The Majestic Akita Dog: A Comprehensive Guide
The Majestic Akita Dog: A Comprehensive Guide
Welcome to Petzooie, where we delve into the world of our furry friends. Today, we're focusing on a breed that's as noble as it is beautiful: the Akita dog.
History and Origin of Akita dog
The Akita, also known as the Akita dog, is a breed of working dog that originated in the mountains of northern Japan. In 1931, the Japanese government designated the breed as a "natural monument".
The Akita was employed as a hunting and fighting dog and is now trained for police and guard work. The first Akita was brought to the United States by Helen Keller in 1937, a puppy having been presented to her as a gift during a tour of Japan.
The Akita is a powerful, muscular dog with a broad head, erect pointed ears (small in relation to head size), and a large curved tail carried over the back or curled against the flank. It stands 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 cm) tall at the withers and weighs 70 to 130 pounds (32 to 59 kg) . Akitas are bred in a variety of colors and markings, including all-white, brindle, and pinto.
Except for the white, all Akitas bear a distinct mask (dark area around the muzzle).
Akitas are known for their loyalty, courage, and independence. They are typically dignified and reserved with strangers, but affectionate and protective with family. Due to their independent nature, they require early socialization and consistent, firm training.
The Akita dog breed is known for its distinct personality traits. Here are some key aspects of their personality:
- Bold and Willful: Akitas are bold, willful dogs that are naturally wary of strangers. They are alert, intelligent, and courageous, making them excellent watchdogs.
- Loyal and Affectionate: Akitas are extremely loyal to their family. They are affectionate and playful with family members and enjoy participating in daily activities. They are known to follow their owners from room to room, as if their only purpose in life is to protect and keep their owners company.
- Independent and Territorial: Akitas are independent dogs that are quite territorial about their home. They are best suited to a one-dog household due to their tendency to be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex.
- Confident and Headstrong: Akitas are confident, headstrong dogs. They are not friendly with all animals, making them not an ideal breed for a household with other pets.
- Protective: Akitas are renowned for their protective nature. Their mere presence serves as a deterrent to most who would cause trouble. They are excellent protectors of their family and home.
- Noisy: Contrary to the common belief that Akitas never bark, they are in fact noisy. They are known to grumble, moan, and bark if they believe it's necessary.
Health and Care
Akitas have a thick, double coat that is weather-resistant. Regular brushing and occasional grooming are necessary to maintain the coat’s health and appearance. They are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, autoimmune disorders, and certain genetic conditions like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Thick double coat, can be short or long-haired
Loyal, dignified, reserved with strangers; affectionate and protective with family
Moderate exercise requirements, regular walks and playtime are essential
Prone to hip dysplasia, autoimmune disorders, and PRA
What are some common health issues that akita dogs face?
Akita dogs, while generally healthy, can be prone to certain health issues. Here are some common health problems that Akitas may face:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: This is a common skeletal condition, often seen in large or giant breed dogs, where the ball and socket joint is malformed. This malformation can lead to painful arthritis or even lameness if left untreated.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an eye disease that gradually leads to blindness due to the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. It's a genetic condition, and breeders should test their dogs before breeding.
- Autoimmune Hypothyroidism: This condition occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, leading to a decrease in the production of thyroid hormones. Symptoms can include weight gain, lethargy, and skin and coat changes.
- Cruciate Ligament Tears: Akitas can suffer from cruciate ligament tears, which can cause lameness and require surgical intervention.
- Skin Problems: Akitas can have skin problems caused by allergies to fleas, foods, or environmental substances. These allergies can lead to itching, redness, and skin infections.
- Immune Disorders: Akitas can be prone to immune disorders that affect the skin, such as pemphigus foliaceous, uveodermatologic syndrome, and sebaceous adenitis, a disease that ends in total hair loss.
- Von Willebrand Disease: This is a bleeding disorder that can lead to excessive bleeding during surgery or after injury.
- Renal Dysplasia: Akitas are prone to renal dysplasia, a genetic form of kidney disease, that can affect your dog as early as puppyhood. Signs include excessive water drinking and urine production, poor appetite, and weight loss.
- Dental Disease: Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. Unfortunately, Akitas are more likely than other dogs to have problems with their teeth.
It's important to note that not all Akitas will get any or all of these diseases, but it's crucial to be aware of them if you're considering this breed. Regular check-ups with a vet and a healthy diet can help prevent some of these issues.
Akitas were originally bred for hunting large game, such as bears and boars, and were also used as guard dogs. Today, they are still trained for police and guard work. Their presence alone serves as a deterrent to most who would cause trouble.
Akitas are not ideal for first-time dog owners due to their independent nature. They are best suited for experienced owners and a home without young children or other dogs.
Akitas are renowned for their unwavering loyalty to their owners. They are known to follow their owners from room to room in the home, as if their only purpose in life is to protect and keep their owners company.
Akitas are known to be mouthy and enjoy carrying toys and household items around. Despite the common belief that they never bark, they are in fact noisy, known to grumble, moan—and, yes, bark if they believe necessary.
Exercise and Social Needs
Akitas are powerful and athletic, requiring plenty of exercise. They were never bred to live or work in groups, rather to be alone or in a pair. Today's Akita reflects that breeding. The Akita is happy to be an only dog and can be aggressive toward other dogs not in his family group.
The Akita dog breed, known for its thick double coat, requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance. Here are the key grooming requirements for Akitas:
- Regular Brushing: Akitas have a dense double coat that sheds heavily twice a year. Regular brushing helps control shedding and prevents mats and tangles. Aim for a brushing routine at least once or twice a week, and more frequently during shedding seasons.
- Bathing: Akitas naturally repel dirt with their double coats, so frequent baths aren't necessary. Too many baths can strip away the coat's natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Only bathe your Akita when truly needed or roughly every 3 to 4 months.
- Nail Trimming: Keeping your Akita’s nails trimmed is an important part of grooming. Long nails can lead to discomfort and affect the dog’s movement. Aim to trim your Akita’s nails every 3-4 weeks.
- Ear Cleaning: Regularly check and clean your Akita's ears to prevent infections.
- Use the Right Tools: Invest in a quality slicker brush, an undercoat rake, and a de-shedding tool. These will effectively remove loose hairs and deal with the dense undercoat, especially during the shedding periods.
- Avoid Shaving: Shaving an Akita’s double coat can damage it and lead to skin problems. The coat naturally helps regulate the dog’s temperature, providing insulation from both the heat and the cold.
- Dental Care: Regular teeth cleaning is also important to prevent dental diseases.
Remember, grooming is not just about maintaining your Akita's appearance; it's also an opportunity to check for any signs of skin problems, ticks, or other health issues. Regular grooming sessions can also help strengthen the bond between you and your Akita
The average lifespan of Akita dogs is typically between 10 to 15 years. However, this can vary based on factors such as health, diet, and care. Some sources suggest that the average lifespan for American Akitas is slightly lower, around 10-13 years. while others indicate a range of 10-14 years for Akitas in general.
It's important to note that individual health, genetics, and care can significantly influence an Akita's lifespan.
Pros and Cons Of Owing Akita Dog
- Weather-resistant coat suitable for various climates.
- Intelligent and trainable
- Prone to certain health issues
- Requires consistent, firm training
- Not ideal for first-time dog owners due to their independent nature
When considering an adult or Akita puppy, it’s advisable to prioritize adopting from rescue organizations or shelters to provide a loving home to a dog in need.
However, if you decide to purchase, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder.
Q: Are Akitas good family dogs?
A: Yes, Akitas are known to be loyal, protective, and affectionate with their families.
Q: What are the health concerns associated with Akitas?
A: Akitas are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, autoimmune disorders, and certain genetic conditions like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
The Akita is a majestic breed with a rich history and unique characteristics. Whether you're considering adding an Akita to your family or simply want to learn more about this fascinating breed, we hope this guide has been informative and helpful. Follow these links for more info!
https://www.britannica.com/animal/Akita-dog https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/akita https://www.thesprucepets.com/breed-profile-akita-1117933 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/10-facts-about-the-akita/ https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/dog-breeds/akita