Two Akita Breeds
During the occupation years following World War II, the Akita Inu breed began to thrive again. authorities. Morie Sawataishi and his efforts to breed the Akita is a major reason we know this breed today. For the first time, Akitas were bred for a standardized appearance.
The Japanese Akita and American Akita began to diverge in type through the middle and later part of the 20th century with the Japanese Akita fanciers focusing on restoring the breed as a work of Japanese art and American Akita fanciers selecting for the larger, heavier-boned dogs that emerged from the post-war times.
Both types derive from a common ancestry, but marked differences can be observed between the two. First, while American Akitas are acceptable in all colors, Japanese Akitas are only permitted to be red, fawn, sesame, white, or brindle. Additionally, American Akitas may be pinto and/or have black masks, unlike Japanese Akitas. American Akitas generally are heavier boned and larger, with a more bear-like head, whereas Japanese Akitas tend to be lighter and more finely featured with a fox-like head.
Much debate occurs among Akita fanciers of both types whether there are or should be two breeds of Akita. To date, the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club, guided by their national breed clubs, consider American and Japanese Akitas to be two types of the same breed, allowing free breeding between the two. The FCI and Kennel Clubs of most other nations including Japan consider Japanese and American Akitas as separate breeds.
In all likelihood, the issue of dividing the Akita breed into the American Akita and Japanese Akita breeds is being revisited in the United States. Whether the Akita Club of America and its members will change this stance at any time in the future remains to be seen.