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Akita (äkēˈtə) [key], breed of large dog developed in Japan from ancient ancestry and used originally as a hunter of such game as deer, wild boar, and bear. It stands from 20 to 27 in. (50.8–68.6 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 75 to 110 lb (34.1–49.9 kg). Its double coat consists of a thick, furry underlayer and a medium-length, harsh, straight topcoat which may be any shade of cream, brown, red, gray, black, silver, or brindle. A muscular dog with erect ears and tail curved over its back, the Akita has been used in the 20th cent. as a police and war dog and as a companion and watchdog. It is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States and is presently exhibited in the miscellaneous class at the dog shows sanctioned by the American Kennel Club. See dog.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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