Large, powerful and alert, the Akita is a working breed that originated in Japan. Dignified and courageous, the Akita today is popular in the show ring and also participates in performance and therapy work. One of seven breeds designated as a national monument in its native Japan, the Akita has been used as a versatile hunting dog there for many years. There is even a spiritual significance attached to the breed – when a child is born in Japan, the family will receive an Akita statue signifying health, happiness, and long life. The Akita first arrived in the United States when Helen Keller brought one over in 1937.