AKITA VS ROTTWEILER
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HISTORICAL DIFFERENCES The Akita is an extremely ancient breed from Northern Japan. In the Middle Ages, only members of the ruling class were allowed to own Akitas. And as these people liked their hunting expeditions, they used their fierce dogs to track and apprehend large game, such as elk, bear, and wild boar. Fearless and bold, their pack of dogs would keep the game in check until the hunters got to the scene. The courage and endurance required to carry out such a task in the treacherous mountainous terrain of Norther Japan must have been monumental. And after the second World War, US soldiers imported a number of these intrepid Japanese hunters into America. After 1980, the breed’s popularity spread to many other countries. Now, let’s look at the Rottweiler – one of the oldest German dog breeds. Because of their extraordinary talent for driving and controlling cattle, they are known as “Butchers’ Dogs” in Germany. The Rottweiler’s ancestors were the ancient Roman drover dogs. Their job was to drive herds of cattle brought along by the Roman armies as they crossed the Alps. During the second World War, Rottweilers served as messenger- and guard dogs, and since then, the breed has gained worldwide recognition as protection- and police service dog. DIFFERENCES IN LOOKS Akitas are Spitz-type dogs with beautiful, thick, and plush double-coats. Whilst breed standards allow pretty much every colour for the American Akita, the lighter and smaller Japanese Akita only comes in brindle, white, red fawn, and sesame. Both types of Akita have erect, small triangular-shaped ears and curly, brushed tails. In their overall appearance, they are of strong built, but without appearing bulky. Rotties are much more sturdy in their body structure, and have short coats. The only colour allowed by breed standards is black-and-tan. Rotties have big blocky heads with a marked stop. Traditionally, their tails used to be cropped, but today, this practise is illegal in many European countries. Adult male Akita Inus can measure up to 70 cm at the wither (which is around 28 inches) and weigh up to 50 kg (or, 110 pounds), with the females being a bit smaller and lighter. Their American cousins are usually taller and considerably heavier. Of similar height and weight, adult male Rottweilers can get up to 69 cm tall, which amounts to 27 inches. Their weight can be up to 60 kilos, which is about 100 pounds. Again, the females are slightly smaller and lighter. INTELLIGENCE & TRAINABILITY DIFFERENCES Neither one of these exceptional guardian breeds is suited for the inexperienced owner - simply because these large and powerful dogs can cause accidents when not raised, trained and socialized properly. With that said, Akitas are equally smart and stubborn. In terms of trainability, they are far more difficult to educate than Rotties, as they do not feel a need to please their owner. Because of their strong independence, Akitas absolutely require an experienced owner: A calm, consistent leader who knows how to train strongly independent dogs. And whilst the Rottie is no less intelligent than the Akita, it is far more trainable and versatile. When given the chance, Akitas will make their own decisions, whilst Rotties will usually look to their handler for guidance and direction. That said, the Rottweiler also has a certain tendency for independence and therefore is not the easiest breed to train. As Rotties can display aggressive behaviour when corrected, they absolutely need an experienced handler. With proper socialization and firm but fair guidance, Rotties can be trained to very high levels. In roles involving personal- and home protection, they are superb. TEMPERAMENT DIFFERENCES Even though you would think that the dignified Japanese hunting dogs are genetically predisposed to working in packs, they can behave quite aggressively towards other canines, especially members of the same sex. Which perhaps is due to their past as competitors in dog fighting matches in 16th century Japan. Akitas can also develop aggressive behaviour towards humans – unless guided and socialised by an experienced canine leader. In the hands of a competent owner, both the Akita and the Rottie can become good family dogs who behave well around children. However, they are not the best choice for families with small children. Accidents do happen and a Rottweiler or an Akita attacking a child is an absolute worst-case scenario. These breeds are not very tolerant of children – or other dogs – suddenly poking them or jumping on top of them. Therefore, great caution is advised, and owners should never leave their dog and child play together unattended. In the house, both Rotties and Akitas are remarkably calm for their considerable sizes and medium to high energy levels. These dogs are very fond of their humans and deeply loyal. Both breeds are born with a strong guarding instinct, which makes them excellent natural guard dogs who do not need training or encouragement to rise to the occasion.