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Old 02-26-2007, 10:02 PM
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Default Akita/Akita Inu Coat

I've looked at a LOT of American Akita breeders, and mostly, I see pintos and sometimes brindles. But, when I look at Akita Inu breeders (smaller, original dogs) I see a variety of other colours.

I have yet to see a nice looking orange American Akita. But so many Akita Inus are of this gorgeous firey colour, which is one of the colours that draws me in most.


And my other personal favourite, this brindle colouring. I have seen a couple of American Akitas that had similar colouring, but on the smaller Akita Inus, it looks much better IMO.


So, to the other asian breed enthusiasts who might know! Is there a reason the colours are so split between the two? I also noticed I saw more roughcoated Akita Inus than American Akitas.

Is this just a coincidence, and I'm missing a lot, or is there a reason for it?
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:24 AM
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Hey there Ravennr- glad to see there's another Asian breed enthusiast!

There is DEFINITELY a reason you're seeing this split in color, and the reason is that for all intents and purposes, the Japanese Akita (Akita Inu), and American Akita (Great Japanese Dog, according to FCI), are seperate breeds now. While MOST countries recognize this fundamental split (including, and most especially the country of origin), the majority of American breeders have been uneasy to do so.

It's sort of a complicated situation. Much of it has to do with the fact that many old school American Akita breeders are loathe to say that they are breeding anything BUT Akitas. They take it as a great offense that people think that they are not breeding the ORIGINAL dogs...but in all honesty, they aren't.

The Akita Inu was the ORIGINAL *hunting* dog of the Matagi. These dogs are what you see today, being bred in Japan, and are historically correct. They are smaller, lighter in bone, and look a LOT more like the other native Japanese breeds than do their American cousins. The fiery reds look just like giant Shibas, and in fact, my Shiba breeder imported a beautiful red Akita Inu around 7 years ago, and he complements her Shiba pack perfectly.

Around WW2, American servicemen went to Japan, bringing with them several other breeds of dog, and a taste for dog fights. Akitas were mixed with GSDs, St. Bernards, and some mastiff breeds, to produce strong, heavy boned animals that would excel in dog fights. Some great evidence of this is the prevelance of black masking (likely from mastiffs and GSDs) you see on American bred Akitas in comparison to the absolute and total lack of it in Japanese Akitas. Black masks (on dogs that are not black), are frowned upon in native Japanese breeds- it drives us NUTS in Shibas, and is considered fundamentally incorrect- muddling the clarity and simplicity of the face. Nevertheless, you see it all the time on American dogs.

When the war ended, the Japanese people felt a profound desire to salvage things they felt were marks of National pride. Many of these things included dog breeds. Shibas were brought back from near extinction (by mixing three strains of Shiba that had originally existed seperately from one another), and a great effort was made to return Akitas to their former purity. Both breeds were designated national monuments.

Yet American servicemen went home with big-boned, blocky, bear-like dogs- that they still called (and believed were) Akitas.

The divergence went from there.

The ventral markings so important in many Japanese breeds (known as urajiro), were lost in American Akitas due to the addition of other breeds to make strong fighters. Shiba litters tend to have "woolies" in the mix every once in awhile, so it's no surprise to me that Japanese Akitas have the same phenomenon. It's likely at a greater rate for the same reason I mentioned above.

Today Federation Cynologique Internationale registers American Akitas and Japanese Akitas as two entirely different breeds. The Great Japanese Dog, and Akita Inu, respectively. I am of the opinion that we in the US should do the same. I'd love to own and exhibit an Akita Inu in the breed ring here in the US, but they don't do so well pitted against the bigger American dogs.

There are some breeders that occasionally like to mix Japanese Akitas into their lines, and they are none too keen on the idea of splitting the breed in this nation.

At any rate, I adore both the Akita Inu and the American Akita.

If you'd like a really nice example of American Akitas (with some beautiful black brindles), take a look at www.sondaisakitas.com). I'm pretty picky with American Akitas, but I think Colleen does an excellent job instilling Japanese type into her lines. Especially when you see a lot of overdone, "mastiffy" looking Akitas today.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:14 PM
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That's very interesting, Tempura. Thanks for the explanation. I tend to prefer the black masks. Actually, I just flat-out prefer those seal/sable dogs with the dark faces and white socks. Like this one:

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Old 02-27-2007, 01:37 PM
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I noticed the masking as well, and figured as much from the mixing.

I love both breeds (I take them separately as well), and it's becoming hard to choose. I love large dogs, their looks, and temperaments, just appeal to me naturally. However, the simplicity of a compact Akita Inu perks me up just as much. It's a battlefield between the two, in my head.

I believe more registries should recognize them as separate breeds as well, but just how mane Akita Inu breeders are there in North America anyhow? I can't recall offhand coming across any, both online and talking to other breeders that I respect.

I love the Sondasia dogs, too. I recently ran across them and bookmarked their page!

A book I have by Bruce Fogle features an orangey-red American Akita, and it is just gorgeous. But I wish it had Akita Inus in there as well. I'm surprised more people don't recognize the split, and a littl saddened that some American Akita breeders view their dogs as the original, correct Akita.

Thank you very much for helping me get that all straight, Tempura.
You may see me back with Shiba Inu questions as well! We have a Shiba rescue in our state that I looked at not too long ago (I was interested in a black/tan male named Samurai).
I'm fairly certain that my next dog will be a Chow Chow, but, since I'm infatuated with Japanese breeds, and really, all Asian breeds, I may very well change my mind, hence all the research and upcoming questions.
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:32 AM
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Ravennr,
I am an owner and lover of Japanese Akita Inu. I can tell you that they are a distinct and very different breed than thier American Akita cousins. First of all as you have noticed the coat colors are quite different. Japanese Akita only come in Red (ranging from lemon yellow to fire engine red the darker the better) with a white face known as Unajiro, Brindle (Red, Blue, Black, Fawn),
White and Sesame (same as in the Shiba, very rare but coming back.) They are a much smaller dog (Males 24-27 inches 55 to 75lbs and females 22-25 inches 45 to 60lbs.) There are larger ones but I have found that the bigger they get the more type they loose. IMHO of course.
The Japanese Akita is first and foremost a companion dog. They are happy and playful, they smile all of the time. They talk a lot to thier owners a "woo-woo-wooo" is the common greeting. They are otherwise very quiet. Instead of barking the do howl at times, like a wolf. They are wanting to always be with you but independant, if that makes sence. For an example they love to play and see what you are doing but when satisfied they will lay against the wall by themselves. They will not need to be on your lap or "up your butt" all of the time. They make the worlds worst guard dogs as they should never show any aggression twards any person for any reason. The Japanese are clear on this point. They do however not tolerate other dogs of the same sex. This is the breeds achiellies heel. It usually isn't your dog on the leash while walking you ahve to worry about, it is the idiot with his Papillion on a Flexi. Japanese Akita are VERY prey driven. They see toy dogs, cats and so forth as prey and if not controlled will catch and kill them. They are three times as fast and five times as strong as you think. Itis possible to raise a JA with cats, but that does not mean that other cats are safe nor would I attempt to bring an adult JA into the home with cats.

That is enough for now, have to get to work. As for AA's I am not expert, bt if I where to buy one I would buy Sondaisa.
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:48 AM
House Of Jurai
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Default Oh BTW

The Most Japanese Akita specific information in North America on the web.

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/NAK_Project/
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:52 AM
House Of Jurai
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On accasion you do see pure American Akita with the white faced red coloring, but I don't think it is as preffered to most AA people. I like it myself. I remember a really nice Timberlane dog like that.
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:29 PM
House Of Jurai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tempura tantrum View Post
Hey there Ravennr- glad to see there's another Asian breed enthusiast!

There is DEFINITELY a reason you're seeing this split in color, and the reason is that for all intents and purposes, the Japanese Akita (Akita Inu), and American Akita (Great Japanese Dog, according to FCI), are seperate breeds now. While MOST countries recognize this fundamental split (including, and most especially the country of origin), the majority of American breeders have been uneasy to do so.

It's sort of a complicated situation. Much of it has to do with the fact that many old school American Akita breeders are loathe to say that they are breeding anything BUT Akitas. They take it as a great offense that people think that they are not breeding the ORIGINAL dogs...but in all honesty, they aren't.

The Akita Inu was the ORIGINAL *hunting* dog of the Matagi. These dogs are what you see today, being bred in Japan, and are historically correct. They are smaller, lighter in bone, and look a LOT more like the other native Japanese breeds than do their American cousins. The fiery reds look just like giant Shibas, and in fact, my Shiba breeder imported a beautiful red Akita Inu around 7 years ago, and he complements her Shiba pack perfectly.

Around WW2, American servicemen went to Japan, bringing with them several other breeds of dog, and a taste for dog fights. Akitas were mixed with GSDs, St. Bernards, and some mastiff breeds, to produce strong, heavy boned animals that would excel in dog fights. Some great evidence of this is the prevelance of black masking (likely from mastiffs and GSDs) you see on American bred Akitas in comparison to the absolute and total lack of it in Japanese Akitas. Black masks (on dogs that are not black), are frowned upon in native Japanese breeds- it drives us NUTS in Shibas, and is considered fundamentally incorrect- muddling the clarity and simplicity of the face. Nevertheless, you see it all the time on American dogs.

When the war ended, the Japanese people felt a profound desire to salvage things they felt were marks of National pride. Many of these things included dog breeds. Shibas were brought back from near extinction (by mixing three strains of Shiba that had originally existed seperately from one another), and a great effort was made to return Akitas to their former purity. Both breeds were designated national monuments.

Yet American servicemen went home with big-boned, blocky, bear-like dogs- that they still called (and believed were) Akitas.

The divergence went from there.

The ventral markings so important in many Japanese breeds (known as urajiro), were lost in American Akitas due to the addition of other breeds to make strong fighters. Shiba litters tend to have "woolies" in the mix every once in awhile, so it's no surprise to me that Japanese Akitas have the same phenomenon. It's likely at a greater rate for the same reason I mentioned above.

Today Federation Cynologique Internationale registers American Akitas and Japanese Akitas as two entirely different breeds. The Great Japanese Dog, and Akita Inu, respectively. I am of the opinion that we in the US should do the same. I'd love to own and exhibit an Akita Inu in the breed ring here in the US, but they don't do so well pitted against the bigger American dogs.

There are some breeders that occasionally like to mix Japanese Akitas into their lines, and they are none too keen on the idea of splitting the breed in this nation.

At any rate, I adore both the Akita Inu and the American Akita.

If you'd like a really nice example of American Akitas (with some beautiful black brindles), take a look at www.sondaisakitas.com). I'm pretty picky with American Akitas, but I think Colleen does an excellent job instilling Japanese type into her lines. Especially when you see a lot of overdone, "mastiffy" looking Akitas today.
IMHO Sondiasa's are about as American Akita as you get.
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