The Akita is a large spitz breed of dog originating from the mountainous northern regions of Japan. There are now two separate strains: American, a/k/a "Akita" or "American Akita"; and Japanese, aka "Akita Inu" or "Japanese Akita". The American strain comes in all dog colors; however, the Japanese strain comes in selected colors only, with all other colors considered atypical of the breed. The Akita has a short double coat, similar to that of many other northern Spitz breeds, e.g., Siberian Husky, but long coated dogs can be found in many litters due to a recessive gene. The American strain of Akita is now considered a separate breed from the Japanese Akita in many countries around the world, with the notable exceptions of Australia, the United States and Canada. In the U.S. and Canada, both strains are considered a single breed with differences in type rather than two separate breeds. During a short period, the American strain of Akita was known in some countries as the "Great Japanese Dog". Both forms of Akita are probably best known worldwide from the true story of Hachikō, a loyal Akita dog who lived in Japan before World War II. The Akita is a strong, independent and dominant breed, commonly aloof with strangers but affectionate with family members. They are known to compete in many dog competition sports, yet some are known to be intolerant of other dogs and require a knowledgeable and firm handler. As a breed, Akitas are generally hardy, but they have been known to suffer from various genetic conditions and be sensitive to certain drugs.
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