BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : In the beginning, the history
of the American Akitas is similar to the history of Japanese Akitas.
Since 1603, in the Akita region, Akita Matagis (medium-sized bearhunting
dogs) were used as fighting dogs. From 1868, Akita Matagis
were crossbred with Tosas and Mastiffs. Consequently, the size of
Akitas increased, but characteristics associated with Spitz type were
lost. In 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, but Akitas were
nevertheless preserved and improved as a large Japanese breed. As a
result, nine superior examples of Akitas were designated as « Natural
Monuments » in 1931.
During World War II (1939-1945), it was common to use dogs as a
source of fur for military garments. The police ordered the capture
and confiscation of all dogs other than German Shepherd Dogs used
for military purposes. Some fanciers tried to circumvent the order by
crossbreeding their dogs 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
3) Shepherd Akitas. This created a very confusing situation in the
breed. During the restoration process of the pure breed after the war,
Kongo-go of the Dewa line enjoyed a temporary, but tremendous
popularity. Many Akitas of the Dewa line, which exhibited
characteristics of the Mastiff and German Shepherd influence, were
brought back to the United States by members of the Military Forces.
The Akitas from the Dewa line, intelligent and capable of adapting to
different environments, fascinated breeders in the United States and
the line was developed with increasing number of breeders and a
great rise in popularity.
The Akita Club of America was established in 1956 and the
American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the breed (inscription into
the stud book and regular show status) in October 1972. However, at
this time, the AKC and the JKC (Japan Kennel Club) did not have
reciprocal agreements for recognizing each other’s pedigrees and
therefore the door was closed for the introduction of the new
bloodlines from Japan. Consequently, Akitas in the United States
became considerably different from those in Japan, the country of
origin. They developed as a type unique in the United States, with
characteristics and type unchanged since 1955. This is in sharp
contrast with Akitas in Japan which were crossbred with Matagi
Akitas for the purpose of restoring the original pure breed.
GENERAL APPEARANCE : Large-sized dog, sturdily built, well
balanced, with much substance and heavy bone. The broad head,
forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, relatively small eyes and
erect ears carried forward almost in line with back of neck, is
characteristic of the breed.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS :
- The ratio of height at withers to length of body is 9 to 10 in males
and 9 to 11 in bitches.
- The depth of the chest measures one-half of the height of the dog
- The distance from tip of nose to stop corresponds to the distance
from stop to occiput as 2 does to 3.
BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Friendly, alert, responsive,
dignified, docile and courageous.
HEAD : Massive, but in balance with the body, free of wrinkles
when at ease. Head forms a blunt triangle when viewed from above.
CRANIAL REGION :
Skull : Flat and broad between ears. A shallow furrow extends well
up on forehead.
Stop : Well defined, but not too abrupt.
FACIAL REGION :
Nose : Broad and black. Slight and diffuse lack of pigment on nose
is acceptable in white dogs only but black is always preferred.
Muzzle : Broad, deep and full.
Lips : Black. Not pendulous; tongue pink.
Jaws/Teeth : Jaws not rounded, but blunt, strong and powerful.
Teeth strong with regular and full dentition (lack of PM1 and M3
allowed). Scissor bite preferred, but level bite acceptable.
Eyes : Dark brown, relatively small, not prominent, almost triangular
in shape. Eye rims black and tight.
Ears : Strongly erect and small in relation to the rest of the head. If
the ear is folded forward for measuring length, tip will touch upper
eye rim. Ears are triangular, slightly rounded at tip, wide at base, not
set too low. Viewed from the side, the ears are angled forward over
the eyes following the line of the neck.
NECK : Thick and muscular with minimal dewlap, comparatively
short, widening gradually toward shoulders. A pronounced crest
blends harmoniously into the base of skull.
BODY : Longer than high. Skin not too thin, neither too tight nor
Back : Level.
Loin : Firmly muscled.
Chest : Wide and deep. Ribs well sprung with well developed
Underline and Belly : Moderate tuck-up.
TAIL : Large and well furnished with hair, set high and carried over
back or against flank in a three-quarter, full, or double curl, always
dipping to or below level of back.
On a three-quarter curl, tip drops well down on flank. Root large and
The terminal bone of tail reaches hock when let or pulled down.
Hair coarse, straight and dense, with no appearance of a plume.
General appearance : Forelegs heavy-boned and straight as viewed
Shoulders : Strong and powerful with moderate layback.
Pasterns : Slightly sloping forward in an angle of approximately 15°
to the vertical.
General appearance : Strongly muscled, width and bone comparable
to forequarters. Dewclaws on hind legs customarily removed.
Upper thigh : Strong, well developed, parallel when viewed from
Stifles : Moderately bent.
Hock joints : Well let down, turning neither in nor out.
FEET : Straight, cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads.
GAIT / MOVEMENT : Powerful, covering ground with moderate
reach and drive. Hindlegs move in line with forelegs. Back
remaining strong, firm and level.
HAIR : Double-coat. Undercoat thick, soft, dense and shorter than
outer coat. Outer coat straight, harsh/stiff and standing somewhat off
body. Hair on head, lower legs and ears short. Length of hair at
withers and croup approximately 5 cm, which is slightly longer than
on rest of body, except tail, where coat is longest and most profuse.
COLOUR : Any colour like red, fawn, white, etc; or even pinto and
brindle. Colours are brilliant and clear, and markings are well
balanced, with or without mask or blaze. White dogs (solid in
colour) have no mask. Pinto have a white ground colour with large,
evenly placed patches covering head and more than one-third of
body. Undercoat may have a different colour from the outer-coat.
Height at withers : For males : 66 to 71 cm (26-28 inches),
for bitches : 61 to 66 cm (24-26 inches).
FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be
considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be
regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect
upon the health and welfare of the dog.
- Feminine dogs, masculine bitches.
- Narrow or snipey head.
- Any missing tooth (except PM1 and M3).
- Blue or black spotted tongue.
- Light eyes.
- Short tail.
- In or out at elbows.
- Any indication of ruff or feathering.
- Shyness or viciousness.
- Light in substance.
- Light bone.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS :
- Aggressive or overly shy.
- Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities
shall be disqualified.
- Totally unpigmented nose. A nose with unpigmented areas
- Drop, hanging or folded ears.
- Under- or overshot bite.
- Sickle or uncurled tail.
- Dogs under 63,5 cm (25 inches), bitches under 58,5 cm (23
- Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully
descended into the scrotum.
- Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed
typical conformation should be used for breeding.