Dog Breed of the Month: #Akita

The Akita dog breed: Loyal beyond belief

The Akita dog breed: Loyal beyond belief
Photo by gomagoti CC BY-SA

Brave, bold and fiercely loyal the Japanese Akita is a great companion for experienced dog owners. With a little patience and a lot of training an Akita can be a valuable addition to your family, happily participating in your day to day activities right by your side.

The Akita is a working dog that can weigh anywhere between 70 to 130 pounds. Declared a national treasure in Japan the Akita dog is famous around the world thanks to one canine named Hachiko.

Hachiko was an Akita who greeted his master every day at the train station after work. One day Hachiko’s master passed away while on the job and his loyal dog waited for him relentlessly. He continued to return to that spot and wait for his master every day until poor Hachiko died on March 8, 1935.
The Akita was named after a province in northern Japan where it is believed that the breed originated. These powerful and regal canines were used to guard royalty as far back as the 1600s. What makes the Akita even more famous is its special tie to an American Hero.

The Akita dog breed: Loyal beyond belief
Photo by aldenchadwick CC BY

Helen Keller brought the first Akita to the United States in 1937 upon her return from a trip to Japan. After visiting a statue of Hachiko in Shibuyu, Japan Helen Keller wanted a beautiful Akita of her own. The Japanese government proudly presented her with the first Akita to come to America. The breed’s popularity has been growing ever since.

The Akita is known to be playful and amusing. It is very mouthy and enjoys carrying things around in its mouth. Pulling a large stick around the backyard for an hour may be just what your Akita needs to enjoy its day. Some Akita’s will even lead their owners about the house by gently taking the hand in their large mouths. The breed is also stubborn and fearless. An Akita will never back down and if you keep eye contact with an Akita for too long it will consider it a challenge. That is why Akita’s are not recommended for first-time dog owners and take a lot of specialized training. It is important to become the pack leader with these dogs.

An Akita needs a lot of socializing with other dogs and pets otherwise it may not form healthy bonds with existing furry family members. The breed can sometimes become aggressive with other dogs- especially dogs of the same sex. Akita’s have also been known to chase other pets around so it is best to carefully introduce your Akita to pets while it is still a puppy. They are very wary of strangers and are extremely protective of their family members. When training an Akita it is important to be respectful and firm- never aggressive. Akita’s are gentle by nature and respond well to respect but an Akita will not back down and if you disrespect it the dog is likely to bark and be stubborn.

The Akita dog breed: Loyal beyond belief

If you decide you need a trainer’s help with your Akita you should always be present for the sessions. Due to the loyal nature of the breed, it will be confusing for it to be forced to bond with someone outside its family. That being said every dog is different. With a little patience and a lot of love, Akita’s are amazing and happy dogs.

The breed is renowned for its loyalty and its deep attachment to its family and home life. The Akita is a very special kind of large breed dog that lives a happier life inside with its family rather than outside alone in the yard. It does require daily exercise for at least an hour. Be creative- if an Akita is sent out in the backyard to play fetch all the time it will be bored. That’s when the bold, stubborn nature of the breed will kick in and it will most likely do something to get attention. Change it up and create new games that involve pulling, carrying and hunting things down.

The Akita’s facial features are what draw dog lovers in. Their adorable bear-like features paired with a mouth that always seems to be smiling make it easy to love an Akita. The Akita’s tail curls up and forward on the dog at all times. They can be a variety of colours- usually with white front legs. Although they are big dogs a lot of it is just an illusion created by their thick, waterproof coat. Akita shed quite a bit- especially during the shedding seasons- and they should be brushed at least once a week to remove dead hair. Akita should only be bathed when necessary because frequent bathing can remove some of the natural water-proofing on the dog’s coat. The Akita will bathe itself in an almost feline-like fashion.

The Akita dog breed: Loyal beyond belief

Like most large breed dogs Akita’s are prone to hip dysplasia but for the most part, Akita are generally healthy. They can become bloated from eating or drinking too fast, which is a common and potentially life-threatening condition that affects deep-chested dogs like Akita’s. They should be monitored when they are fed and should never be fed one large meal for the day. Other important medical tests for an Akita should include the eyes and the thyroid. Akita can also develop a skin condition called sebaceous adenitis that can be difficult to diagnose and extremely uncomfortable for the dog. Symptoms can include dry, scaly skin, hair loss, loss of fur on the top of the head and around the neck, thickened skin and an unpleasant odour. If you see any of these symptoms present in your Akita have a veterinarian do a biopsy on the skin immediately.

An Akita can quickly become a part of the family and will follow its owner to the end of the earth. They are bold, beautiful and love their owners unconditionally. If you gain the trust of an Akita you will have it for life. It will protect you and honour you until you’re dying day- and maybe even beyond that.

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