The Akita Inu was first "created" in Japan. They get their name from the Akita Prefecture, which is where they are thought to have originated. The Akita has been described as one of the oldest dogs in Japan. The Akita of today is an ancestor of the Matagi. The Matagi's prey was elk, antelope, boar, and the Asian Brown Bear. This swift, agile, tenacious dog held the game at bay while hunters would come and kill it. In 1931, the breed was officially declared a Japanese National Monument. The mayor of Odate organized a breed club - AKIHO(Akita Inu Hozankai) - to preserve and improve the Akita breed. Helen Keller was the one to introduce the first two Akita Inus to America.
WWII hit, pushing the breed to near extinction. Early in the war, these dogs suffered from lack of nutrition, and many were killed in order to provide food for the starving populace, and their pelts were sold as clothing. The Government even ordered all dogs to be killed on-sight to prevent the spread of disease. The only way to save these dogs, was to breed them to the German Shepherd Dogs, turn them loose into the mountainous areas, or try and conceal them from authorities. Thus, it is important to note that three types of dogs were generally included under the name "AKITA." These were the Matagi-type Akita, which was the original hunting dog; the fighting Akita which was a mixture of Matagi with several other breeds, most likely including Tosa, Great Dane and St. Bernard (as evidenced in the Ichinoseki line); and the so-called German Shepherd Akita (now referred to as the Dewa line).
By the end of WWII, less than twenty purebred Akita dogs were in Japan. During the US occupation of Japan following the war, the breed began to thrive again through the efforts of Morie Sawataishi and others. For the first time, Akitas were bred for a standardized appearance. Akita fanciers in Japan began gathering and exhibiting the remaining Akitas and producing litters in order to restore the breed to sustainable numbers and to accentuate the original characteristics of the breed muddied by crosses to other breeds. US servicemen fell in love with the Akita and imported many of them into the US upon and after their return. In the 1960s and 1970s, the goal to restore the breed and preserve it according to its origins was taken upon most fervently by AKIHO. At this time, Japanese breeders were able to improve the Akita in Japan and rid the breed of loose skin, wrinkled foreheads, rounded eyes, dewlap, various coat patterns and colors (such as pinto, black masks, sesame, etc.). Those characteristics were seen as incorrect characteristics of the past -- characteristics that do not conform to an aesthetically correct Japanese Akitas today.
The Split: The Japanese Akita and American Akita began to diverge in type through the middle and later part of the 20th century with the Japanese Akita fanciers focusing on restoring the breed as a work of Japanese art and American Akita fanciers selecting for the larger, heavier-boned dogs that emerged from the post-war times.
Much debate occurs among Akita fanciers of both types whether there are or should be two breeds of Akita. To date, the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club, guided by their national breed clubs, consider American and Japanese Akitas to be two types of the same breed, allowing free breeding between the two. The FCI and Kennel Clubs of most other nations including Japan consider Japanese and American Akitas as separate breeds.
Fun Fact: In Japan, mothers would actually leave their children in the care of the family Akita while she went to buy groceries for the day. In Japan, if you're ill or in the hospital, you would get a small Akita statue. The Akita represents loyalty and luck.
Hachi was an Akita owned by a man named Hidesabur***333; Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. Hachi would see his professor off from the door while he went to work, then meet him at the train station every day. The pair continued this routine every day until May 1925, when the professor died of a stroke while he was at the university that day. While the professor did not return home on that train, Hachi waited.
Hachi was given away after the professor's death, but routinely escaped, showing up again and again at his old home. Eventually, Hachi realized that his owner no longer lived in that home, and looked for him at the train station. Each day, Hachi waited at the train station, and each day, Professor Ueno didn't return.
The permanent fixture at the train station that was Hachik***333; attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachik***333; and Professor Ueno together each day. They brought Hachik***333; treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
This continued for ten years, with Hachi appearing only in the evening, when the train was due at the station. Hachiko was found dead on a street in Shibuya. Hachiko's stuffed and mounted remains can be found in the National Science Museum of Japan.
In April 1934, a bronze statue was erected at Shibuya Station, and Hachik***333; himself was present at its unveiling. The statue was recycled for the war effort during World War II. In 1948, Takeshi Ando, son of the original artist, was commissioned to make a second statue. When the new statue appeared, a dedication ceremony occurred. The new statue, which was erected in August 1948, still stands and is an extremely popular meeting spot. The station entrance near this statue is named "Hachik***333;-guchi", meaning "The Hachik***333; Entrance/Exit", and is one of Shibuya Station's five exits.
The exact spot where Hachik***333; waited in the train station is permanently marked with bronze paw-prints and text in Japanese explaining his loyalty.
acceptable colors: American Akitas are acceptable in any color. Japanese Akitas may be red, white, or brindle. All colors except white must have urajiro (light cream or white markings or shading) on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the underside of the jaw, neck, chest, body and tail, and on the inside of the legs. Colors should be clear and bright.
Temperament: The Akita is aloof with strangers, but very close and loving with their families. Some may appear to be too serious to strangers. They are protective, but not aggressive unless absolutely necessary. They may develop same-sex dog aggression as they mature, even if properly socialized. They are generally very confident, intelligent, and docile. They are a loyal breed.
Height: American; Females: 24-26 inches, Males: 26-28 inches.
Japanese; Females: Preferred 22 inches and over, Males: Preferred 24 inches and over.
Weight: American; Females: 70-110lbs, Males: 90-130lbs
Japanese; Females: 60-100lbs, Males: 75-120lbs
Health Problems: Autoimmune disorders, Pemphigus, Uveitis, Lupus Erythematosus, PRA, Thrombocytopenia, Hypothyroidism, AIHA, Von Willebrands, Sebaceous Adenitis, Cutaneous Asthenia, Hip Dysplasia. (NOTE: I'm not sure if Americans have all these issues or not, or if they have more, but I'm pretty sure these are seen amongst both "types")
Exercise: A long, brisk walk is acceptable, or shorter walks throughout the day. However, most enjoy more than that. There are Akitas in agility, weight pull, even some sledding. This IS a working breed; it's best to give them a job.
Life Expectancy: Roughly 9-15 years.
Grooming: Akitas don't require a whole bunch of maintenance, but they do need regular brushing, nail trims, and bathing. The blow their coat twice a year(though I believe some, like Lobo, only blow their coats once a year).
What to look for in a breeder: Knowledgeable about Akitas and their health problems, provides adequate exercise, dogs are kept with the family, puppies are EXTREMELY socialized(for an example, the breeder that I'll get my Japanese Akita from sleeps in the same room as the pups and socializes from the very beginning), health testing is done for parents. For Americans, AKC titles are ideal. For Japanese, AKIHO show titles/memberships are ideal.
Ideal living conditions: A cooler climate - not necessarily a snowy place like Alaska, but some place where they won't overheat. A place where they'll be able to run and have a job.
"Ideal" owner: Intelligent, knowledgeable, probably someone who's just as willful(but not cruel), PATIENT, fairly active, but not necessarily hike-for-four-hours-in-eighty-degree-weather, preferably someone who has time to spend with training and socialization, a single-dog home OR a home who has separate genders OR a home who will keep the dogs separate when alone.
Trainability: Um... If you're patient, understanding, and pretty darn stubborn, Akitas are actually very trainable. You'll likely never get them doing handstands, but I know of some who are in Agility and Obedience.
Other traits: FANTASTIC with the family. Intuitive. Primitive. Some are prey-driven, but those same dogs live with other animals in the home. Lobo will kill birds outside, but my dad's bird is almost totally ignored. The two have slept together before. They do go through a "teenage" phase, where they will seem to "forget" all that they've learned. This is where human patience will really come in. Willful. Stubborn. Too smart for their own good. Before we replaced our fence, there was a hole that we covered with bricks. Lobo simply moved the bricks out of the way. Escaping isn't necessarily an Akita trait(Lobo has Husky in him), but they CAN figure it out if they're not mentally and physically stimulated. If you can figure it out, so can they.
The JACA website: http://www.the-jaca.org/index.htm
Dog Breed Info.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Stafford, StaffyBull, Staffy/Staffie, Staff, SBT
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a smooth-coated dog. It should be of great strength for its size and, although muscular, should be active and agile.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Height -- 14-16" Weight -- Dogs: 28-38lbs Bitches: 24-34 lbs These heights being related to weights. Non-conformity with these limits is a fault. In proportion, the length of back, from withers to tail set, is equal to the distance from withers to ground.
Short, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop, short foreface, black nose. Pink (Dudley) nose to be considered a serious fault. Eyes--Dark preferable, but may bear some relation to coat color. Round, of medium size, and set to look straight ahead. Light eyes or pink eye rims to be considered a fault, except that where the coat surrounding the eye is white the eye rim may be pink. Ears--Rose or half-pricked and not large. Full drop or full prick to be considered a serious fault. Mouth--A bite in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors. The lips should be tight and clean. The badly undershot or overshot bite is a serious fault.
Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is muscular, rather short, clean in outline and gradually widening toward the shoulders. The body is close coupled, with a level topline, wide front, deep brisket and well sprung ribs being rather light in the loins. The tail is undocked, of medium length, low set, tapering to a point and carried rather low. It should not curl much and may be likened to an old-fashioned pump handle. A tail that is too long or badly curled is a fault.
Legs straight and well boned, set rather far apart, without looseness at the shoulders and showing no weakness at the pasterns, from which point the feet turn out a little. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. The feet should be well padded, strong and of medium size.
The hindquarters should be well muscled, hocks let down with stifles well bent. Legs should be parallel when viewed from behind. Dewclaws, if any, on the hind legs are generally removed. Feet as in front.
Smooth, short and close to the skin, not to be trimmed or de-whiskered.
Red, fawn, white, black or blue, or any of these colors with white. Any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. Black-and-tan or liver color to be disqualified.
Free, powerful and agile with economy of effort. Legs moving parallel when viewed from front or rear. Discernible drive from hind legs.
From the past history of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the modern dog draws its character of indomitable courage, high intelligence, and tenacity. This, coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes it a foremost all-purpose dog.
Black-and-tan or liver color.
Start an entry! Post lots of pics ;-)