People's fascination with the Akita has survived the ages. Even during their earliest existence, Akitas are known for their docile outlook in life, their unwavering loyalty, and their fierce protectiveness towards their human companions. Here are some of the stranger facts about this exotic dog breed.
In Japan, the highest reverence is given to all white Akitas.
In 1931, the Akita was officially declared one of Japan's national treasures.
In 2004, it was reported that the number one cause of mortality among Akitas was cancer.
Akitas are not prone to barking without reason. They were originally bred to hunt low on the ground, with similar stalking techniques as feral cats.
Akitas can talk, or at least, some Akita enthusiasts claim so. Their "talk" may comprise of grunts, groans and mumbles to which a person can almost make out something coherent.
Before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Akitas lived for as long as 14 to 15 years. After World War II, the average life span of Akitas was shortened to only 10 to 12 years.
During ancient times, mothers in Japan relied heavily on their pet Akitas to take care of their very young children. While mothers worked the fields, their pets played nanny to the children at home.
Japanese Akitas retained their purebred bloodline because it was jealously guarded by the Japanese people up until World War II.
Male Akitas cannot tolerate each other. Female Akitas cannot tolerate each other. Inexplicably, when you place one male and one female Akita together, they can live peaceably.
Recent DNA testing proves that the Akita bloodline is one of the most primitive bloodlines among all the canine species.
The very first Akita to reach the United States was given by the Japanese government to writer, scholar and activist Helen Keller in 1937. The Akita was named Kamikaze - meaning divine wind.
Akitas consider making eye contact as a form of challenge for dominance. Only a fool-hardy person will get down to the dog's level and stare down a 120 pound dog whose teeth can rip open human flesh in one bite.
During its earliest existence, when the breeding rights of the Akitas belonged only to Shoguns of noble houses, it was forbidden to talk about or communicate with the dogs. A special language called dog words was used to issue instructions to the Akitas.
Because this breed of dog was originally bred with a very healthy diet of fresh fish, vegetables and rice, the modern Akita has evolved with a gastric system that cannot cope with a diet that is filled with preservatives, salt and sugar. In fact, this intolerance to artificial compounds has even led the Akita to become hypersensitive to modern medicine and drugs.
The most famous Akita dog in all of Japan was named Hachikō. When Hachikō's owner died, the dog returned to the train station time and again to wait for its master. The Akita continued waiting until the day it died. The Japanese people erected a life-size statue of Hachikō at the Shibuya train station to commemorate the dog's loyalty, devotion and its long, long wait for a master who never returned.