historically, little is known about Japan, and even less is known about the history of the Akita. Legend has it that 500 years ago, the Japanese equivelent of a Baron fell out of favor with the Emperor of Japan. He and his family were exiled to one of the outer isles of
In order to deal with this problem, He decided to create a new breed of dog, combining, 2 types of wolf, an ancestor to the modern Mastiff, a Japanese spitz, as well as several other breeds. With this new massive breed of dog, he was able to eradicate the great Yezo Bear on the island. These giant dogs closely resemble the bears that they were bred to hunt. The black mask pinto akitas especially look like an adolescent Yezo bear, most likely this is not a coincedence.
Yezo Bear of Japan
Several years later the baron made a gift of many of these dogs to the Emperor. The Emperor was so taken with these dogs, not only did he give the Baron his land and position back, but he decreed from that day forth that each of his Samurai warriors was to keep his dogs. It is said that for 5 centuries this amazing dog became an integral part of Imperial Samurai culture, and only Emperor’s Samurai were allowed to keep them
Whether or not they were bred by samurai, one thing is certain, they act like the samurai that may have bred them. They are fearless, and their loyalty is unparalleled. In fact legend has it that the Imperial Samurai were so enamored with these dogs that they actually believed that if one them died dishonorably, sometimes he would be given a second chance by being born into the body of an
There is much controversy surrounding the modern history of the Akita.
At the turn of the 19th century, Emperor Taisho(pictured to the right with 2 of his dogs), who was particularly partial to these giant akitas, decreed that all Japanese, not just royalty could keep these dogs, making a gift of them to the Japanese people.
These dogs were so good with children that in the fishing villages of
Emperor Taisho pictured above with his 2 dogs in 1899
Akita pictured with 2 children 1927
Dog fighting was so popular at the time that it became a social problem in the society of the time. There were organizations that organized large events and charged admission. It had become a booming business as a spectator sport. and was eventually banned by the local government in 1909.
In 1914 the Emperor held an exhibition for Odate Inu dogs in
One of Emperor Taisho's dogs(pictured 1919)
Unfortunately this reprieve for the
There is a story told by many