Even if you’re not an animal person, there’s a good chance that you’ll still like dogs. Or at least some kinds of dogs! We can understand people not enjoying being around smaller, shriller breeds, but everyone loves Akitas, right? Any animal that can inspire memes and cryptocurrency can’t be all bad, right?
And while there’s nothing quite as heartwarming as a happy Akita, it tuns out that they’re also the dogs you want by your side if you ever happen to run into a bear. At least if this adorable YouTube video is any sign!
Akitas are, of course, world-famous as Japanese dogs. Though their history in the country is a long and complicated one, there’s no doubt that they’ve played an important role in Japanese society for quite a while. In fact, the precursors to Akitas, called Matagi dogs, were essential to Japanese hunting and would often corner large game for hunters–including bears! However, as you may be aware, there are actually two types of Akitas–the Japanese breed and the American breed. While they’re both from the same line, the American breed looks a bit larger with a wider variety of colors. Nonetheless, American Akitas are just as willing to go up against a bear as any Akita in Japan!
Here’s a video of an American Akita hanging out with its family watching White Fang, when a bear appears on screen, grabbing its attention. The video, which has already garnered over 400,000 views, was a hit in Japan as well, with many Internet commenters won over by the dog’s devotion to protecting its family from the rampaging bear.
Holy crap, that is both cute and moving at the same time, isn’t it? We’re really starting to wish it were easier to keep pets in Japan…
Most Japanese commenters loved the video too:
“What a well-built dog!”
“Akitas were such dangerous dogs that some municipalities used to keep them in prisons. Just imagine how helpless humans would be against dogs that go up against bears!”
“They did an experiment about this on Trivia. 100 dogs were taken on walks with their owners, who were attacked by the program staff member dressed in a bear costume. Of those dogs, only three stayed and attacked the bear to protect their owner. The rest all ran away.” [Editor’s note: In the segment referenced, the dogs were of a wide variety of breeds, so this may not necessarily apply to Akitas.]
“This dog is so cute! I love these kinds of dogs.”
“Maybe this is the Matagi dog instincts?”
“Maybe even if a dog has never seen a real bear before, just seeing one on TV turns on its fight switch. That’s amazing.”
“Doesn’t this Akita look like it’s been crossed with a Saint Bernard?”
A very astute observation! As we mentioned before, American Akitas tend to be bigger than those in Japan. This is because the American Akitas that were brought to the US after World War II had largely been crossbred with German Shepherds. Though the Japanese Akitas and American Akitas still seem to have similar personalities.
If you’re curious about the experiment the commenter mentioned, you can watch it here. The beginning of the video explains how it is set-up, including the fact that they went out of their way to be sure that the costume had the scent of a real bear. The first dog shown was a trained rescue dog, prepared to protect its human companion. The rest of the dogs running away were just normal pets. It’s Japanese only, but you don’t need translations to understand the disappointment the owners express after their beloved dogs run away, leaving them alone against the fake bear.
Or maybe the dogs are smart enough to know when they’re being set-up!