Odate City, Akita - Cultural Heritage Introduction

Discover Odate’s History

Akita Dogs

Akita Dogs

Akita dogs began as medium to large size dogs that accompanied the local Matagi people on bear hunting excursions. During the feudal era, they came to be used as fighting dogs primarily in the Odate region and were called Odate dogs.

After the boom in dog fighting of the Meiji and Taisho eras, the practice was gradually outlawed in Japan. During the fighting boom, around 1909, Akita dogs were often crossbred with foreign breeds to create stronger fighters.

Sensing the need to preserve a pure lineage, standards were set in 1927 and Akita dogs were named the first Natural Monument of Japan in 1931.

A year later, the story of Hachiko and his waiting for his master at Shibuya Station in Tokyo gained national headlines.

A statue was erected to Hachiko in front of Shibuya Station and he passed away on March 8th a year later at the age of 11. After his passing, the story of his loyalty continued to spread around the world.

Akita Dog Preservation Society

In 1934 the Akita Dog Preservation Society was founded. Breed standards strengthened and dog shows held in 1938, but further activates were put on hold by the outbreak of WWII.

The next competition was held in 1947 and the official magazine began circulation in 1949.

From 1949 to 1950, society branch offices were opened out throughout the country and even overseas in Los Angeles and Taiwan. Two dog shows are held in the spring and fall in Odate, and more held by branch affiliates. The society also sponsors a number of research conferences and appearances.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the society’s founding, the Akita Dog Hall was constructed in 1977. The two floors house offices and meeting rooms while the third floor is dedicated to the Akita Dog Museum.