What do Russian President Vladimir Putin, French-Swiss actor Alain Delon and U.S. political activist Helen Keller have in common? They have all known the joy of owning an Akita, a breed of dog originating from the northern region of Tohoku.

The Akita is one of the oldest breeds in Japan and are believed to have descended from dogs that came to Honshu with hunters more than 2,000 years ago.

Today's Akita developed primarily from the breed of dogs that lived in Akita Prefecture, which explains how the breed got its name.