Akita Inu is the largest of the Japanese Spitz-type breeds. Other smaller, originally hunting Spitz-type dogs are Hokkaido Ken, Kai Inu, Shikoku Inu and Shiba Inu.
All above are originally regional type dogs and are recognized by international organization FCI.
It includes Japanese Spitz-type breeds with the same characteristics – double coat, with a dense straight undercoat, and a thick undercoat, vigorously curled tail, straight ears.
They all have the same ancestors, however due to isolation different regions and even islands, also due to later interbreed led to improved appearance and genetic diversity of today’s breed. Kynology in Japan has after all very long tradition. It has to be recognized that in compare to central European culture, Japanese culture is proven to be much older and interbreeding dogs has been practiced there 3 thousand years ago already. Subsequently, other FCI internationally recognized breeds are Japanese Chin, Tosa Inu, Japanese Terrier and Japanese Spitz. However these types were crossbreed with imported breed and therefore these are not Spitz-type.
Japanese are known to value their treasures from the past, and it shows with respect to their original Japanese dogs. In 1931, the Government of Japan designated the Akita as a national monument and one of the national treasures. The legislation to save some animals (except Akita and other original Japanese spitz-type dogs, Tosa Inu, japaneese horses and Japanese chickens) shortly after the Second World War has been of great importance to save the breed. Rumor was, that in the past export of dogs was limited however that has proven incorrect. It was only marketing strategy. Limited is only export of Dogs with title Japanese champion. Their offsprings are theoretically more accessible, however obtaining them is limited due to their price. The first pup was imported to CR in 2000 (breeder Kigoshi Naodzi). For many years the perception of Akita Inu was different in Japan then in the rest of the world. It was mostly due to the language barrier and also due to more conservative approach by Japanese breeders towards export of champions. Imports to Europe and North America proceeded in few waves and almost always were business matter. In Japanese culture are valued personal relationships therefore the gift of two dogs from Mr. Igico Ogasawary to the American Writer Helen Keller was recognized as gesture of integrity. Unfortunately the first dog Kamikaze Go from breeder Takahasi from Odate died and was replaced by his brother, beautiful Kenzan Go, born in the house of Mr. Kanazawy. The famous writer is credited with help to promote this breed across the United States. Japanese breeders established first affiliated branch of Organization for protecting Akita Inu dogs (AKIHO). This organization was not partaking in the originating of American Akita, also known as the Large Japanese Dog).
Akita Inu has originated in northern part of Island Honshu. The word Akita is named after Town and province earlier called Tohoku. It is mountainous and quite rough part of Japan. From way back there were settlers Ainu who brought the Dog with them to the northern Honshu. The word Inu is in memory of the settlers Ainu, however it has to be in combination with word Akita to be recognized as correct name of the Dog. Also other breeds are combined with word Ken, which also has the same meaning. Some Japanese prefer to use Akita Ken. Evolvement and breed is directed from Organization for protecting Akita Inu Hozonkai (AKIHO) which quarters are located in Odate, northern part of Island Honshu, province Akita. Since medieval times there were Japanese Dogs of all heights types. From 7th century this area was constant war zone. The local aristocracy strived after independence for the rest of Japan, which was partially helped by the climate situation. The establishment of the State Dewa help stabilized the situation and it initiated immigration which called for breeding of Dogs and undoubtedly aiming fixation Dogs to height to 50 cm was under way already during this time. Remains of these types were found during archeological graves recoveries of warriors and hunters. The importance of these dogs has broad spectrum – guarding, hunting, warrior and companionship. For regeneration of the breed which was from different reasons necessary, was influenced by dogs of hunters Matagu. This community of hunters was isolating the breed of the original Japanese dog which was closely related to the oldest dog of Ainu. The area Odate is during winter season isolated due to large amount of snow. During medieval time it was often during winter months not accessible. People were in need of entertainment; therefore the tradition of the Dog fights was founded that spread to the rest of the country. For this reason began inter breeding and cultivating of the breeds with maximum height and strong bellicosity. The originating of breeds Shin Akita, Kairiu Inu, Odate Inu was influenced by imports of large dogs from abroad. However the population was so far from the disposition qualities of the original Japanese dog, then required by Japanese people, therefore the proceed of regenerating of breed was necessary with help of dogs Matagu, which were spared of any breeding experiments.
This situation has repeated during history several times, and the biggest catharsis came after the Second World War however about that later on.