The American Akita is a rather newly-developed sporting and guarding breed whose history began in the U.S. after the World War II. This powerful, intelligent and handsome dog enjoys immense popularity with American dog lovers and slowly but steadily wins international recognition in the role of a family companion. Extensive socialisation and serious obedience training is a must for any specimen of this breed, regardless of its predestination.
The predecessors of the present-day American Akita were brought to America by servicemen when the Second War World was over. At that point there were three unique varieties of this breed in its native land: Matagi Akita, Fighting Akita and Shepherd Akita. During the post-war years the latter gained the most followers and therefore its population was very quickly restored. These dogs, which primarily belonged to the Dewa line, were also greatly preferred by members of the American Military Force.
Akita-Inus from this line, smart and capable of adjusting to various living conditions, endeared themselves to American breeders so this breed type became prevailed in this country. The American Kennel Club (AKC) granted the dog its full recognition in 1972. But the breed standard, which was approved by the AKC, significantly differed from its standard accepted by the Japanese Kennel Club. This fact made impossible introduction of new bloodlines from its native land. Gradually the conformation of American and Japanese Akita started to diverge very noticeably since breeders in Japan actively bred their dogs back to the Matagi Akitas in order to revive the original version of this dog.The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) took the side of the Japanese Kennel Club so American breeders lost opportunity to share alike with its Japanese colleagues in international canine shows. Finally in the FCI made a decision to divide the Akita into two distinct breeds, which are today known as the Akita and the American Akita in majority of countries.
Currently the American Akitas predominantly serve as companion animals but most of them still have all prerequisites for becoming superb hunting dogs. Additionally, a well-expressed protective instinct made this dog a highly popular personal and property guardian.
The temperament of the American Akita depends on two factors: heredity and training. Even the most good-natured specimen of this breed will turn into an unruly beast without proper socialisation and obedience training. This dog is always willing to defend its special people and their property and shows unquestioned loyalty to them. It’s commonly fine with familiar kids but because of its strength and strong possessive instinct the breeds’ contact with toddlers must be always supervised by adults.
The American Akita is an innate guardian so it constantly stays on alert in the presence of strange people. Nonetheless, the well-trained dog will never growl at and especially bite an unfamiliar person unless seriously provoked. It also suites perfectly for the role of a watcher although it barks only when there is a good reason for this action. Human aggressiveness still isn’t uncommon for this breed so choose the breeder very carefully and responsibly.
The American Akita often clashes with its counterparts of the same gender and it’s highly advisable to keep it as the only canine companion. This breed always tries to take a dominative position in the group of other canines and may become the instigator of fights with stray dogs. That’s why it’s imperative to let it off leash only in a safely enclosed area. Moreover the dog exhibits very strong prey drive and will dispatch an unfamiliar cat in a flash if given a chance. Of course it can live peacefully with those individual non-canine pets with whom it has been brought up since an early age.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· blood disorders;
· eye problems;
· hip dysplasia;
· luxating patella.
The maintenance of the American Akita is a fairly easy job to do. Its dense semi-long hair needs weekly brushing during the most part of a year and daily brushing during shedding periods. This breed is a very intense seasonal shedder so make sure to groom your pet frequently with a grooming rake in order to get out dead hair that have stuck deep in its fur.
The rest is a standard care that should include monthly nail clipping, rare bathing and periodic ear cleaning. This dog is prone to be very resistant to above-mentioned care procedures so it’s a good idea to begin training your pup to them as soon as possible.
The American Akita is a very intelligent yet refractory dog whose training is a fairly time-consuming task. This breed usually doesn’t demonstrate willingness to learn and can be somewhat lazy. Only its favourite food can arouse its interest to training although it’s still recommended to keep lessons short and amusing.
It’s also preferable to initiate the learning process at an early age when your American Akita is still an inquisitive and obedient puppy. Be aware that it reacts to any type of negative reinforcement with extreme resentment and may even become aggressive if treated harshly.
The American Akita is an easy-tempered breed that will be quite satisfied with several long daily walks with its master. This dog loves having some meaningful task to perform and will vigilantly guard your house day and night. Nonetheless it won’t become an ideal choice for apartment dwellers since it will feel itself boxed up in a small city apartment.
The breed is tough enough to make an excellent companion for fanciers of hiking and camping but its powerful but its somewhat slow gait will probably disappoint runners or bicyclists. The American Akita that has to stick at home for days on end will finally acquire such nasty deviations in behaviour as continuous barking, fits of aggression and hyper activity.