The Akita or Akita Ken is a dogbreed originating from Japan. They’re named after the Akita prefecture, where they originated from and were used by Matagi (traditional Japanese hunters) for hunting wild animals, specifically bears. Thus they are also sometimes called Akita Matagi as well. The name Akita Matagi actually means “medium-sized bear-hunting dogs”. Japanese dogs were originally relatively small and no larger breeds existed. However, since year 1603 Akita Matagis were used as fighting dogs. Not only for hunting, but also in professional fights, much like the ones arrange illegally still today. In 1868 Akita Matagis were crossed with Tosas and Mastiffs, two other related dog breeds. And due to this the size of the bread increased a lot. In 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, but this breed was nevertheless preserved and improved as a large Japanese breed.
During World War II (1939-1945), it was common to use dogs as a source of fur for military garments. The police ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs other than German Shepherd Dogs used for military purposes. Thus, when the war was over Akitas had been drastically reduced in number, and not only due to military involvement but also due to lack of food. Many people bred Akita with Alsatians to avoid capture, and therefore the purebred Akitas were reduced even more. It is estimated that there were only twenty of these left after the war in all of Japan! At this time the breed only existed in Japan as well, and it is still there that it is found the most. The Akita was registered with the AKC in 1972.
The life expectancy of the Akita is approximately 10-13 years. As with all dog breeds there are a number of health issues to keep in mind. The include luxating patella, thyroid problems, lupus, cancer, vWD, PRA, skin conditions, and autoimmune problems. Both parents of your puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates and be Thyroid tested. The Akita breed is a very devoted and loyal one, and is also usually calm and intelligent as well. They can however be tough training due to being stubborn and easily getting bored. They are also sometimes aggressive against both other Akitas and smaller animals. Otherwise they are great house dogs. They require moderate, but regular exercise. Akitas are also known to be very quiet, only barking when there is something to bark about.