What Is a Hachiko Breed of Dog?

Christian Kober, Christmas, Akita/AWL Images/Getty Images

Hachiko is an Akita, a large, powerful working breed that originated in the northern regions of Japan. While most people know Hachiko as the fiercely loyal and affectionate dog in the movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” he was actually a real Akita dog owned by a family in the Akita Prefecture in Japan. Just as the movie portrayed, he continued to be loyal for many years after his master’s death.

The original Hachiko lived in Japan from 1923 to 1935 and remained loyal to his owner, Professor Hidesaburo Ueno, throughout his life. The highlight of Hachiko’s life was his unyielding loyalty to his owner. Accustomed to Professor Ueno’s daily schedule, he would wait for his owner’s return at the train station, and he would continually do so for the next nine years following Professor Ueno’s death. In 1934, the town of Shibuya erected Hachiko’s statue in front of the train station with Hachiko himself as a special guest.

Akita dogs are remarkably loyal, and they are versatile hunters with strong guarding and protective instincts. They also have a strong spiritual significance in Japan. When a first child is born in a Japanese household, they receive an Akita statue to signify long life, happiness and health. The Akita is a native Japanese breed. According to the American Kennel Club, the first publicized appearance of an Akita in the United States was when Hellen Keller brought one back from a trip to Japan in 1937.