10. Great Dane
8. Basset Hound
7. French Bulldog
6. American Pit Bull Terrier
5. American Staffordshire Terrier
2. Bernese Mountain Dog
1. American Bull Dog
|Photo from Dog-Photos.net|
The Akita is a breed that originated in Japan. It is a large breed with a very heavy coat, sometimes referred to as a double coat. They are revered in Japan and are used for multiple purposes: as companions, guard dogs, and also for hunting. The coloring can vary tremendously and so does their temperament. The Akita is slowly gaining popularity in the United States, and was first introduced to the US by Helen Keller [AKC].
Typical health issues for the Akita include:
- Skin: Hot Spots, Allergies
- Hormones: Addison's Disease, Hypothyroidism
- Behavior: Aggression, Panic Disorders, OCD (tail chasing)
- Digestive: Bloat, Malabsorption, Spleenic Torsion
- Eyes: Cataract, Entropion, Glaucoma, Retinal Dysplasia
- Heart/Blood: Hemophilia, Thrombocytopenia, Von Willebrande's Disease
- Musculoskeletal: Hip Dysplasia, Myasthenia Gravis, Osteochondritis, ACL Tears
Being a large breed, like the Great Dane, the Akita has large breed problems including bloat, hip dysplasia, and osteochondritis. Unique to the Akita are problems with the skin and behavior.
The heavy, double coat of the Akita can lead to chronic skin problems such as Hot Spots and allergies. Hot spots are localized allergic reactions with secondary bacterial infections. The heavy hair coat makes it hard to manage the condition by trapping both allergens and bacteria while making it difficult to treat. These conditions require ongoing treatment which does not often yield very good results.
The Akita's temperament can range from docile to aggressive. Considering the variation among temperaments within the breed, it's paramount to get a good family history for the dog in question before bringing it into the home. Although familial history is not a guarantee of behavior, it can be a strong indicator. Unless you are a trained animal behaviorist, it is not easy to modify behavior and there's no need to be macho about this. Akitas are very nice dogs, however, they have their limitations as to how they will behave with different owners. Akitas perfer to be "pack leaders" and without a strong personality in the home, can easily become domineering and aggressive. Known as "silent hunters," many experts caution owners to never leave an Akita alone with small children or animals.
Things to Consider
- Akitas are a large breed that need plenty of space and exercise. Because of their temperament, daily exercise is a requirement. A bored and restless Akita is more likely to act aggressively.
- The heavy coat of the Akita requires daily grooming, even though Akitas will often "groom" themselves like a cat.
- The Akita requires an "Alpha Male" personality within the household to maintain household tranquility and keep behavioral problems at bay.
- Akitas require a good and balanced diet, keeping in mind musculoskeletal and skin issues.
- Bred to be working dogs, Akitas need to be kept mentally active! An Akita would be a good choice for special training and sometimes work as therapy dogs.
- Insurance at an early age is highly recommended because of high medical costs for this breed's peculiar health issues.
Join in on the discussion and help create awareness! Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences with Akitas both good and bad.
Check back next Sunday for #8 The Basset Hound.