his back. A tail that hangs straight down behind or is a sickle tail is a disqualification (DQ#4). If the tail is hanging down, I ignore it while I’m examining the dog. When he moves, it should come up, usually on the down and back, BUT even if it comes up on the go-round and touches his back, even for a second, it’s okay. That doesn’t mean I’ll use him, but it does mean he meets the standard. The Akita is a double-coated breed. The under- coat is soft and dense with longer, harsher guard hair. Although I think everything is great about an Akita, one of the best is that they come in all colors. We tell judges and potential puppy buyers that color should not be a consideration, BUT it’s still great that they can be in so many hues. Our standard allows any col- or, including white (white Akitas have no mask), pin- to (a pinto has a white background with large, evenly placed patches covering the head and more than one- third of the body) and brindle. However, although any color is allowed, it must have proper pigmenta- tion; remembering that whites and only whites MAY have a lighter-shaded nose. The colors are brilliant and clear, and markings are well-balanced with or without a mask. The undercoat can be a different color than the topcoat, and quite frequently it is! Dogs are 26"-28" tall. Under 25" is a disqualifi- cation. Bitches are 24"-26" tall. Under 23" is a dis- qualification. (That’s DQ #5 and our last one.) This INCLUDES puppies. Imagine a cute fuzzy puppy finishing from the 6-9 Class. It happens all the time. ALTHOUGH AN AKITA DOESN’T ACTUALLY CONVERGE, HE WILL HAVE A TENDENCY AS HE MOVES ALONG TO COME IN TOWARD THE MIDDLE LINE.” “AN AKITA’S MOVEMENT IS SIMILAR TO MANY OTHER WORKING DOGS. THE REAR LEGS MOVE IN-LINE WITH THE FRONT.
At this point, I have stepped to the side of the dog and asked the handler to show the bite. An Akita should have a scissors bite, although a level bite is acceptable. We do have a disqualification for either overshot or undershot (DQ #3). Although I have only seen one or two overshot bites, I am seeing undershot more and more frequently. Since we don’t have a disqualification for missing teeth, and complete dentition is not mentioned in the standard, I don’t ask for more than a bite check. I move on to the body. The shoulders are strong and powerful, with moderate layback. The front legs are heavy-boned and straight. The depth of the chest is one-half the height of the dog. I run my hand across his topline. It is level. Leav- ing my hand on the dog, I step around to his rear, lifting his tail if it impedes my checking his topline and gently putting it back where I found it. Please, please don’t pull the tail down to check length. In some cases, this might be uncom- fortable for the dog. Yes, I know the standard says tail bone must reach point of hock, but it’s merely a guideline. If you’ve ever seen an Akita with a tail too short, you’ll know it. The balance of the dog will be “off.” I slip one hand in to check his testicles, take note of well-let-down hocks, and I’m “out.” I step away, moving to the right behind the handler and around to the front. This puts me at the top of the down and back without walking up beside the dog from behind. This is what I do with all breeds, even Toys. An Akita’s movement is similar to many other Working Dogs. The rear legs move in-line with the front. Although an Akita doesn’t actually converge, he will have a tendency as he moves along to come in toward the middle line. From the side, he should have a moderate stride. Brisk and powerful, but moderate. And here, I will discuss feet. The Akita’s foot is a cat foot. Toes are knuckled up and short, pads are thick. You know, like a cat. Flat feet with splayed toes and incor- rect ears are my personal pet peeves. As I’m observing this dog, I touch on other parts of the standard. His tail will be curled over and touching his back. It could be a tight curl; it could be a three-quarter curl with the end dropping over his flank, but it must be touching
186 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2022
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