Girl Posing with Akita Dog

Akita: A Most Loyal Companion

Keller with Anne Sullivan vacationing on Cape Cod in July 1888
Helen Keller with Anne Sullivan July 1888

The famous blind American author Helen Keller  (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) owned the first Akita to enter the United States in 1937. It served as her devoted companion for seven years until its death.

She learned about the breed from the story of Hachiko. She visited the district where the town erected Hachiko’s bronze statue at Shibuya Station (the train station where Hachiko waited every day for his master to return).

Helen Keller once said about dogs: “Nobody, who is not blind, as much as they may love their pet, can know what a dog’s love means. Dogs have traveled all over the world with me. They have always been my companions. A dog has never failed me.”

In her 1933 essay, “Three Days to See,” Keller wrote about one of the first things she would do if she suddenly had a vision: “I should like to look into the loyal, trusting eyes of my dogs…whose warm, tender, and playful friendships are so comforting to me.”

Akita Personality

Akita dog portrait. Akita InuThey are intelligent, courageous, and spontaneous. They do best with constant human companionship. They should not be left alone for long periods. They are aggressive and very protective of their family.

Their domineering attitude is not suited for submissive owners. Families with young children should know that Akitas get along with well-behaved older children but are intolerant of the children they do not know.

They tend to be less tolerant of dogs of the same sex. For this reason, unless highly socialized, they are not generally well suited for off-leash dog parks. 

Sometimes spontaneous, it needs a confident, consistent handler, without which the dog will be very domineering and may become aggressive to other dogs and animals.  If not socialized, some may become erratic when teased and bite.

Akitas are loyal and compassionate to their masters, and many touching stories exist about their profound faithfulness.

Akita puppies love routines, so they will tug at your seams when they want to play to take a walk. You have to be the one to initiate these activities since they can be domineering. They might make you their pets, so be sure you are the one to start everything. Do not wait until your dog bosses you around.

The breed does not live or work in groups like many hounds, herding dogs, or other sporting breeds. Instead, they lived and worked alone or in pairs.

American Akita

american akita
While all colors of American Akitas are accepted, only red, white, or brindle are permitted in Japan.

The Akita is a relatively new breed in the US.  The Akita was rediscovered by the US military serving in Japan as part of the occupation force, and the breed so impressed them that many of them decided to take one home.  In the years following World War II, the dogs of the Japanese and American variety started to change. 

The breed comes in two distinct varieties: a pure Japanese strain known as Akita Inu (dog in Japanese) and a mixed American breed typically larger.

Recognition by AKC

A breed standard was developed by 1939, and dog exhibitions started to be held, but World War II halted this progress. 

It was classified as a Miscellaneous breed when the American Kennel Club recognized it in 1955. The breed was moved to the Working Dog class after the AKC approved it in 1972. 

Until 1974, foundation stock in America was still brought in from Japan. After that, the AKC stopped registering any new Japanese imports. It wasn’t until 1992 that the Japan Kennel Club’s criteria were accepted. This choice created the basis for the current distinction between American and Japanese breeds.


Akita Movies

If you own an Akita, you watched or at least knew about the movie “Hachi,” based on Hachi-Ko’s true story and starring Richard Gere. This movie shows how these dogs are loyal, compassionate, and dedicated. If this movie does not make you cry, you have no heart or do not love dogs! I highly recommend this film.

The Famous Akita “Hachi”

Akitas are so loyal and compassionate
Hachi-Ko. Photo dated about 1934. By Unknown author – archive copy, Public Domain

cincin75ytb  posted this comment on Youtube::

Hachi is still sitting at Shibuya station, Tokyo, Japan. He is still waiting for his friend as a statue. I walked by him every day because I was working there. And Japanese call him Hachi Koh, which means sir Hachi. It is a famous story there.  I just think that he is a symbol of the typical Japanese spirit, a symbol of unconditional loyalty.

On November 10, 1923, Hachiko was born on a farm in Japan.   University professor Hidesabur Ueno took Hachi to live with him as a pet in Shibuya, Tokyo, in 1924.

Hachiko would meet Ueno at Shibuya Station every day after returning from work. This continued until May 21, 1925, when Ueno passed away at work from a brain hemorrhage. Hachiko would go back to Shibuya Station every day from that point on until his death on March 8, 1935. homecoming.

Health Concerns

They are prone to genetic health conditions, as are many purebred dogs. There are health problems specific to Akitas, including hip dysplasia. It would help to vaccinate your Akita puppy at 11 to 16 months old.

More Information

For more information about the Akita, visit the AKC website and the Akita Club of America.




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