Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Breed of the Day: Akita Inu
Country of Origin: Japan
Group: Working Group; recognized by the AKC in 1972
Purpose: Bear hunting; guard dog
Average Life-Span: About 12 years
Color: Any color including solid white, pinto or brindle.
Grooming: Heavy shedder two to three times out of the year. Requires frequent and vigorous brushing.
Size: Males 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder, females 24 to 26 inches; most weigh between 70 and 110 pounds
Large, powerful and alert, with much substance and heavy bone, the Akita Inu's broad head, forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, small eyes and erect ears carried forward inline with the back of its neck are characteristics of the breed along with its plush tail that is curled over the back, balancing the head. The Akita is a working breed that originated in Japan as a bear hunter and guard dog. Dignified and courageous, the Akita is popular in the show ring and also participates in performance and therapy work. The breed's thick double coat can be any color including white, pinto and brindle. Colors should be rich, brilliant and clear. Markings should be well balanced, with or without a mask or blaze. The undercoat may be a different color from the outer coat.
One of the seven breeds designated with a national monument in its native Japan, the Akita Inu has been used as a versatile hunting dog there for many, many years. There is even a spiritual significance attached to the breed, for when a child is born in Japan, the family will receive an Akita statue to bring health, happiness and a long life. The Akita Inu first arrived in the United States when Hellen Keller brought one over in 1937. Although known to be a quiet dog (they are known as "the silent hunter" in Japan), the Akita Inu has strong guarding instincts and will sound the alarm if it senses intruders. The Akita's temperament can range from calm to bouncy and aggressive so they need an experienced dog owner with firm but fair obedience training to keep a harmonious household. The breed will groom itself like a cat, but daily brushing will still be necessary, as is exercise in the form of a good run for at least an hour a day.