The Akita (秋田犬 Akita-inu?) is a large spitz breed of dog originating from the mountainous northern regions of Japan. There are now two separate strains: Japanese, a/k/a “Akita Inu” or “Japanese Akita”, and American, a/k/a “Akita” or “American Akita”. The Japanese strain comes in selected colors only, with all other colors considered atypical of the breed, while the American strain comes in all dog colors. The Akita has a short double coat, similar to that of many other northern spitz breeds such as the Siberian Husky, but long coated dogs can be found in many litters due to a recessive gene. The American strain of Akita is now considered a separate breed from the Japanese Akita in many countries around the world, with the notable exceptions of Australia, the United States and Canada. In the U.S. and Canada, both strains are considered a single breed with differences in type rather than two separate breeds. During a short period, the American strain of Akita was known in some countries as the “Great Japanese Dog”. Both forms of Akita are probably best known worldwide from the true story of Hachikō, a loyal Akita dog who lived in Japan before World War II. The Akita is a strong, independent and dominant breed, commonly aloof with strangers but affectionate with family members. As a breed, Akitas are generally hardy, but they have been known to suffer from various genetic conditions and be sensitive to certain drugs.
The Akita today is a unique combination of dignity, courage, alertness, and devotion to its family. It is extraordinarily affectionate and loyal with family and friends, territorial about its property, and can be reserved with strangers. It is feline in its actions; it is not unusual for an Akita to clean its face after eating, to preen its kennel mate, and to be fastidious in the house. They are however known to be intolerant of other dogs of the same gender, as stated in the AKC breed standard.
Predecessors of the modern Akita were used for hunting bear, wild boar and deer in Japan as late as 1957. They would be used to flush out the bear and keep it at bay until the hunter could come and kill it. Today, the breed is used primarily as a companion dog. However, the breed is currently also known to be used as therapy dogs, and compete in all dog competitions including: conformation showing, obedience trials, canine good citizen program, tracking trials and agility competition, as well as weight pulling, hunting andschutzhund (i.e., personal protection dogs).
A good example of this breed is
Hachikō (ハチ公?, November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935), known in Japanese as chūken Hachikō (忠犬ハチ公 “faithful dog Hachikō” [‘hachi’ meaning ‘eight’, a number referring to the dog’s birth order in the litter, and ‘kō’, meaning prince or duke]), was an Akita dog born on a farm near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture, remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, even many years after his owner’s death.