If you didn’t know, Inu is a Japanese word for dog. It is often associated with all breeds originating from Japan. One of the most famous of them all is certainly Akita Inu or Matagi dog, a hunting dog in Japanese. It is the biggest of all Japanese Spitz dogs. There are actually two types of Akita dogs – the original breed also known as Japanese Akita Ken, and American Akita, developed from the original breed after the World War II. In this particular article we will examine the original breed. So, what are the main Japanese Akita dog characteristics? There are many of them, but the most distinguishable are loyalty, intelligence, strength, agility, courage, calmness, stubbornness, and endurance. The single look at these reveals that this breed’s a typical representative of the primitive dogs group. Of course, it has its own traits, which I’ll go through later in the text.
Fierce Akita Dog Traits
The Akitas originate from Honshu island, Akita prefecture, hence such name. It was such a noble and loyal breed, which was considered a Japanese national treasure until the end of WWII. Although a bit smaller than American Akitas, they are nonetheless very heavy dogs with large bones. No wonder they’re so strong. On top of that, they’re perfectly suited for harsh weather thanks to their thick coats. All of this makes them very resilient dogs capable of various tasks – guarding, fighting, working, etc. They are originally bred as hunting and fighting dogs, so it is no wonder they possess such fierce and dominant attributes. However, they’re more solitary dogs not used to live and work in groups. They are very quiet dogs who rarely bark. This, however, doesn’t limit their capabilities as watchdogs. They will protect the owner’s family and property, no matter what.
This aggressive behavior towards strangers is one of the tricky Akita dog characteristics, which can be a problem considering his size. So, socialize your dog as soon as possible or put some warning on your front gate. Also, you need to know this breed can be very aggressive with other dogs, especially with those of the same sex. I’ve witnessed this firsthand. Namely, my neighbor owns a female Akita, which bears the same name as my Siberian Husky, Leah. So, when Leahs meet each other, all hell breaks loose :) It is war! I’ve never seen such mutual hate between dogs. Unfortunately, one day my neighbor and I were too far away to split them, so they had time to settle the score. Although my Leah fought bravely, she got some beating in the end, nothing serious, but still. Alas, this was kind of expected since Akita is stronger dog. No wonder they were used for dog fights back in time.
The Akita Inus have a strong prey drive. This makes them very dangerous for other pets, cats especially! So, if you wish to own this buddy, and you want him to live in harmony with other pets, it would be wise to raise them together. This rule also applies in the case you wish to have another dog beside your Akita. The reason for that is this dog’s possessive behavior when it comes to food. This can also be a huge problem if you have children, so make sure they don’t disturb your dog during feeding. In any case, your dog needs to be trained accordingly, but that’s certainly not easy. You see, Akitas are very willful dogs full of dignity, which is the reason they are not so easy to train – they demand a strong leader. So, the inexperienced, first-time dog owners take note here, this is probably not the most appropriate dog breed for you. Now let’s take a look at the physical Akita dog characteristics.
All About Physical Akita Dog Characteristics
The Akita Inu has a strong and muscular body. This dog is longer than high at withers, and is very compact in shape. It is covered with a short double coat, almost identical to some Nordic Spitz-type breeds, such as Siberian Husky. It consists of a soft and dense undercoat and a slightly rough and sharp outer coat. However, there’re also the long coat Akitas, but they are actually considered a fault. This long coat is often called ‘Moku‘, and it is not so common. Needless to say, in both cases regular grooming is a must. Akita Inu comes in a few characteristic color schemes – white is a dominant color, which can be lone or in combination with the brown, red and bridle motives. It is important to know that this color motives should not be clearly distinguishable. Otherwise, it is a fault.
Probably the most recognizable of all physical Akita dog characteristics is his large and rounded head with a strong and short snout, which is quite bear like. All Akitas have brown, triangular eyes, erect, triangular ears arched in line with the neck, and broad and black noses. The neck is thick and muscular atop wide and deep chest. It is not very long and is getting a bit wider towards shoulders. This dog has long and straight back with strong and powerful shoulders. Atop his back lies a double curved tail that is large and thick. The front and hind legs are strong with cat like paws with webbed feet and large nails, which you’ll have to trim a few times a year. All these physical Akita Inu characteristics combined are the reasons this dog has a powerful and graceful look. He is simply irresistible.
Japanese Akita Inu Size And Weight
– Height between 24 and 26 inches (60-66 cm)
– Weight between 77 and 122 pounds (35-55 kg)
– Height between 23 and 25 inches (58-64 cm)
– Weight between 75 and 110 pounds (34-50 kg)
Loyalty Till Death
Out of all common Akita dog characteristics, the one they’re probably most famous for is their loyalty. In Japan this dog represents a national symbol of loyalty – you’ve probably heard the story of a loyal dog Hachikō. Although Akitas are dominant and hard to train dogs, they get very attached to their owners. Well, after all they’re developed to behave this way. Loyalty and honor are two of the most prized personal qualities in Japan, and this dog is the perfect embodiment of them both. He will respect his owner till death and he will protect the owner’s family and property at the cost of his life. This, however, makes him quite dangerous dog for strangers and people alike. Also, because of this he is often very intolerant with other pets. Oh well, nothing’s perfect. Anyway, this dog will certainly show you the meaning of the phrase – the human’s best friend!
Primitive Dog Breed Used For Fights
The powerful, muscular body and strong, scissors-like jaws are the main physical Akita dog characteristics because of which this breed was used for dog fights in the past. Akita Ken was developed during Tokagawe period (1603-1868), while the dog fights were very popular in Japan, especially in the city of Odate. So, it is no wonder some of them were bred for this fierce “sport.” Another breed used for this was Tosa Inu or ShiShi Inu, which means Large Dog in Japanese. They both proved to be excellent competitors, but in the end, Tosa Inu prevailed as the stronger dog. Because of that Akita Inu had lost its place in the ring.
The ShiShis and Akitas were later on cross-bred, and their offspring was labeled as Shin Akita. This mixed breed proved to be a great fighting dog. Although Akitas were never used for dog fights afterwards, they were always being praised for their fighting spirit. This is the reason they’re now often used as guard dogs, which are considered highly qualified for police or military tasks. In short, this dog is a real powerhouse, quite capable of great deeds. With this we’ll wrap up our article about Akita dog characteristics. We will continue our story of this breed through articles about training, care, etc. Later on we will also examine American counterpart of this wonderful breed. Until then, stay safe and sound!