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Akita Inu - Japanese Akita

Akita Inu (Japanese Akita)

The Akita Inu (? ) is a breed of large dog originating in, and uncommon outside of Japan, named for Akita Prefecture, where it is thought to have originated. It is sometimes called the Akita-ken based on the Sino-Japanese reading of the same kanji. In most countries (with the exception of the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs), it is considered a separate breed from the American Akita, as requested by the Japanese Kennel Club. "Inu" means "dog."

Akita Breed Description


The breed stands anywhere from 60­66 cm (24­26 in) at the withers. Females weigh anywhere from 30­45 kg (70­100 lb) and males are 35­54 kg (75­119 lb). The Akita Inu comes in only five colors: Red, Fawn, Sesame, Brindle, and Pure White. All except white must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, body and tail. Black masks, as seen in the American Akita, are not permitted in the Japanese Akita Inu.

All colors are accepted in the American Akita. The Pinto color is not accepted as a Japanese Akita colour, but is as an American Akita color. In the U.S., some breeders interbreed the original Japanese type with the heavier American type, which is larger, and allows more colors. It is felt by some that combining the two types leads to improved appearance and genetic health by increasing genetic diversity. It has often been commented that the Japanese Akita has an extraordinary elegance. There is only a single Akita breed registered by the American Kennel Club; in all other countries besides Canada the breed has been separated into two breeds: the Akita Inu and the American Akita.


Akita Inu are renowned as loyal dogs and are also intelligent. But because of their intelligence, they are easily bored. As a result, they often become destructive if not given anything to do. Akita Inu can live happily in apartments as long as they are given plenty of exercise. They


Akita Inu - Japanese Akita

need to be socialized as puppies so they are friendly dogs and should have experienced owners. Although they love human companionship, they are quite happy to be outside dogs as well, but should still be taken out for walks to prevent destruction of the yard. Akita Inu often become excitable when seeing their owners, often wiggling around and making happy grunts.

Akita Inu are very good with children, and are often quite playful, although they should be watched around small children as they could knock them over during play.

The Akita Inu have a reputation for sometimes being aggressive towards smaller animals or other dogs, particularly those of the same sex. However they can live happily with other dogs and animals providing they are socialized well. They are excellent guard dogs and naturally protective of their home and family. The Akita Inu has a reputation for being an excellent house dog. They make great family dogs with the right training and socialization.

History of the Akita Inu

Japanese history, both verbal and written, describes the ancestors of the Akita Inu, the Matagi dog, as one of the oldest of the native dogs. The Akita Inu of today developed primarily from these dogs in the northernmost region of the island of Honsh in the Akita prefecture, thus providing the breed's name. The Matagi's quarry included elk, antelope, boar, and Asian black bear . This swift, agile, unswervingly tenacious precursor dog tracked large game and held it at bay until the hunters arrived to make the kill.

Recent DNA analysis found that the Akita was among the most ancient dog breeds.

During World War II, the number of Akita dogs greatly diminished because of the lack of food. There were also orders to capture all dogs except German Shepherds in order to use their fur for warm army uniforms.

During the occupation years following the war, the breed began to thrive again through the efforts of Morie Sawataishi and others. For the first time, Akitas were bred for a standardized appearance. Akita fanciers in Japan began gathering and exhibiting the remaining Akitas and producing litters in order to restore the breed to sustainable numbers and to accentuate the


Akita Inu - Japanese Akita

original characteristics of the breed muddied by crosses to other breeds. US servicemen fell in love with the Akita and imported many of them into the US upon and after their return.

The Japanese Akita and American Akita began to diverge in type through the middle and later part of the 20th century with the Japanese Akita fanciers focusing on restoring the breed as a work of Japanese art and American Akita fanciers selecting for the larger, heavier-boned dogs that emerged from the post-war times. Both types derive from a common ancestry, but marked differences can be observed between the two. First, while American Akitas are acceptable in all colors, Japanese Akitas are only permitted to be red, fawn, sesame, white, or brindle. Additionally, American Akitas may be pinto and/or have black masks, unlike Japanese Akitas.

Much debate occurs among Akita fanciers of both types whether there are or should be two breeds of Akita. To date, the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club, guided by their national breed clubs, consider American and Japanese Akitas to be two types of the same breed, allowing free breeding between the two. The FCI and Kennel Clubs in most other nations consider Japanese and American Akitas as separate breeds.

Health of The Akita Inu


Akitas possess a double coat, with a dense straight undercoat, and a thick outer coat. This coat makes the dog waterproof, as well as being well-equipped for the fierce winters in northern Japan. Due to the thickness of their coat, the breed requires regular grooming, and also an awareness of the dog's heavy shedding, especially during warm weather.


Some of the health conditions known to affect this breed include: - Canine herpesvirus, a strain of the Herpes virus that affects canines - Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), a condition also known as bloat, susceptible breeds require careful husbandry - Pemphigus, which causes the immune system to attack the dog's skin (leading to pustule s ) - Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an adult-onset condition which causes gradual degeneration in the eye cells (i.e. rods & cones) - UveoDermatological Syndrome (UDS)


Akita Inu - Japanese Akita

- Sebaceous adenitis, an autoimmune condition which attacks and destroys the dog's seba ceous glands - Canine hip dysplasia - Hypothyroidism - Hyperkalaemia, as a breed, Akitas have abnormally high blood potassium concentrations compared to other breeds. - Heart size, as a breed, Akitas have an unusually small heart for their size. A number of Akitas have died while being operated on under the normal dose of general anaesthetic for a canine of that size, a dose which ultimately proved excessive and fatal to the Akita. For that reason, to avoid anaesthetic-induced death, only the bare minimum dose of general anaesthetic sufficient to produce anaesthesia should be used when an Akita requires general anaesthesia.

Gastric dilatation and volvulus

Akita owners should take special note of the high incidence of GDV (gastric dilatation volvulus) in this breed. Excess gas trapped in the dog's stomach causes "bloat." Twisting of the stomach (volvulus or "torsion") is caused by that excess gas. GDV is an emergency condition requiring immediate veterinary treatment as it is often fatal. Akita owners should be alert to the symptoms of GDV and know the location of the nearest emergency veterinary facility. Dogs with any symptoms of GDV (esp. unsuccessful attempts at vomiting) should be regarded as having GDV until proven otherwise by a veterinarian.

Symptoms of GDV include: - Gagging or retching with unsuccessful attempts at vomiting (frothy foam may come up instead) - Distended (bloated) abdomen (may or may not be noticeable) - Discomfort and pain esp. around the abdomen for no apparent reason--this may be observed as frequent pacing, an inability to find a comfortable position, whimpering, or wincing when pressure is applied to the abdomen - Weakness - Lethargy - Depression - Breathing difficulty - Hypersalivation and panting - Possible cardiac problems such as arrhythmias (abnormal rhythm of the heart) - Cyanosis (blue gums or skin) in severe cases from a lack of oxygen


Akita Inu - Japanese Akita

GDV is often associated with feeding and there are some ways in which an owner can help prevent this condition from occurring. Meals can be split into smaller portions and fed in several sittings, meals should not be given (ideally) within 2 hours before or after exercise (animals should not be encouraged to be active during this time) and having more than one meal a day in order to aid in reducing the amount of feed given at a time may also be of benefit. Owners should be encouraged to fully research the condition and its prevention using reliable resources.



Akita Inu - Japanese Akita

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Akita Inu - Japanese Akita