Akita originates from the city Odate in the Akita district of the island Honshu. From a long time ago, Odate was known as the “city of dogs”. Depictions on clay jars that have been found in excavations in the area, show dogs with erect ears and curled tails similar to today’s Japanese breads. These dogs were named either after their origin city (Odate-inu, Akita-inu) or after their usefulness (Matagi-inu = hunting dog, Kurigia-inu – battle dog). It was originally used as a hunting dog (Matagi – inu) for big prey (bear, wild boar, deer). A pair of Akitas with amazing courage and feistiness hunted down and immobilized the prey until the hunter arrived to kill it. At the same time, it was a guardian for the house, a protector of the family and a loyal partner. It was considered to be a symbol of good health and well-being. There was a custom, when a child was born, along with the wishes for health, long-life and happiness, the family received a small statue of an Akita dog. The same small statue was also offered to sick people for fast recovery.

Later on, around 1800, the economical and social conditions changed and since dog fights not only became popular, but also the most beloved public show, the Japanese began crossbreeding Matagi with Mastiff dogs, Saint Bernard and other Mastiff breeds. The result of this crossbreeding were dogs bigger in size and power but of different type (Kairyon-ken = Improved dog, ShinAkita= New Akita). Many of these had a lot of loose skin, semi-erect ears and loose tails. It was obvious that there was a danger for the features of the Japanese dogs to disappear. So, an attempt to rescue and preserve the ancient Japanese dog began by founding two of the most significant organizations that undertook this task, AKIHO in 1927 in Odate and NIPPO in 1928 in Tokyo. In order to facilitate the realization of this purpose the Japanese government, in 1931 names it officially Akita and declares it a “national treasure”.

In October 4th 1932 the story of Hachiko is published in the newspaper ASAHI, which moved and made Akita known in the whole country. This helped with the revival of the breed, since more and more people took an interest in acquiring an original Akita.

The attempt to revival the breed stops during World War II and the breed is in danger of disappearing. During the war the police order to confiscate (as a source of food and fur) all dogs except for German Shepherd that were used for military purposes. That was the reason why many dog lovers crossbred Akita with German Shepherd trying to keep dogs. So, with the end of the war, a difficult situation was created. There were three types of Akita: 1. Matagi-Akita, 2. Akita  for dog fighting, 3. Akita with features of German Shepherd. That was the time (1945-1955) when many Akitas, mostly from the Kongo line were introduced to America by the soldiers that were returning home. (The first Akita arrived in America with Helen Keller in 1937). The descendants of these dogs were pairing and the breeding of Akita began in America, without any knowledge, written records or any description of the form of the authentic original Akita.

On the contrary, in Japan the attempt to return to the authentic type and to remove the Mastiff features of the German Shepherd features continued, and found many and warm supporters.

This was the way we ended up in many and vivid differences between the Japanese and American Akita. In 1996 in Tokyo, during the 1st Global Convention for the Akita, it was decided that they will be considered as two different breeds. In 1998 in German, on the 2nd Global Convention. the American Akita was named the “Great Japanese Dog”.