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Akita Dog Breed Characteristics & Information
The Akita dogs are highly intelligent and independent, making them great protectors and companions. Akitas are typically reserved and aloof around strangers, but they form deep bonds with their families.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the world of Akita dogs, exploring their unique qualities, care requirements, training tips, and common health problems.
What is the Origin of Akita Dogs?
Akita dogs, often referred to as the Akita Inu or Akita Ken, as “Inu” and "Ken” means dog in Japanese, are a large and powerful breed hailing from the mountainous regions of Japan.
Their heritage is deeply rooted in Japanese culture, and they are considered a symbol of happiness, good health, and long life.
These majestic canines have a history that spans centuries, playing various roles, from guarding Japanese royalty to hunting large animals like bears and boars. They are renowned for their bravery, independence, and loyalty.
What are the Characteristics of Akita Dogs?
Some of the various characteristics of Akita dogs are:
- Lifespan: On average, Akita dogs have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years when properly cared for. As with any breed, genetics, diet, and overall health play a significant role in determining their longevity.
- Height: Male Akita dogs typically stand between 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder, while females range from 24 to 26 inches. This breed's height, coupled with their sturdy build, contributes to their imposing presence.
- Colour: Akita dogs come in several coat colours, including white, brindle, and brown. The Akita's colouration is distinct and varies among individuals.
- Weight: Male Akita dogs typically weigh between 45 to 59 kg, while females weigh in at a slightly smaller range of 32 to 45 kg. Their weight varies with factors such as genetics, diet, and exercise.
- Behaviour and Personality: Akita dogs are renowned for their loyalty and protective nature. They tend to be reserved around strangers but are loving towards children and other pets.
- Living Conditions: Akita dogs can thrive living in an apartment as long as they receive their daily walks. They are more comfortable in colder climates and snowy conditions, and they may not do well in hot weather.
- Breed Group: As part of the working group, Akita dogs possess a strong work ethic. Their historical role as hunters and protectors has shaped their characteristics, making them diligent and committed.
- Coat: Akita dogs have a double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and a harsh outer coat. Their coat provides insulation, especially in colder climates, and requires regular grooming.
- Tail: The Akita's tail is a defining feature, typically curled over their back in a plume-like fashion. This tail enhances their graceful and elegant appearance.
- Barking: Being vocal dogs is not typical of Akitas. Usually, they simply bark to get attention or to serve as a deterrent. As soon as someone enters your property, due to their fearless nature, they will begin to bark.
How to Train Akita Dogs?
Training your Akita dog is a significant part of owning this breed, as it ensures their safety and strengthens your bond with them. Here are some key training tips:
- Early Socialisation: In order to keep your Akita from developing excessive protectiveness and aggression towards strangers and other animals, early socialisation is essential. Expose them to different people and animals.
- Train in Short Sessions: Akita dogs have a short attention span, so keep training sessions brief, engaging, and positive. Short, focused sessions are more effective than long, monotonous ones.
- Train When Alert: Choose training times when your Akita is alert and receptive. Avoid training during their rest or playtime, as they may become easily distracted.
- Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward-based training works exceptionally well with the Akita dog. Treats and praise are powerful motivators for Akita dogs. This approach helps maintain their eagerness to please their owners.
- Ignore Bad Behaviour: Akita dogs can be stubborn, and responding to bad behaviour with punishment can be counterproductive. Instead, ignore undesirable actions and focus on rewarding good behaviour.
- Focus on Simple Commands: Teach your Akita dogs basic commands like sit, stay, and come. These commands are essential for safety and everyday interactions.
- Leash Manners: Akita dogs are strong and can be challenging to handle on a leash. Teaching them proper leash manners from a young age is essential for your safety and their well-being.
- Incorporate Playtime: Akitas enjoy playtime with their owners. Interactive toys, fetch, and other games can help burn off energy and strengthen the bond between you and your Akita.
What are the Health Problems in Akita Dogs?
Like all breeds, Akita dogs are susceptible to certain health issues. Here are five common health concerns in Akita dogs:
- Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV): This is a life-threatening condition that affects deep-chested breeds like Akitas. GDV occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists, leading to restricted blood flow.
- Patellar Luxation: A condition where the kneecap (patella) is dislocated from its normal position, causing lameness. This condition can range from mild to severe and may require surgical intervention.
- Hypothyroidism: A deficiency in thyroid hormone production can lead to a range of symptoms, including weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems. Medication can help manage this condition effectively.
- Hip Dysplasia: A common genetic disorder in larger breeds like Akitas, hip dysplasia is the malformation of the hip joint. This can lead to pain and mobility issues.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary condition that causes gradual blindness, PRA typically appears in older Akita dogs. There is no cure, but adaptations can be made to help affected dogs lead fulfilling lives.
How to Take Care of Akita Dogs?
Akita dogs are not suitable for first-time dog owners, as they are not easy to take care of due to their aggressive nature. Here are some essential tips to consider:
- Diet and Nutrition: The health of your Akita dog depends on a proper diet. High-quality food for them includes Chicken, fish, turkey, steak and duck. Some Akitas like to eat pancake batter, rice and cottage cheese.
- Feeding: Feeding Akita should be done no less than twice a day. Your dog's diet should consist mostly of high-quality, completely dry food. Overfeeding may lead to digestive problems.
- Grooming: Akita dogs have a double coat that sheds seasonally. Frequent brushing and periodic grooming are essential for preserving the coat's well-being and appearance. Ensure their nails are trimmed regularly.
- Exercise: Akita dogs are very large in size with high energy level. Daily walks, playtime, and mentally stimulating activities are essential to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour.
- Teeth Care: Akita dogs frequently encounter dental issues, making it advisable to brush their teeth a minimum of three times per week. Dental chews and toys can also help with teeth cleaning.
- Ear Cleaning: Akita dogs are prone to ear infections due to their ear shape and size. Weekly clean and inspect their ears for any signs of infection. You can clean it with a cotton ball and ear cleaner.
Akita dogs' loyalty, imposing appearance, and protective instincts make them a unique and valuable addition to any family. However, owning an Akita comes with responsibilities, including providing proper care, training, and attention to their health.