The Akita - In Focus

  • 25/10/2010

Known as one of the best watchdogs on the planet, the Akita is truly a good working dog. Her independent personality allows her to protect her owner at all cost. She is very faithful and loyal to her owner but can be shy and reserved around other dogs and people she doesn't know. The Akita is a courageous and bold dog that's always ready to guard her family.

A Brief History of the Akita

The Akita is known to have originated from Japan. This breed can be traced back to the 19th century when she was bred by the Japanese people. She is an heir of seven native dog breeds in her country -- mostly fighting breeds.

More effort was exerted by the Japanese in breeding the Akita to get rid of some of her qualities such as her black mask, her huge build, and her pinto patterned coat. However, some American breeders liked these assets and encouraged the Japanese to keep these in the breed. In the year 1918, the Akita-inu Hozankai Society of Japan was established and preserved the original Akita. In fact, a monument was built for this breed in 1931.

If you love watching dog movies, you may have heard of -- or probably seen -- the film "Hachiko." Hachiko is a male Akita and he is a very good example of how loyal this breed is. Every single day, Hachiko would wait for his owner at the train station after work so that they could walk home together. Then one day, his owner died at his workplace and never got to the train station -- of course. Hachiko still waited for him in their usual meeting place every day. He would return to the train station each day to anticipate his owner's return until his very last day on earth -- 9 years after his owner's death.

It was the famous author, Helen Keller, who brought the Akita to the United States -- from Japan -- in 1937. A lot of dogs of this breed were also brought to the country by US soldiers after the World War II. But it was not until the year 1972 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed.

Taking Care of an Akita

The Akita is one of the breeds that need a moderate amount of exercise on a daily basis. She likes living an active lifestyle with a lot of mental and physical stimulation. If you own an Akita, you may want to accompany her jogging around your neighborhood or take her to a dog park for her to run around until she wears herself out. This is to satisfy her daily exercise requirement. It is very important to give her ample time to exercise every day so that she won't get bored and use all her energy on other things -- like being destructive at home.

On grooming, the Akita just needs thorough brushing at least once a week. She has a short coat that doesn't need much combing. Amazingly, even with a short coat, the Akita can tolerate cold temperatures very well -- but not hot temperatures. Even though she fares well in cold climate, it is still best that you let her sleep inside of the house.

The Akita's Health Concerns

The average life span of an Akita is ten to 12 years. The Akita is prone to two major health problems -- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Other, minor, health concerns also run common in the breed like cruciate ligament rupture, elbow dysplasia, gastric torsion, hypothyroidism, lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma and sebaceous adenitis.

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