Description: The Akita is a large dog with a strong, powerful build. The dog will measure 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 75 to 120 pounds. The bitch is 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder with a weight of 75 to 100 pounds. The Akita has a dense double coat, consisting of a hard outer coat and a soft undercoat. The coat is generally found in all colors, including red, fawn, brindle, and white. The ears of the Akita are small and erect and the tail curls up over the hindquarters. The Akita has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. This dog is also known as Akita Inu in Japan.
History: The Japanese island of Honshu, in the Akita Prefecture, was the birthplace of the Akita. This dog was bred to be a sturdy guard and hunting dog. As the prey animals included black bears, boar, and elk, the Akita was, of necessity a strong and determined hunter. It was this dog's job to hold the quarry until the human hunters were ready to make the kill. During the 19th century, the original Akita was bred to the Tosa, the Japanese fighting dog. This resulted in a dog that was larger and more aggressive than its Akita parent. The breed was diminished by a rabies outbreak at the beginning of the 20th century, and WWII caused many of these dogs to be sacrificed for their fur, which was needed for uniforms.
Temperament: The Akita is very loyal and attached to its human family. One Japanese Akita was so loyal that it went to the train station to meet its master for nine years after the master had died. The Akita has a very strong and dominant personality, however, so a firm master is needed to train the dog how to behave properly. This dog must be socialized with other dogs and household pets while young. Although the Akita loves children, its size makes it more suitable for older children than very young ones.
Health Issues: The Akita is very prone to bloat, stomach torsion. If this occurs, the dog must be taken to the veterinarian for immediate treatment. This is a life-threatening situation that cannot be treated at home. This dog has a small heart for its body size and is sensitive to anaesthesia because of this. Your veterinarian should be made aware of this if your Akita needs surgery. The Akita can also suffer from hip dysplasia and canine herpesvirus.
Grooming: The Akita's coat needs quite a bit of grooming to stay in top condition. It should be brushed with a stiff-bristled brush at least once a week. When the coat is blown twice a year, it would be advisable to groom even more often than that.
Living Conditions: The Akita is very protective of its family and wants to be near them as much as possible. However, this is a rugged dog with a thick coat that does not mind being outside in bad weather. The Akita can live in an apartment if the owner makes the effort to give the dog proper exercise. A house with a yard is probably a better option so that the dog will be assured of enough exercise.
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