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The Akita dog breed has a strong and imposing figure that makes it a great guard dog. True to its appearance, this dog breed was originally bred to protect Japanese royalty. It was also known to track and hunt wild boars and black bears. On the flip side, Akitas are affectionate and loving to its families, making it an excellent companion dog as well as a family pet. When trained early and socialised well, Akitas are one of the most well-rounded dog breeds. Its average life expectancy is between 10 to 12 years.
Are you thinking of getting an Akita? Here is a brief background of the “Great Japanese dog.”
The most popular Akita in the world may be the loyal Hachiko, whose life was translated 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 used by Japanese royalty as guards and hunting partners. 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. The kinds we see today were developed in the US.
This breed is referred as the “Great Japanese dog.” The Kennel Clubrecognizes 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.
Akitas are generally large, powerful dogs. They weigh 100 to 130 pounds and stand 65 to 72 centimetres at the withers. They have a huge head with a broad forehead. They have small triangular eyes, pointed short muzzles and erect ears. They have broad chests, long legs and muscular necks. Their assertive stance and intimidating presence drive away troublemakers.
The Akita has a regal appearance, thanks to its thick, fluffy undercoat, while 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 this self-grooming tendencies, it should still 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.
Akitas require dedicated training and challenging tasks so they can channel their energy appropriately. Handlers must be confident and strong-willed or they 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 serious watchdogs will not likely be a good fit in a domestic environment.
A typical serving for this large and active dog is 3 to 5 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. Bloat/gastric torsion is a common stomach disorder that Akitas suffer from, so it’s never a good idea to feed it one big meal a day. Measure its food and limit to 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. Best recommended diet is the BARF diet (Bones as Raw Food). However, it best to consult a veterinarian before deciding on this type of diet for your Akita.
The average lifespan of Akitas is 10 to 12 years. They are 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.
Are you planning to buy an Akita dog breed? Before you make that decision, it is essential for you to know how much it will likely cost you. Purchasing an Akita puppy will cost you £300 to £600, more if coming from a reputable breeder.
On top of the initial purchase, you need to buy high-quality dog food,which is around £40 to £60 a month. For pet insurance, this will set you back £50 a month for a basic coverage and £80 a month for a lifetime coverage. Other costs are toys and dog supplies costing around £200. Don’t forget about veterinary fees for the annual health checks, which will quickly add up to over £1,200 a year.
Overall, you might be spending around £15,840 to £20,160 throughout its lifespan depending on the insurance coverage you select for your Akita. Not to mention, treatments and other medical expenses not covered by the pet insurance.
Are you sure the Akita is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Still not sure? Take our Pet Finder to find more suggested dog breeds that match your personality and lifestyle.
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