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The Akita is a large-sized breed with a strong and imposing stature that makes it a great guard dog. This utility dog breed was originally used as a fighting dog in Japan. The Akira eventually became a keen hunter of deer, bear, and wild boar.
The modern-day Akita is an affectionate and loyal dog which make for an excellent companion dog as well as a family pet. When trained early and socialised well, the Akita is one of the most well-rounded dog breeds hardwired to protect its humans.
The Akita’s luxurious thick coat does not require much grooming but it needs weekly brushing to keep the coat nice and neat. The double-coated Akira typically shed minimally but expect their dense undercoat to shed copiously twice a year.
The most popular Akita in the world may be the loyal Hachiko, whose life was made into a Hollywood film. The Akita is named after its hometown in the Akita Prefecture, the northernmost region of the island of Honshū, Japan. Belonging to the spitz group, the breed existed since the 1600s and used by Japanese royalty as a guard and hunting partner. It is also said that before these royal duties, it was raised as a fighting dog. Writer and activist Helen Keller first brought the breed to the US in 1937. The American Akita was introduced to the UK in the same year and was Kennel Club registered since 1986. The kinds we see today were developed in the US.
This breed is referred to as the 'great Japanese dog.' The Kennel Club recognises two varieties of Akitas. The first is the Japanese strain called the Japanese Akita, also known as Akita Inu and Akita Ken. The other one is the American strain called American Akita or simply Akita. Free breeding between the two is not commonly done.
The Akita is a generally large and powerful dog. It weighs 100–130 pounds and stands 65–72 centimetres at the withers. It has a huge head with a broad forehead. It has small triangular eyes, a pointed, short muzzle, and erect ears. It has a broad chest, long legs, and a muscular neck. Its assertive stance and intimidating presence drive away troublemakers.
The Akita has a regal appearance, thanks to its thick, fluffy undercoat, whilst its outer coat is coarse. Its full and lush coats come in a variety of colours. All colours are acceptable except merle. Regular vacuum cleaning in the house is needed as this breed sheds 365 days a year. Also, shedding becomes heavier three times a year. Frequent brushing with a stainless steel comb and a pin brush helps avoid matts. It is not unusual for this dog breed to show feline manners such as cleaning its face after eating and being tidy in the house. However, despite these self-grooming tendencies, it still needs to be bathed once every two to three months.
The Akita is intelligent, independent, and dominant. It is affectionate and loyal to its family members, but aloof to strangers. This breed may not be a good option for families with small and unruly kids as it is heavy and energetic. It does not get along well with other dogs and will chase other pets. These tendencies are usually attributed to its natural instincts as a hunting dog.
The Akita requires dedicated training and challenging tasks so it can channel its energy appropriately. Handlers must be confident and strong-willed or the dog will become stubborn and aggressive to animals especially dogs of the same sex.
This dog breed is generally a good choice for a family pet. However, its temperament will depend largely on its socialisation and training. An Akita that has been overtrained to be a serious watchdog will not likely be a good fit in a domestic environment.
A typical serving for this large and active dog is three to five cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. Bloat or gastric torsion is a common stomach disorder that the Akita breed suffers from, so it’s never a good idea to feed it with one big meal a day. Measure its food and split it into two meals a day to prevent this ailment from occurring and also to ensure a trim body size. Like in every breed, the amount of food depends on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism.
The Akita has a tendency to become obese after it has been spayed or neutered, so make sure to keep an eye on its waistline and adjust its intake. It must also be fed with a gluten-free diet to avoid allergies. The best recommended diet is the BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). However, it best to consult a veterinarian before deciding on this type of diet for your Akita.
The average lifespan of an Akita is ten to twelve years. It is generally healthy, but predisposed to a number of health conditions. These include bloating, glaucoma, hip and elbow dysplasia, entropion, meningitis, hypothyroidism, myasthenia gravis, progressive retinal atrophy, and sebaceous adenitis.
The Akita does not require long hours of exercise as it is not a hyperactive dog. Short walks and romping in the backyard for a few minutes will suffice. It may not be a good idea to take it to dog parks because of its dog-aggressive tendencies.
Purchasing an Akita puppy will cost you £300 to £600; expect to pay more if coming from a reputable breeder. On top of the initial purchase, you need to buy high-quality dog food, which is £40 to £60 a month. Other costs are toys and dog supplies costing around £200. Veterinary fees, check-ups, vaccinations, boosters, and other healthcare expenses are estimated at £1,200 a year.
For pet insurance, this will set you back £50 a month for basic coverage and £80 a month for lifetime coverage. Overall, you might be spending around £15,840 to £20,160 throughout your Akita’s lifetime depending on the insurance coverage. Expect to pay more for treatments and medical procedures not covered by the pet insurance.
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