Gracious, courageous, dominant and highly devoted to his owner, the Akita Inu has rightfully gained its reputation as a national treasure of Japan.
Its Japanese name would translate as “the dog in the colors of autumn rice fields”. If you love this iconic dog breed and would like to discover some facts from a really dedicated owner regarding the Akita Inu temperament, then this interview could be a useful source.
Long time ago, as I was taking a late walk with some of my friends, I came upon a magnificent Akita female that belonged to someone from the Romanian Otaku community. I had an immediate sense of magnificence and felt supreme admiration, as if owning an Akita could be the coolest thing on this good Earth.
Now it’s my great pleasure to introduce you to beautiful Saya and to its owner, Jo. The following interview with Jo is meant both to bring Saya to your attention and to offer some answers in case you wish to become an Akita owner yourself in the future.
Akita Inu is already legendary in Japan and has gained a lot of admiration and fondness in many other parts of the world as well. In your case, what was the main reason for choosing this dog breed?
I was 18 or 19 years old when I saw an Akita for the first time. I was impressed by its proud posture and by the fact that it didn’t come to me when I called it. It was then and there that I fell in love with the breed and promised myself that I would get an Akita in the future.
What are the basic steps in learning the right way to care for an Akita?
You must understand the breed itself. They are far from being like the common dogs. They will welcome you with a happy face, but they won’t wait for you in the train station like Hachiko. As long as you understand that they are very independent and stubborn dogs, life with an Akita will feel like a piece of cake.
Akita Inu is renowned for its dominant personality. How does theory compare to practice when it comes to dealing with the Akita temperament?
This is so true. Akitas are very dominant. That is why 8 out of 10 interactions with other dogs end up in fights. They often extend their dominant character to the owners, but here’s a little trick for you: be an iron hand in a silk glove, meaning be strong on your position and assume the leadership. I don’t want to sound too harsh, but, sometimes, Akitas end up in shelters because they try to bite the owners. The best way to decide if the Akita Inu is the right breed for you is to read a lot about the breed.
How much exercise does Saya need daily?
Saya enjoys long walks. We are fortunate enough to live near a big park in Bucharest. A big walk once or twice a day should be enough.
How sociable is Saya with other dogs? Or with strangers and your friends?
In my case, I exposed Saya to the world when she was just a little puppy. I took her to my workplace every day and now I can say that I have a very sociable dog. Social interaction is a must if you want to have a balanced Akita. When it comes to other dogs, I’m very reserved and I prefer to keep Saya close to me.
What diet would you recommend to other Akita owners? Does Saya have favorite foods?
Hmmm… This is a very large and sensitive subject. Some breeders say that it is good to keep a low protein diet, others that they are feeding raw meat to their dogs.
I’m keeping Saya on a low protein diet, because she has some weird allergies.
Oh yeah… 90% of Akita Inus develop skin problems… It’s a known fact.
Can you deal with Saya while she is eating?
Sure thing. But I’m the only one who deals with Saya when she is eating. I can just tell her to stop and leave the plate, and she obeys. That’s what I love the most about Akitas! That they only have one master.
What would the perfect climate be for the happiest Akita?
My biggest dream is to have a house in the mountains, because Saya would feel so happy there. Winter is Akita’s best friend.
How about Saya’s grooming routine?
Akita is a very clean breed. I wash her once a year. The only time when things go hard is the shedding season. I find hair everywhere and I mean everywhere.
In the shedding season I groom her 3 times a day. I can honestly say that I could make at least a winter blanket out of Saya’s hair.
How many visits to the vet would you suggest in a year to make sure all’s ok?
Hahaha!!! The vet will become your best friend, trust me. I see my vet more than I see most of my closest relatives.
On the topic of health, Akita is not among the top breeds. They develop from skin problems, allergies, eye problems, and so on, to much serious health problems like hip dysplasia and immune system disorders. It is very important to know the family tree a.k.a. the pedigree of your Akita. I took all my information from akitapedigree.com. The site is very accurate and kept up to date.
Monica works as a writer and translator, and is a passionate researcher of pop-culture, anthropology and cinema. In her spare time she also enjoys toy photography and often searches for old Japanese art toys to enlarge her collection. She also loves to discover monsters from old movies, folk tales, myths and legends of various cultures.