Not to be confused with the original Japanese Akita-Inu, this is a very different and separate American breed. Although the American Akita's roots lie in the dogs brought to the United States by the soldiers returning from WW2, it has to be noted that the majority of these early American specimens were not purebred. Unlike the true Matagi type favoured in Japan, most early American Akitas were working crosses between the German Shepherd Dog, Saint Bernard, English Mastiff, Tosa Inu and the heavier examples of fighting Shin Akitas, at the time known as the Dewa bloodline. American soldiers were much more attracted to these larger and sharper dogs than to the original Matagi type, which explains why there were very few pure Japanese Akitas taken to United States. In the post-war years, many Americans became enamoured with these exotic dogs and the popularity of the Akita was starting to grow. A number of breeders soon emerged and the Akita Club of America was formed in 1956. Even though it had very little to do with the real Japanese breed, the AKC fully recognized the American version as the Akita in 1972.
Over the years, even though pure Japanese Akitas were regularly being imported and added into the American genepool, it became evident that the U.S. representatives were quite different than those in Japan and Europe, forcing many American breeders and fanciers of the Akita to pay attention to the complaints of Japanese and International canine experts. The Japanese Akita authorities recognize only the Matagi type, which they worked so hard on preserving since 1927, while they viewed the American dogs as unpure. However, a great number of breeders in America wouldn't acknowledge these concerns and by the second half of the 1990's, the debates were rampant. The Japanese deservedly won the argument, but many American and European fanciers concluded that both types possessed great qualities and were deserving of recognition. Finally, the FCI decided to split the Japanese and American Akita into two separate recognized breeds. Because of the early history of the American variety, the FCI recognized the American Akita under the name of "Great Japanese Dog", which unfortunately left a bad taste in the mouths of some American breeders. These changes did very little to affect the credibility of the American Akita and this beautiful breed continues to enjoy great popularity in the United States, as well as Europe.
The American Akita is a massive and powerful breed, taller and heavier than its Japanese counterpart. It has a bigger head, wider muzzle and slightly longer ears. It is also noticeably more territorial and dog-aggressive than the Akita-Inu, but this American breed is trainable and devoted to its master, making the Great Japanese Dog a good family companion and property guardian. Rugged, strong and resilient, the American Akita is also used as a sled-dog and hunter, but its intelligence makes this a good service dog, as well. The legs are sturdy and the back is straight. The tail is curved and carried over the back.
The weatherproof coat is very dense and soft, coming in many colours, most commonly brown, pinto, brindle, red and fawn, often with black masks and usually with white markings. Average height is around 28 inches.
| This profile gives a very accurate description of the origin, purpose and current status of the breed. You may find some of the information published here to be different from what you will read in breed books, published encyclopedias and on other websites. Unlike the articles usually found in most of those sources, the MD breed Profiles are a result of many years of actual research and travelling around the world. However, since most of the Profiles have been written over the course of the past 15 years, some of them might need to be updated. We do not distort the information, but rather state our perspective on the breeds based on our extensive research and contributed information. If you have any additional info that you believe we might find interesting, feel free to let us know about it. Constructive feedback is welcome - disparaging remarks are not. Enjoy!