Akita history

historical view

Akita-inu (inu - dog in Japanese) is a breed of hunting Japanese Spitz, originally intended for hunting the largest game - wild boar and bear, and for pulling heavy loads. Like all the others, it was created as a result of mixing dingoes with northern spitz dogs. These dogs came to Japan with subsequent settlers - starting around 15,000 BC to 300 BC

Akita-like dogs allegedly existed as far back as 5,000 years ago. They undoubtedly accompanied the samurai and have since then occupied a permanent place in Japanese mythology. In Japanese literature, the Akita is an old and native dog, the ownership of which was associated with specific beliefs. Those who could not afford this dog (the aristocracy could have them) had to be content with its likeness. Small wooden statues of the Akita, made by Japanese carvers, were attractive Christmas gifts bringing good luck. They were a symbol of possession. They were associated with specific beliefs passed down from generation to generation. And yes, the fiancée received them on their wedding day - as a mascot bringing good luck. The Akita statuette placed next to a woman giving birth was supposed to ensure a trouble-free delivery, and when given to an infant it was a symbol of the recipient's future strength, health and intelligence. The figurine hung over the baby's cradle was supposed to protect him from bad dreams.
Already in medieval times, the Akita breed was bred for dog fighting, which became a popular sport around the 11th century.

The documented history of the breed begins in the 17th century. At that time, it was bred by a powerful knight who had to hide from the emperor's disfavor on the northern coast of the island of Honshu, in the Akita province. He was a great lover of hunting and dogs, so he decided to create the largest, strongest and bravest hunting dogs that no one had ever seen before. These were elite dogs that could only be owned and bred by Japanese shoguns. The method of caring for dogs (grooming, feeding) was described in strictly observed and protected documents. This proves the respect these dogs enjoyed. They were of great value, one could say, they enjoyed a kind of cult that no other dog had. An interesting fact about the way these dogs were presented was that they were led on colorful (woven cotton) leashes - interwoven with silver or gold thread (depending on the rank of the dog owner). The color of the leash also had to match the color of the dog.
The following centuries, full of wars and a period of political and economic destabilization, meant that the great dogs of Honshu became a real rarity. However, they survived, primarily as fighting dogs, until the emperor banned this practice, and the beginning of this century and the emergence of a strong movement to preserve the cultural tradition of Japan brought the renaissance of the breed, which was almost considered a national symbol. Under the name nippon inu, or simply "Japanese dog", the Akita received a state protectorate and in 1931 it was officially declared the "national dog of Japan".
The war brought almost complete extinction to Japanese dogs, especially Akitas. Despite this, the population was rebuilt quite quickly and now this breed is one of the most numerous in Japan. It has retained its unique status to this day and breeders and even owners of individual, outstanding dogs are, if necessary, subsidized by local authorities.
The Japanese breed standard dates back to 1938 - at that time it was decided to avoid particularly massive dogs in breeding, whose appearance suggested an admixture of Molossus blood, introduced at the turn of the century to obtain dogs best suited for fighting.
Post-war Akita-in breeding in Japan aimed to obtain a strong and strong dog type, but, above all, with the features of a Spitz.
The Akita is a symbol of dog loyalty - for better and for worse. They are faithful to their owners until the end, the best example of which is the story about Dr. Ueno's dog.

Loyal Hachiko

This breed became very popular thanks to Hachiko, a dog born in Odate in 1923, owned by Dr. Ueno, a lecturer at the University of Tokyo. As he grew older, it became his custom to accompany his master every morning to the small square in front of Shibuha Station. He returned the same day to greet the gentleman returning from work. Every day, the master and the dog, regardless of the weather, parted and greeted each other again in the same place. On May 21, 1925, Dr. Ueno boarded the morning train as usual, but that day Hachiko waited in vain all night for his return - the doctor died suddenly at work. Everyone knew about it, but no one could explain this to the dog, which every day looked for its beloved master at the station door. The dog always came to the station every day, and soon the whole of Tokyo was talking about him. Kind people took care of him and fed him, but he accepted all signs of concern with complete indifference. No one could replace his master. For almost ten years, Hachiko came to Shibuya Station until he was found dead there on March 7, 1935. He was so famous that two monuments were erected to him. One at Shibuya Station in Tokyo (April 1934 - creator: Shou Ando), and the other at Odate Station (July 1935 - creator: Shou Ando) in Akita Prefecture. Metal Hachiko figurines soon stood on the squares in front of railway stations, as they were soon - like all metal objects - melted down for armament purposes. The current Hachiko monuments come from 1947 (Shibuya Station - creator: Takushi Ando - son of Shou Ando) and 1987 (Odate Station - creator: Yoshio Matsuda). In 1987, a film adaptation of Hachiko's story was made in Japan. Unfortunately, today a dog like Hachiko would not be able to move around Tokyo. The Japanese would be afraid of him, so he would be quickly caught and taken to "hokensho" and gassed there in a (generally fully automated) death chamber. It's sad what's happening in Japan today when it comes to dogs and cats. The boom in pets (especially dogs and cats sold in stores or online) that has been going on for 10 years has unfortunately resulted in the creation of special animal euthanasia, where a found dog or cat is simply gassed after 3-5 days. In Japan, over 400,000 dogs and 300,000 cats are euthanized each year with gas, and over 73,000 dogs and 13,500 cats are used for laboratory experiments.

Chuken-Shiro's dog

There is also an earlier story - from around 1700 - of an extraordinary dog named Chuken-Shiro, to whom a temple was dedicated on the mountain slope of Kuzuhara, near the Sawajiri Station. This dog belonged to a hunter named Sadaroku, who lost his way while hunting during a snowstorm deep in the mountains, accidentally crossing the border of the country, for which he was arrested. Unfortunately, he did not have a permit for free entry to this country for hunting. He told the dog about it, even though he knew the dog wouldn't understand what he was saying. Suddenly he saw the dog rushing like an arrow through the snow towards his master's house. Unfortunately, the hunter's wife couldn't understand why the dog was barking so much. Ultimately, the dog was returned to its owner without a hunting permit.

The hunter was completely disappointed. He continued to appeal to the dog as if it were his son. The dog ran home again - more than 10 km away from the hunter's place of residence. Again the dog barked and barked at the family altar. Finally, my wife understood the danger. She attached her hunting license to the dog's collar and prayed for her husband's safe return. The dog ran with all his might back to his master a second time. But it was too late! The hunter was executed. The dog died shortly afterwards, as if it had followed its master.

Dogs from the 1957 expedition to Antarctica

Another example of the extraordinary devotion of these dogs to humans is the story of twelve Akita dogs that took part in a scientific expedition to the South Pole in 1957. Japanese polar explorers took with them 20 Akita dogs to pull sleds. Difficult weather conditions forced them to interrupt the expedition. They left sled dogs and all their equipment in the ice of Antarctica, causing outrage among animal lovers from all over the world. They returned there only after three years. We can imagine their complete surprise when they were greeted on site by 12 of the 20 dogs left behind, all completely healthy. They survived thanks to their incredible, almost impossible for other breeds, ability to adapt to very difficult climatic conditions. They probably ate seals and other animals, which they often hunted even at a distance of 100 km from the camp. It is possible that the eight missing dogs - due to extreme conditions - were eaten by surviving animals. However, they kept returning to the place where people had left them to the elements. They were waiting for the return of those they once loved.

Emperor Hirohito honored these dogs by erecting a monument next to the Tokyo Tower. Twelve life-size Akitas cast in bronze commemorate this unique success of the national Japanese dog breed.


The great attachment of these dogs to their owners is a typical feature of this breed, which can be experienced every day by anyone who has chosen an Akita as a companion dog.
Initially, Akitas were used as hunting dogs to hunt wild boars, deer and even dangerous black bears. They were valued for their stubbornness, stubbornness and ruthlessness in fighting, as well as their hunting passion.
When hunting bears, they usually worked in pairs: a dog and a female dog. Together they surrounded the animal, making circles around it. When the bear rose on its hind legs, the dog attacked the animal's side, while the female dog, at the same time, grabbed its throat. The uniqueness of this technique was, among other things, that unlike most hunting dogs, Akitas hunt and fight in absolute silence. However, it often happened that one of the animals died from being hit by a bear's paw. More recent sources say that in the Rocky Mountains in the USA, after a half-hour fight, a pair of Akitas knocked down a 400 kg gray grizzly bear.

Guarding and fighting

These naturally quiet dogs also worked as guard dogs, protecting livestock from wild boars and other predators. The Akita-inu was left as the only guardian of the area and had to decide who to consider as an intruder. As a completely incorruptible dog, he was valued primarily for his extraordinary qualities: great independence and at the same time extraordinary loyalty to the owner.
Over time, as the breed's popularity grew, the Akita, known for its strength and fierceness, became a popular dogfighter, especially in the Kazuno and Senboku areas. The fights were the subject of so many bets that competitions were introduced. The success of these slaughterhouses was made possible by the Akita-in's potential tendency to dominate other dogs, as well as their speed and ferocity in fighting. Usually, the fights took place in small enclosures surrounded by a net, with an area of approximately 40-50 square meters. and height over 2m. The fight always ended with the death of one of the dogs, increasing the aggression of the winner.
Originally, Japanese dogs ranged in size from small to medium and did not come in large breeds.

From 1603 in Akita Prefecture MATAGI - medium-sized dogs for hunting bears (the photo shows a scene from such a hunt from the Akita Museum in Odate) and deer - were also used for dog fighting.
Since 1868 this breed was crossed with other Japanese fighting dogs, including TOSA-INU, and also with MASTIFS.
The result was an increase in the size of dogs of this breed, but the loss of the features associated with the Spitz type. The result of the crossbreed was an aggressive dog of impressive size. This almost led to the extinction of the Akita as a breed. The mayor of Odate, Mr. Shigeie Izumi, defended the purity of the breed. In 1908 dog fighting was banned, but the breed was preserved and refined as a large Japanese breed. As a result, nine excellent examples of this breed were recognized in 1931. as natural monuments. During World War II (1939-1945), the use of dog fur to produce military clothing was common. The police ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs except German Shepherds, which were used for military purposes. However, some dog lovers tried to circumvent this regulation by breeding their dogs with German Shepherds. After the end of World War II, the number of Akitas declined rapidly, and those that survived came in three different types:
AKITA for dog fighting

This has created a confusing situation for this breed. During the reconstruction of the pure breed after the war, the KONGO-GO dog (in the photo) from the DEWA line, which had the characteristic features of a Mastiff and a German Shepherd, enjoyed temporary but enormous popularity. However, dog lovers did not accept this type as a proper Japanese breed and made attempts to eliminate all foreign breeds by crossbreeding with the Matagi Akita type in order to recreate the pure original breed. In this way, they stabilized the pure line of the large breed we know today.

Akita in the USA

After the end of World War II, a large number of Akitas were brought to the USA by returning soldiers. Over time, the external appearance of Akitas promoted in the United States differed from those bred in Japan. There was an opinion that the Japanese, forced by circumstances, tended to get rid of dogs considered less desirable. The mass production of fashionable puppies in the USA has caused a lot of harm, especially hip dysplasia and eye diseases. It got to the point that the Japanese were unable to recognize their large Spitz dogs in the huge, heavy, wrinkled-headed American dogs. Today, to distinguish it from the Akita, this breed is called the American Akita in Europe (FCI No. 344 of January 5, 2006). The American standard allows any type of color, including piebald, but dogs of this color should have a mask (except white). The difference between the American Akita and the Akita also relates to construction. American dogs are more massive and thick-boned, while Japanese dogs are slimmer and lighter. The American Akita belongs to the group of large dogs and although according to the standard it is practically the same height as the Japanese Akita, its overall expression is much more heavy and stocky, which is why it lacks the elegance of the silhouette of Japanese Akitas. The height of the American Akita is 61-67 cm, while the weight is on average 36-50 kg. Despite their strong build, they are very agile, lively and have a great temperament, especially during puppyhood. The coat of the American Akita - medium length with a thick, dense undercoat - makes their favorite season is winter. Like the Akita, it is a dog that is very resistant to difficult climatic conditions and is suitable for people who want to practice winter sports, for which it has excellent physical predispositions.

Akita in Europe

Akitas appeared in Europe later, at the earliest in Sweden, where two pairs were imported from Japan in 1962 and 1965. Not much later, the first Japanese couple also came to Norway. A few years later, dogs were also brought there from the USA. On the continent - in Germany and the Netherlands - the first dogs appeared only in the 1970s. They came from the USA. When Scandinavian and Japanese dogs were imported, there was some confusion. It was therefore assumed that the Akita comes in two types: a heavier one called Dewa and a lighter one - Tchinosaki. An intermediate type was also created. However, this was not justified by the breed standard. Gradually, Akitas became known throughout Europe, and controversy between supporters of both types grew. The results of the exhibitions became completely unpredictable, because everything depended on whether the judge was a supporter of the Japanese type or not. Finally, in 1999, the FCI divided the Akita into two breeds. There are currently two breed standards:

  • akita
  • American Akita

Akita in the UK

Akitas were the latest to appear in Great Britain; it was only in the 1980s that the first dogs of this breed arrived there, coming from the USA, Canada and Japan. The first litter was born in 1983 (from American parents). Akitas owe a lot especially to the Littlecreek and Overhill kennels. The breed is not very numerous, but it seems that English breeders obtained an intermediate type of Akita that could appeal to both the Japanese and supporters of the American type.
In recent years, Akitas have become quite fashionable in Western countries, but this fashion remains in reasonable sizes.

Akita in Poland

The first Akita was brought to Poland to the Skierdy breeding farm in 1990. It was a gray female from Norway, Manatsu Rei, but she did not produce any offspring. Soon after, a dog from Denmark joined her, and his two sisters became the founders of other breeding farms. Skierda's first litter was born only after the second white female dog imported from Sweden, Kintos Kicho Shugyoku. However, all these were not Akitas in the sense of today's Akitas, because they represented a mixed type, which later began to be assigned to the American Akita breed. Several Akitas came to our country from Europe, and later a couple from the USA and a dog from Great Britain. However, we can really talk about the pure Japanese type of Akita only for a few years, when, among others, Purely Japanese Akitas from the Czech Republic, France and the Netherlands came to Poland, and even a few were born in the country of origin of the breed, i.e. Japan (e.g. our DAICHI GO NIIGATA KURIYAMA).

General Characteristics and Breed Standard

The Akita, once a hunting dog, is now considered an excellent guard and can be recommended in this capacity. It is easy to care for. Intelligent, calm, resistant, strong, with outstanding hunting and defense instincts. He is alert, determined and can and should be kept outdoors. However, it needs close contact with people and in the absence of it it simply becomes wild. Due to its stubbornness and hunting passion, it is not an easy dog to train. He has a penchant for fighting with other dogs (especially males). It is a very confident and tough dog. So he needs a lot of understanding and consistency in his behavior. You should not sign him up for defense training, but at most for a companion dog. There have been cases where previously completely gentle dogs became aggressive towards people after defense training for no specific reason. You simply should not arouse aggression in an Akita, because it has a great sense of the situation even without it and will not let us down when it notices that we are actually threatened. It is better, however, that Akitas should not be given to people who have no experience in raising a dog. an ill-bred Akita can become a dangerous dog, as demonstrated by the fashion wave in the USA - when in the hands of incompetent owners this breed acquired a reputation for being dangerous. This dog requires careful and firm upbringing and is not suitable for nervous or inconsistent people.
Properly raised, it is an excellent defender and guardian, reliable in the family and in contacts with children. Abroad, numerous Akitas have distinguished themselves in various work trials - from tracking and hunting, through the work of sled dogs, searching for people from avalanches (in the Swiss Red Cross), or the role of rescue dogs in the fire brigade (several dogs in Germany), to the work of a guide blind.

Country of origin: Japan.
Application: companion dog
FCI classification: Group 5 – Spitz and original type
Section 5: Asian Spitz and related breeds
No trying to work
(Original standard dated: 13/03/2001)

General appearance

A large dog, well balanced and strong. Secondary sexual characteristics strongly marked, combined with great nobility and dignity. Strong construction. Strong sexual dimorphism.

Height at withers:
dogs: 67 cm
females: 61 cm
Tolerance: +/- 3 cm
complex, sensitive, not cowardly.
All deviations from the standard must be considered an error, the significance of which depends on the degree of deviation from the standard.
    female dogs/male female dogs;
    undershot or overshot;
    missing teeth;
    black or blue spots on the tongue;
    eye too bright;
    short tail;
    non-upright ear;
    hanging tail;
    long hair (hairy hair);
    black mask;
    colorful markings on white
    NB Dogs should have two normally expressed testicles that have fully descended into the scrotum.

Important proportions

The ratio of the height at the withers to the body length (from the top of the shoulder blade to the hip bone) is 10:11, although the body length in female dogs is slightly longer than in dogs.

Skull: size is proportional to body size. The frontal part is wide with a distinct furrow without wrinkles. Stop: well marked.
Nose: large, black. Only in the case of white-coated dogs, flesh-colored dogs are allowed, but black remains the preferred color. Muzzle: moderately long, strong, wide and deep. Tapered but not pointed. Nose bridge: simple. Jaws/teeth: strong teeth with a scissors bite, tight lips. Cheeks: moderately developed. Eyes: relatively small, almost triangular in shape. The outer corner of the eye is slightly pulled upwards. Moderately widely spaced and dark brown in color, the darker the better. Ears: relatively small, quite thick, triangular with slightly rounded ends. Set not too far apart, positioned, slightly inclined towards the front. Neck: thick and muscular, in proper proportion to the head.
Ridge: simple, strong. Loins: wide, muscular. Chest: deep, well developed, ribs moderately sprung. Belly: pulled up.
Set high, thick, carried strongly curled over the back, with the tail lowered and reaching almost to the hocks.


Shoulders: moderately oblique and well developed. Elbows: adhering to the torso. Forearm: straight, with strong bones.
Hind limbs:
well developed, strong and moderately angulated. Foot: thick, round, arched and compact.
strong, dynamic.
Hair: outer coat hard, rough and straight. The undercoat is soft and dense. The withers and rump are covered with slightly longer hair - the hair on the tail is longer than on the rest of the body. Color: red-fawn, sesame (red-fawn with black tips), brindle, white. All the colors mentioned above, except white, must have "urajiro" (urajiro - whitish color on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, on the underside of the jaw, neck, breast, body and tail, on the inside of the front and hind limbs).

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