The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.
Descending from regional hunting dogs, the Japanese Akitainu was initially restored and preserved by dedicated breeders in the Akitainu Hozonkai (Akita Dog Preservation Society; AKIHO). The breed is known for its striking appearance and its physical and mental agility.
The diet of the Japanese Akitainu depends on the individual dog’s activity level, health needs, and owner preferences. This breed is prone to allergies so finding the right food ingredients/sources is important as well as ensuring the food is of high quality. Feeding three times a day for puppies and twice a day for adults is suggested.
A slicker brush may be used during grooming sessions during normal times. However, the Japanese Akitainu blows its undercoat twice a year. Profusely. So expect tufts of hair everywhere during that time. A bath, followed by cold forced air dryer and a comb out will help expedite the natural process of blowing coat. Nails should be kept trimmed using clippers or a nail grinder. Regular teeth brushing and maintaining ear cleanliness are essential not just for appearance but for health. To maintain healthy and luxurious coats, gentle brushing every few days is recommended (depending on activities); for long coats, more frequent brushing will help to avoid matting.
The breed has a high prey drive and may be dog-aggressive; therefore, it is recommended to keep the Japanese Akitainu on leash in public spaces or around other animals and unfamiliar people. Regular walks and mental exercise are highly recommended for the breed. With proper training and precautions, they also make fine companions for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.
The Japanese Akitainu responds best to positive training and methods that utilize their natural intelligence. They bore quickly with repetition, so short and varied sessions are more effective. Daily mental challenges and enrichment are necessary to keep dogs of this breed engaged. Because of their hunting background, Japanese Akitainu tend to enjoy using their natural instincts in nose work, barn hunt, and lure coursing.
Autoimmune disorders, for which there are currently no genetic tests, such as sebaceous adenitis, uveodermatalogic syndrome, pemphigus, discoid lupus, food and environmental allergies, etc., affect this breed. There have been cases of amelogenesis imperfecta which can be screened for.
The national breed club requires testing of hips and eyes and strongly recommends screenings for patella, thyroid, and amelogenesis imperfecta/enamel hypoplasia issues.
The Japanese Akitainu’s history parallels that of the other five existing native Japanese breeds, shifting from the brink of extinction to becoming a source of national pride. Over centuries, five major eras of the breed history may be identified, some of which overlap:
Hunting – In the mountainous terrain of the Tōhoku region, where Akita Prefecture is located, traditional village hunters called Matagi developed the Matagiinu (Matagi dog), a slightly larger than medium-sized dog to hunt large game. The Matagiinu is considered the ancestor of the modern-day Akitainu.
Guarding – Due to civil unrest in the Ōdate area, noblemen began to use their hunting dogs to also guard their homes.
Fighting – Across various historical periods (Edo to Meiji and Taisho), some Akitainu were crossed with larger western breeds such as Mastiffs to yield winning results in dog fight rings.
Restoration – By the Meiji era, the Japanese agricultural department deemed the breed as existing in a state of impurity. In 1927, Akitainu Hozonkai (AKIHO), the world’s first and most influential Akitainu registry and organization, was established in the city of Ōdate, ushering in a concerted effort to restore and preserve the characteristics of the original native Akita dogs. The Akitainu was officially designated Tennen Kinen Butsu (Natural Monument) of Japan in 1931; however, continued restoration efforts were interrupted by WWII. It is believed that only 16 Akitainu existed by war’s end and some were said to have been crossbred to military German Shepherd Dogs while a few pure specimens remained in a remote village in Tōhoku. Japanese Akitainu breeders again began to restore the breed away from the transitional mixed Akita dogs to their native origin.
Preservation – Throughout the post-war decades, breeders have made great strides restoring and preserving the Akitainu. With encouragement from Japan, the first overseas AKIHO club was officially established in 1970 in the US. With encouragement from AKIHO North America, the Japanese Akitainu Club of America was formed in 1997.
|Description||Standard Colors||Registration Code|
|Brindle||Check Mark For Standard Color||057|
|Red||Check Mark For Standard Color||140|
|White||Check Mark For Standard Color||199|
|Description||Standard Markings||Registration Code|