The Akita is a large and powerful dog breed with a noble and intimidating presence.
There are TOP 10 interesting facts about Akita.
Akitas have been around for thousands of years, so their exact origins are murky at best. What we do know is that the contemporary Akita was first bred in the Odate region of Japan's Akita prefecture. The dogs, originally known as "snow country dogs," were first used to track game during hunts. By the mid-1800s—as a response to a population boom in rural areas—their role had expanded to include the protection of family homes.
2) Snow Dogs
Akita is surrounded by mountains, resulting in cold, harsh winters and rainy summers. The rocky and cold environment is hard for most living things, but Akitas thrive in it. Their heavy double coats keep them warm, while their webbed paws help them walk on snow.
You probably know the story of Hachiko, Japan’s most famous dog. Hachiko’s tale started in 1920s Tokyo, where he would accompany his owner on his walk to the train station. Every day, the dog would patiently wait on the platform for his owner to get home from work, and then walk home with him. This routine went on until 1925, when his owner died at the office. Although Hachiko’s owner never returned to the train station platform, the pup waited there anyway—for 10 years.
4) Akita Museum
The love for Hachiko is so widespread in Japan that there’s a museum erected in his memory. The Akita Dog Museum in Odate, founded by the Akita Dog Preservation Society, is a celebration of Hachiko and the Akita breed in general. Inside, guests can find documents, art, and other information about Akitas; outside, guests are occasionally greeted by real Akitas who have been tasked with playing host for the day.
Independent and sometimes aloof with strangers, Akitas are affectionate with their families and form strong bonds. Highly intelligent, strong-willed, and proud, the Akita responds best to respectful commands and positive-training techniques that rely on motivation rather than force. Not everyone has what it takes to live with one of these majestic dogs. But for those who do, it is an experience like none other, a chance to share your life with a national treasure.
6) Japanese Culture
In Japan, the Akita symbolizes good health, happiness, and longevity. Often the Japanese will gift a small Akita-shaped statue to friends and family as a "Get Well Soon" token, or if someone has just had a baby. The statue is considered a way to tell loved ones that you wish them good health in the future.
7) National Treasure
In the 1930s, the Akita was so rare in Japan due to the increasing popularity of non-native breeds, that only the very rich could apparently afford one. They were declared as a "national treasure" in Japan in an attempt to conserve the country's native breeds, and having an Akita in a household is said to symbolise good health, good fortune and prosperity.
8) Clean Dogs
Just like the shiba inu, these dogs are clean to the point of being finicky. The dogs self-groom and have an almost cat-like obsession with cleanliness. Their coat sheds twice a year, so trips to the groomer are unnecessary.
Like a number of other Japanese working breeds, the Akita has a plush double-coat of fur, consisting of a medium length top layer and a soft undercoat to keep them warm. This double-coat of fur can vary in colour, and is actually also water-resistant, preventing the Akita from developing hypothermia. The Akita has a strong, muscular body that is longer than it is tall. They have a heavy triangular head, with dark, triangular eyes that are deeply set into the Dog's face. The thick, strong limbs of the Akita allow it to move with vigorous precision particularly when hunting, and its slightly webbed paws make this Dog an excellent swimmer. The most distinctive features of the Akita are their small, pointed ears and curved, upturned tail which almost sits on the Dog's back.
10) Dog Fights
Unfortunately, dog fighting continues to be popular in Japan. Although it's illegal in major cities like Tokyo, rural areas continue to host fights. In the early 20th century, Akitas were crossed with a variety of tough breeds like the mastiff, great Dane, and St. Bernard in an effort to bulk them up for the fighting pits. Akitas mixed with Tosa dogs were common and were called Shin-Akitas, or “improved Akitas.”