Few breeds command the same level of respect and admiration as the Akita. With their robust build, alert eyes, and dignified demeanor, Akitas stand out not just in appearance, but also in their storied past. Let’s delve into the world of this magnificent breed.
1. Origins in the Land of the Rising Sun
The Akita’s roots trace back to the mountainous regions of northern Japan. Originally bred for hunting large game like wild boar, deer, and even bears, the Akita is a dog of strength and agility. Two primary types exist: the Japanese Akita Inu and the more substantial American Akita. Both are celebrated for their loyalty and commanding presence.
2. A Symbol of Health and Happiness
In Japanese culture, the Akita is more than just a pet. It’s a symbol of good health, happiness, and longevity. There’s a beautiful custom where miniature Akita figurines are sent to ill people as a gesture of a speedy recovery.
3. Hachikō: The World’s Most Loyal Dog
One cannot talk about Akitas without mentioning Hachikō. This faithful dog waited at Tokyo’s Shibuya Station every day for nearly ten years for his deceased owner to return, exemplifying the breed’s loyalty. Today, a statue commemorates his devotion in Shibuya, and his story has inspired films and books.
4. Temperament and Training
Akitas are known for their loyalty to family and tend to be reserved with strangers. They often do well with families and children when properly socialized. However, their dominant nature means they need an owner who understands canine behaviors and is consistent with training.
5. Grooming and Care
Boasting a thick double coat, Akitas are well-adapted to cold climates. They shed heavily, especially during the shedding season, so regular grooming is essential. This not only keeps their coat in top shape but also provides bonding time between the dog and owner.
6. Health Considerations
Like all breeds, Akitas have their share of health concerns, including hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and autoimmune disorders. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and adequate exercise can go a long way in ensuring your Akita has a long, healthy life.
7. A Noble Companion
The Akita isn’t just a pet; it’s a lifelong companion. While they might not be suitable for first-time dog owners due to their strong-willed nature, for those who appreciate and understand the breed’s nuances, an Akita is a joy to have around.
The Akita, with its rich history and noble demeanor, is truly a breed apart. If you’re considering making an Akita part of your family, remember the importance of training, socialization, and care. In return, you’ll have a loyal companion, a protector, and a dignified friend by your side. Our trainers at Dances With Dogs have extensive experience working with the Akita. Contact us to find out more about our training programs.