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Short History of the Breed:The Akita's ancestors were dogs used by matagi for hunting. These dogs, usually called matagi inu, were not as large as modern Akita dogs. Many of these dogs were used as guard dogs. Many were used to guard the emperor and his children. They were also used for hunting bears, usually trained as mated pairs, with a pair of eagles. The two dogs would attack the bear as it was distracted by the eagles in the air. As a result of this hunting, hundreds of akita dogs were killed by the 1700 lb (770kg) yezo bears which they were commonly used to hold at bay. Recent DNA analysis found that the Akita was among the most ancient dog breeds.
The breed stands 64 to 70 cm at the shoulders. Females weigh anywhere from 34-50kg. Males are 34-54kg. The Akita Inu come in only five colours: Red, Fawn, Sesame, Brindle, and Pure White. All except white must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, body and tail. Black masks, as seen in the American Akita, are not permitted in the Japanese Akita Inu. All colors are accepted in the American Akita. The Pinto color is not accepted as a Japanese Akita color, but is as an American Akita color. In the U.S., some breeders interbreed the original Japanese type with the heavier American type, which is larger, and allows more colors. It is felt by some that combining the two types leads to improved appearance and genetic health by increasing genetic diversity. In the United States, there is only a single Akita breed registered by the American Kennel Club, whereas they are separated into two breeds in every other country in the world except Canada. In all other countries the breed has been separated into two breeds: the Akita Inu and the American Akita. However, the American Akita is seen by some American breeders as being a different breed than the Japanese and these breeders advocate a splitting of the one breed into two.
Physical Description & Size:
Akitas possess a double coat, with a dense straight undercoat, and a thick outer coat. This coat makes the dog waterproof, as well as being well-equipped for the fierce winters in northern Japan. Due to the thickness of their coat, the breed requires daily grooming, and also an awareness of the dog's heavy shedding, especially during warm weather. The Japanese Akita Inu is a loyal, docile and aloof. They are well known for being excellent house dogs, they are clean and quiet, only barking when there is something to bark about. In general they are very friendly and easy going dogs.
Dog Care (exercise, grooming, diet):
Health Issues & Life Expectancy:
Some of the health conditions known to affect this breed include:
- Canine herpesvirus, a strain of the Herpes virus that happens to affect canines
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), a condition associated with bloat
- Pemphigus, which causes the autoimmune system to attack the dog's skin (leading to pustules)
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an adult-onset condition which gradual degeneration in the eye cells (i.e. rods & cones)
- UveoDermatological Syndrome (UDS)
- Sebaceous adenitis, an autoimmune condition which attacks and destroys the dog's sebaceous glands
- Canine hip dysplasia
- Hyperkalaemia As a breed, Akitas have abnormally high blood potassium concentrations compared to other breeds.
- Heart size As a breed, Akitas have an unusually small heart for their size. A number of Akitas have died while being operated, due to the use of a normal dose of general anaesthetic for a canine of that size, a dose which ultimately proved excessive and fatal to the Akita. For that reason, to avoid anaesthetic-induced death, only the bare minimum dose of general anaesthetic sufficient to produce anaesthesia should be used when an Akita requires general anaesthesia.
Latest page update: made by sands904
, May 4 2009, 10:25 AM EDT
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