What Kind of Dog is the Akita Dog?
What kind of impression do you have when you think of the Akita dog? In Japan, Hachiko, ‘the faithful dog’, is a famous Akita dog who is depicted on a well-known statue in front of Shibuya Station. The popularity of the breed has seen its popularity increase along with the notoriety of the Hachiko story. In recent years, this story has even been adapted to film in Japan and abroad, attracting attention from many more people overseas to the Akita breed. Read on to get a great lesson on the Akita dog, which has the unique combination of the characteristics of a hunting dog and a fluffy, cute outward appearance.
The Roots of the Akita
In the 1630’s, the mixed breeding of Akita Matagi dogs with Western breeds was promoted in an attempt to gradually turn them into larger fighting dogs that were in demand at the time. As a result, the number of purebred Akita dogs decreased dramatically. The ‘movement to preserve purebreds’ began in response to these issues, and in 1931, the Akita dog was registered as a nationally designated natural monument. The love of the Akita has continued overseas through the separate ‘American Akita’ dog type.
Distinctive Akita Dog Characteristics
The standardized body features of the Akita dog are highly valued among dog owners worldwide, and the breed is typically traded at high prices. Here is a list of some of the most noticeable features:
- Males: Average height of 67 cm, average weight of 50~59 kg
- Females: Average height of 61 cm, average weight weight of 40~50 kg
- A strong, sturdy body with long legs and a thick, distinctive tail
- A double coat that is heat and cold resistant
- Main coat colors in shades similar to red, white, and fawn, with reddish colors being the most representative.
The Personality of the Akita Dog
Personality-wise, the Akita dog is famously loyal and obedient to its owner, and can be trained to follow commands well. It is clever, understanding and alert, so it can also become a great guard dog. However, it can become too aggressive, and if not firmly disciplined, it may develop a more nervous personality and try to bite or injure unfamiliar people. Even family members can be targeted if they are not recognized as its owners, so special attention should be paid to encourage discipline in the Akita dog for families with small children. Its size and strength means that constant walks are recommended to help it expend its energy and keep it relaxed.
What’s the Connection with Akita Prefecture?
The origins of the Akita dog can be traced back to Odate City in Akita Prefecture. There are many famous spots and events related to the Akita dog in Odate City, so it could be a great place to visit for Japanese dog superfans!
The Akita Dog Preservation Society
This organization publishes Akita dog pedigree books and organizes exhibitions, and there is also an Akita Dog Museum on the third floor of the building that it occupies. You can buy an assortment of fun Akita dog-related goods here!
Akita Dog Visitor Center (Akita Inu no Sato)
This is a special section at the Odate City Tourism Exchange Facility near Odate Station. You can also touch and interact with Akita dogs while browsing a variety of Akita dog merch here.
Differences Between Akita and Shiba Dogs
Among the Japanese dog types, the Shiba dog is another well-known breed. Many people even believe that the famous dog Hachiko was a Shiba, when in fact it was an Akita. The Shiba and Akita dogs both have their roots in the “barrier dogs” that were distributed across Southeast Asia. The oldest dog bones in Japan are from ancient ruins in Kanagawa prefecture, dating back to 9500 years ago. It is said that the modern Japanese dog breeds evolved from this era.
So, What Are the Biggest Differences?
Size is definitely the biggest difference – the Akita dog is more than four times as large as the Shiba dog. The head shape is also different. The Akita dog has a round face and its facial features are closer to the center, while the Shiba dog has a sharper look with a more elongated face.
Russian Figure Skater Alina Zagitova and Her Akita Dog
As the Akita dog has become popular overseas, one of the most notable foreign owners of the breed is Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova. How she came by her dog is quite an interesting story.
Zagitova developed a great interest in the Akita dog when she trained in Japan just before the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Having learned of this, the Akita Inu Preservation Society presented her with a puppy. The name that Zagitova gave to the Akita puppy was the Japanese name ‘Masaru’, which contains the meaning ‘to win’. In Japan, this further increased her number of fans due to the simple name she gave her Akita dog being so similar to the kind of name that Japanese people are likely to give. The cute images of Zagitova hugging her dog created many new Japanese admirers of the Akita dog and related goods, such as the stuffed doll below!
Masaru Stuffed Doll
Akita Dog-sized Large Breed Goods
The Akita dog has an average height of 61~67 cm, and can weigh anywhere from 34 to 50 kg. In this section, we would like to introduce dog merchandise made for Akita dogs that are perfect for other larger breeds.
Japanese-made Pattern Embossed Collar
A Japanese style collar with a 16mm/12mm width and 3-3.5mm or 2-2.5mm thickness. You can select from S, M, or L sizes. Because there are many sizes to choose from, there will be a collar suitable for large Akita-size dogs. You can also engrave your name and phone number in the collar
Colorful Paracord Collar with Beach Glass Charm (Optional)
A charming collar for medium to large sized breeds. You can pick and choose your preferred colors or patterns for the collar, and what color of beach glass charm you would like as well. Accessorize your big dog to your liking!
Quick-Eating Prevention Diet Bowl
A super helpful tool for owners to keep their beloved pets from eating to quickly or getting a bit too chubby! It is useful for everything from small dogs to Akita-like large breeds, and even cats!
The Always Trending Akita Dog!
The Akita is a breed with a long history and a complex personality. It can be fluffy and cute, or a strong and aggressive hunter depending on its owner or environment. Stories about Akita dogs like loyal Hachiko or Alina Zagitova’s puppy Masaru only add to its mystique. We recommend that you continue beyond this article to further deepen your knowledge of this interesting canine – its popularity will only continue to grow from here on out!