FCI Group: Spitz and primitive types

Family: Spitz

Allowed as pet in Singapore HDB Flat: No 

Origin: Japan, native to the island of Honshu in the region of Akita, 1600s. The Akita was almost extinct during World War II when dogs (except military German Shepherds) were confiscated for their fur, which is required to make military garments. Some defiant owners circumvent the order by crossbreeding their Akitas with German Shepherd Dogs. When World War II ended, Akitas had been drastically reduced in number and existed as three distinct types; 1) Matagi Akitas, 2) fighting Akitas, and 3) Shepherd Akitas. This created a very confusing situation in the breed. After much effort, the Japanese succeeded in stabilising the pure strain of large sized breed as known today.

Original Purpose: Hunting large game, including wild boar; dog fighting.

Behaviour and Temperament: Akitas are loyal, stubborn, bold, affectionate, courageous, and fearless.

Breed Characteristics: Powerful, large, graceful. Ferociously protective. Territorial. A superb watchdog that barks only when he suspects something is really wrong. Usually quiet in the house. Akitas can withstand bitter cold, but has a very low heat tolerance. Needs a high fenced-in yard. Should be owned only by a very experienced person. Definitely not for first-time dog owners.

Physical Features: Females at least 58.5 cm, usually 61 cm; males at least 63.5 cm, up to 71 cm; 34 to 52 kg. Any colour including white, brindle, grey, red, and pinto; usually white underneath.

Coat Type and Grooming: Double coat, a soft inner and coarse, harsh outer coat. High maintenance; daily brushing with a firm bristle brush, no trimming. Professional grooming is optional. Grooming is recommended every 6 weeks to remove loose undercoat. Akitas shed heavily twice a year. Estimated grooming charges in Singapore: Full, S$95 - $150, Basic, S$80 - $90.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years.

Health Concerns: Eye problems (PRA, retinal dysplasia), hip dysplasia, OCD, patellar luxation, autoimmune problems.

Exercise: Moderate but regular exercise required to stay in shape. The Akita needs daily long walks.

Housing: Best in rural or suburban homes. Will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. Moderately active indoors, will do best with a big yard.

Sociability: Very tolerant of the family. Can be intolerant of other children and can show aggression by overprotecting “his” children. Aloof with strangers. Aggressive around strange dogs and often aggressive to small animals. Akitas should be supervised with other household pets and children.

Trainability: Average. Although quick learners, Akitas do have minds of their own, and do not, as a rule, make good obedience dogs. Must be carefully socialised.

Activities: Guard dog, tracking.

Notes: The Akita is classified under the Part I Scheduled Dogs in Singapore. This requires the dog to be leashed and securely muzzled when in a public place. The dog has to be micro chipped, and must be sterilised if over six months of age. The owner is required to take up an insurance policy for at least SGD100,000 coverage against injury to persons and damage to property. In addition, the owner must take up a banker’s guarantee of SGD5,000. This banker’s guarantee would be forfeited for any non-compliance, after which a new banker’s guarantee of SGD5,000 is required. All newly licensed Akitas must undergo obedience training.

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