Friday, March 11, 2011


The Akita Breed and Breeders as a hunting dog in the Japanese prefectures of Gifu, Nagano, and Toyama. At one time its ownership was restricted to the nobility, who used the breed to hunt large game such as wild boar and deer. It was also used in the blood sport of dog fighting. Today, they are used as police and guard dogs, guide dogs for the blind, and as pets.

AKITA This noble breed had its beginnings many hundreds of years ago on Akita Prefecture, a small region on the northernmost tip of Honshu Island in Japan. The area gave the breed its name and us, this marvelous breed. In Japan, the dog is called "Akita Inu". "Inu" is dog in Japanese. At one time, the Akita was owned only by shoguns, those imperial leaders of a bygone era. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Akita was crossed with the Tosa, a large fighting dog, and the resultant strain was used for dog fighting. This instinct to fight is still one of the major problems with these dogs today.


In 1931, the Akita was officially named a Japanese national monument, but during World War II, the Akita faced extinction because of food and clothing shortages. Many were clubbed to death and, had not a few concerned owners hid their dogs, the breed would probably have become extinct. Why was this magnificent Japanese national monument attacked so viciously? They were the largest breed of dog and food was scarce. Their pelts were used for clothing.

Helen Keller was responsible for bringing the Akita to this country. In 1937, while on a trip to Japan, she expressed a desire to own an Akita and she was presented with a three month old puppy named "Kamikaze". He became her constant companion until he died from distemper at only eight months. A determined Miss Keller wrote to Japan and received a littermate to her beloved "Kami", "Kensan-go", who lived with his mistress at her estate in New York until his death in 1945.

No history of the Akita would be complete without the story of "Hachi-ko", a purebred belonging to Professor Elisabaru Ueno of Tokyo. In the early 1920's, the professor commuted by train to his work. Each day, the two of them walked to the station where Professor Ueno boarded the train each morning and arrived each evening to "Hachi-ko", who waited at the station. On May 21, 1925, "Hachi-ko" was waiting, but the professor never arrived. Hours earlier, he'd died of a stroke. Relatives took care of "Hachi-ko", but each day the dog faithfully waited at the Shibuya station for his master's return. He continued to wait, in vain, until his death in 1934, at the age of 11 years. Because of his devotion and faithfulness, a bronze statue of "Hachi-ko" stands today at the Shibuya station, a monument to a forever faithful AKITA.


Serious breeding of the AKITA in this country began in the 1950's and 1960's. Today the breed is found in nearly every state, but California is where the breed started. The American Kennel Club recognized the AKITA in 1973, and sadly, the AKITA became the "fad dog" of the 80's.

AKITA Once an animal ends up in our rescue, they are wormed, given vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and live in a Foster Home (when available) until a suitable home can be found for the animal. We euthanize only terminally ill or excessively aggressive dogs, those that would be impossible to ever place.

In 1998, Midwest Akita Rescue Society (MARS) was formed by a very small group of concerned individuals that felt that they could assist orphaned Akitas residing in the Midwestern region. The purpose of this organization was to rescue, medically treat, rehabilitate and re-home abandoned, relinquished or otherwise homeless Akita dogs. The majority of them are from animal shelters. When an Akita is brought into the shelter, the shelter notifies  volunteer adopts the dog from the shelter when necessary. More and more Akitas are being turned into rescue by their owners. Once the cute little puppy grows into a very large, powerful adult, the owner does not want to face the task of living with an Akita. All Akitas are given a complete temperament evaluation screening

The main meat sources in the Akita's native environment were bear, deer, wild boar, and fish. Rice was the main carbohydrate source of the area and vegetables were greens such as beans, cabbage, and tuber roots
much like our sweet potato.

For the Akita, I think the best blend of protein available from commercial dog foods would contain poultry, fish, rice and wheat. For this breed I also recommend adding about 1 to 2 teaspoons of canned white Tuna
daily to the commercial foods. Akita owners can also make sure their dogs receive a fat-carbohydrate-protein balance similar to the breed's native diet by using a commercial puppy formula for the breed's entire
life span. Akita owners should avoid feeding any dog food containing yellow corn, beet pulp, beef or horse meats.

GENERAL APPEARANCE - Large, powerful, alert, with much substance and heavy bone. The broad head, forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, small eyes and erect ears carried forward in line with the back of the neck, is characteristic of the breed.

HEAD: Massive but in balance with body; free of wrinkle when at ease. Skull flat between ears and broad; jaws square and powerful with minimal dewlap. Head forms blunt triangle when viewed from above. Fault - Narrow or snippy head.

MUZZLE: Broad and full. Distance from nose to stop is to distance from stop to occiput as 2 is to 3. Stop - Well defined, but not too abrupt. A shallow furrow extends well up forehead.
NOSE: Broad and black. Liver permitted on white Akitas, but black always preferred. Disqualification - Butterfly nose or total lack of pigmentation on nose.

EARS: The ears of the Akita are characteristic of the breed. They are strongly erect and small in relation to rest of head. If ear is folded forward for measuring length, tip will touch upper eye rim. Ears are triangular, slightly rounded at tip, wide at base, set wide on head but not too low, and carried slightly forward over eyes in line with back of neck.
Disqualification - Drop or broken ears.

TAIL: Large and full, set high and carried over back or against flank in a three-quarter, full or double curl, always dipping to or below level of back. On a three-quarter curl, tip drops well down flank. Root large and strong. Tail bone reaches hock when let down. Hair coarse, straight and full with no appearance of a plume. Disqualification - Sickle or uncurled tail.

FOREQUARTERS AND HINDQUARTERS: Forequarters - Shoulders strong and powerful with moderate layback. Forelegs heavy-boned and straight as viewed from front. Angle of pastern 15 degrees forward from vertical. Faults Elbows in or out; loose shoulders. Hindquarters - Width, muscular development and comparable to forequarters. Upper thighs well developed. Stifle moderately bent and hocks well let down, turning neither in or out.

DECLAWS: On front legs generally not removed; dewclaws on hind legs generally removed.
FEET: Cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads. Feed straight ahead.
COAT: Double coated. Undercoat thick, soft, dense and shorter than outer coat. Outer coat straight, harsh and standing somewhat off body. Hair on head, legs and ears short. Length of hair at withers and rump approximately two inches, which is slightly longer than on rest of body, except tail, where coat is longest and most profuse. Fault Any indication of ruff or feathering.

COLOR: Any color including white, brindle, or pinto. Colors are brilliant and clear and markings are well balanced, with or without a mask or blaze. White Akitas have no mask. Pinto has a white background with large, evenly placed patches covering head and more than one-third of body. Undercoat may be different color from outer coat.
GAIT: Brisk and powerful with strides of moderate length. Back remains strong, firm and level. Rear legs move in line with front legs.
SIZE: Males 26 to 28 inches at the withers; bitches 24 to 26 inches. Disqualification - Dogs under 25 inches; bitches under 23 inches.
TEMPERAMENT: Alert and responsive, dignified and courageous. Aggressive/reactive toward many dogs and small creatures.

Weight Standards: m - 85 to 100 lbs., f - 75 to 85 lbs.
Height Standards: m - 26 to 28 inches, f - 24 to 26 inches
Coat: short and straight, harsh textured in any color
Common Ailments
: dysplasia


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