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Dignified. Alert. Watchful. The upstanding Akita finely exhibits his heritage as a guard dog to Japanese royalty. A loyal family guardian, this breed is a good choice for people seeking a watchdog as well as a loyal and loving canine companion.

Where I'm From

The Akita breed is a descendant of Spitz-type dogs and originates from the Akita province of Japan. From the 1600s the dogs were revered guard dogs of the Japanese royal family and well regarded hunting dogs of large game including bears.

Interestingly, the first Akita to make to America was a puppy given as a gift to the famed Helen Keller, who upon visiting Japan was taken to a statue of Hachiko and fell in love with the breed. Hachiko was an Akita famed in the 1920s for his loyalty to his professor master, whom he daily met after work at the train station. Even after the death of the professor, the dog would go to the train station every day await his master's return.

Today, there are two separate varieties of Akita, the Japanese Akita, a smaller dog that comes in less colour varieties, and the American Akita. The breed first came to Australia in the early 1980s. More recently, the Japanese Akita was recognised as a separate breed.

What I Look Like

Akitas are large, muscular dogs whose strong physique matches their hunting backgrounds. Their thick double coats come in many shades including black, white, chocolate, white brindle or pinto (American Akita), though the Japanese variety is only recognised in red fawn, sesame, brindle and white with urajiro (white) markings on their face and bodies. With a big head, pointy ears and a bear-like face, Akitas make a striking, yet endearing looking dog.

How I Act

Akitas are proud, brave and confident dogs that can make utterly devoted family pets. They thrive in lively family homes with people to play with and room to run around in. They are really one pet per home dogs that shouldn't be kept with cats or other small animals, which could suddenly provoke their hunting instinct.

Due to their independent natures and wilful personalities Akitas can be challenging to train. They require a firm, patient master that can devote time to obedience training and socialisation with other dogs and people, which will ensure a well-adjusted pet.

Akitas also need to be taught to walk with a lead and should not left to be roam free as they could run off in chase of prey or anything else of interest to them.

Akitas are large dogs that require a decent amount of daily exercise of 30-60 minutes to stay fit and healthy. Walking or jogging with your Akita and playing fetch in the backyard are ideal. Be wary of visits to the dog park where your Akita may find a fellow canine foe.

Looking After Me

Akitas are generally quite healthy dogs without many medical problems. However, some conditions that may affect Akitas include bloat, hip dysplasia, hyperthyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy as well as sebaceous adenitis, which causes skin infections.

It is advisable to check the temperament and medical history of a puppy's parents and view veterinarian clearance certificates to ensure you get a healthy dog though not every ailment can be predicted. Be very wary of uncertified backyard breeders.

Akitas have a lifespan of around 10-12 years.

They need to be fed a diet of high-quality dry food twice a day as per packaging recommendations.

Akitas have a dense double coat that sheds a few times a year. When they shed, their fur literally drops off and ends up all over the house. They require a weekly brush, but this will need to be more frequent when moulting to reduce the fallen hair deluge. Akitas also like to lick themselves clean like a cat, which helps keep their coats in shape.

Am I the pet for you?

How do I toilet train my cat

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