Did you know?
We’ve all heard of the healing benefits of owning a dog. But did you know that a big dog’s heart has a high-activity alpha rhythm?
Patients with cardiac insufficiency can hold their hands close to a dog’s heart, for half an hour a day and they will feel better.
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. – Senator George G. Vest, 1869
Native to Japan, the Akita is the largest of the breeds belonging to the Japanese Spitz family of dogs. The ancestors of the Akita, the Matagi dog (hunting dog, bear hunting dog, deer hunting dog), is one of the oldest of the Japanese dogs.
Developed in 1630 by a Samurai, originally the Akita could only be owned by a member of the nobility. They were used in male-female pairs to hunt game such as bear, wild boar, and deer. In 1931 the Japanese government designated the Akita as a National Monument and one of Japan’s national treasures. Today’s Akita developed primarily from dogs in the northernmost region of the island of Honshū in the Akita prefecture, and takes his name from this area of Japan.
The most famous and revered Akita ever is Hachikō whose story may be one of the most well-known in the world. Hachikō was born in 1923 and was owned by Professor Hidesaburō Ueno of Tokyo.
Photos displayed courtesy of Sheryl Langan, Driftwood Ranch, Alberta
Every day the Professor took his dog to and from the train station where he commuted to work. One day when the dog was only 18 months old, the Professor failed to return from work. He had suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage while at the office.Hachikō continued to wait for his master’s return, travelling to and from the train station daily for the next nine years, never giving up hope that one day his master would get off the train.
His story became so famous that in 1934, shortly before his death, a bronze statue of Hachikō was erected at the Shibuya train station in honour of his faithfulness and loyalty. Each year since 1936 a ceremony of remembrance has been held at Shibuya train station on April 8th to commemorate Hachikō’s devotion.
The first of this breed was brought to North America by Helen Keller.
Standing up to 28 inches (71 cm) at the shoulder, the athletic Akita is large, powerful, and alert. Puppies can weigh over 100 lbs (over 45 kg). Adults can weigh up to 130 pounds (59 kg). He has a broad head, a tail that curls up over his back, and a thick double coat that can be any colour including white, brindle, and pinto. Beware! This dog “blows coat” or sheds twice a year, and when he sheds, he means it!
Renowned for his fierce love, loyalty, courage, and obedience to his owner, the Akita is an independent dog who nevertheless requires quite a bit of attention and training as a puppy.
Since he is a large, powerful dog, the Akita is not recommended for a first time dog owner. He needs a firm hand from a strong master. Training and socialization should begin early. The Akita is a dominant dog. If not socialized properly he can be aggressive with strange people. He can also show aggression towards other animals, including other dogs particularly those of the same sex. This is not the dog to romp around the local dog park. He should not be confined on a rope or chain. He requires a large, fenced yard and plenty of exercise. Since this is a protective dog with a hunter’s instincts, he is best suited to a single pet home.
Akitas may exhibit territorial or possessive behaviour regarding their food. They should be kept away from children and other animals while eating. Generally, he is quietly dignified and not prone to barking.