89-Year-Old Sanuki Still Amazed at the Strength of Male Akita Dogs

  • 2022-08-09
  • 2022-08-09
  • NEWS
  • 8view

Mr. Sanuki Chiyokichi, a farmer living in Fujiki in Daisen City, Akita Prefecture, keeps and takes care of four Akita dogs by himself.  Amazingly, he is 89 years old and will soon turn 90.  Three of his dogs are male dogs.  He has kept mainly male Akita dogs throughout his life, saying, “They are powerful and robust, and I love the way they respond when I pull them along.”

Even at 89 years old, Mr. Sanuki keeps four Akita dogs by himself, including Daisen Homare.

“Wait! Wait…what’s going on?”

The dog that was playful with Mr. Sanuki when the reporter came to interview him was “Daisen Homare,” who had just turned one year old.  Although he was still in his mischievous phase, when Mr. Sanuki calmly pulled on his leash, he showed us a majestic pose as if he was in an exhibition.

He said, “If the dogs don’t do well in the standing posture, they won’t get a high evaluation at the exhibition.  I always try to make them stay vigilant.”

Mr. Sanuki currently keeps two five-year-old male dogs and a three-year-old female dog in addition to Daisen Homare.  With their imposing physique, the five-year-old males have considerable strength when pulling on their leashes.  It is hard work for Mr. Sanuki to walk the dogs one by one every morning and evening.

“Daisen Homare, whose body is still growing, gets a good workout by pulling the bicycle I ride.  The other dogs only walk around in the rice paddies,” Mr. Sanuki said casually.

Daisen Homare was playing with Mr. Sanuki.

Mr. Sanuki started keeping Akita dogs when he was in his late teens.  He has always loved Akita dogs, and while visiting exhibitions, he learned from a breeder in Daisen City how to raise them properly.

The breeder was Mr. Hamada Tsuruo, the father of Mr. Hamada Masami, now 84, who is the current head of the Akita Southern Branch of the Akita Dog Preservation Society.  Masami is known for raising “Masaru,” a dog given to Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova, and his father, Mr. Tsuruo, was also an expert Akita dog breeder.

Masami said, “Mr. Sanuki and I are like my father’s apprentices, and we have worked hard together to raise good Akita dogs through friendly competition.”

While farming, Mr. Sanuki kept about 15 Akita dogs at one time.  Rather than having female dogs to have many puppies, he has consistently focused on raising excellent males.

When Mr. Sanuki was in his late 50s, his skills as a breeder became recognized in the Akita dog community, resulting in a position at a kennel in Kofu City in Yamanashi Prefecture for about four years.  He gave away most of the Akita dogs he kept at that time.  After retiring from the kennel and returning to his hometown, he has continued to breed mainly male dogs, although the number of dogs at one time has been reduced.

At the 145th Headquarters Exhibition of the Akita Dog Preservation Society held in Odate City in May of this year, Mr. Sanuki received the Chairman’s Special Achievement Award in recognition of his many years of service.

Daisen Homare is still mischievous, but he sometimes shows a confident face

Mr. Sanuki lives with his wife, second son and daughter-in-law, but he is the only one caring for the Akita dogs.  He said, smiling, “I have thought many times that this is the last Akita I would ever own because I am getting too old, but when I get lucky with a good dog, I just end up keeping it.”

Mr. Sanuki continued, “I am conscientious about my health because if I have to leave the dogs and end up in the hospital, it would be a challenge for my family.”  Mr. Sanuki is not only vigorous when walking with his Akita dogs but also youthful when conversing with people.  The secret to his good health seems to be his regular lifestyle of going for a walk every day without fail and receiving energy from his dogs.

>Where Dogs Connect Akita and the World

Where Dogs Connect Akita and the World

Akita Inu (dogs), with their fluffy coat, round eyes, and an adorable tail that curls up, are now famous worldwide. Akita dogs have a strong body and are best known for their loyal personality. The number of Akita dogs raised overseas continues to increase. In Akita Prefecture, the Akita dog's birthplace, there is an active movement to utilize them for tourism promotion. Akita Sakigake Shimpo, entitled "Akitainu News," will circulate various domestic and international information about Akita dogs. The goal is to connect the world and Akita through Akita dogs.