The most popular breed in his native Japan, a large, upstanding, dignified dog, a part of the Utility breeds group, whose proud head carriage and stance is enhanced by his small, triangular ears and dark eyes. His strong body is balanced by his large, full tail curling to meet his back. The Akita Inu (meaning ‘large dog’) traces its origins back many centuries to the polar regions from where Spitz-type dogs found their way to the northern mountainous areas of Japan. The largest and most powerful were used for breeding and the Akita emerged some three hundred years ago. He was developed originally as a fighting dog but diverted into hunting for black bear, wild boar and deer. He comes in a variety of brilliant and clear colours often set off by a facial mask or blaze. His impressive appearance is matched by his strength and character, which is reserved and quiet but dominant over other dogs. He makes an excellent guard, but would probably not be the best companion for a bold terrier. Devoted and protective towards his owners, he is also very affectionate.