The Akita Inu is the national breed
of Japan. It is named after the province from which it originates,
i.e. the province of Akita, in the north of Honshu (Japan).
As much of the work it performed was of an aggressive nature
it was trained as a bear hunter and fighting dog. In the
era before the Japanese Samurai the Akita was an unfaltering
companion. His strong affection for his owner has given
the Akita Inu a place in Japanese mythology, and pictures
of Akitas are still given as tokens of friendship and prosperity
to this day.
The Akita is also seen as a bringer
of good fortune. Just how faithful these dogs can be is
illustrated by the legend of 'Hachiko'. The Shibuyu Railway
Station has a statue of a very faithful Akita by the name
of 'Hachiko'. Every day Hachiko would accompany his owner,
professor Ueno of the University of Tokyo, to the station
where he would wait until the train departed. At 3 o'clock
he would return to the station to collect his owner again.
One day, Hachiko was waiting for the train as usual, but
his owner never arrived. He had died of heart failure at
the University. From that day forward, Hachiko went to the
station every day at 3 o'clock to wait for his owner. The
people who knew him would feed him and take care of him
if he was wounded in a dogfight on his travels. He did this
for ten years until his death. After he died a statue of
Hachiko was erected outside the Shibuyu Station in Tokyo.
Hachiko's fur has been preserved in the Ueno museum and
he himself appears in the stories of many Japanese children's
Throughout its history the Akita
Inu has had many ups and downs, such as the debate over
Japanese and American types. This was resolved on 1 January
2000 when the FCI recognized two.