The Japanese Akita Inu is a powerful and loyal dog that has gained attention for its large frame and willingness to stand watch. With an experienced dog owner, the Akita Inu has all the necessary qualities that make for an incredible companion.
In this article, we’ll discuss the unique qualities of the Akita Inu, and what you should know before bringing an Akita Inu into your life.
History Of The Akita Inu
Japanese history says that the Akita Inu originated from the ancient Japanese dog called the Matagi. The Matagi was one of the countries oldest native dogs and were originally bred to hunt large game such as bears, deer, and wild boars.
Some believe that at some point the Matagi was bred with Mastiffs or Great Danes, but the exact origin of the Akita Inu is still unknown.
Though the Akita Inu has a long history in Japan, it wasn’t until the 1930’s that they were officially recognized as Japan’s national dog, and efforts were made to help extend this breeds presence and gain recognition around the world.
Now the Akita Inu is still popular in Japan, as well as one of the most popular breeds in the UK.
Appearance Of The Akita Inu
The Akita Inu is known for its striking and powerful appearance. They have a solid and sturdy build that is known to stop people in their tracks and is one of the main reasons they make such impressive watchdogs.
The Akita Inu weights anywhere from 75-115 pounds, and can stand at up to 68 cm in height. They have a large and robust frame that is quite muscular, which adds to their distinct look.
The color variety of an Akita Inu includes sesame, white, brindle, and fawn. Their coat itself is incredibly thick and coarse, which is made to protect them from the harsh outdoors.
Personality Of The Akita Inu
The best word to describe the Akita Inu’s temperament is dignified. Not only does their appearance demand respect and attention, but their personality is quite mature as well. Though this breed is often described as relaxed, they are still not a recommended breed for first-time dog owners.
Another impressive Akita Inu quality is its incredible loyalty. They become absolutely devoted to their family, and with being such a large and powerful dog, this can be a problem if not handled correctly. Proper socialization at a young age is important to help prevent any dangers.
This breed is also known to be quite stubborn. Though they love their family, they form an independent personality that helps them believe they are in charge. Because of this, they will need a firm owner who can help them understand that they don’t, in fact, make all the rules.
Their dignified demeanor and reservations around new people and situations can make people uneasy due to their size, and this is just one more reason why proper socialization is so important for this breed. Akita Inus are large and powerful, and in order to be safe around others, they need to be exposed to as many factors as possible.
Overall, when in a home with an experienced owner, Akita Inus are loyal, dignified, and calm.
Possibility Of Aggression
As discussed above, the Akita Inu does have the potential to be dangerous due to their size. The biggest concern is an unsocialized Akita Inu, though every single breed of dog can be dangerous when they’re not properly socialized from a young age.
As long as you make sure you introduce your Akita Inu to other dogs, other people, and new surroundings from the moment you adopt them, you will decrease the chance of any aggression.
Another factor to consider is their temperament around children. Though there is no known objection around Akita Inus and children, the biggest potential danger is just how large this breed is.
A large dog has the potential to cause harm due to their size negligence, so make sure to always supervise your child around your Akita.
The safest option is to only have Akita Inus in a home with older children, and never let your dog spend time unsupervised around small children. Even then, make sure that your children know how to behave around dogs, and never to bother them in their space and while they are eating or drinking.
Overall Health Of the Akita Inu
While the Akita Inu can lead a generally healthy life of 10-15 years, they are prone to a few medical conditions. Some of these conditions include:
1. Hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a structural problem of the hip joint, and causes the grinding and wearing down of the joints over time. Since this can be a genetic condition, the onset of these diseases will vary from dog to dog.
Some signs of hip dysplasia include looseness of the joints, stiffness, pain, limited range of motion, limping, and slowing down with time.
It’s important to keep your Akita Inu at healthy body weight and talk to your vet about starting joint supplements in their adult years.
Uveitis is the inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. This condition is thought to be auto-immune related due to its random occurrence (meaning most dogs don’t experience any trauma that could have caused the inflammation), but it is yet to be determined.
Pemphigus is a condition of the skin that causes it to blister and crust over. This is another condition that is thought to be immune-mediated, and it’s recommended not to breed dogs with this condition.
4. Gastric Bloat
Gastric bloat is a condition in which the stomach flips on itself, causing air and stomach content to become trapped in the stomach, and cut off blood circulation.
This condition is considered the mother of all emergencies in veterinary medicine since if it is not resolved quickly, it is fatal. Symptoms of bloat include gagging with no vomit produced, distended abdomen, weakness, and collapse.
Glaucoma is a condition where pressure is placed on the eye, causing inadequate drainage of fluid in the eye which results in chronic dry eye. If not treated effectively, this condition can result in blindness.
Grooming Your Akita Inu
Akita Inus have a coat that requires frequent grooming. Their plush coat is made to protect against the elements and the bitter cold, so they have a thick undercoat that will need to be managed.
In order to reduce the amount of stray hair in your home, daily brushing is recommended. Deshedding tool seems to work best for Akitas, and when used each day, you can help to reduce shedding and mats.
Training Your Akita Inu
It’s important to start your training process from as early as 8 weeks, or from the moment you bring your Akita Inu home.
From the time they enter your home, they are building habits that they will take with them throughout their lives. The sooner you start the training process, the sooner your Akita will fit into your family’s life appropriately.
Though the Akita Inu is intelligent, they are incredibly stubborn due to their independent personality. Training your Akita is possible, it will just take the effort of an experienced dog owner.
The Akita Inu responds well to positive reinforcement style training. They do not respond well to fear-based training or harsh words, so it’s best to avoid those tactics of training altogether.
Akita training guides recommend a firm yet fair training style. A firm and confident owner will help to reduce the chance of the Akita Inu showing off their more dominant side.
Exercise And Your Akita
The Akita Inu is an energetic and intelligent breed. Because of this, they require at least an hour of physical activity and mental stimulation.
When an Akita Inu is not properly stimulated, it becomes difficult for them to thrive in their environment. Lack of stimulation and pent up energy can result in destructive behavior, aggression, and a number of unfavorable behaviors.
If you live in a cooler climate, they really enjoy outdoor activities. If you can combine their daily exercise with outdoor fun, they will be pleased to join you.
If you can implement daily exercise into your routine, then your Akita will be a thriving and well-behaved member of your family.
Important Tips For Owning An Akita Inu
The Akita Inu would make a loyal family member in any experienced home. If you choose to adopt an Akita Inu, here are a few important tips to keep in mind.
- Due to their size, it’s not recommended to bring an Akita Inu into a home with small children.
- Early socialization is important to ensure everyone’s safety around your Akita.
- Their thick coats require daily brushing in order to reduce shedding in your home.
- They require an experienced dog owner as they are known to be stubborn.
- They respond well to positive reinforcement style training.
- They thrive in an active and mentally stimulating environment.
- They have an independent personality, so they won’t likely be clingy.
Akita Inu: Summary
Overall, the Akita Inu would make a wonderful pet to an experienced dog owner. With their fierce loyalty and laid back personality, they would provide wonderful companionship for the right owner. That being said, how well your Akita Inu will behave, depends on your dedication to training and daily commitment.
Once you discover how your dog likes to be handled and starts seeing you as a true pack leader you will have the joy of being accompanied by the world’s most loyal dog.