How Were American Akitas Bred? The Origins and Purpose of American Akita Breeding

The story of American Akita breeding begins with its Japanese counterpart, the Akita Inu. The Akita Inu is a majestic and ancient breed that originated in Japan. Originally used as hunting dogs, they were also prized for their loyalty and protective nature. The Akita Inu was highly valued and revered in Japanese culture, often seen as a symbol of good fortune and protection.

The Journey to America

In the early 20th century, American soldiers stationed in Japan during World War II were captivated by the Akita Inu and brought them back to the United States. These soldiers recognized the exceptional traits of the Akita Inu and wanted to share their love for the breed with their families and friends back home.

American Akita vs. Japanese Akita

Over time, the Akita Inus brought to America started to diverge in terms of physical appearance and temperament from their Japanese counterparts. The American Akita began to develop a larger and more robust build, with a distinct bear-like head shape and a thicker coat. In contrast, the Japanese Akita Inu maintained a more fox-like appearance and a slimmer build.

The Purpose of American Akita Breeding

Guard Dogs and Hunting Companions

One of the main purposes of American Akita breeding was to create a breed that excelled as a guard dog and hunting companion. The American Akita’s imposing size and protective nature made them excellent guardians of homes and properties. They were also skilled at tracking and hunting large game, making them valuable hunting companions.

Show Dogs in the United States

As American Akita breeding gained popularity, they also found their place in the show ring. With their striking appearance and regal presence, American Akitas quickly became a sought-after breed in dog shows across the United States. Breeders focused on refining the breed’s physical characteristics to meet the standards set by dog show organizations.

Working Dogs: Search and Rescue, Therapy, and Assistance

In addition to being guard dogs and show dogs, American Akitas have also excelled in various working roles. Their intelligence, loyalty, and trainability have made them valuable search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, and assistance dogs for individuals with disabilities. Their versatility is a testament to the breed’s adaptability and innate desire to serve their human companions.

Key Traits and Characteristics of American Akitas

Size and Appearance

American Akitas are known for their large size and powerful build. Males can reach heights of up to 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 100 to 130 pounds, while females are slightly smaller, standing at around 25 inches and weighing between 70 to 100 pounds. Their dense double coat provides insulation and protection in various weather conditions.

Temperament and Personality

American Akitas have a reputation for being strong-willed, loyal, and protective. They are fiercely devoted to their families and make excellent guard dogs. However, early socialization and consistent training are crucial to ensure that they develop into well-rounded and obedient companions. Proper training can help harness their protective instincts and channel them appropriately.

Health Considerations

Like any breed, American Akitas are prone to certain health issues. Some common concerns include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), autoimmune disorders, and hypothyroidism. Responsible breeders prioritize health screenings and genetic testing to minimize the risk of passing on these conditions to future generations.

Important American Akita Breeders and their Contributions

Alberta and Arthur Harris

Alberta and Arthur Harris are considered pioneers in American Akita breeding. They established the Kongo Akita Kennels in the 1950s and played a significant role in popularizing the breed in the United States. The Harris’ breeding program focused on maintaining the breed’s traditional traits while adapting them to the American environment.

Jean Manson

Jean Manson, known for her J.O. Akita line, made significant contributions to the American Akita breed. She focused on producing dogs with exceptional temperament and working abilities, striving to maintain the breed’s versatility as both a working dog and a loyal companion.

Francis and Rosalie Berger

Francis and Rosalie Berger were instrumental in establishing the Kiowaridge Akita Kennels. They dedicated themselves to breeding healthy and well-tempered American Akitas, while also contributing to the breed’s preservation and promotion through active involvement in breed clubs and organizations.

American Akita Breeding Today

Breeding Standards and Regulations

Breeding practices for American Akitas have evolved over time, with a focus on maintaining breed standards and improving overall health and temperament. Responsible breeders adhere to strict guidelines set by breed clubs and organizations, including health testing and proper socialization of their puppies.

Challenges in Preservation and Maintenance

Preserving the integrity of the American Akita breed poses certain challenges. Breeders must carefully select breeding pairs to prevent the loss of desirable traits and address potential health concerns. Balancing the desire for physical traits with maintaining a healthy gene pool is a constant challenge that dedicated breeders work tirelessly to overcome.

The Future of American Akita Breeding

The future of American Akita breeding lies in the hands of passionate breeders who are committed to preserving the breed’s heritage and maintaining its unique qualities. Through responsible breeding practices, continued education, and collaboration within the Akita community, the American Akita will continue to thrive and bring joy to countless families for generations to come.

In conclusion, the origins of American Akita breeding can be traced back to the Japanese Akita Inu, which captivated American soldiers during World War II. From being guard dogs and hunting companions to show dogs and working dogs, American Akitas have proven their versatility and adaptability. Key breeders such as the Harris family, Jean Manson, and Francis and Rosalie Berger have made significant contributions to the breed’s development and preservation. While challenges exist in maintaining breed standards and addressing health concerns, the future of American Akita breeding looks promising with dedicated breeders working towards preserving the breed’s heritage and ensuring its continued success.

ThePetFaq Team