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The exact origin of the Akita remains unknown. Through skeletal remains and carbon dating, it was traced to 500 BC, although the Akita's specific breed history has only been recorded for the past 350 years. The Akita was also known as the Odate dog – named after the rugged mountainous area of Odate in the prefecture of Akita, on the island of Honshu in Japan.
As fishing has always been a major Japanese industry, the Akita, with its webbed feet and thick water-resistant coat, readily became the fishermen's workmate. Akitas were then used as cattle dogs, seeing-eye dogs for the blind, sled pullers and police dogs. They were also utilised as ‘babysitters’ looking after children while their mothers worked in the rice fields.
These proud dogs often live to eight years of age, but Akitas treated correctly and fed the proper nutrition can live up to 10 - 12 years.
Average size and weight
This is another fairly tall dog with the males reaching about 75cm and weighing up to 50kg, while the female is 36kg and standing at 64cm.
Breed personality, characteristics & temperament
The Akita very much personifies the enigmatic character of the Orient. A dignified, proud, and courageous dog with a fearless yet steady disposition which does not lose control when confronted with unusual or sudden stress situations. Even as a puppy it displays a certain dignity. It is an ever-patient playmate for children and a no-nonsense protector of family and home. Most of all, in the hands of suitable owners it is a joy to own.
Compatibility with other pets
Tends to show dominance over other dogs.
The Akita loses its coat twice, sometimes three times a year and this is definitely something to consider if you are looking for a dog to live inside the house with you and your family. It requires extensive amounts of exercise and obedience training – this is a breed that needs to learn, from a young age, who is the ‘leader of the pack’. When the Akita loses its coat, its fur literally drops out. At this time it is almost impossible to have it in the house with you so it is necessary to provide an outside fenced area with a warm, dry bed.
Those who accept the challenge and understand what is required to do justice to this breed will be rewarded with a loyal and loving animal.
Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.
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