- Be sure to read my Home Page, as there is some good Akita Info there, as well.
- Remember, most Akitas LOVE LOVE LOVE "their" families and LOVE LOVE LOVE "their" children very much, are super loyal, and are very goofy and playful with them. They probably will not show this amount of affection towards just anyone, as they mostly just show their true selves to their families and perhaps close friends of the family, that they see on a regular basis. In this way, Akitas can be "aloof" towards people they don't know, or "not seem to care" about anyone besides his owner. It is not that they do not like other people or other animals, it is just that they don't find the importance of getting all excited about a person that they are not close to. Of course everyone wants to pet an Akita or especially an Akita puppy, but you must not force it upon the puppy. Let them seek out attention at their own pace, but of course, always make meeting a new person or animal as positive of an experience as you can. This can be done by letting the new person give your Akita a few treats, and squatting down to their level, perhaps holding out a hand for them to sniff. Never let people "get in your Akitas face" - they will feel threatened and may act accordingly. The Akitas' character is complex, and there is always something new to learn. They truly are fascinating animals, with much dignity and command respect wherever they go. Keep in mind once you own an Akita, you'll never go back - they have been called "The King of Dogs" and to me, are the epitome of what a dog should be. Even though they may be reserved with strangers, they will be dignified and polite and should "tolerate" everything that they are exposed to on a constant basis, starting when they are real young, and on into adulthood. Keep in mind there are exceptions to every rule - some Akitas are very friendly! Akitas can be great dogs, you just have to understand them and you will be rewarded ten fold!
Go to www.akita-dog.com to read all about commonly asked questions regarding Akitas.
- For a GREAT article on Akita Temperament, click here.
- Below is an excerpt from a great article talking about the book 'Dog Man', by Martha Sherrill, which is about a man named Morie Sawataishi who dedicated his life to save the ancient Japanese dog from extinction, near the time of WWII.
"It never really mattered what the dogs looked like. Their essence or spirit was the quality most sought after. A good Akita was quiet and fearless, could approach a cornered bear and prompt it to chase, and was virtually weatherproof. In recent times, there has been a debate worldwide about what the breed is supposed to look like, and a split between two styles has emerged. Akitas in the United States have heavy bodies, thick faces and a shepherd snout while the dogs in Japan are less beefy with smaller heads, delicate features and a fox-like snout. But centuries ago and still today, they share certain traits: a tightly curled tail, erect or 'prick’ ears, long and heavy legs. They resemble, in many ways, dogs from cold climates all over the globe – working dogs that have been used for centuries to pull sleds or hunt big game. They have hearty appetites, eating as much as 6lb of food a day, great stamina, sharp hunting instincts, and a thick double coat of fur that’s heavy enough to allow them to burrow deep in the snow and sleep there. During a blizzard, flakes of wet snow stick to their coats and cover them completely, insulation that keeps them even warmer."
A few pieces of advice:
Hmmm... other info... there is a lot! :-)
Basically, Akitas are great dogs, I LOVE them! But as you know they are not for everyone. You can't be a "push over" with them, or they will think they are boss, and whatever they do is fine. They must know you are alpha, but in a respectful, firm and calm manner. If they do something bad or that you don't want them to do, sometimes just a verbal reprimand is OK, but other times, they do need to be put onto their back for a bit, and as soon as they stop fighting you and accept this posture/gesture from you, then you let them up. Be calm the whole time. If you "loose your cool" they know it. This reinforces that you are the pack leader, but a good (fair) one at that.
That is the biggest piece of advice, to get a dog that will listen to you. Also, every time you greet the dog, it should be a positive and HAPPY moment. Let them know you love them!
The other thing is taking them everywhere with you, as many different people/places/situations, to get them well versed and accepting of new things/people/animals.
Unless LOTS of socializing at a young age, and continued into adulthood, you might have a dog that doesn't like other dogs (he will be fine with dogs he grows up with)...
Any questions, including after you take him home, I encourage you to contact me!
First and foremost, be consistent in all you do - use the same command every time; always pick a short word and utter it clearly and with confidence. Also, make training FUN not a CHORE!!! Sometimes great patience is needed; when you get frustrated, so does your Akita - stay calm, take a deep breath, and try again! Remember to take BABY STEPS - a little bit of success that is rewarded with lots of treats is worth SO much more than a lot of frustration trying to do too many things all at once. A few minutes at a time, several times throughout the day is MUCH more successful than an hour of intense training once a day. That way you can keep things fun and light, and they don't get bored or frustrated. This kind of approach encourages success!
Yes, sometimes Akitas can be a bit stubborn, but they'll come around! I heard somewhere that in order to make an Akita do what you want them to do, you have to "trick" them into thinking THEY are the ones making YOU do things. If that makes sense. Like for example, when YOU say "sit" and make them sit, and you get all happy that they sat, THEY are thinking, "oh, look what I made my human do! They are acting all funny, and they look and act so silly when I sit - I made them do that!" Then they feel that THEY made YOU do something, but in reality, YOU got what YOU wanted, in the end. It can be a mind game at times... :-) Gotta get creative I guess - and remember, to keep all training sessions short and FUN! Not too repetitive, too; Akitas are smart and get bored with repetition and find it insulting to their intelligence! :-) Lots of praise and acting silly! :-) Basically, make a big fuss every time they do something right, and don't give them any attention when they aren't doing what you want them to do.
The above passage was actually referring to a puppy buyer that just couldn't get her puppy to come when called. The puppy knew the command, and was doing well with it, but then stopped listening. I also suggested she try a long leash (you can get them 20' or so) and treat her until she came consistently, and listened well.
A lot of how a dog responds is up to the human, and how they hold themselves. It is possible that they may not be taking you seriously, as their pack leader... You don't want to be mean, but you MUST be confident, firm, fair, and expect / anticipate them to obey you at all times - but it should be happy, not too demanding.
Great books on training (For example, "Cesars Way," by Cesar Milan) have been very helpful to me, as well as many good on line resources.
Good luck and I don't mind you asking all the questions you need to!
Essential Commands and Lessons for your new puppy:
1. "ME" : This command is get your pup's attention so he knows what to do next from you. You can practice many times a day, randomly, by first, getting some small, soft treats (tiny bits of hot dog work wonders!) then saying the pup's name, followed immediately by "ME" command. Then give the pup a treat and say good boy. The trick is to hold the treat close to the dogs nose, as you say "ME" and then quickly move the treat up to YOUR face, to get the dog to actually LOOK at you, even for a moment, and to get that FOCUS on YOU, not his surroundings. Then immediately after you have moved the treat from his nose to yours, you give it to him with lots of praise. This should be repeated about five times in a row, at least several times a day. Basically, you're just conditioning the dog to focus on you, and wait for his next move, every time you call his name and say, "ME!"
2. "WAIT" : This is a command I use ALL the time. Once a dog learns it, it's so much easier to do EVERYTHING! The easiest way to teach this is at feeding time. You get the food bowl in your hands, and say "WAIT!", while holding the dog back and waiting for a second before you put the bowl down in front of him, letting him eat, only AFTER he is able to wait for a moment. Soon, you'll have your pup looking to you as you set the bowl down, and he won't even eat until you say "OK!" This teaches the pup patience, and self control - essential in a large powerful breed like the Akita. This command also goes hand in hand with the next one, "OK." Another great time to enforce the "WAIT" command is when you're going in and out the door of the house, car, or at the base of stairways, etc. Basically, anytime you don't want the dog bolting, or dragging you through doorways, or down a set of stairs, etc. For example, when you're coming home from an outing, and you're at the front door of the house, and your dog is anxious to get in right away, you tell him "WAIT" and then YOU enter the house FIRST, then let him in and praise him for waiting. At first you can use your body/legs to physically move past him into the house first, and then let him enter, by saying "OK!" He'll get the message, as long as you're consistent. Soon, he will be waiting for you to enter first, and come to expect this as normal. Not only is this command very handy, it also enforces that you are the pack leader/alpha dog. By always entering and exiting first/in front of the dog, you are sending him a non-verbal signal that he must follow you, not the other way around.
3. "OK" : This command releases the dog from whatever he has done for you. Like, after you're done with the "ME" exercises, you say "OK" with much enthusiasm and a pat of affection, then the dog knows he's done, and the lesson is over. Also, use "OK" to signal the dog he's done "waiting", like when you're through the door, and he's waited for you, you say "OK" and he'll bound into the house after you, happy to know you are in control of the situation, and he can follow you. Just like kids, dogs thrive with a bit of boundaries and "rules" - they do better because of it, even if they won't admit it!
4. Sometimes, like kids, you have to give them a "TIME OUT," to let them cool their jets for a minute, and to reconsider their actions. For example, a common issue for a lot of people is that their puppy/dog barks too much when people come over to the house, and are acting a little too protective. Well, its OK to let the dog bark once or twice at first, but if it continues well past the initial meeting, action must be taken! What we've found works wonders, is to first of all, stay CALM!!! Don't make the barking/protective behavior worse by yelling or hitting or "loosing your cool" towards him. When you've had enough of the bad behavior, simply remove him from the situation by holding his collar, and shuttling him to another room. When you put him in there, simply say a firm "NO BARK," or "QUIET," or whatever word you choose, and shut the door. Only leave him in there for maybe 30 seconds or so, just a very short time, because you don't want him to get the idea he is isolated and you're never coming back, which will make him even more resentful and protective, because he doesn't know what is going on in the other room. After you let him out, tell the visitor to just ignore him, as if the dog isn't even there. It's OK for him to sniff the visitor or seem interested, but the attitudes of everyone must remain that the dog is NOT the most important person in the room!!! Once the dog begins to calm down and "accept" the visitor, praise and attention should be given, letting the dog know that THIS is how you want him to behave. If he starts to exhibit the undesirable behavior again, just repeat the TIME OUT. You may have to calmly shuttle him to his time-out room several times before he makes the connection that "every time I bark at the visitor, I get sent away," and that "every time I'm quiet and good I can stay in the same room as my master." He'll get the message, just be consistent! You want a well behaved Akita that at least "tolerates" a non-threatening visitor to your home.
5. On being "MOUTHY" aka nibbling / biting. Cute at first, but a habbit that pups need to break RIGHT AWAY! What you can do for that is, every time he bites/nibbles on you or your hubby or your kids, the person being "mouthed" upon must make a high pitched "yelp" (mimicking that of his siblings) to make him know "that hurts!!!" and do NOT accept that mouthing behavior, because if you don't stop it right away, he'll keep doing it. You want to encourage a SOFT mouth, and this technique will work. It must be a very loud, high pitched almost scream - enough to startle him into thinking it hurt you (whether or not it actually hurt you is besides the point) - then don't let it happen again, or keep repeating the screach, with a small jab under the chin/side of cheek, or a shake of the scruff, to discourage it. No beating, just a screach and an attitude of not accepting that type of behavior.
6. CONFIDENCE - to be or not to be... You want a dog that is sure of itself; one that is confident and not scared or nervous. Some dogs are naturally prone one way or other, but dogs do feed off thier owners' behaviors much more than we can imagine. If your puppy is natually confident - this is great, but if left un - checked, and the puppy grows to think HE is the leader of the pack, this could lead to trouble. Encourage his confidence, but also draw the boundary lines and enforce them! Don't let him get away with stuff, and be sure to assert yourself as the alpha pack leader. If your puppy is naturally a bit more timid, this is OK, but we do not want the dog to grow up to be a scared dog. To avoid this, when you're in a situation where you notice the dog acting scared or nervous, do NOT pet and stroke the dog, making soothing noises to it, telling it that "it's OK." Because, it is NOT OK to cower back at things or people. You want a dog that is sure of itself. Instead of "babying" the dog, you ignore the unwanted behavior, and praise the dog when it does start to act with more confidence (the wanted behavior).
7. To get your dog to "COME" - this can be so frustrating, but it does not have to be! Puppies love games, so let's make a game out of this 'task' so the puppy has fun doing it! Puppies also love to chase things that are moving, so you can start out by running in front of the puppy, encouraging it to follow you, while at the same time yelling, Fido, COME! Then after a bit, turn and praise him lavishly. Repeat this often. Also, you can get a friend to help hold Fido, while you walk a short distance away. Then run away a bit, while saying COME! He will chase you, and when he reaches you, lavish praise on him. Repeat often. This will get him into the habit of something fun and chasing you and coming back to you, when he hears the word, 'come.' Positive association! Also, many people over - do this excercize so that the puppy gets burned out on it. A few times a day is fine, and keeping it fun, then, when you really DO need your dog to come, to keep it out of a bad situation or something, he will listen to you, because he remembers 'come' as something fun and he gets lots of praise when he does this.
8. On being "ALONE." Many of my puppy buyers say, "oh, the puppy will never be alone - someone will be with it all the time!" This seems like a good thing, but if the puppy never experiences the feeling of being left alone for short periods of time, that ONE TIME you actually need to leave the puppy for a while, he will freak out!!! Then the owners wonder, "why does my puppy have seperation anxiety?" It's because the puppy never got taught that it is OK to be alone, and not a bad thing. From a young age, you want the puppy to get used to being alone for short periods of time, with LOTS of praise afterwards. This can either be in a kennel or just in the house. Pretend to leave the house, but only step outside for a few minutes, then when you come back inside, praise the puppy lavishly and give treats. Maybe later in the day repeat this. The next day increase the time to maybe 15 minutes. Repeat. Increase the time each day or every few days until you've successfully reached a few hours with the puppy being alone. Always praise lavishly when you get home and give treats. Now you have a dog that won't have bad seperation anxiety, the few times that it DOES need to be left alone, for whatever reason.
9. On "JUMPING UP": As far as jumping up on every guest who comes through the front door of your home, or when meeting people, yes that can be bothersome... You know your dog is just being friendly, but the other people don't. Plus it's just bad manners! Basically you have to put him on a leash when someone comes to the door (already have him on leash). And standing nearby to the guest, ask the dog to sit, give a treat, ask him to stay, and then ask your guest to come greet the dog, but not too excitedly! If needed, use your hand to keep his butt in a sitting position, and give a treat right away afterwards. A lot of repetition will need to happen, and rewarding that calm behavior within 3 seconds of him doing it, for his new good behavior to really stick.
The good ol' knee in the chest every time he jumps up at ya always does the trick, and always lots of praise when he actually does what you want him to do (greeting you or others without jumping) ...
THIS BASIC ACT OF IGNORING UNWANTED BEHAVIOR AND PRAISING WANTED BEHAVIOR WORKS FOR ALMOST EVERYTHING!!! TRY IT AND YOU'LL BE SURPRISED!!!
10. Potty Training : Well potty training is a process that sometimes takes a while. However, many of my puppy buyers marvel at how fast they learn, and how FEW accidents they have. Here are some tips to get off on the right foot , er, paw :
Basically, every time she's out of the crate, she must be watched, and quickly shuttled outside , if she starts to go on the floor. Just a firm NO! , then take her outside, with lots of praise when she does go outside.
Also, don't let her have full run of the house right away. Use baby gates etc, to keep her confined say, in the kitchen, or some small other area where she can be watched.
And puppies have to go potty right away, after : waking up, playing, and soon after eating or drinking, so it's just a matter of you keeping track of her doing those things, and you remembering to take her outside promptly, before she has a chance to squat on the floor.
Also, take up her food and water dishes at a certain point each night, say 6 or 7 pm, that way she isn't having food and water right before bed, prompting whining / accidents at night etc.
It can be a lot of work, but I promise, a few weeks of hard work will pay off and she will make the connection soon !!
Hang in there, :-)
11. How do I get my puppy to stop playing with and biting at the leash while walking? Use a collar not a harness, and even a regular chain choke collar , make sure collar fits well, with only about 2" slack. When walking, keep collar as far UP the neck as possible, right under her chin. Then keep the leash part at the back of her neck with the leash fairly short and taught but loose enough so her collar is not always tight. Walk onward with confidence and if she fights it, simply stop but ignore her. Once she stops fighting it, rearrange the collar as explained above and start again. Keep tiny soft treats in your hand or pocket (even tiny pieces of hot dog) and reward her FAST (within 3 seconds) of her walking forward successfully. Keep walking. Keep rewarding. Repeat all steps as necessary until she has mastered this important skill.
More Lessons to come, keep checking back!
The Breed Split (nutshell version):
OK, with what I thought I could put inside a nutshell, turned out to be a coconut. Even with what is contained in the below statements, I've just touched the surface...
This topic has brought much controversy among the Akita community, and still remains in limbo for some groups and clubs. There are two "types" of Akitas - the Japanese Akita and the American Akita. Most of the world has recognized that these two types are indeed so different, that they have classified them as two different breeds entirely. The USA is one of the only countries that continues to deny the fact that they should be considered different breeds, not just two types. Now, they are closely related, as they both came from the same original stock, but have diverged considerably over the past 60 years or so. The Akita in Japan has been around for hundreds of years, and has gone through various phases of transformation, through periods of both isolation, and influence of other breeds. Around the time of WWII, Akitas were in danger of near extinction, and were cross bred with certain breeds (primarily Western breeds such as the German Shepherd, Mastiffs, Danes) but also the Tosa Inu and other Asian breeds. A handful of Akitas remained, hidden in the mountains, by owners that were concerned about the preservation of this breed. After the war, these Akitas in hiding were what was used to restore the breed, and eventually become what the Japanese Akita is today. On the other hand, many of the Akitas that were cross-bred around the time of the war, were exported to the USA and other countries, as the soldiers made their ways home. It is the decendents of these Akitas that now make up what is know today as the American Akita. The Japanese people have been restoring their Akita to what they believe is a close match to the original large mountain hunting dog of Japan, and are more limited in the colors that they find acceptable. They accept red, white, brindle and sesame colors, and their dogs are lighter in build, have a fox- like snout, and are in general more elegant and refined. They are still large spitz style dogs, that are able to hunt the 800 pound Yezo bear, among other things. The American Akita, however, comes in any color (including black and pinto) and black masking on the face IS acceptable, unlike the Japanese Akita. Basically, the only Akitas that they allowed to be exported from their country in the first place, were those dogs they found to be unacceptable to what they had in mind for their breeding programs. It was these dogs that the American Akita was founded on. There have been a handful of pure Japanese imports to the US from time to time, but they are few and far between. That is why sometimes even an American Akita can closely resemble a Japanese Akita. So, from about the 1960's onward, the Akita has diverged from the one breed, into two. Yes, both breeds have had their ups and downs, as far as development, but both breeds have been bred towards a certain standard for so long now, that they are now two entirely different, magnificent creatures, that can clearly be distinguished as being either an American Akita or a Japanese Akita. The main problem that arises from this distinction, is when Akitas enter the Show Ring. Should these large, heavy, shepherd-like Akitas from the USA be competing in the same ring as these light, reddish, fox-like Akitas from Japan? They are so different that ONE breed standard cannot even come close to including both types, and giving each type a fair chance to succeed. That is why there are several kennel clubs worldwide that now recognize that each breed should be given a chance to compete in the show ring against dogs more similar to each other. The American Akita can compete against other American Akitas, and the Japanese Akita can compete against other Japanese Akitas. This is a fair game now. But not in the USA, within the AKC show rings. The AKC and ACA still continue to deny this "breed split" and therefor much frustration has arisen, especially in the show circuit. There are some breeders that want to protect and honor each breed as a separate entity and will not breed an American Akita to a Japanese Akita. There are other breeders that want to cross the two types, to produce what many call "tweenies", that are still eligible to compete in the show ring, as long as they are AKC registered. However, it is difficult to make this combination, as a pure Japanese Import Akita may not be eligible for AKC registration in the USA, even though it is indeed a 100 % pure, original Japanese Akita. Furthermore, that Akita is probably registered in Japan, through one of their registries, and would be able to compete there, in shows put on by their kennel clubs. Through various phases of restrictions on import/export in Japan and the USA, a few pure Japanese Akitas have managed to become registered with the AKC, and it is these Akitas that could potentially be bred with American Akitas, to produce those "tweenie" Akitas that you see from time to time. So, for now, the AKC and ACA still remain in limbo on this topic, therefor resulting in much confusion and frustration between breeders. The more time that goes by, the more "tweenies" are produced. When this happens, pure Japanese Akitas become muddied with traits that the Japanese, for many many years have been trying to eliminate, while the pure American Akitas become muddied with traits that breeders have been trying to eliminate for the past 60 years or so. Japanese Akitas start to become heavier, with looser skin, black masks start to pop up, and features become more crude, when Japanese Akitas are known for their lighter build, fine features, and never have a black mask. American Akitas start to loose that heavy, dense bone quality, that their standard insists on, muzzles become longer, and they can start to get that "rangy" look to them, when American Akitas are known for their heavy frames, imposing heads and shorter muzzles. The original large mountain hunting dog of old Japan most closely resembles the Japanese Akita of today, and deserves to be its own breed. The American Akita, even though its roots came from cross-bred war dogs from the 1960's, has now developed into its own breed as well, being fine-tuned to to the majestic dogs we know today. Both breeds are indeed wonderful, and both have their own histories and directions that they have gone. Think of the Japanese Akita as the one thats been around the longest, then the American Akita jumped piggy-back style onto the band wagon, mixed in a few different breeds, and now has gone off in its own direction. Each breed has its own standard that breeders aim for, when planning for the future. Their goals are completely different from each other. To breed the two together again would be like stepping back in time. What remains to be seen is if this would have positive or negative effects for the Akita in general...
So, what does this "Breed Split" have to do
with Arctic Akitas?
The issue of eligible registration comes into play here. Say you have an American Akita that is AKC registered, and of breeding quality, and you want to breed it to a Japanese Akita of breeding quality, that is AKIHO registered (the largest Akita registry in Japan). Well, AKIHO has restrictions on what you can and can't do with your Akita, if you choose to be a member of this group. So, the puppies of this combination usually can NOT be registered with the AKC and furthermore can NOT be registered with the AKIHO. However, the puppies of this pairing certainly would be 100 % Akita, as they came from registered parents on both sides, perhaps even from champion lines and/or parents. BUT they would not possess any "papers" to call their own. Now you can see where a perfectly good, breeding quality Akita may not be registered, but that does not necessarily mean that it should be discounted for purposes of breeding. As long as they are good representations of what an Akita should be, and have had all their health testing done (and passed!) it does not matter if the said Akita has "papers", because we know that it came from excellent, registered parents themselves, perhaps shining examples of what an Akita should be. Some of my Akitas are AKC registered, some are not. This very explanation could be why some Akitas do not have papers, and others do. This is why we consider "paperwork" on a secondary level, below the other (much more important) qualities all reputable breeders should possess. Please view "Our Philosophy" page for more of what we consider important aspects to our Akita Kennel.
I am still researching the registration issue, and more information will come as I find out. I have heard that it may be possible to dual register both AKIHO and AKC, and in this case the puppies from this crossing WOULD be registrable, but there are many hoops to jump through before this can be done. There is also the JKC (Japan Kennel Club) which the AKC does recognize, and will give AKC papers to a dog with JKC registration. The problem is, not very many people register with JKC, however, I have heard that when you import an Akita straight from Japan, they usually have JKC registration, which makes getting AKC registration easier. But then there is the question of, "Would a Japanese-type Akita that does have AKC papers actually do well at an AKC show where they judge according to their standard, which is geared more towards the American Akita body and head shape?" This is when the "Tweenie" comes into play. When bred right, you can combine the traits of both, to produce an Akita with an American Body with Japanese "type." This Akita would have the markings and head shape of the Japanese type Akita, and the nice, heavy bone structure of the American type Akita. The best of BOTH worlds! This is what I hope to breed towards, in the near future...
EDIT : 6/14/2020 - I have been raising Tweenie Akitas now for several years with great success. They are all AKC registered, too! I was able to register my two pure Japanese Akita Inu dogs with the AKC, and have produced many fantastic litters from them. I have paired them up to other Japanese Akita Inus, as well as to American Akitas, all AKC registered, to produce some of the best Akitas I've seen. Please browse my website to see some pictures of the types of Akitas Ive been producing. I will continue to update with more pictures as I get them.
Here is the condensed version of the Breed Split (I promise!):
There are a lot of technicalities and politically involved issues pertaining to the Akita, but I'm more interested in the TRUE history of the Akita in general.
Here's the way I see it:
The large Japanese dog, that was used in the mountains for hunting, has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. Through time, this dog has gone through various phases of development, though periods of isolation (that then allowed for "fine-tuning" of the stock they had), as well as cross breeding (several Asian breeds like the Tosa Inu, but also Western breeds such as Shepherd, Mastiff, Danes, etc). The Akita has stood the test of time, though. To me, the Japanese Akita has been bred back to what they feel is historically accurate, to produce that "Large Mountain Hunting Dog" that has been around for centuries... (red, white, brindle, sesame) That is great. Now, the American Akita has the same historical beginnings as the Japanese Akita, but has only been around for approx 60 years. That is not a lot of time to "become a breed" in my opinion. Around the time of WWII, is when most Akitas made their way to the USA. But what a lot of people fail to recognize is that, the only Akitas that the Japanese allowed to be exported, were Akitas that they felt were inferior, and didn't measure up to their standards, so they had no problem exporting them to the USA. They probably were GLAD to be rid of these poor examples of "Akitas" and left it up to Americans to "fine-tune" this breed, into what we now know as the American Akita of today. Now, I love both the Japanese and American types, but they really are the same dog. The Japanese Akita has been around for the longest, with the American Akita evolving FROM the Japanese Akita (by way of cross bred war dogs from the 1960's onward). I don't want to be crude, but really, the American Akita is basically a watered-down, cross-bred version of a true Japanese Akita. Now, these dogs have been bred with each other for some time now, to produce a certain "type" that breeders aim for, which happens to be a very nice looking dog. But that is besides the point. That the AKC would recognize a "pure-bred" dog like this is beyond me. To take it further, how the AKC or any dog fancy group designates what is a "purebred" dog, is beyond me. How far back do you go, in history, to find out if a dog really is "pure bred?" In my opinion, there is no such thing. Yes, you can breed towards a "type" by using a standard, and you can get some VERY nice looking dogs by doing this, but if you take it back far enough in time, you will find other breeds buried beneath a pile of "paperwork." I will be writing more on the topic of "purebred dogs" in the very near future. Check back often.
Anyway, this is a generalized point of view, and perhaps crass, but I have very strong feelings about this. I'd like to produce and show AKITAS - I don't care if they are Japanese or American or Tweenie - they are all AKITAS!!! Yes, there are differences in type, but when it comes down to it, do they have that Akita SPIRIT that is so important? Can they do more than just look pretty in a show ring? Can they preform in the snowy, mountain country, hunting and protecting, as the Akita was intended to do?
So, you can see how this topic gets complicated
Now, I'm not saying that I don't like the American Akita, or that it is less of an "Akita" than the Japanese type Akitas, BUT, I am saying this:
Perhaps blending the two types of Akitas together would produce that IDEAL Akita that all breeders wish for... one with the nice heavy bone of American style Akitas, that also possesses the great markings and head shape of the Japanese style Akitas. Breed towards the BEST! Breed and show keeping ALL of the many standards in mind, not just one. Therefor you are holding yourself to the highest standards (ALL of them) not just one. Theoretically, you'd end up with the best of the best, producing Akitas with desirable traits coming from both backgrounds. I hope that more people can have this point of view, and do what's best for the Akita in the long term.
Origin of Purebred Dogs (condensed version):
Years ago, there were not dog clubs and groups like those of today. There were different types of dogs around the world, that evolved by way of humans interacting with canines, and "selectively breeding" towards useful dogs that pleased them, and were able to do the tasks at hand. These dogs eventually became more and more similar to each other, were bred to each other, and became what we now know as the purebred dogs of today. Pretty much all purebred dogs nowadays can be traced back to other breeds mixed in along the way (hence, hidden beneath a pile of "paperwork"). This is especially true for the Akita. Being the two types (well, three if you consider the TWEENIE), the American Akita has really only been around for maybe 60-70 years, if that. You KNOW that somewhere in their backgrounds, cross-bred war dogs (shepherds, mastiffs, Tosa Inus, etc) ARE in their backgrounds. So, how much time has to go by, before someone (say the AKC) can designate it as a "purebred dog" anyways? It's just funny to me all the fuss about a dog that, 70 years ago, was a MUTT itself! This is true for all purebred dogs, not just the Akita. Even the Japanese Akita has been bred, over time, to "eliminate" certain traits from other breeds that were present, due to the necessary cross-breeding that had occurred, to prevent it from becoming extinct. Over time, it is possible to eliminate, or greatly reduce the influence of other breeds in a purebred dog, by using "selective breeding." That way, you get more of the desirable traits that what you want in the dog.
Now, I am playing the Devil's advocate right now, and don't get me wrong, I LOVE Akitas - no matter what their background and history. Maybe you're wondering, "Why do we even bother with purebred dogs, anyway?" Because they are BEAUTIFUL creatures that make wonderful companions or working dogs, and we value the integrity of the Akita breed in general. Also, in order to participate in AKC Breed Conformation Shows, your dogs must be AKC registered. However, ANY dog, papered or not, CAN participate in the performance events and competitions put on by the AKC. These events include obedience, rally, and agility. We are not trying to discourage anyone from wanting to have a "papered" dog, but merely putting the information out there, so that you are aware of the true background of purebred dogs in general. It is also to convey our philosophy that paperwork isn't always an indicator of quality, but it IS a guarantee of "pure" lines, at least as far back as the registry itself goes, which sometimes may only be 70 years or so. There are so many beautiful breeds out there, everyone has a preference as to what they like, or what they find useful, and our preference of course, is Akitas! We are always striving to move forward with producing that "ideal" Akita, that can do well both in the show ring, and also in the snowy mountain country, where it originated from.
ONCE AKITA, ALWAYS AKITA!!!