The American Akita or Great Japanese Dog is a powerful Spitz type hound originating from Japan, not the USA as its widely accepted name suggests. This is actually quite a young breed that was developed from Akita Inu dogs after the World War II. At that time, Japan was under occupation of the USA and US servicemen were regularly sent on tour in that land. Some of those soldiers fell in love with these noble Japanese dogs and had brought them back home in America. Of course, they were more impressed with larger and stronger dogs with good guarding abilities, which is the reason this Akita is a bit larger and heavier than the Japanese version. So, the Japanese Akita and this American Akita are in fact the same dogs with only a few differences, which I’ll go through later in the text. That is why both of these breeds are by the FCI included in the Asian Spitz And Related Breeds group in the class of primitive dogs.
About American Akita Dogs
The American Akita is an impressive dog with intimidating, bear-like look and aloof, willful personality. This is, in the first place, an excellent watchdog as well as a powerful guarddog. Actually, all Akitas have been used for watching and guarding for centuries and have been always known as the most loyal protectors with a brave spirit. Well, that is not surprising at all since these dogs are very protective, strong, fearless, territorial, and suspicious towards strangers. The Great Japanese Dog will warn his owner with a loud bark whenever somebody comes near its property and not only that! He won’t hesitate to confront a stranger and in some cases even bite, especially, if feels threatened. It is the reason American Akita is actually considered a dangerous breed in some countries. So, it would be wise to meet your dog with your guests or, at least, to put a proper warning on your front door.
Main American Akita characteristics are independence, strength, boldness, loyalty, endurance, agility, alertness, intelligence, stubbornness, calmness, and dignity. This is not a very active breed, but still daily exercise is required. This way you’ll prevent your Akita becoming bored, which can often lead to some behavioral issues. So, at least, take your dog for a short walk or hike whenever you can. Casual games around your yard are also welcome. Speaking of the yard, this dog does require some space for his daily routines, but won’t “object” if you keep him indoors too. He thrives being in the company of his human family and will equally cherish calm and gentle moments as well as all kinds of activities. However, if you wish to buy an American Akita, it would be best to keep it yours only pet. You see, this is a very possessive and proud dog, who will jealously keep everything for himself – food, toys, etc. It is understandable that such behavior can certainly lead to some trouble with other pets.
The American Akita lifespan is approximately from 12 up to 15 years. This is a fairly healthy breed, but considering its small gene pool in the USA, it is prone to various genetic and other types of diseases, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, pseudohyperkalemia, etc. Now, this might sound scary, but with a proper care and adequate feeding (always mix high-quality dry foods with fresh foods) everything will be just fine. Great Japanese Dog definitely requires a lot of attention in every way, but he’ll certainly reward your efforts. This is a very clean dog, who enjoys taking care of himself. On top of that, American Akita has no doggy odour, it is usually calm and cuddly with its human family, and is easy to housebreak. So, if you wish, you can safely keep your dog indoors. Just imagine having a huge cat by your side – that’s exactly the way this dog behaves while indoors :)
As A Family Dog….
The American Akita is generally a nice family companion, but there are things you should take notice of. This dog is equally affectionate and loyal to all members of the household, but his primary owner is literally a God to him. He is usually aloof and calm, but will gladly join you in daily activities. If you for some reason ignore your Akita, he will take your hand in his mouth and lead you to whatever he wants to show you. Lovely :) When it comes to kids, things are usually nice, but there can be difficulties. You see, American Akita can be a wonderful playmate for every child as long as it is treated nicely. However, we all know how kids can sometimes overreact and do some annoying things. Well, this dog won’t tolerate that – in such cases he can even bite the child. So, in order to prevent such things, it would be best to teach your children to adequately treat your dog, and even then, it would be best that you supervise them while playing together.
Temperament With Other Pets And Training
The American Akita is often calm and quite, but that doesn’t mean it won’t bark. On the contrary, it can be as loud as every other dog, but it’s not prone to excessive barking. Besides, this dog can literally mutter using various sorts of grunting and mumbling vocalizations, which can be quite funny and amusing :) However, things are not so bright when it comes to other dogs and pets. The Akita is after all a heavy and powerful dog full of dignity, who won’t hesitate to confront anything. This behavior is not surprising at all since Akita dogs have been, after all, used for hunting and fighting in some places. He usually tends to be very dominant with other dogs, which can lead to aggressive behavior, especially, with dogs of the same sex. Also, American Akita should be kept away from small pets like cats since it has a strong prey drive, and will gladly chase and kill them. So, it is mandatory to socialize and train your dog in obedience as soon as you bring him home.
The American Akita demands a firm and very dominant leader, who is able to submit this extremely proud dog. Otherwise, your Akita will try to take over control, which is something you want to avoid. It is the reason this breed is not recommended for the novice owners. The best way to train a Great Japanese Dog is through the use of positive reinforcement techniques. Any use of force or bullying is absolutely unacceptable. This way only your Akita will respect and obey you. You should be very patient, persistent, and consistent with the training since this dog is definitely not easy to train. Although highly intelligent and able to easily learn every command, the Akita is very hard to get invested into training and be focused for a longer period of time. Also, it is important to know that American Akita must be trained by its owner only! The reason for that is that this dog usually creates a strong bond with its owner and thus won’t tolerate any other trainer.
Physical Characteristics Of A Great Japanese Dog
The American Akita is a sturdy, large and heavy dog of great strength. I mean, just look at those measures below, this dog can easily be included in the group of giant dog breeds. It has a huge, compact and muscular body covered with lush and short double coat. The underlaying hair of its coat is dense and fine, while the overlaying guarding hair is straight, harsh and hard. The hair is slightly longer on the lower neck, stomach and hindquarters, but the only noticeably longer hair can be found on the tail. The Great Japanese Dog is relatively easy to groom. Usually, you will have to brush your dog once or twice a week. However, these dogs are heavy shedders, who shed two or three times per year. So, in the shedding periods, it is recommended that you brush your dog at least once a day. American Akita comes in many colors – black, brindle, pinto, white, fawn, and red, which can vary in shades, combinations and markings. Unlike Japanese Akita, this American version can have black or self-colored mask.
The American Akita has a broad, large head, quite reminiscent of a bear. The slightly tapering muzzle with the black nose and strong jaws is deep and broad. This dog has erect triangular ears in line with the neck, which are relatively small in comparison with the head. It is recommended that you clean them every week. Its rather small, triangular eyes are dark brown and deeply set. The medium-length neck is very muscular and thick. The Great Japanese Dog‘s chest is wide and deep with well sprung ribs, giving him that intimidating powerful edge. The large and stout tail is often carried curled over the straight and strong back. The front legs are straight, firm and well-boned. The hind legs are very muscular, strong and robust. Both pairs of legs can have dewclaws, but only those at the hind legs should be removed. The cat-like feet with hard pads are well-furred and knuckled up. The toenails should be trimmed every month.
American Akita Dog Size And Weight
– Height between 26 and 28 inches (66–71 cm)
– Weight between 90 and 130 pounds (41-59 kg)
– Height between 24 and 26 inches (61-66 cm)
– Weight between 70,5 and 110 pounds (32-50 kg)
Useful Working Dog
The American Akitas have always been classified as good working dogs. Yes, they’ve been primarily used for watching and guarding, which is understandable considering their size, courage, strength, and protective nature, but that’s certainly not everything these dogs are capable of. If we take into account that this version of the Akita was developed from the original Japanese Akita Inu (for that matter, they are almost identical dogs), we must examine the history of the entire strain of Akita dogs for clues. Akitas were primarily developed for hunting and fighting. As hunting dogs, they have been primarily used for big game hunting, such as bear, wild boar, deer, etc. Although their fighting days are mostly a thing of the past, Akita dogs still possess these fierce attributes, which after all, make them excellent guard and army dogs. Also, they’ve even been sporadically used as sled dogs too. On top of that, they proved their worth as wonderful therapy dogs and reliable rescue dogs.
Successful Dog Sports Competitor
Although American Akita‘s attributes give the impression that this is not a good sporting dog; that is actually not the case. Yeah, Akita might be a bit slow and calm, but its incredible strength, high intelligence, courage, loyalty, and dignity are the reasons enough this dog is often participating in various dog sporting competitions. Now, you’ve probably guessed that this dog is not best suited for flyball or dog racing, but there are many other disciplines in which the Akita is quite successful, such as dog obedience trials, conformation shows, weight pulling, tracking, agility trials, protection dog competitions, etc. Of course, you will have to train your dog rigorously for some of these, but with the right approach, it won’t be a problem. And, there you go, here are the most important things you should know about this breed. The American Akita is certainly a wonderful dog, who can do marvels in the right hands. So, if you’re an experienced owner looking for a lovely companion, this is your perfect choice!