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Akita, あきた, 秋田 or Akita Ken, 秋田犬, アキタケン - A breed of large dog originating in Japan, named for Akita Prefecture, where it is thought to have originated. "Inu"-犬 means "dog" in Japanese, although in practice this animal is nearly always referred as "Akita-ken," based on the Sino-Japanese reading of the same kanji.

The breed stands 64 to 70 cm at the shoulders. Females weigh anywhere from 34-38kg. Males are 33-40kg. The Akita Inu come in only five colours: Red, Fawn, Sesame, Brindle, and Pure White. All except white must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, body and tail.

All colors are accepted in the American Akita. The Pinto color is not accepted as a Japanese Akita color, but is as an American Akita color. In the U.S., some breeders interbreed the original Japanese type with the heavier American type, which is larger, and allows more colors. It is felt by some that combining the two types leads to improved appearance and genetic health by increasing genetic diversity. In the United States, there is only a single Akita breed registered by the American Kennel Club, whereas they are separated into two breeds in every other country in the world except Canada. In other countries the breed has been separated into two breeds: the Akita Inu and the American Akita. However, the American Akita is seen by some American breeders as being a different breed than the Japanese and these breeders advocate a splitting of the one breed into two.

Akitas possess a double coat, with a dense straight undercoat, and a thick outer coat. This coat makes the dog waterproof, as well as being well-equipped for the fierce winters in Northern Japan. Due to the thickness of their coat, the breed requires daily grooming, and also an awareness of the dog's heavy shedding, especially during warm weather.

Akitas are a large breed. They are not considered to be a dog for novice owners, as the dog's master should be assertive in showing the dog its place in the pack, and to have some experience of dog behaviour. They are naturally wary of unknown people and animals and should be well socialised to avoid undesirable aggression. Left unattended in the backyard or in a kennel, they can develop "personality" problems, and may become destructive to the yard due to boredom. They are highly pack oriented, thus, isolating them from a social environment (i.e., the owner) causes them great stress. The Akita is a dominant dog which may expect other dogs to be submissive. Akitas should never be taken to off-leash dog parks due to this dominant behavior, as well as the fact that the dogs are large and strong, and would be difficult to restrain physically if the dog is not properly trained.

Akitas are devoted protectors of children in its pack, and it is said that Japanese mothers often left their children with only the Akitas to watch over and protect them. This devotion will not necessarily extend to other children, especially if teased, and can be aloof with strangers. Common sense should prevail, and adequate supervision of pets and children is generally a good idea. Having said this, a well socialized Akita will be more comfortable with this.

They are excellent house dogs. They require moderate, but regular exercise. Akitas are known to be very quiet dogs, only barking "when there is something to bark about".

Akitas may take a while to train because they are easily bored and can be stubborn. Akitas are highly intelligent, and will only obey a task if they see the point of it. They are not trick dogs. They are also a dominant species, and will not take orders from a weak or abusive leader, requiring a firm but loving education where "no" always means "no" and never "whatever".

An Akita is not likely to shower affection on someone that is not a member of his family or a close friend that he sees frequently, and can be extremely aloof. The dogs are known for their loyalty, and a pet Akita will patiently follow its master from room to room, without ever getting underfoot. This trait is evident in the tale of Hachikō, a dog remembered in Japan for his loyalty, who daily met his master at the train station. After his master's death, Hachikō returned to the train station every day for the rest of his life to wait for him.

Information source: “Akita Inu.” Article date: 12 Feb. 2008. Retrieved: Wikipedia. 16 Feb. 2008 <Akita Inu>.





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