and ears short.

Length of hair at withers and rump approximately 5 cm, which is slightly longer than on rest

of body, except tail, where coat is longest and most profuse. 

COLOR: 

Any color like red, fawn, white, etc; or even pinto and brindle. Colors are brilliant and

clear, and marking are well balanced, with or without mask or blaze. White dogs (solid

in color) have no mask. Pinto have a white ground color with large, evenly placed patches

covering head and more than one-third body. Undercoat may have a different color from

the outer coat. 

SIZE: 

Height at withers: 

For males: 66-71 cm (26-28 inches) 

For bitches: 61-66 cm (24-26 inches) 

FAULTS: 

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness

with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree. 

          o Feminine dogs, masculine bitches

          o Narrow or snippy head

          o Any missing tooth (except 2 of the PM1 and/or M3)

          o Spotted tongue

          o Light eye’s

          o Short tail

          o In or out at elbows

          o Any indication of ruff or feathering

          o Shyness or viciousness 

SERIOUS FAULTS: 

          o Light in substance

          o Light bone 

ELIMINATING FAULTS: 

          o Butterfly nose or total lack of pigmentation on nose on dogs other than white.

          o Drop, hanging, or folded ears

          o Under or overshot bite

          o Sickle or uncurled tail

          o Dogs under 63.5 cm (25 inches), bitches under 58.5 cm (23 inches) 

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

 

HA+BO

 

 
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