Breed Profile: the Akita

The Akita dog breed is believed to be descendant of the ancient and now extinct Matagi Inu dogs, which were dogs used for hunting wild boar, Sitka deer, and Asian black bear by the Matagi and other northern native people of Japan. It is believed that these dogs were used for centuries and originally developed from ancient spitz dogs brought to the northernmost area of Japan at a time when a land or ice bridge connected the now-island country to Eastern Europe. These dogs were described as medium-sized spitz-like dogs. DNA studies have found that the Asian spitz breeds, including the Akita, as well as the Shiba Inu, Chow Chows, and Chinese Shar Peis, are among the most ancient breeds still in existence. 

Now, the two types have become so divergent that many organizations consider them separate breeds. Japanese Akitas are lighter in substance and bone, squarely proportioned, leggier with more tuck-up and narrower, even skull to muzzle ratios. They also may only come in the traditional four colors. The Japanese dogs resemble large Shiba Inus, which are a very close relative. The American Akitas are heavier and more substantial, with heavier bone and overall mass. They have shorter muzzles in comparison to the skull, and are relatively rectangular in proportion. They may come in any color, including piebald, which is referred to as “pinto” in the breed. They may also have masks, which are forbidden in the Japanese Akitas.

Akitas typically weigh 100 to 130 pounds for the males and 70 to 100 pounds for the females. They stand 24 to 28 inches tall. Akitas are known to be loyal, intelligent, and energetic. Akitas can be very intolerant towards other dogs and animals, however this can be reduced by early age socialization. 

Want to know more about the Akita? Click here for the full standard. 

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Video for last month's featured breed the St. Bernard.


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