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UPDATE: On The Akita Name Change

by Sophia Kaluzniaki, D.V.M. - June 2006

 

It has now been close to a year since the Akita has been divided into two separate breeds in the FCI countries. And over a year since the two types were shown as separate breeds at the World Show in Mexico City. It is absolutely amazing how the resolution of this simple, but politically very charged issue, has resulted in defusing a minor revolution. Breeders who were previously bitter enemies because of their support of either the Japanese or American type, are again speaking to each other and competing successfully within their own separate breeds. Splitting into two breeds was the right solution. The Japanese Akita and the Great Japanese Dog (American Akita) now have their own individual platforms from which to compete, and breeders are again free to breed toward one correct extreme or the other without creating an intermediate type that would be incorrect for either breed.

 

There are still minor issues to iron out. One being the issue of the breed name. Because of political considerations, the name “Great Japanese Dog (Formerly American Akita)” was given to the American type. This has been universally unpopular with the breeders of the American type. In fact, it has caused considerable friction with breeders of Akitas in the US. It would be an understatement to say that none of us here in the US, likes the name. In Europe, where most of the Akitas are of the Japanese type, it has also created a hardship on those who breed the American type. In most countries Akitas imported from countries that have not split the breed, have to be inspected and certified as to being one breed or the other. I exported a puppy Belgium in May of this year. It had to be inspected by three judges and certified that it was indeed a “Great Japanese Dog” before it would be admitted to the Belgian registry. This is not the case with Akitas of either type that are imported into the US. Because the membership of the Akita Club of America have chosen to not split the breed at this time, all Akitas, whether Japanese or American, imported from countries where there are now two breeds, and have pedigrees acceptable to the AKC, are eligible for registration as Akitas.

 

In June of this year I was privileged to judge the Great Japanese Dogs (American Akitas) at the special Japanese Breeds Specialty held in conjunction with the World Show in Milan. There were over 150 Japanese Akitas, but only six Great Japanese Dogs (American Akitas). These however, were of excellent quality and the best of breed dog was an American champion. At the end of August I traveled to Ecuador for the Latin American – Caribbean International Dog Show. Here the situation was just the opposite. There were 60 American Akitas and only six Japanese Akitas. The quality of the American Akitas was very high for the most part, the Japanese Akitas were average at best.

 

In the United States, we have very few Japanese Type Akitas. Those breeders who want to preserve the Japanese type are for the most part not competing with their dogs because these Akitas are at a definite disadvantage in the show ring. Those breeders who want to incorporate the Japanese lines into the American dogs, are having some limited amount of success, but also find it hard to win with their dogs. The membership of the Akita Club of America is split about 50/50 on the issue of dividing the breed. My personal view is that unless we divide the breed here, the Japanese type will essentially be swallowed up by the large American gene pool. And those breeders who want to be faithful to the true type as seen in Japan will have to find another venue in which to compete. In fact, I have heard that the United Kennel Club will most likely approve the Japanese Akita as a separate breed in the near future.

 

More Information:

Background On FCI and Akita Name Change Sophia Kaluzniaki, D.V.M. July 2005

FCI Changes Akita Breed Name what that means & why AKC and ACA stubbornly resist!  August 2005

Dilemma - One Breed Or Two? a historical perspective - Sophia Kaluzniaki, D.V.M. Sept. 2005

UPDATE From The Akita World On The Akita Name Change - Sophia Kaluzniaki, D.V.M. June 2006

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