It is hard to imagine a dog that is as important to their native country as the majestic Akita Inu. In the United States there is another Akita, designated as the American Akita, which is slightly different than the Japanese breed, although they are developed from the same original lines.
The National Dog of Japan, the Akita Inu was developed in the Akita region of the country, actually on the island of Honshu. These dogs were originally bred as a fighting and hunting dog as well as a military dog and overall family protector. They can also be used as a retriever, flock guardian and a sled dog. Despite their hunting and fighting history the Akita is a very calm, docile dog that is loyal to its owners and highly intelligent. They tend to resemble a large bear with a flat, wide head, square shaped muzzle, small well set eyes and small, erect, triangular ears. The body is muscular and the legs are solid and heavily boned. The tail curls up over the back
It is important to understand that the Akita can be dog aggressive if not properly socialized. A well socialized Akita does not have this temperament which is why they are so often used in police and military work. Easy to train the Akita, like many breeds, is very much in tune with the handler’s emotional state. Very patient and loving with children the massive Akita loves to be petted by kids and just sit back and enjoy being with the family. While not highly demonstrative or playful the Akita has a balanced temperament and his or her calm, friendly demeanor makes them a wonderful companion dog.
Their large size means that this is not a breed for everyone. They may grow to be up to and over 120 pounds with males taller and heavier than females. Males tend to have definite masculine features, especially in the face, and females are finer boned and more feminine. This breed typically lives to be about 10 to 12 years of age when in good health.
Akitas have similar problems to many of the larger northern breeds. They can problems with hip dysplasia in certain breeding lines and problems with hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis. These conditions can all be treated and are most easily managed with early diagnosis.
The Akita is a very naturally clean dog that will groom themselves very much like a cat. The dense stiff double coat sheds moderately through the year and very heavily in the spring and later summer months. At this time the inner wooly coat will be completely shed and daily grooming is often the best option. While capable of staying outdoors even in extreme cold these dogs are not a good match for living outdoors in hot and wet weather. Their natural preference is to be inside with the family, keeping a protective eye out over the people they love.