About JACA

Mission Statement

It is the purpose of the Japanese Akitainu Club of America, Inc. (JACA) to preserve the purity of the Japanese Akitainu and to educate the public about the breed. JACA pursues this commitment by engaging in activities which aid, promote, and foster the preservation and betterment of purebred Akitainu.

JACA is a U.S.-based non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) organization working with the AKC, UKC and World Union of Akita Clubs (JKC/FCI).

Constitution and Bylaws
Code of Ethics

All JACA Members must adhere to the following:
1. Abide by the Constitution and By-laws of the Japanese Akitainu Club of America (JACA).
2. Conduct oneself at all times in a manner as to reflect credit upon oneself, the sport of purebred dogs, and to the Japanese Akitainu and JACA in particular.
3. Do all in their power to protect and advance the breed and the Club, and to encourage sportsmanlike conduct, good will, and camaraderie amongst the members of the Club, and at dog shows, performance events, trials, public educational appearances, etc.
4. Try to assist the serious novice in his/her understanding of the breed and Club culture.
5. Pay annual membership dues in a timely manner.
6. Agree to a one year-probationary term as a new member*. (see note below).
7. Maintain the best possible standards of canine health, cleanliness and veterinary care for all dogs in their care; furthermore, breeders will provide facilities for excellent pre-natal and post-natal care of the dam and her puppies.
All JACA breeder-members must adhere to the following:
8. Breed Japanese Akitainu only to other Japanese Akitainu. A Japanese Akitainu is defined by the following criteria: (a) all ancestors in a three-generation pedigree are registered with the Japanese Kennel Club and/or Akitainu Hozonkai as a Japanese Akitainu or trace all their ancestry back to such dogs; OR (b) all ancestors in a three-generation pedigree registered as a Japanese Akitainu within a registry created by an FCI Kennel Club since breed recognition in October 1998, the Kennel Club (UK) since 2006, the United Kennel Club since 2012, the American Kennel Club since 2020; OR (c) a three-generation pedigree which is a combination of the above, provided all eight great-grandparents are either as specified in (a) or (b).
9. Maintain accurate breeding records, registration papers, and pedigrees, furnishing each purchaser with proper registration or transfer papers unless written agreement is made at the time of sale that the papers are to be withheld.
10. Ensure that all services and sales arrangements are mutually agreed upon, stated in writing, and signed by all parties involved.
11. Keep all advertising of litters honest and in no way intentionally misleading, fraudulent, or misrepresentative.
12. Learn and understand the standard of the Japanese Akitainu and breed with the intention of conforming to it.
13. Breed only with the intention of improving the breed, and finding suitable, carefully screened, safe, and loving homes for the puppies.
14. At the time of breeding, choose only healthy, registered parents of excellent temperament and qualities.
15. Do everything possible to prevent the passing on of devastating genetic defects which begins with knowledge of pedigree lines and their heritable illnesses as much as possible in addition to obtaining certifications from OFA or PennHip (hips and eyes tests). Beyond the minimum requirements, thyroid, patella or any other available health tests are highly recommended.
16. Refuse to breed a stud dog or brood bitch to any animal which is not registered or is markedly inferior physically or temperamentally.
17. File an “Intent to Breed” (ITB) form* which shall be sent to the Club secretary (or other Board designee) no later than TWO weeks prior to a planned breeding. Should a change to the original, planned breeding occur, a revised ITB shall be submitted immediately, and absolutely no later than 24 hours after the breeding has taken place. Included in the revised ITB shall be a statement explaining the circumstances that necessitated the change. The Breeder will also send to the Club secretary (or designee), if requested, a photo or digital print of the tie during breeding.
18. Breed only mature bitches, preferably over 2 years of age, skipping a season between most litters. Breed males, preferably over 18 months old (with adequate preliminary health test results).
19. Will not sell or consign Japanese Akitainus (or any other breeds) to pet shops, brokers, or other commercial dealers, nor breed to their animals.
20. Remain as selective in breeding their stud dog as they are in breeding their brood bitch.
21. Will not donate Japanese Akitainus for raffles or auctions even if for charity.
22. Honestly evaluate the quality of the Japanese Akitainu to be sold, and fairly represent that evaluation.
23. Either require spay/neuter at a reasonable age or withhold papers and breeding rights, for all pets which, for any reason, may not be qualified to be used for breeding. All registration papers will be withheld until such time as the dog is re-evaluated to determine quality. If the final determination is that of pet quality, no registration papers of any sort need be provided until such time as the owner can provide proof that the dog has been spayed/neutered, after which time papers for limited registration (if available) may be provided. If the final evaluation is of show quality, full registration papers–AKIHO, UKC, CKC (Canadian), or AKC–may be provided upon request of the animal’s owner(s).
24. Acknowledge responsibility for any dog they have bred for its entire lifetime and make written arrangements for its return or rehoming at any time the purchaser no longer expresses inability to keep the dog.
25. Will not release puppies to new homes before they are at least eight weeks of age and are in good health and have been properly socialized.
26. Furnish puppy buyers with complete details on feeding, general care, medical vaccinations, grooming, pedigree, etc.
27. Insist in writing that the purchaser have the puppy checked by a veterinarian within 72 hours of sale, making clear that if the puppy is found to be unfit, it must be returned for either replacement or refund of purchase price.
28. Follow up on all puppies and adults after the sale to ensure their continued care, and to encourage the owners to become involved in purebred dog activities to the best of their ability.
29. Accept that the breeder/owner is responsible for the co-owner’s actions and will be held to all articles of the JACA code of ethics.
30. Will be transparent to owners of litter mates should a puppy or dog of their breeding develop a heritable health condition and/or will also advise if a sire or dam develops a heritable health condition.
*Sponsors must be willing to serve as mentors to new members. A breeder may not be listed on the directory of the JACA website until the probationary period is over. New members may sit on a committee as an appointee by a committee chairperson but may not run for a board position.

Club History

History of the Japanese Akitainu Club of America

In the mid-1990s, the debate in North America on whether or not to split the Akita breed was raging over Internet forums, e-mail lists, at ringside and just about every other place Akita fanciers might gather; it was bitter and there was no solution in sight. Lines were drawn between the pro-split side and the anti-split side.


In April of 1997, Akita breeders Pat Szymanski of Akasta Akitas, Ben Herrera of Kobun Akitas and Jim Sjoberg of Hyozan Akitas attended an Akitainu Hozonkai (AKIHO) Headquarters show in Odate, Japan, where they spoke to well-known and respected AKIHO judges and breeders. In addition, they were able to observe for themselves over 200 Japanese Akitainu at one show. These Japanese Akitainu were, in fact, very different from the majority of Akita commonly available in North America. It became obvious to these breeders from the US that in the course of development over previous decades when the AKC closed the stud book, the Akita had indeed become two separate breeds: the Japanese and the American. This situation was not taken lightly by the Szymanskis (Pat and Rich), Herreras (Ben and Melanie) and Sjobergs (Jim and Carol) as they all had experience with both American Akitas and Japanese Akitainus and had struggled with the split issue themselves. But with the irrefutable evidence in front of them and with the knowledge that the Japan Kennel Club (JKC) preferred to split the breed internationally, they knew they had to respect the breed’s country of origin.

Shortly after their return to the US, the Sjobergs and Szymanskis sat around Pat’s kitchen table in a suburb of Houston and called the Herreras, who were then living in Southern California. They had “the talk” which would ultimately result in the formation of North America’s first club dedicated to the Japanese Akitainu outside of AKIHO’s North American Branch, which was established in 1970. It must be noted that AKIHO, the oldest Akitainu breed club in the world, operates independently and is not affiliated with any other national or international registry or kennel club.

After much more discussion with other friends in both the Japanese Akitainu and American Akita fancies, they decided to make a commitment to work towards the split, to breed only Japanese Akitainu and to improve and preserve the breed as set forth by the country of origin, Japan. Little did they know the separation of the Japanese Akitainu and American Akita as two individual breeds in most of the rest of the world would happen so soon after their trip to AKIHO Headquarters and that the World Union of Akita Clubs (WUAC) would soon be formed.


Internationally, various individuals of the Japanese Akitainu fancy stated that the breed would need a representative club in the United States, and there was a growing worry that the AKC would stall the split on behalf of a particularly vocal group within the Akita Club of America (ACA), the breed parent club. In fact, as of this publishing in 2017, the AKC continues to be one of only two kennel clubs in the world that does not recognize two distinct Akita breeds.

And so, in May of 1997, with encouragement from board members of the JKC, AKIHO HQ in Odate, AKIHO North American Branch, and Japanese Akitainu clubs in Europe, the Japanese Akita Club of America, Inc. (JACA), was founded by the Szymanskis, the Herreras, the Sjobergs, Cindy and Jim Hicks, Mike and Laurie Shannen, Frances Connor, Akira Miyabayashi and Hope Yoneshige. Also, it is important to note that several members of the ACA believed in preserving both breeds as separate, so among JACA’s first members were breeders and owners of American Akitas.


Since our formation in a country whose main national kennel club still does not recognize two breeds, JACA’s role as the parent club in the international Japanese Akitainu enthusiast community has spoken volumes. JACA was the ONLY Akita club from the United States to be invited by the JKC to participate in their very first Akita Judges’ Special Seminar held in Tokyo in January of 2001. The delegates from JACA enjoyed meeting Akita judges from around the world and the seminar itself proved very educational and informative on a variety of subjects. We have also been a consistent presence at the World Akita Conferences held by WUAC and maintain great working relationships and friendships with our counterparts in Japan, Europe and Latin America.

Although JACA has held conformation shows for the breed since 1998, most often in conjunction with the AKIHO North America Branch, it wasn’t until 2012 when the inevitable would happen. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the Japanese Akitainu and designated JACA as the parent club of the breed in the US. Under the auspices of the UKC, anyone with a registered purebred Japanese Akitainu is able to compete in UKC conformation shows across the US and Canada, while JACA has hosted Specialty shows in previous years and more currently hosts an annual Invitational show in Southern California. The AKC admitted the breed into their Foundation Stock Services in 2020.

Over the years, JACA has proudly retained its close ties to the JKC, AKIHO and WUAC. We have also had the privilege of being designated as the representative club for the breed in America by many Japanese Akitainu clubs overseas. In fact, our membership has spanned across several continents as our international friends support our efforts here in the US. Moreover, we continue to enjoy the camaraderie of members who are devoted to their American Akita, for they too wish to preserve their own breed.

Japanese Akitainu Club of America Contact Directory

General Inquiries

For club business and general inquiries from non-members, our secretary may be e-mailed at info@akita-inu.com.

JACA Cares

If you represent a rescue organization that deals specifically with Japanese Akitainus and wish to learn more about our JACA Cares program, write to us at rescue@akita-inu.com. (Please keep in mind, we do not pull, foster or place dogs; we leave that to the rescue experts).

JACA Area Reps

JACA Area Reps are members kind enough to volunteer their time and energy to organize official events and informal activities in their respective areas (some events may be held in conjunction with AKIHO North America).

Southern California and Southwest US (So. Cal, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico): Hope and Sean, Hope@akita-inu.com or Sean@akita-inu.com

Northern California: Kat and Bekki,  NorCal@akita-inu.com

Pacific Northwest and NW US (Washington, Oregon, British Columbia; Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado): Gina and Cenafer, PNW@akita-inu.com

The Republic of Texas and Southern Central US (Texas, Lousiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas): Stephanie, thepaiselyfox@gmail.com

Northern Central US (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa): Amber, Aeisfeld15@gmail.com

Northeast US (New York, PA, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the New England States): Mira, Mira@akita-inu.com

Great Lakes US (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky): Jodie@akita-inu.com

Southeast US (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida): Jina, jinasf@yahoo.com

JACA Board of Directors

Japanese Akitainu Club of America Board of Directors:
President – Judy Takamatsu
Vice President – Jina Choi
Treasurer – Tim Wilder
Corresponding Secretary – Cenafer Valdez
Recording Secretary – Cathie Mankins
Past President – Sean Nollan
Directors- Amber Eisfeld, Katherine Kurylo, Mira Micin

Outreach, Media & Public Relations

For outreach, media and public relations, contact media@akita-inu.com.




If you’re in search of a responsible breeder, please have a look at our Breeders Directory page which contains listings for JACA-member kennels and their contact information.

JACA Facebook Page

You can also message us on our public Facebook page. All current JACA Members have access to a separate members-only Facebook group.

Interested in joining JACA?

JACA members are newcomers and experienced pet owners, breeders, conformation and competition dog owners and puppy wranglers. Please note that our new membership process requires sponsorship from two current eligible members. How do you meet members? Attend our shows, events or meet-ups (follow us on our Facebook page), adopt from an Akitainu rescue, get a puppy from one of our breeders, or get to know our members through their social media accounts (#JACAMember).

$35/year for individual membership
$45/year for family membership
One year of free membership for individuals who adopt a Japanese Akitainu from a rescue!