The Akita is
a Japanese breed. In his native country the
has been declared a "national treasure." An Akita in a home is
believed to be a symbol of good health, prosperity and good fortune.
Helen Keller brought the first
Akita to the
United States in
1937. The breed did not come again to American shores until after
WW2 when returning GIs brought Akitas to America. They are a
wonderful, magnificent breed but certainly not a dog for everyone.
large, males can weigh over 100 pounds; they have great body
strength and willful temperaments, definitely not grandma's dog! All
puppies are cute, including
Akita puppies, but before you purchase a cuddly puppy that grows
into a grizzly bear, read the FACTS.
not bark unless there is a good reason. When an Akita is barking,
pay attention. They are silent hunters who hunt low to the ground
without growls or noise, similar to cats.
consider small animals as prey and hunt them. This includes cats,
rodents, birds, small wildlife and small dogs. Akitas can be raised
to accept animals in residence. Some adult Akitas can even be
trained to fit into a home where other animals are already
established. It is, however, imperative that the Akita be closely
watched around the other animals until you have established a
peaceful co-existence. Chickens, ducks and other birds are a meal
for an Akita, do not expect the dog to befriend fowl.
natural guardians of the home and do not require any training to
turn them into guard dogs. When there is a reason to protect family
and property, your Akita will act to do so. Guests welcome in your
home when you are present will NOT be welcomed by the Akita when you
are not home. Your gates should be padlocked to protect the Akita
and any neighborhood children who may enter your property.
inherently aggressive towards other animals and for this reason,
they should not be allowed to run free or roam at will. You can
exercise your Akita off leash when you are in an area where it's
unlikely there will be much contact with other animals and people.
Akitas show aggression toward other male dogs, and female Akitas
usually will not tolerate another female. Akitas can live peacefully
with a dog of the opposite sex, though some Akitas prefer being an
VERY food possessive. If you have other pets, you will want to be
certain the Akita is given its own food bowl or treat well away from
any other animals and that no other animal is allowed near the Akita
until the food is gone. It's common sense to keep visiting children
away from an Akita at dinnertime. Akitas not raised with children
are not always tolerant of small children. The Akita should never be
left alone with a child even if you are certain you have a dog that
adores all children. A large dog can accidentally injure a child.
Often, Akitas raised with children will tolerate their own children
but may not accept the neighborhood kids. As a general rule it is
wise not to leave an Akita or any large dog alone with children
under 12 years of age.
not like to be teased and can respond by biting. Some children are
allowed to treat animals unkindly, a behavior that often leads to
cruelty to animals. These children should be kept away from an
Akita, whose large size and hunting instincts can endanger the
consider eye contact a challenge and can react aggressively. It is
strongly advised NOT to get down on the Akitas level and close to
the dog's face unless you are well acquainted with the Akita. These
positions can and do trigger an aggressive response.
like to take charge--an inherited trait from their wolf ancestry and
may at some time, challenge you for the dominant position. This
behavior cannot be tolerated and a firm, consistent correction
should be your immediate response. Akitas with good temperament
accept discipline well--not beating, but intelligent discipline. A
good scruff shaking is an effective form of discipline for an
Frequently, a firm verbal command or quick choke chain correction
will get your point across.
should be obedience trained BY their owner and not sent away to
school like other breeds! A good obedience class will guarantee you
a firm bond with your dog and a well-behaved dog. Remember though,
Akitas are extremely intelligent and tend to get bored easily. They
learn quickly so short training periods are suggested. This keeps
the dog from becoming bored. Akitas are also very stubborn and when
the dog thinks it's a waste of time to "sit" or "stay" one more
time, he will simply walk away! Obedience training requires
respond with aggression if treated harshly--do not hit or kick any
dog, that sort of behavior means YOU have lost control of yourself
and your dog.
dogs and unlike human beings, dogs do not have the same short-term
memory as humans. Do not discipline your dog hours after an
incident--the dog will NOT associate the discipline with an
incident, which occurred earlier in the day. If you can see and
catch your dog getting into mischief, discipline should be firm and
immediate for it to be effective. For example, if you return from
work and find your
had been busily digging a hole, you should not discipline the dog
when it greets you since the dog will not associate the discipline
with a hole it may have worked on early that morning.
Akita to you for discipline, that encourages the dog to fear
your presence and it will find ways to avoid you. The "come" command
is important and may someday be a life-saving command for the dog.
Do not jeopardize that safety factor. Each time your
Akita comes to
your side, it should be rewarded.
Akitas are talkers! They may grunt, groan and mumble to entertain
themselves and you. This conversational verbalizing IS NOT growling
and should not be interpreted as a growl, which sounds quite
different. Akita "talking" is an endearing trait and should not
frighten you. After living with your dog, you will easily
distinguish between talking and growling.
Akitas enjoy carrying things around in their mouth, including your
wrist! They may take you by the wrist to lead you to the cookie
cupboard or to their lead. It is not an aggressive act; it is an
endearing trait. If their "mouthing" is annoying to you, give them a
job to do: allow your Akita to bring in the newspaper or the mail.
They love to do these types of jobs.
For such a
large breed, with a reputation for aloofness, you may be surprised
to learn that Akitas are very sensitive and are adversely affected
by stress and/or changes in their environment. Stress can be a
trigger for autoimmune diseases in an
predisposed for these diseases.
very family-oriented and are not happy when kept apart from the
family. Akitas develop bizarre behavior patterns when raised as an
outside "yard dog." When left alone in a yard without quality family
interaction, the dog will regress in socialization and boredom will
cause destructive behavior. If you do not plan on having your dog
live inside your home, you should not seriously consider an
for a pet.
not hyperactive and fit into a sedentary household, but optimum
health requires that YOU and your
exercise regularly. A dog left outside while you’re gone DOES NOT
exercise it sleeps until your return. If your lifestyle includes
outdoor activities like camping, hiking, swimming, or snow sports,
Akitas adore being part of these pastimes.
will live from 10-12 years with good care and proper nutrition. Good
nutrition for an
Akita is an all-natural meat based food with high quality
protein, especially fish. The origin of the
Akita is Japan
where rice, fish and sea plants are a diet staple and an ideal diet
for the Akita. They should be fed two meals daily. Dry food should
be soaked until it expands prior to feeding as Obesity is dangerous
for many health reasons but with Akitas, an overweight dog is prone
to knee problems that will require surgery. Akitas suffer from
gastric torsion, a life-threatening, sudden onset disorder that is
fatal if untreated. Know the symptoms--discuss gastric torsion with
Hypothyroid disease affects 70% of the breed; however, it is treated
by twice daily hormone replacement therapy. A blood test, including
T3 and T4 thyroid levels will determine the existence of the
condition. The symptoms include skin and coat problems, sudden onset
aggressive behavior, itching, lethargy, musky odor, and many more.
Before treating skin conditions as allergies, have your vet check
for sarcoptic mange, sebaceous adenitis, and hypothyroid disease.
© 1990 B.