SO YOU WANT TO OWN AN AKITA?

INTRODUCTION

  This is a leaflet to introduce the AKITA to prospective owners.

 It is issued by the AKITA ASSOCIATION

BIOGRAPHY

“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 Brearley

“The Akita” by Gerald and Kath Mitchell

“The World of the Akita” by B J Andrews

“Akita : Treasure of Japan” by Barbara Bouyet

“A New Owners Guide to Akitas” by B J Andrews

“The Akita Today” by David and Jenny Killilea


DO YOU KNOW WHAT AN AKITA IS?

 

The  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 size?

            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 dogs. Next 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.

HISTORY 

The name 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 formidable opponents. 

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 water. 

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 erect ears. 

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 minor.

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 States.

 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.

 VISIT THE BREEDER’S 

If you 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?

 The breeder 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. 

PURCHASING 

When you have made your choice of both breeder and puppy, you should be given the following at the time of purchase. 

1.                  A receipt for the purchase price 

2.                  A vaccination certificate, if applicable, filled in by a vet. 

3.                  A diet sheet. 

4.                  Details and dates of when the puppy was wormed. 

5.                  A copy of the puppy’s pedigree and Kennel Club registration certificate, if applicable. 

6.                  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 and rest.

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.

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This site is compiled and maintained by: Carol Bevis
For and on behalf of the Akita Association
Contents Copyrighted by Akita Association ©2003 - 2016

 
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