The akita, an ancient, protective and courageous breed, with two lines: Japanese and American.

The akita, an ancient, protective and courageous breed, with two lines: Japanese and American.

It is necessary to begin by explaining that there are two lines that are considered to be different breeds and have separate standardsbecause of their visible physical and even behavioral differences: the original Japanese akita (also called akita inu in some canine associations), developed in the remote mountains of Tōhoku, and the American akitawhich comes from an ancient Japanese lineage but which has been significantly removed from the original breed by reproductive selection.

The Akita as such began to develop in the 17th century in Akita prefecture, in the aforementioned Tōhoku region of northern Japan. Initially, these dogs (known as matagi akitas) were much shorter and lighter, but were crossed with other more powerful breeds to increase their size. Their main function was hunting big game, especially elk, bear and wild boar. They were also used in dog fights, until their definitive prohibition in Japan in 1908. The akita’s coat, very thick, dense and with a lot of undercoat, made the their fur was highly valued for making military clothing. during World War II.

In 1931, the akita was officially declared as. natural monument of Japan.

In parallel, at the end of World War II and the Pacific War, where the number of pure Akitas had been reduced almost to extinction (some sources speak of only 16 Akitas surviving), many of the American soldiers took some Japanese dogs back to the United States when they returned home. But these Akitas already were not purebreds, but crosses with mastiffs and German shepherds.. Obviously, these crosses had already caused a visible change in the appearance of the Akitas, which were larger, heavier boned, and their character more adaptable and with a greater predisposition to training. Since 1945, breeding programs for these exotic dogs were developed in the North American country and the American Akita breed was officially recognized in 1956..

This bifurcation of breeds has not been without debate for decades, especially over naming controversies where breeders and curators of the original Japanese breed did not want the American Akita to use the name, believing that they have “spoiled” the original dog with their modifications. Finally, the clubs and cynological organizations seem to have reached a peaceful consensus and now the American akita has been named after the original Japanese akita. coexist as two independent breeds the akita a secas (which is understood to be the Japanese) and the American akita. Crossbreeding between specimens of both varieties is prohibited. by all canine associations in the world.

Visual differences between the two varieties of akita.
Visual differences between the two varieties of akita.
Wikimedia Commons.

Differences between lines

The Japanese line of akitas are smaller dogs. and show greater harmony in proportion, measuring practically the same length, from muzzle to tail curled on its back, as from withers to ground. The American Akita, however, is larger in size, with a very robust head and large bones.

Cairn terrier brindle.

There is also a difference in terms of the coat colors accepted in the standard. The black mask on the face is a disqualifying test in Japanese akita.while in the American akita it is not only accepted, but a particularly desirable trait.

As for character, both lines need caregivers with previous experience or information in the they are strongly discouraged for first-timers. The Japanese akita is a very protective dog, with an aloof nature. even with their nuclear family and are territorial dogs, especially with other dogs of the same sex, which requires proper socialization and constant education. When living with children, adult supervision is recommended..

The American akita is noticeably more affectionate. and also tolerant of children, as well as exhibiting greater openness to strangersbut retains intrasexual aggressiveness and its protective nature.

It should be noted that the akita is considered a potentially dangerous breed in Spain under the legal regime of Royal Decree 287/2002 of March 22, 2002, which requires the possession of an administrative license for its possession and handling, in addition to other mandatory requirements.

For further information we recommend contacting the Spanish Association of Nordic Dogs and Japanese Akitas (CEPN), and the Royal Canine Society of Spain in case you are looking for more information about American Akitas.

We propose that responsible adoption be valued to give home to a dog with or without breed of those that abound in shelters, kennels and shelters.

A dog and a cat in a friendly attitude.

Kayleigh Williams