Showsight Presents The Akita

FACTS ABOUT THE AKITA

by THE PUBLIC ED COMMITTEE

WHY IS THE AKITA A GOOD BREED FOR THE WINTER? 1) Before Akitas had an official breed name they were referred to simply as “snow country dogs”. The breed originated from the snowy, rural, mountainous region of Japan: Akita and Odate. 2) Akitas were originally used to hunt bear and guard property. They have a thick double coat, which protects them from the elements. An Akita’s undercoat is thick, soft and shorter than the outer coat. This attribute in combination with their straight, harsh and standing somewhat “off the body” outer coat allows Akitas to be waterproof. 3) Long coats are a fault in the Akita breed because ice sticks to their fur. It clumps up and may cause hypothermia leading to possible death. The Akita’s coat is the per- fect length, texture and density in cold climates to not only insulate the dog, but to also keep the snow and ice off. That is why their coat should be rough and stand-off; not silky, too short or excessively long. 4) Akitas have webbed toes to help

will usually receive a small statue of an Akita signifying health, happi- ness and a long life. 4) The famous deaf, blind author and political activist (who considered the breed to be “gentle, compan- ionable and trusty”), Helen Keller, is credited with bringing the first Akita into the United States in 1937. WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOUR BREED THAT MAKES IT SPECIAL PHYSICALLY? 1) Akita’s coat can be any color includ- ing white, brindle or pinto. It may even be of long-coat type. 2) An Akita’s trademark is the plush tail that typically curls over his back. 3) Each dog has their own unique tail set; therefore, when you see a group of Akitas’ tails, very few look the same. WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR BREED OF DOG A GOOD CHOICE FOR A FIRST TIME DOG OWNER? WHY? WHY NOT? 1) No—Akitas are large and powerful (often weighing over 100 pounds and may be a substantial dog to handle daily). 2) Akitas can also be strong-willed, so a dedication to formal obedience is necessary for a harmonious household. 3) Akitas are intelligent and proud; therefore, motivating them during training sessions can be a challenge. WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR BREED OF DOG A GOOD FAMILY DOG? WHY? WHY NOT? 1) Akitas are affectionate with their family and form strong bonds. 2) The Akita will instinctively guard their owner’s home, which is one of the reasons they require extensive positive exposure to a variety of

Historically, they keep their front dew claws because these “ice picks” help them climb out of icy water. 5) When the weather turns cooler the dogs seem to have a turbo button that switches on. If there is snow on the ground, they will stay out all day hunting rabbit, squirrel, etc. in a securely fenced yard until relegated to come inside the house. It is safe to say they prefer colder weather, love eating snow and rolling as a snow scrub. WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOUR BREED THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE HISTORICALLY? 1) The Akita is designated as a national monument in his native country of Japan. 2) At one time, Akita ownership was restricted to the Imperial family and the ruling aristocracy; caring and feeding of the Akita were detailed in elaborate ceremony and special leashes were used to denote the Akita’s rank and the standing of his owner. 3) There is a spiritual significance attached to the Akita; when a child is born in Japan, the proud family

walk on snow by distributing their weight more effectively.

“THERE IS A SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE ATTACHED TO THE AKITA; WHEN A CHILD IS BORN IN JAPAN, THE PROUD FAMILY WILL USUALLY

RECEIVE A SMALL STATUE OF AN AKITA SIGNIFYING HEALTH, HAPPINESS AND A LONG LIFE.”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2017 • 257

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