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HISTORY We'll start by taking a quick look at each breed's history since we can find a lot of useful information into what makes them the modern canines we adore. The Bernese Mountain Dog was originally bred and used as both a drover and a drafting dog. Meaning that they helped herd dairy cows to markets and pulled small carts around the Swiss countryside. With the Industrial Revolution and the convenience of trains, the Berner found itself out of a job, and the breed came extremely close to extinction. Thankfully, the dying breed was resurrected in the early 1900s and has made quite the comeback as a beautiful family companion. The Akita is an older breed developed in the harsh northernmost region of Japan in the 16th century. A nobleman was banished to rule the Akita region by the Emporer at the time, and it was where he perfected the Akita as the loyal and protective breed we know today. The Akita is best known for its enduring loyalty that was exemplified in the 1920s by Hachiko, an Akita who waited for his owner at a train station every day for 9 years after the man died unexpectedly during the day. It's that kind of incredible devotion that has made the breed so popular in Japan. APPEARANCE These two breeds are both strikingly beautiful but in very different ways. The Berner, ranging from 70 to 115 pounds, is generally tri-colored, meaning they have a predominately black coat with tan and white markings. Their double coat is thick, and the outer fur is long and silky, with some feathering around the chest and haunches. They were bred to work in Switzerland's mountains, so they do well in cooler to cold climates over hot ones. The Akita is pretty much the opposite, with an incredibly dense coat to keep warm in northern Japan's cold climate. Their tail is curved over their rump and give their powerful gait a more springy appearance while their naturally erect ears reflect their alertness to the world.  Both breeds are large and overlap in their weight ranges almost identically, with the Akita weighing between 70-130 pounds. They are both powerful breeds with thick bones and muscles. TRAINABILITY You'll find both breeds are willing to please their leaders, but the Berner is far easier to train and much more forgiving. The Berner has a soft personality and only moderate energy, so don't expect them to be willing to achieve high levels of athletic prowess. Because of their size and general health, they might not be best for first time owners, but the Berner is a mellow large breed ideal for those who are looking to have a large breed for the first time.  Because of their size and protective instincts, both breeds will do best with experienced canine leaders that are calm and consistent with boundaries and expectations. This goes doubly for the Akita, who needs an exceptionally dedicated and knowledgeable leader to keep their fiercely protective nature in check. They are very devoted and eager to please but don't make great choices for people who may want to compete in canine sports.  TEMPERAMENT These breeds' temperaments are quite different, although they are both a joy to have in the home. The Berner is a steadfast and quiet companion that is very loving and affectionate with their whole family. They tend to be watchful or aloof with strangers at first and can be imposing due to their size and deep bark. They are wonderful with children, other dogs, and small animals, especially when raised with them since they were bred to guard the farmyard.  Socialization is imperative with the Akita because of its protective and reactive nature. You'll find the Akita to be loving and affectionate with the whole family and primarily devoted to one person with the family. They tend to be aggressive towards other dogs and even small animals, so they do best in homes where they can be the only animal. Again, this isn't 100% true for every individual, but a general overview of the breed you absolutely have to be aware of.

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