This is my friend, Teddy, weighing in at 125 lbs at 9 years old. He and I are having a 3 night slumber party at his house. I’m the boss, as he needs one, so says the AKC Book of Breeds, otherwise his temperament will become possessive, and worse case scenario, “snippy”. However, truth be told, due to his size and the fact that he is half as tall as me, he is the Boss. He is a creature of habit, the slowest dog I’ve ever walked, sometimes sitting in place to sniff the air. Other dogs in the neighborhood fear him, and consequently, attack without provocation, so we have to walk in the morning, or later in the evening after most neighborhood pets have gone to bed. Teddy rules, it’s just that no one wants to admit it.
Originally used to guard nobility in feudal Japan, Akita’s still possess a proud carriage. Head up, ears alert, each large foot is raised and put down as if it must not make noise in the palace. Also used to hunt boar and bear, Akitas do not back down easily from challenges. In his own neighborhood, once a small dog ran back and forth at Teddy’s feet, snapping, and as if in disgust, Teddy merely picked up the dog by its fur and dropped him in another place.
Teddy eats when he wants to eat, and I’m telling you, boy, does he eat! Two cups of two kinds of dry food, 1/2 can of chicken and rice, 10 Rescue Joint treats, and one large Healthy Dental Treat. Twice a day! Sometimes, sshhh, we also share a tidbit of an Orange creamsicle. Even though he could clear an entire counter of everything, he is not a counter surfer. He is well trained. His head easily is higher than the counter top, but he merely looks, does not touch.
Akitas almost never bark, but if they really like you, they will greet you with a small soulful howl. Third time sitting for him, I earned a howl. I’d been accepted as part of his kibbutz.
Although I do not want as my own such a large dog, he’s a joy to care for, and though I’m not family, he lies at the entrance to my room to guard me from night invaders. Last night he demolished 3.