The Akita Inu was popularized by the Japanese movie Hachiko. It is a true story about a faithful Akita who came to drop and receive his master at the train station everyday. The owner was a professor who took the train to get to his workplace. He suddenly died one day when at work. However, for the next nine years, Hachiko came to the station, waited for the train, and left when he didn't see his master.
The Akita Inu is a dog that is believed to have come from royalty, meaning that this dog was bred and kept by royalty in Japan a few hundred years ago. Some others believe that the royalty bit came from Japanese pet shop owners trying to sell the dog. The Japanese used male and female pairs because two dogs of the same gender were too aggressive with each other and would end up fighting when out hunting.
The Japanese also used it as a fighting dog. During this time, the number of dogs of this breed shot up. However, the problem was that they were interbreeding with other dog breeds. The result was animals that looked like mutts. When dog fighting became illegal, breeders started trying to preserve the breed; one way of doing this was to have it declared as a natural monument in Japan. The breed was saved, but not for long.
World War II came along and the meat of this dog was used for food, and its fur was used for lining soldier's uniforms. This was the fate of all dogs except the German shepherd. The Akitas that were surviving during the war were bred with German shepherds so that they would not be taken by the army. By the end of World War II, there were very few purebred dogs of this breed left in Japan. The very first one to make it to the United States was the one that was gifted to Helen Keller.
The Japanese pronunciation of this breed name is Ah-ki-ta, whereas the western pronunciation is A-kee-ta. There are two varieties of this breed. The American variety is known as the Akita or American Akita, and the Japanese variety is known as the Japanese Akita or Akita Inu.
The dogs from which the modern breed descended were used for hunting bear, deer, boars, and such animals in Japan. This was around the 1950s. The modern breed is used primarily as a companion dog, and even competes in many dog shows. It is also known to be used as a therapy dog.
The average height for males is 64 to 70 cm (25 to 28 inches) and for females is 58 to 64 cm (23 to 25 inches). The average weight for males is 70 to 85 pounds (32 to 40 kg) and for females is 50 to 65 pounds (23 to 30 kg). These weight and height parameters relate to the Japanese Akita. This dog has a triple coat in colors like brindle, white, sesame, fawn, or red. However, there may also be some gray or black present on the dog. The life expectancy of this breed is up to 10 years, and the litter size averages to 7 to 8 puppies.
This is a spitz breed which is quite tall and heavy-boned. It has a large head, a curled, bushy tail, and triangle-shaped ears. The eyes are small, dark, triangular, and deep-set. The tail can curl upwards or downwards. Their coat is very thick.
This dog requires a big yard to fulfill its exercise needs. This breed never worked in groups. It was either an individual, or a pair. It is extremely intolerant of other dogs of the same gender. This is included in the breed standards of this dog.
This dog needs intensive socialization at an early age because of its guarding nature. It will consider any stranger as an intruder. Hence, never leave your dog alone with someone he/she doesn't know. It is an excellent watchdog. It needs to be on a leash whenever outside the yard because of its strong prey drive.
This breed is prone to many autoimmune skin and blood disorders, hypothyroidism, type-1 pancreatic diabetes, Cushing's syndrome, Addison's disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma, gastric dilation, immune sensitivity to vaccines, drugs, or anesthetics, and even a rise in potassium levels in the blood.
Raise this dog well with a lot of love, and it will give you a lifetime of loyalty and affection in return.