SO YOU WANT TO OWN AN AKITA?
is a leaflet to introduce the AKITA to prospective owners.
is issued by the AKITA ASSOCIATION
“Akitas” by Edita Van Der Lyn
“The Complete Akita” by Joan M Linderman
and Virginia Funk
“The New Complete Akita” by Joan M
Linderman and Virginia Funk
“The Book of the Akita” by Joan McDonald
“The Akita” by Gerald and Kath Mitchell
“The World of the Akita” by B J Andrews
“Akita : Treasure of Japan” by Barbara
“A New Owners Guide to Akitas” by B J
“The Akita Today” by David and Jenny
YOU KNOW WHAT AN AKITA IS?
Akita is a large powerful dog which when fully grown can weigh up
to 130 lbs. It has an independent, dignified, courageous and dominant
character. As it states in
the Breed Standard, the Akita can be dominant to other dogs. The Akita has very distinct breed characteristics.
If you wish to find out more about these dogs it is suggested that
you purchase one or more of the books listed in the Bibliography.
Before deciding that the Akita is for you, it is
important you lean as much as possible about the breed.
What is its temperament?
How easy will it to be train?
How much will it cost to feed?
Are YOU strong enough to manage its
Will it suit your family?
Is you home suitable?
One of the best ways to find the answer to these
questions is to visit a number of dog shows (details of which are given in
the weekly dog papers). There
you will be able to see a selection of Akitas from different bloodlines
and various kennels. Chat to
the exhibitors. Ask
questions. Most breeders are only too willing to talk about their Akitas.
Please however, wait until after the Akita judging is finished as,
prior to this, exhibitors are understandably pre-occupied concentrating on
getting their nerves under control and their dogs ready for showing.
Also make arrangements to visit Akita kennels and see the adult
dogs in their home environment. Try
to do this BEFORE you go to see any pups.
Is your garden secure enough to confine an Akita?
Ideally, it should be completely and securely fenced.
Remember your Akita will grow into a large, powerful, athletic
animal and must NEVER be allowed to roam unattended.
Due to the Dangerous Dogs Act all dogs must be kept under strict
control in public places. If
you do not have the facilities for a large dog please think of the ways an
Akita would be exercised in your presence, in your own area.
I.e. have you good green areas to walk your dog within easy reach,
with no livestock around.
Akitas are a hunting breed, and their instinct to
hunt is very strong. They
will hunt must animals that run away from them, like rabbits, cats, sheep
etc. Akitas are NOT latchkey
decide whether your preference is for a dog or a bitch.
Generally speaking, the female of the species is slightly smaller
than the male. The male is
significantly stronger. If
you decide to purchase a male Akita be sure you can handle the size and
power of the full grown dog. Akita’s
are strong, heavy and quick to react. You may not have seen the rabbit in the road, or on the grass
verge, but your Akita will have seen it, and could be in hot pursuit
before you can stop him. Females
tend to be quieter, and more relaxed, but this is not always the case.
They will hunt with the best of the males, given the chance.
AKITA comes from the area of Japan known as the Akita prefecture.
This is the northern most province of the main island of Honshu.
The name Akita Inu, as they are called in Japan (Inu meaning dog),
was not used until September 1931, when the Akita was designated a natural
monument. Prior to this they
were known as odate dogs.
It is certain that the breed goes back some 350
years, and that the forebears of the Akita as we know it today were native
to the Akita prefecture. However,
claims that the breed is 4,000 years old are unlikely.
Although the Akita are originally believed to have
been revered by the Japanese aristocracy, they were bred primarily as
hunting dogs – very agile and adept at downing prey including deer, boar
and bear. The Akita would hold its quarry at bay for the hunter to
spear. The Akita’s
substance, size, thick coat and powerful jaws all designed to make them
Later the Akitas were utilised for herding cattle,
as guide dogs, sled dogs and police dogs.
They were also used by fishermen as they were powerful swimmers and
their thick coats enabled them to withstand the rigours of very cold
The Akita was crossed with a selection of other
breeds, such as St Bernards and the Japanese Tosa dog to increase the size
and bulk of the dog. By
1912 the Akita fanciers concerned by the loss of breed quality took over. The introduction into the breeding programme of the Matagi
and Hokkaido dogs restored characteristics like the curled tail and small
By 1940 all cross breeding had stopped in Japan
and the Akita, as we know it today, was established.
During World War II Akitas became prime targets to be used as pelts
and food and came very close to extinction.
Good Akitas were smuggled out into the mountains to save breeding
stock for the future.
The Akita breed, therefore, was still in a state
of flux, only 15 or so years before the first imports started to arrive in
the USA. Knowing this, it is
not too difficult to understand how the Japanese and American “types”
of Akita evolved so differently since the time scale for both is similar. It follows that if the Akita had been kept in its pure breed
state for 350 years, the changes in the American dogs could have been only
Five or so years after the war ended, two main
lines were established in America, the ICHINOSEKI line and the DEWA line. These lines formed the foundation of the breed in the United
It goes without
saying that the history of the Akita breed is very complex.
We would therefore like to recommend that all intending prospective
owners, who wish to study this subject in depth, read the publications
listed in the bibliography of the leaflet.
think this is the breed for you, you will need to contact a few
breeder’s. You may have
done this already during a visit to a dog show.
If not contact the Secretary or any committee member of the Akita Association for advice.
Having first of all made an appointment to visit
the breeders of your choice, always tell the breeder that you are only
looking at the adults with a view to purchasing a puppy.
Please try to arrive on time. Ask
to be shown around the kennels making a mental note of the cleanliness of
the place. This will give a
good indication of the health of the stock and the care that the Akitas
receive. Do not be afraid to
ask questions.Some Akita breeders do not keep their dogs in kennels, this
is a good way to see Akitas in the home environment, especially if you are
looking to purchase a companion dog rather than a show dog. Akitas like human company and like to be with you as much as
possible. Do not be afraid to visit a number
of Akita owners as this can help you to get a wider perspective of the
breed and certain bloodlines.
There are a
number of Akita people who do not show their dogs, this does not make them
“bad” breeders. The show
ring is not the “be all and end all” of Akitas.
Remember also that the breeder will want to know more about you.
Are you a suitable owner?
Where do you live?
Do you have enough space to cater for
a large dog?
will want to know whether you require a show puppy and/or a family
companion, and will need to be assured that your dog/puppy will not be
left unattended for long periods of time. Akita
pups can be destructive if left on their own.
Never leave anything you do not want chewed in a room with an Akita
puppy, e.g. a new pair of shoes, the TV and video control, children’s
toys etc. An Akita can turn
into a “100lb termite” on occasions. Akitas
become bored very quickly and bored Akita’s can become destructive.
A good breeder
will always show you the dam of the puppies and, the sire where possible.
Do ask to see the British Veterinary Associations, present hip
score sheet and the current eye certificates for both parents.
The eye certificate is issued every year and should be current.
The X-ray for hip dysplasia is taken after 12 months of age and it
is a certificate for life. Look carefully at the puppies in the litter. They should be lively, have a clean smell, clear eyes,
healthy coats and free from parasites.
Do not be tempted by a breeder that encourages you
to take your new puppy before the age of seven to eight weeks.
No puppy should be ready to leave for its new home until that age.
Make sure you have total confidence in the breeder from whom you
plan to purchase your puppy. You need to feel sure that you can contact the breeder – if
necessary – throughout the lifetime of your Akita to ask for advice.
Before you leave the kennels, remember to reach a firm understanding
regarding the price you will be expected to pay for your puppy.
Also establish an agreement with the breeders as to what will
happen if you have any problems with the puppy in the future.
I.e. health, change in circumstances etc.
Most important of all, if you have any reservations about the
litter you have seen, do not buy. Wait
either for another litter or contact another breeder.
have made your choice of both breeder and puppy, you should be given the
following at the time of purchase.
A receipt for the purchase price
A vaccination certificate, if applicable, filled in by a vet.
A diet sheet.
Details and dates of when the puppy was wormed.
A copy of the puppy’s pedigree and Kennel Club registration
certificate, if applicable.
Insurance. Most breeders
will offer a short, or long term insurance.
Please take advantage of this for the first year at least.
If you are purchasing your puppy on breeding
terms, it is preferable to have this agreement in writing at the time you
collect your puppy. Companion Akitas may be
sold without papers. Most breeders, will however issue a pedigree at a later date
if presented with a veterinary surgeons certificate for either spaying or
castration if this was agreed at the time of purchase. Before
collecting your puppy, make sure you have prepared a suitable draught-free
resting place, either in your home or in a kennel for the puppy to sleep
It is strongly recommended that, for as long as
possible, you keep your puppy on the same diet that the breeder has
established. You would be
able to obtain adequate supplies of this diet from your breeder, and they
will inform you where to purchase the food in the future.
This does help to reduce the inevitable stress on the puppy of
changing homes and leaving behind its mother, and litter mates.
Akitas grow very rapidly in the first 9 months and
a good quality food is essential for this period.
Good breeders will supply a diet sheet with your puppy. Always try to adhere to this as Akitas can react badly to
changes in diet when young puppies. If
you want to change a pups diet consult the breeder first.
Remember too, that your Akita will need careful
socialisation, training and discipline in the weeks and months that
follow. You must be prepared to give up a considerable amount to your
time to enable your Akita to grow into a well behaved and happy puppy.
Akitas are trainable, but require great patience
and tact, they are very intelligent and if they feel your training methods
are boring they will ignore you. It is not
advisable to exercise your Akita off lead unless you have a secure animal
free area. Akitas can be very
good with children, but they do not like to be teased or prodded
continually by little children and can lose patience.
Enrol at a training establishment for either
obedience or show training. If
you go to obedience training try to find a trainer who has experience with
Akitas, a lot of trainers are used to the mentality of GSD’s and Collies
and consider the Akita to be untrainable.
This is not so. Ask
the breeder if they know of anyone in your area who is suitable.
The reward will be a devoted Akita that is a
pleasure to own.
Finally, keep in close contact with your breeder.