Akita Inu (秋田 犬) or the Japanese Akita dog is a dog breed that appeared in the Akita province on the Japanese island of Honshu, one of six in the register of the Japanese canine organization for the protection and preservation of native Japanese breeds – Nihonken Hozonkai (Nippo). The Akita Inu is the largest Japanese Spitz dog. For a long time it was hunting mainly large animals such as wild boar, deer and bear. In the distant past, Akitas called matagi ken (Japanese マ タ ギ 犬, “big game hunter dog”). The word “matagi” in ancient Japanese means “hunter of the big game”, and the translation “bugbear” would also be correct. The word “ken”, like the word “inu”, means “dog”, but unlike “inu” the word “ken” cannot be used separately, but only in a phrase, for example, “matagi ken”. That is why people-hunters (matagi) called their dogs “matagi ken”.
History of the Akita Inu breed
Akita originated in the Odate region of Akita Prefecture. The northeastern part of the main Japanese island and bred as a hunting and guard dog. In the past, the breed also known as the Odate Inu and Kazuno Inu, after the name of the area of origin. In addition, such dogs found in the prefectures of Aomori and Iwate bordering Akita, which characterized by the same harsh winters.
Archaeological data, which resulted in the discovery of the remains of Spitz dogs dating back to about the 2nd millennium BC, and the results of genetic studies have shown that the Akita is one of the 14 oldest dog breeds. Among other things, ancient drawings of dogs, reminiscent of modern Akitas, preserved.
To preserve and develop hunting qualities in Japan in the 6th century, clubs for lovers of these dogs founded. They drew up instructions for keeping, breeding, training. In the 15th century, herd books were established, in which the name, origin, color and other information were recorded.
Originally Japanese dogs were small to medium in size. Since 1603, Akita Matagis used for dog fighting in Akita County. Since 1868, they crossed with Tosa Inu and Mastiffs, as a result of which the size of the dogs increased, but the characteristic features of the Spitz type lost.
Despite the fact that in 1908 dog fighting banned, the breed survived and improved. Becoming a Japanese breed of large dogs, and nine of its prominent representatives in 1931 named “Natural Monuments”.
Other Akita Inu’s. American Akita
During the Second World War, German Shepherds used more often, Akita owners began to cross them with German Shepherds. After the Second World War, the breed divided into three types: Akita Matagi; fighting Akita; Akita crossed with a German shepherd. In the USA, on the basis of the Akita, the American Akita bred. Believed that Helen Adams Keller brought the first Japanese Akita to America.
In Asia, they were favorite pets at the court, and over time, the Akita Inu began to enjoy the privileges of the nobility. This elitism of the Japanese Akita dog greatly affected the development of the breed as a whole. Keeping, feeding and caring for the Akita Inu turned into a whole ceremony. Each dog had its own personal servant. For them, special collars and leashes were even made, by which it was possible to recognize the rank of the dog and the position of its owner in society. Everything around met the respect that the Akita Inu enjoyed.
The main star in the 1987 films The Story of Hachiko (ハ チ 公 物語) and the 2009 remake of Hachiko: The Most Loyal Friend was the Akito Inu dog. Hachiko (ハ チ 公 Hachiko) is an Akita Inu dog that is a symbol of loyalty and devotion in Japan.
The real Akita Inu dog
The real hachiko was born on November 10, 1923 in the Japanese prefecture of Akita. The farmer decided to give the puppy to Professor Hidesaburo Ueno, who worked at the University of Tokyo. The professor gave the puppy the nickname Hachiko. From hachi (Japanese ハ チ, “eight”) and a suffix (Japanese 公 ko :). Denoting attachment or dependence, since the dog was the eighth dog of the professor.
When Hachiko grew up, he always followed his master everywhere. He went to the city every day to work, so the dog first accompanied him to the entrance to the Shibuya station, and then, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, returned there again to meet the owner.
On May 21, 1925, a professor at the university suffered a stroke. Doctors could not save his life, and he never returned home. Hachiko was eighteen months old at the time. On that day, he did not wait for the owner, but began to come to the station every day, patiently waiting for him until late in the evening. He spent the night on the porch of the professor’s house.
In spite of the fact that they tried to find a place for the dog in the houses of the professor’s friends and relatives, he invariably continued to return to the station. Local traders and railroad workers fed Hachiko, admiring his persistence.
The dog became known throughout Japan in 1932 after the article “A faithful old dog awaits the return of its owner, who died seven years ago,” in one of the largest newspapers in Tokyo. The story captured the hearts of the Japanese, and curious people began to come to Shibuya station to look at the dog.
On April 21, 1934, a monument was erected to Hachiko, at the opening of which he was personally present. During the Second World War, the monument was destroyed – the metal of the monument was used for military purposes. After the end of the war, in August 1948, the monument was restored. Today, the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya Station is a meeting place for lovers, and the image of the dog in Japan itself has become an example of selfless love and loyalty.