A Perfect Looking Akita at our Fairfield Clinic

Here is a portrait of a perfect looking Akita with his human at our Fairfield vaccination clinic. The Akita is a Spitz-type dog which shows typical cold weather adaptations like thick double coat, small eyes and small erect ears. Anecdotally, the first Akitas were bred in isolation on a remote island in northern Japan from Spitz-type ancestors. Their purpose was to help defend against the serious dangers of the enormous Yezo Bear which can weigh 1000 pounds. The original blood line of the Akita was modified by interbreeding with the native Matagi Dog which was used for hunting bear, boar and deer so the breed has always been a paragon of courage, strength and loyalty. After the dogs were introduced to Japanese royalty around 600 years ago they were kept exclusively by Imperial Samurai until the 20’th century when the restriction on ownership was lifted. The years around WWII were disastrous and those Akitas in Japan which were not sacrificed for their meat or pelt were mostly lost to the Japanese war effort. There were dogs who survived by being crossed with German Shepherds which gave them a protected status in the Japanese military and there were dogs which were intentionally turned loose in the mountains by their owners who hoped that they would find a way to survive and breed on their own. During this period the Matagi dog bloodline was once again introduced. A few Akitas made it to America and their breeding took a different direction with the selection for and introduction of heavier bloodlines. From past crossbreeding efforts there were some St Bernard and some Mastiff characteristics and these heavier dogs became the preferred type in America. There are now two separate blood lines (even considered to be two breeds) of Akita. The Japanese Akita (Akita Inu) is smaller, has finer bones and has a limited permissible color variety. The American Akita is larger, has a heavier frame and can be any color. They are loyal, fearless, cautious around strangers and potentially aggressive to other dogs – particularly those of the same gender. Akita would not be a good choice for a first time dog owner. See the story of Hachiko the Japanese Akita who waited for his owner’s return for nine years after the owner had died https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachik%C5%8D

– Geoffrey Antipa

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