The American Akita was native to the island of Honshu in the region of Akita, Japan. It has remained unchanged for centuries. First used as imperial guard and fighting dogs, the Akita was also used for hunting deer and bear in deep snow. Because of the softness of their mouths, the Akita can also be used for retrieving water fowl.
The American Akita breed started out as a small to medium sized bear hunting dog called Akita Matagis and was used since 1603 as fighting dogs. Somewhere around 1868, those Akita Matagis were crossed with Mastiffs and larger Tosas, giving us the bigger dogs we now know. By 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, but fortunately the Japanese preserved this beautiful breed.
Being an extremely loyal and trustworthy watchdog, the Akita was sometimes left as babysitters for the children in ancient Japan. The Akita represents a symbol of well-being and statues of them were sent to the sick as wishes of a speedy recovery, and to new mothers as wishes of good health and wealth to the newborn. Greatly treasured, in 1931 the Akita was made a national monument.
During WWII the confiscation of all dogs other than German shepherds was ordered because their coats were used as material for military uniforms. So, to keep their dogs, breeders started breeding their Akitas to the German Shepherds and by the end of WWII there were 3 types of Akitas: the Matagi Akita, The fighting Akitas and Shepherd Akitas.
Soon efforts were under way to restore the breed back to the original Akita and eventually it was successful, and the large sized Akita we have today was created!
In 1937 the first Akita was brought to the U.S. by Helen Keller, and in 1956 the Akita club of America was founded. In 1972 the breed was registered in the AKC and in 1973 they were put in the working group in the regular show classifications.
Popular companions and family pets, today’s Akitas are very loyal to their masters, extremely protective, fearless, courageous, quiet and regal. Because this breed is very energetic, they need an active owner willing to give him the physical and mental stimulation he craves.
Height: 26-28 in. Males 24-26 in. Females
Weight: 85-100 lbs male’s 75-8 lbs females
Lives: 10-12 yrs.