The exact origin of the Akita remains unknown. Through skeletal remains and carbon dating, it was traced to 500 BC, although the Akita’s specific breed history has only been recorded for the past 350 years. The Akita was also known as the Odate dog – named after the rugged mountainous area of Odate in the prefecture of Akita, on the island of Honshu in Japan.
As fishing has always been a major Japanese industry, the Akita, with its webbed feet and thick water-resistant coat, readily became the fishermen’s workmate. Akitas were then used as cattle dogs, seeing-eye dogs for the blind, sled pullers and police dogs. They were also utilised as ‘babysitters’ looking after children while their mothers worked in the rice fields. They first arrived in Australia in 1982.