The Akita Inu or Akita Ken is a large breed of dog standing 26 to 28 inches at the shoulders and weighing 75 to 120 pounds. The breed originated in Japan and is accepted there in only five colors: fawn, sesame, brindle, red and pure white. Each of these must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, cheeks, neck, chest, body and tail. The American Akita can be any color.
These dogs are classified in the working group, even though the breed’s ancestors were used for fighting and hunting. Most of the aggressive nature has been bred out of the dog, leaving an easy-going family pet. The Akita does tend to be dominant and seems to think all other dogs are submissive. With proper socialization this should not be a problem.
The Akita is a very clean and nearly odorless canine, and easy to house break. The breed is also very stubborn and may refuse to do a task if it doesn’t see the point. The Akita is devoted to its family and protective of any children it is close to. It is said that Japanese mothers often left their Akita with their children to baby-sit them. The Akita requires moderate, regular exercise; left unattended for long periods, the Akita may become destructive. The Akita sees himself as a member of a pack and can often be found following his owner from room to room for companionship.
The standard lifespan of an Akita is about 10 years. Health problems the Akita is prone to include the following: Canine herpes virus, Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, skin problems, eye-cell degeneration, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and a few other autoimmune diseases. Gastric Dilatation Volvulus is perhaps one of the most common problems in Akitas.
The Akita originated as a fighting dog in Japan sometime during the mid 1600s. It was later bred with other dogs such as the German Shepherd, Great Dane, Mastiff, and Husky. During World War II the breed faded out, because of lack of food. Post-war, the breed became very popular, being one of the largest Japanese dogs and the pet of historical icons like Helen Keller.