The American Akita and the modern Japanese Akita Inu share a common ancestor: the traditional Japanese Akita. The development of dog breeding since the 1950s led to the splitting up of the breed. Also known as the “Great Japanese Dog,” the American Akita is larger, heavier, and overall bulkier than its Imperial counterpart.
Breed History of the American Akita
The original Akita is a “National Natural Monument” in Japan; an ancient breed of dog that can be traced back to prehistoric times. After the Second World War, the Akita population in Japan was severely depleted, so the breed was threatened with extinction. In Japan and America efforts were made to preserve it, with other dog breeds being crossed in Asia than on the other side of the Pacific. This resulted in two different-looking Akita variants: The German shepherd marks are clearly visible on the American. In common with its Japanese cousin, it has distinctive prick ears and a curled tail. The FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) has been running the Akita Inu and the American Akita as separate breeds since 2000.
Nature of the American Akita
The American Akita is a friendly and affectionate dog within its “human pack”. He meets strangers in a reserved but rarely aggressive manner. The four-legged friend is always very attentive; nothing around him escapes him. At the same time, patience and erudition characterize him.
Training of the American Akita
Because of its vigilance, the American Akita is predestined to be a guard dog. In addition, he is a pleasant companion dog; he often reacts hostilely to conspecifics. In order to make the dog more tolerable, we recommend attending puppy and dog schools and regular encounters when going for a walk.
If you want to raise an American Akita, a playful and interesting approach, along with praise and affirmation, will get you there faster than strictness. Nevertheless, there should not be a lack of consistent guidance. The key is to gain the dog’s trust and respect. Once you have succeeded, you have an excellent basis for working with loyal animals.
It is ideal if the Akita has free access to the garden. Loneliness doesn’t suit the animal, but it needs space to be able to withdraw once in a while.
The American Akita is a proven nose and is therefore particularly suitable for track work, sniffing games, and mantrailing. In general, the big dog is an outspoken fresh air fanatic who is out and about with his people regardless of wind and weather. A lot of exercises, for example as a companion when jogging, skating or horseback riding suit the nature of the dog more than dog sports such as agility. Because of his hunting instinct, he should stay on a leash in nature.
Care of the American Akita
Caring for the American Akita is easy. Use a terry towel to wipe off loose dirt that has settled in the muddy terrain after you have exercised; for the actual coat care, you use a massage glove or a brush every day. During the molting season, this can happen several times a day.
Health of the American Akita
In terms of health, the American Akita shows increased susceptibility to skin eczema and an overproduction of sebum. Some food intolerances are also increasingly common; the dogs then need a correspondingly adapted special food. As American Akita’s age, they are prone to problems with their intervertebral discs and spine, as well as osteoarthritis.