Originally Japanese dogs were small to
medium in size and no large breeds existed. Since 1603
in the Akita region, Akita Matagis (medium-sized bear-hunting
dogs) were used as fighting dogs. From 1868 Akita Matagis
were crossed with Tosas and Mastiffs. Consequently,
the size of this breed increased but characteristics
associated with Spitz type were lost.
In 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, but this breed
was nevertheless preserved and improved as a large Japanese
breed. As a result, nine superior examples of this breed
were designated as « Natural Monuments »
During World War II (1939-1945), it was common to use
dogs as a source of fur for military garments. The police
ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs other
than German Shepherd Dogs used for military purposes.
Some fanciers tried to circumvent the order by crossbreeding
their dogs with German Shepherd Dogs.
When World War II ended, Akitas had been drastically
reduced in number and existed as three distinct types;
1) Matagi Akitas, 2) fighting Akitas, and 3) Shepherd
Akitas. This created a very confusing situation in the
During the restoration process of the pure breed after
the war., Kongo-go, a dog of the Dewa line, which exhibited
characteristics of the Mastiff and German Shepherd
However, sensible learned fanciers did
not approve of this type as a proper Japanese breed,
so they made efforts to eliminate the strain old foreign
breeds by crossbreeding with Matagi Akitas for the purpose
of restoring the original pure breed. They succeeded
in stabilizing the pure strain of large sized breed
as known today.