The Akita originated in Japan. Unchanged for centuries, this breed is considered the national dog of Japan and a natural monument. They were highly prized, revered, and only owned by nobility and aristocracy. They were used in various capacities such as Imperial guards, hunter of bear and boar, and waterfowl retrieving. They are the largest of the Spitz-type breeds. Today, the Akita is a faithful companion, therapy dog, and guard dog.
Akitas are large, sturdy, and muscular. The paws are webbed which makes them excellent swimmers. They have a reserved manner and carry themselves with great dignity. They are powerful and alert, responsive and courageous. The Akita is a noble and dominating breed.
The Akita is highly intelligent, fearless, and spontaneous. They thrive on human companionship. They are extremely loyal to their family and those they know, but are wary and aloof of strangers. They are exceedingly protective of their family, their territory, and of their food. They are particularly aggressive toward other dogs and pets. They will get along with older, very well behaved children within their family unit, but will not tolerate children they don’t know. They make excellent guard dogs, although they are not excessive barkers. They do not do well if left alone for extended periods of time. For this reason, they are not well suited for a two career family. They require an inordinate amount of attention. Akitas are not recommended for the novice dog owner, or owners who are placid and submissive.
The Akita requires significant grooming with a firm bristle brush on a daily basis. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary with a mild shampoo to prevent stripping the coat of the natural oils. It is important to keep the hair on the bottom of the paws trimmed to preserve their characteristic of webbed feet. They are prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, eye problems, and lupus.
The Akita is a double coat, waterproof breed. The outer coat is harsh, straight, and stands slightly off the body. The under coat is dense, soft, and close to the body. The hair on the head, legs, and ears is short, while the hair on the tail is long and profuse. They typically shed their coat twice a year. The Akita coat colors include pure white, red, sesame, and brindle.
The Akita requires intensive and extensive socialization and obedience training. It is absolutely imperative that they know who their master is or they will take charge. They do not respond to harsh or heavy-handed training methods. They do best with patience, kindness, firmness, fairness, and consistency. Akitas typically prefer to be clean and is easier to housetrain than many other breeds.
The Akita does not require an over-abundance of exercise. They are moderately active indoors. They enjoy play sessions with their family or other family activities. However, they will become bored and destructive if left alone for extended periods of time either inside or outside. They enjoy a daily walk, but it is vitally important they are very securely leashed and kept from encountering other dogs. They are not well suited for apartment dwellings and do best in a home with a large securely fenced yard.
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