Brief historical summary:
Originally Japanese dogs were small to medium in size and no large breeds existed. Since 1603 in the Akita region, Akita Matagis (medium-sized bear-hunting dogs) were used as fighting dogs. From 1868 Akita Matagis were crossed with Tosas and Mastiffs. Consequently, the size of this breed increased but characteristics associated with Spitz type were lost. In 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, but this breed was nevertheless preserved and improved as a large Japanese breed. As a result, nine superior examples of this breed were designated as « Natural Monuments » in 1931. During World War II (1939-1945), it was common to use dogs as a source of fur for military garments. The police ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs other than German Shepherd Dogs used for military purposes. Some fanciers tried to circumvent the order by crossbreeding their dogs with German Shepherd Dogs.
When World War II ended, Akitas had been drastically reduced in number and existed as three distinct types:
- Matagi Akita
- Fighting Akita
- Shepherd Akita
This created a very confusing situation in the breed. During the restoration process of the pure breed after the war., Kongo-go, a dog of the Dewa line, which exhibited characteristics of the Mastiff and German Shepherd Dog influence, enjoyed a temporary but tremendous popularity. However, sensible learned fanciers did not approve of this type as a proper Japanese breed, so they made efforts to eliminate the strain old foreign breeds by crossbreeding with Matagi Akitas for the purpose of restoring the original pure breed. They succeeded in stabilizing the pure strain of large sized breed as known today.
Akita owners and breeders often say “once akita, always akita” or “if it’s not akita, it’s just a dog.” It is impossible to disagree with that. Akita is a specific breed, different from all others, a bit wild, a bit even feline – independent. Akitas have been used for hunting for centuries, and therefore a strong hunting instinct has remained in them. When an akita running in the fields or forests sees a wild animal, be it a deer, a hare, or even a bird, it turns into a hunter, hunts and deafs to our calls. He will stop only when he gets tired and decides that he has no chance of catching up with the prey. It often takes a few minutes and we don’t see her for a long time, but she always comes back to where she started. We must remember that akitas were also used for dog fights. They always believe in their superiority, hence most of them are dominant individuals. You can teach an Akita to walk with a leg without a leash, train it for agility competition, but if an adult male meets another large, hostile male (and sometimes even friendly), we can be very close to a conflict and this Akita cannot be unlearned. She will always want to show another dog who is in charge in a given area – “if I’m in the park, the park is mine” … Territoriality is another feature of Akita. She will always look after her home, property, apartment, car, or even toys. He will approach guests with a distance, it is best not to leave them alone with the akita, without the presence of the owner. Akita will not attack without a reason, but every move of the visitor will be closely followed, so he may feel insecure … Four-legged guests of the same sex are rather excluded, although there are exceptions to this rule.
Perhaps a few of the above lines will make some of you think about a different breed, but I hope that the majority will say that they want to take the challenge to enjoy the joy of everyday contact with the Akita. Akita loves her owner like no dog. If we show empathy, understand the needs of our akita, we will have a friend for the next several years of life. No other dog can greet the owner returning from work with a long “wooooo” or with other, known only akita sounds. Even when we come back from the store after a few minutes, the akita can be happy, as if she has not seen us for many days. However, for this to happen, we must devote time to akita. We have to be gentle with her but firm. If we are too sharp, Akita will take it negatively and will not love us unconditionally. If we are too submissive or let her do anything, the Akita will try to dominate us, she will always want to be alpha in the herd, especially males. If you are convinced that you can cope with the above challenges, the next several years may be the happiest years in your life. This is what happened in our family …
The Standard of the Akita – FCI No 255
Utilization: Companion dog
Classification FCI: Group 5 Spitz und primitive type
Section 5 Asian Spitz and related breeds
Without working trial.
Large-sized dog, sturdily built, well balanced and with much substance ; secondary sex characteristics strongly marked, with high nobility and dignity in modesty ; constitution tough.
The ratio of height at withers to length of body ( from the point of the shoulders to the point of the buttock) is 10 : 11, but the body is slightly longer in bitches than in dogs.
Behaviour and temperament:
The temperament is composed, faithful, docile and receptive.
Skull: The size is in proportion to the body. The forehead is broad, with distinct furrow. No wrinkle.
Nose: Large and black. Slight and diffuse lack of pigment accepted in white dogs only, but black is always preferred.
Muzzle: Moderately long and strong with broad base, tapering but not pointed. Nasal bridge straight.
Teeth strong with scissor bite.
Lips : Tight.
Cheeks : Moderately developed.
Eyes : Relatively small, almost triangular in shape due to the rising of the outer eye corner, set moderately apart, dark brown : the darker, the better.
Ears : Relatively small, thick, triangular, slightly rounded at tips, set moderately apart, pricked and inclining forward.
Neck: Thick and muscular, without dewlap, in balance with head.
Back: Straight and strong.
Loin: Broad and muscular.
Chest: Deep, forechest well developed, ribs moderately well sprung.
Belly: Well drawn up.
TAIL: Set on high, thick, carried vigorously curled over back ; the tip nearly reaching hocks when let down.
Shoulders: Moderately sloping and developed.
Forearms: Straight and heavy-boned.
Well developed, strong and moderately angulated.
Thick, round, arched and tight.
Resilient and powerful movement.Elastischer und kraftvoller Bewegungsablauf.
Hair: Outer coat harsh and straight, undercoat soft and dense ; the withers and the rump are covered with slightly longer hair ; the hair on tail is longer than on the rest of the body.
Colour: Red fawn, sesame (red fawn hairs with black tips), brindle and white. All the above mentioned colours except white must have « urajiro ». (Urajiro = whitish coat on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, on the underside of jaw, neck, chest, body and tail and on the inside of the legs).
Height at the withers: males: 67 cm, females: 61 cm. There is a tolerance of 3 cm more or less.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
Bitchy dogs / doggy bitches.
Undershot or overshot mouth.
Blue or black spotted tongue.
Iris light in colour.
Ears not pricked.
Long hair (shaggy).
Markings on white ground.
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.