Akitas


Akitas

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Breed Notes

The Akita or Akita Inu was developed to hunt wild boar, deer and black bear during the 1600s in the Akita province of Honshu Island, Japan. Besides hunting, he is an excellent guard dog. In 1931, the breed was declared a national monument by the government of Japan.
He is a large, powerful, graceful and noble in bearing. He is renowned for his strength, courage and loyalty. A very dignified dog, he is often aloof around strangers. While being a gentle animal, he has a dominant personality so needs proper training. He does not react well to harsh treatment. He is considered by the Japanese to be "tender in heart and strong in strength." Because he is an active dog, he needs plenty of exercise.
Typical of other northern, Spitz-type breeds, the Akita has erect ears, a strong muzzle with a scissors-bite and a plume-like tail that is carried over the back. The male Akita stands between 26 and 28 inches and weighs about 110 pounds. The female Akita stands between 24 and 26 inches and weighs about 80 pounds. The head has a massive, broad skull with a dignified facial expression. The eyes should be medium in size, dark and triangular-shaped. The neck is thick and muscular and the chest is deep and broad. The legs should be straight with strong, heavy bone. This breed has a double coat which includes a thick, furry undercoat and a medium length outer coat. It needs to be combed several times per week to maintain a healthy coat. The coat color can be any color. Some Akitas are solid colored but most have various markings.


RCande007@aol.com of Murrieta, CA writes:

The breeder you chose is still the key.
I wrote a review when my Akita puppy was five months young. In my excitement, I gave the breed five stars. Now, after I have had her for over one year (and 75 pounds later), I thought some people might be interested in an update. Unlike some Akitas, she still fetches like a Lab. I was told this would never happen with an Akita. In fact, I almost didn't try throwing her a ball because I assumed she wouldn't retrieve it. Well, mine does. I also read never take an Akita to a dog park, or be around other dog breeds. Well, one day I took a deep breath, and took her to a dog park. She LOVES to play with other dogs. Yes, she does play a bit rough, and she likes to "pick on" the smaller breeds. But she has never been in a dog fight, and she has a great time running and playing with other dogs. And they seem to like her. This goes to show that the breeder you chose is SO IMPORTANT!
She IS stubborn at times. After spending $$ on private dog obedience, she still doesn't always come when I call her. Needless to say, this is frustrating. Especially when she is in the backyard and I am in a hurry to go to work, and I am dressed up and have to chase her, or take more time to convince her to come. She doesn't eat much. If you give her a high quality kibble her stool is small. She only digs in the yard when I leave her alone and she gets bored. Most of the time she is in the house, along with two cats. She doesn't harm my nice furniture. The cats either avoid her or attack her, so she leaves them alone. She still gets mega attention from strangers. She is a real beauty and people notice. She loves people. She rarely barks, unless she is concerned. She follows me everywhere. If I go to the bathroom at 2am she will be outside the bathroom door. If I go downstairs, she will follow me. Now I know how the President must feel with the Secret Service "always there." Sometimes I take her to work. I always take her with me to the store, for walks, etc. I am single, and I have no kids, so we do spend lots of time together. I believe this helps the bonding. I would give this breed four stars. The reason I went down from five stars is because of the lack of obedience. I realize she is never going to be a German Shepherd, or a French Poodle, always willing to please their master. The breed seems to be more independent, and stubborn. Still, she does get the most attention I've ever received from a dog and people (especially women) go crazy over her. For a single guy like me, that's not bad.


nobleman36@yahoo.com of Salem, OR writes:

Amazing.
It has been my distinct pleasure to have had four Akitas in my life over the course of eight years. All of them have held a unique place in my heart. At this time I live with my girl. She has been "daddy's" girl since I brought her home riding on my chest at seven weeks, this year she will be eight. As I've read in the other reviews on this page, the time spent training and socializing her was the best investment I could have made for her future. The return on that time shows in the wonderfully loving and social Akita I share my life with today. I remember well how stubborn she was as a "teen" and that I thought I would never get her attention. It all came together with time and I have a truly unique girl. She is great with everyone's kids and animals. I don't fear to let her off lead in the appropriate places. I love this dog and this breed and can't imagine not having at least one in my life for as long as I'm here. What a blessing they are! If you have the resolve to make this choice and heart to follow through these dogs make a wonderful member of your family. The key is staying with that commitment, there is no room for doing things halfway with this breed. If you do you will create a time bomb, doing the dog and yourself a grave disservice.


Name withheld by request of Ontario, Canada writes:

The best.
My Akita is truly a born observer. He never misses anything. He is strong and loving. This is a big dog with a gentle heart, great with kids and kitties. Needs a firm hand in training because he does have a mind of his own. They need to be part of a family; not a dog to be left outside and ignored. They are compassionate, hilarious and above all serious. If you have the time to share your life with them you will be well-rewarded and loved.


Name withheld by request of Washington writes:

Three stars for homes with kids; four stars for single (childless) people.
I researched the Akita breed for a year and then adopted a retired show champion who was with me for two years before she died of bloat, taking my heart with her. I loved her dearly, she was beautiful, when we walked the neighborhood each day, people literally came out of their homes to ask what type of dog she was. Being a very well-socialized, intelligent, and well-bred Akita she was wonderful with people. She knew when to be standoffish and protective, and when she could relax. However, I have known other Akitas who didn't fit that description. I do believe that the way this breed turns out has first and foremost to do with how they are raised; coming second in line to that is the breeding for health and temperament. If this breed is raised with a firm and also fair and loving hand, and if they are exposed under good conditioins to many, many people and situations, I do think they have the potential to be great with people. I am concerned as I read some of the reviews, telling of "only two bitten," and so on. To me, if these dogs are well-socialized and raised right, they should never bite a human if they are to be considered an Akita with a good temperament. Unfortunately, sometimes, they do bite, from what I have read on this site. I would therefore not recommend them for young children. You never know what kids will do in playtime rambunctiousness. If you are willing to always, always separate the dog from the kids who have friends come over to play and roughhouse, then you will be fine. But to leave the dog within the area, chancing a protection bite, I would not ever do. What I am saying is, this is a wonderful, very powerful/strong/mostly fearless, loving, intelligent companion, very independent and not always obedient even with obedience classes.
If you are someone who is willing to have a sense of humor when needed, and to be firm when needed, and you are willing to go out of your way in doggie ownership, then this may be the breed for you to continue researching. An Akita is rarely a dog to leave off-lead out in public. They are small animal killers by nature, they are very dog aggressive (usually) by nature, and they like to run away, even sometimes when you call them back. If you don't mind having to keep them on-lead when out in public, and always be conscious and aware of the power and possible aggression you have within your midst, then maybe this is the dog for you. They shed twice a year, but keep in mind that sometimes that means they begin to shed twice a year, when they finish is another story! My female used to begin to shed in the spring, but she'd not finish the shedding for three months! Then, she'd spend three months growing it back (no shedding) and finally, she would begin to shed again in the fall, and not finish for quite some time; basically half the year, they shed. And folks, this is a lot of hair, and it takes regular grooming. If you don't have the time to spend on at least light exercise, and a fair amount of grooming and vacuuming, this is not the dog for you.
If you want your neighbor kids to be able to walk by themselves into your yard where your dog lives, when you are not at home, this is not the dog for you. If you want a dog to lie still and watch from a few feet away as your kids are jumped on and screeching and laughing with a neighbor child, this is not the dog for you. If you want to go to the park, and let your dog off-lead to go and romp and play with all the dogs in the park, this is not the dog for you. If you do not want to have a secure fenced yard, this is not the dog for you. It is true, most homeowner insurance companies DO discriminate against the Akita. Some landlords do, as well. And yes, they will dig a hole going back to Japan just for the fun of it, just as they may live with your favorite cat in the house for two years, and then one day, decide to lay chase and kill. A cat is a small animal, and they will by nature kill them for fun. That goes for small dogs as well, and occasionally, other large dogs. They do like to fight, and even though most people-friendly dogs may love to fight other dogs, even submissive ones, it just depends on the individual Akita. If you don't mind making plans and providing for the right circumstances given the nature of this breed, then perhaps it will be the right dog for you. You can teach them tricks, for sure, but usually they perform for an audience of one! As soon as you have the trick down pat, done it a hundred times, and you go to perform for your friends, your Akita is very likely to look at you and wag its tail, and just smile, as if to say, "Hmm, what are we doing? I've never heard of this trick!" You need a good sense of humor to live with an Akita. And, you need to know beforehand that you are in love with the breed. If you aren't sure, then don't get one. They are wonderful dogs, for the right individuals, and under the right circumstances. If you do decide to get an Akita, beware of backyard breeders who do not do health tests. It is a lot safer to get a pup from someone who has done health certifications on the sire/dam.


Rcande007@aol.com of Murrieta, CA writes:

The breeder you choose is the key.
I own a five-month-old female Akita. I spent a year researching Akita breeders. I went to dog shows, read books on the breed, checked out internet breeder sites, etc. I found a breeder who specializes in MILD TEMPERAMENT. To me, that's the key. The last thing I want/need is a dog with a BAD attitude/temperament. I don't need a lawsuit. I don't want my dog attacking the neighbor's kids, or other neighborhood pets. I chose a top breeder who has consistently produced Akitas with GOOD temperaments. I now have a beautiful, top quality Akita,with the milder temperament I was seeking. She is a delight. She loves people. She loves other dogs. I have two indoor cats and I was concerned about them all getting along. The Bengal cat used to play with her. Now, the puppy is too big and she plays too rough. My cats now run from her &shyp; which makes her chase them. This is not good. They can all be in the same room as long as the puppy is asleep or not interested in chasing them. She does not eat a ton. She likes to go for walks. Unlike some Akitas, mine loves to fetch, just like a Lab! I've had problems with her jumping on me (excited) and play biting. Not good. I am going to take her to obedience training to eliminate this. She does not always come when I call her. I hope the obedience will help. Overall, she is wonderful. I have had German Shepherds, Boxers, Miniature Poodles, and two Labs. The Shepherd was the best at obeying commands. The Boxer was a good family dog. The Poodle was the most intelligent. The Labs were the friendliest (and the most work). But the Akita gets the most attention ("Wow, what kind of dog is that? Looks like a teddy bear!") and has the ability of a guard dog without the association of one (unlike a Shepherd, Pitbull, Rottie, etc.). One last thing: Everyone's lifestyle is different. I do not live on a farm with lots of acreage. If I did, the dog I chose might not be as important. I do not kennel my dog in the winter. In fact, I never kennel my dog. She stays in the house. She is my trusted companion. She is the child I never had. I have no other children. I live in an upscale family neighborhood. My dog is a reflection of me. I try my best to make it a good one. Good luck!


aml326@hotmail.com of New Mexico writes:

Fascinating.
My Akita has just turned eighteen months. We got her knowing full well of the large size, shedding, and aggressive history. Starting from the beginning we were diligent about her training. She showed some tendency to mouth rather roughly early on, but we were able to break her. Potty training went well with the aid of a crate. She is now 80 pounds, with probably a little more filling out to do. She has the sweetest temperament of any dog I have owned. She is protective of her house and will bark if anyone approaches the yard. Other than that she rarely makes a sound. She is not aggressive toward strangers, and is gentle and obedient with kids. She has never chewed any item in the house. The shedding two times a year can be a nuisance, but it helps to keep up with the grooming. Overall with diligent training right off the bat, and socialization with people, the Akita is the best of all breeds!


Name withheld by request:

Akitas &shyp; do you own them or do they own you?
Why such a question, you ask? Well, it's simple. First you fall for your cute little bear cub type pup the minute you see and hold your first one. Forget all the warnings you were told by the breeder or read in the breed books, it doesn't matter any more! This pup took over the second you looked him/her in the eyes that first day. First it's your bed, then your couch, hey if you're lucky they won't mind what channel you're watching on TV. And did I mention they pick and choose your other furry friends for you? Yes, they do! Whether it's walking through the woods, a day at the beach, ring time at the shows or just home playing with the kids in the backyard your Akita can be a very well-rounded family companion for everyone around him/her to enjoy.
Just like with any breed of size; check into where your pup is coming from, get to know your breeder and most important his/her dogs he/she is breeding; their bloodlines history, health clearances, references from past buyers of their pups and other breeders of the same breed, check into how the pups are raised, fed and cared for. This may seem like a lot of work and time-consuming, but just as many things in life teach us "what you put into it, is what you get out of it." I'm very fond of this breed and wanted to share with others how wonderful they can be.


thewall51@aol.com of Laurel, MD writes:

Wonderful pets in the right home and with the right owner.
I have had four Akitas, three males and one female. They are fascinating to observe and quite unique in their approach to things. They are powerful and assertive by nature, so not just anyone can own one. Their personalities vary, but some instincts remain intact in varying degrees throughout the breed. Independent thinkers, they are not quick to take commands they deem given simply to see if they will obey. Which, for some people is not acceptable. But their independent thinking can also lead to some very amusing behavior traits that don't seem capable in a dog. They love to hide and play tricks that can be rather complex for a dog. They do think and deduce facts in making decisions. They can be great dogs for family, but will not tolerate much violent behavior, loud and boistrous talking or shouting and can be a challenge to get to accept a less dominant position in the household than some family members they deem weaker than themselves. Very pack pecking order conditioned and have to be reminded of their place in the hierarchy frequently.
Despite all the little things that make havng them as pets work, I would not want any other dog because these guys are just so unique and individualistic. I enjoy spending time with my big furball and watching him interact with my two-year-old, who bosses him around like he's some little lap dog. I do not leave them alone because I would never leave any toddler or small child alone with a large animal of any kind, simply because small children are not capable of demanding the kind of respect from large animals that adults can. My dog is aggressive to any other dog he feels challenges his alpha position, but he is quite accepting of smaller dogs who act aggressively, except Pitbulls. He is aggressive toward strangers, but can run loose in the homes of my family members and inlaws or others he has known since puppyhood. He has bitten two people, but did not even break the skin, leaving only small red marks that disappeared shortly after the incident. They have their own language about what is threatening to them and you have to learn what that is, as their owner. People cannot stand directly in front of the dog I now have, look him in the eyes and bend forward to pet him until they have shaken my hand and been introduced to him by me. Even then, some people he just does not like for reasons only he knows. They tend to not like people who are large or who talk loud and move around a lot in quick, jerky motions. And, my dog prefers women to men. He is now three years old and looking better with each year. No major health problems and he has adapted to numerous living environments with people he did not know before. They are not Labradors or Golden Retrievers just waiting to respond to your every command. But, they are very intelligent and often anticipate what you want them to do. It can be eerily unnerving sometimes, like they are reading your mind or something. I've had to put steel hocks in the rear legs of one who lived ten years and I had to put my first pup down at two years old because of Cholangio Hepatitis. So, beware that there are medical problems you can run into purchasing Akitas or any other "giant" breed. All in all, I think they are great animals to share life with. Nothing is more beautiful than a well-bred, well-groomed Akita in his prime, feeling his oats. Impressive!


akitaoz@flash.net of San Antonio, TX writes:

Devoted guardian extraordinaire! Make you forget the rest.
As a devoted fancier, breeder and exhibitor of this phenomenal breed I can't sing its praises enough without also stating that it is NOT for everyone. This breed is STRONG of will and body. Akitas are tremendously loyal to their masters and family and protective of their territory. They MUST be raised as family members and cannot be simply kept in a yard without interaction and affection &shyp; this makes them resentful and potentially dangerous. They are gentle giants inside. You can experience their tenderness with every loving lick and kiss as they "groom" you or guide you gently by the hand to the kitchen for a treat.
The main issue with Akitas is their incredible intelligence. This is what is behind many misunderstandings with Akitas that have lead to injuries or worse. Akitas are brilliant &shyp; they literally think through situations and try to resolve them for themselves. This is why I ALWAYS insist on my new Akita parents taking their puppy through puppy kindergarten or beginner's obedience at least. What this does for the Akita is teach them their parameters, and builds their confidence. What is really a friendly greeting from a stranger, what is not, what is the right way to react to loud noises and laughter or screams of children at play versus someone in need or threatening. The confidence to trust what the puppy has learned and apply it later. Believe me, they want to know the difference and you need them to. AN AKITA WILL ACT ON ITS OWN EVALUATION OF A SITUATION. SO GIVE THEM THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES and you will have a well-mannered member of the family that will also be a trusted guardian and companion extraordinaire.
The evaluation of the standard on this site is right on. More information can be had by visiting the national parent breed club's site as well (www.akitaclub.org). Contrary to what some visitors have written here &shyp; Akitas do not have any disqualifying colors or even coat length. This breed does have faults for length of coat (which is why the long coats are not normally in the conformation ring) or feathering or ruffs. There is no disqualification or even classification for mismarks in this breed &shyp; I for one have a champion female some have tried to label as such &shyp; this simply is incorrect as evidenced by her championship certificate. A show quality Akita is classified by its bone structure, inclusive of its bite, its earset, eye shape and shade of color, feet straight on (tight and knuckled up like a cat's) and coat that stands off the body (guard coat) with dense undercoat &shyp; both with vivid color or richness in color; by its movement and its potential to meet the height requirements for competition &shyp; all of which are evaluated against the breed standard. Disqualifications for conformation are incorrect bites, tails that don't touch the back when moving, nose pigment that is not complete (butterfly), under height.
If you are a strong-willed person; physically capable of managing a large powerful dog companion; willing to share your home space with a large dog; willing to respond to advice or guidance from a knowledgeable breeder or trainer; willing to take your puppy through training despite your experience level in obedience; respectful of the power your companion will eventually possess &shyp; then you are on your way to a fabulous and unforgettable Akita experience.


Name withheld by request of Stanwood, WA writes on 1/4/01:

Majestic,but protective to a fault!
A properly bred Akita can be a breathtaking example of the power of well thought breeding programs. I was active in conformation, obediance and breeding Akitas for over 10years. The breed can be wonderful. They tend to be protective of their families, to a fault. Although many think it is wonderful to have such a magnificent animal watching over their children they neglect to think about what will happen when their children's friend come over. Akitas are naturally aloof towards strangers and aren't a dog a would EVER leave alone with ANY CHILD! Especially a child which isn't extrememly familiar to the dog. I never allowed males to be placed in homes with young children, as they tend to be more aggresive. I ALWAYS advised puppy kindergarten for socialization and obediance as early as possible. NEVER, NEVER tolerate any aggressive behavior in Akita pups such as growling around food or toys. Other than all that, they are faithful, protective, clean (licks like a cat), practically barkless, and of course beautiful. Be certain of the temperment of BOTH Parents - if the dam of a litter will not allow you to be with pups older than 3 1/2 weeks she is to aggressive- PERIOD! Do NOT take a pup from this bitch. They tend to run if they can escape your yard. They are extremely dog agressive, if they do get out plan on paying vet bills when they demolish the neighbors pets. Most homeowners insurance companies EXCLUDE AKITAS - so if the dog bites and you haven't informed them [and paid for a special policy for high risk biters]they will not pay for medical lawsuits incurred. After loving and finishing Championships on many Akitas, I changed breeds for the sake of my kids - we are now Lab people. By the way your Akita won't like playing fetch with the kids and usually stay away from water. Kids were dissappointed with this!! Final Note: read the standard on coat color, many high dollar breeders are breeding mismarks and selling them for show dogs. Any novice can read the stadard and realize that some coat colors actually disqualify dogs from the Breed Ring!


kobe1@bigpond.com.au of Queensland, Australia wrotes on 12/9/00:

The king of the dog world - but not for the faint hearted.
Having grown up with German Shepards and a Doberman I was used to big dogs and the obedience they all require. My 10 year old male Akita has however been head and shoulders above the other fine breeds. He is a long-coat (fluffy) and is typically larger than average at 64kg (no fat!). He is pedigreed but was sold de-sexed as a pet. For around the first two years of his life we went to great lengths to socialise this dog with literally thousands of dogs at shows, obedience, the park, etc as well as leading him through crowded markets, etc for human socialisation. This investment in time and effort has been rewarded back to us a thousand times over by this most noble of animals. A quiet dog, when he does bark you know you need to see why. Capable of stopping the most confident of people with a stare that only an Akita can give. To succeed with the Akita you must be the leader of the pack, by earning his respect, through patience and perserverence. He will cherish and protect like no other but has no tolerance for the weak willed or timid. He will rule his domain with no mercy for trespassers that are uninvited. We have three children under five, a second dog (bitch) and two cats that he protects as his own. Unfortunately he will tear apart any other animal that ventures onto his territory (1 acre yard) without our consent. We would not allow him to roam free as he would immediately meet any other dogs challenge with maximum aggression. I should note that the obedience training allows us to have full and complete control over the dog in all circumstances however I shudder to think of the consequences without this training. If you are fully prepared and committed to giving this breed the time and training it must have you will be richly rewarded. If however you seek a mild mannered dog with little input search elsewhere.


clw@prodigy.net of Wisconsin writes on 12/9/00:

Excellent disposition, friendly, protective without being threatening to visitors, but you must treat them as a member of the family.
Our Akita passed away after 12 years. They are loving, loyal, trustworthy companions, but they need to be part of the family. I would recommend this breed to anyone, as long as you make the dog a part of your family. We got our Akita as a four month old puppy and we purchaed a kitten a few years later and a bird a few years after that. He never became aggressive toward the kitten or the bird. On the contrary, the kitten would run after him and jump on his legs, and he never growled or became aggressive. He barked when strangers came to the door, but also instinctively knew if they were threatening or friendly visitors. Once he knew they were friendly, he was eager to welcome them to our home. I never felt that he was a threat to any small children or other guests and I highly recommend the breed.


kampers@peoplepc.co of Missouri writes on 12/4/00:

A wonderful, quietly affectionate, loyal pet.
We have had two Akitas - a male and a female, nuetered and spayed at an early age. I believe our success with our Akita's came from having them as part of our family, strictly house dogs, not chained up or in a kennel outside. Both of our Akitas were raised around other animals and our children. They were very sweet dogs and after petting them they would push their nuzzle against your hand to get you to pet them again.
If you don't like a shedding dog the Akita is not for you. We found they would "blow" their coat twice a year and shed lightly the rest of the year. Other than the hair the Akita is a very easy dog to have. Ours were both very calm dogs and easy to have in the house. They didn't tear anything up or chew furniture, even as puppies. And they were easy to potty train.
The only aggressive action towards a person by our male was when a stranger (to our dog) came into the house and picked up our two year old and she started to cry. He would have attacked the person had we not restrained him - and told the person to put our daughter down. He never growled at anyone, he would move so that he was standing between us and the other person and he would always let the person pet him. Our female was from a kennel and we got her when she was about six months old. She was always shy, never aggressive towards any one or any animal, but she did rule over the older male. I have no doubt, though, had anyone tried to harm us or our children the dogs would have attacked. This is an instinct of the Akita and should be considered a natural trait. I think the most important issue is not to train the Akita to be a "protection dog", they will protect you on their own and additional training in this area could cause a very aggressive dog. If you want to train your dog take them to an obedence class.
Our Akita's visited "Grandma's" and always played and got along with her two Akita's. Our dogs got along with our cats, even letting them sleep next to them. Other animals were an issue for our male. If the other dog was submissive he was ok with it, but if the other dog was aggressive he would fight. The best thing is to keep your dog on a leash and obedience train them - no matter what breed you have. The biggest problem we had was when other people didn't leash their dog and it would run up to our dog.
I would certainly recommend the Akita, but as others have mentioned, research the breed, research your breeders, and chose your puppy carefully. Unfortunately both of our Akita's are now gone, the female to disease (remember she was a kennel dog, i.e. puppy mill) and our male to old age. We are now dogless, but I'm sure it won't be for long.


blanc@dandy.net of New Jersey writes on 12/2/00:

The smartest, most well mannered animal I have seen.
I bought an Akita shortly after the birth of my son. She is now as much a part of the family as he is. As I am in the service she has not a lot of oppportunity to exercise as she should but never complains. She will try to bury the house when she is unhappy though. Her temperment with my children has been incredible. My 2 year old will carry her bowl around the house at feeding time as my Akita follows. My son can literally sit on her while she is eating and she acts as though nothing is happening. As far as her behavior, loyalty, intelligence and manners: perfect.


Name withheld by request of Washington writes on 11/2/00:

Wouldn't recommend for homes with small children.
I spent many hours reading up on Akitas and talking with a breeder before I purchased my Akita. I also have a 2 year old boy. My Akita loves our son and is very protective of him, but at the same time when we are playing outside she would run over him and grab his clothes in her mouth. Because of this, she is no longer allowed to play with him without a leash on. I think Akitas are beautiful dogs that need lots of training, and really think twice before buying one if you have small children, these dogs are so big and powerful they could do damage without intending to. Other aspects to consider, they like to dig trenches if bored. Not holes...TRENCHES! Usually very quiet, affectionate and sheds 2xyear. Very clean Usually only p**ps in one area of the yard. Does not normally like small animals except to eat.


Name withheld by request writes on 4/15/00:

Good, bad, and ugly.
A warning is in order for those considering to purchase an Akita for the first time. I laid my female Akita to rest last August. During our eleven years, she was a beautiful creature to live with 99.9% of the time. The other .1% was not so great.
While always the sweetheart to our family, she was extremely aggressive to strange dogs. While we had no problems in public places, such as dog shows, she was very aggressive to any four-legged creature that dared to enter her home territory. She eagerly killed cats, raccoons, snakes and possums and would just as soon fight another dog as look at it. We also had two bite incidents with humans. I didn't consider her to be vicious; she was just following her genetic heritage. She just enjoyed a good scrap. The Akita was bred for dog fighting by the Japanese a long time ago. This aggressiveness is still alive in many of the dogs today. While other Akita owners talk of how sweet their dogs their dogs are, and that they get along with everyone and every dog, my dog could never be allowed off leash for fear of attacking another dog, or getting into other trouble.
Akitas are big, strong, intelligent and can be extremely strong willed, it takes a strong willed, patient person to deal with one. An Akita owner must always be on the alert for signs of trouble. Please read everything you can about them, talk with other owners and breeders before owning one. Be sure to ask about their "dark side". If a breeder tells you their line does not posses any natural Akita aggressiveness, ask them to assume all legal responsibility for any damages your sweet puppy might generate as an adult, and see if they change their story.
Don't get me wrong, they can be the sweetest most wonderful creatures god ever made, but they can also change their demeanor and bite without warning. They are extremely fast when they decide to attack; my dog was on a leash when she bit a neighbor and pulled her to the ground. She didn't growl or give any warning, something just set her off when the woman bent down and stuck her arm out to pet my sweet girl. It happened so fast, I never saw it coming.
Be sure you are willing to deal with a dog that is capable of doing serious damage to another dog, human, or possibly even a family member before purchasing this wonderful breed.


MissBooBoo69@webtv.net of Michigan writes on 2/15/00:

The only breed for me,
I've been priviledged to own Akitas for the last eleven years and there is no other breed for me. I have cats, they have gotten along fine with proper introductions. They are a wonderfully loyal breed, quiet: when they bark there's a reason. They will injure/kill vermin like raccoons and opossums if they come into contact with them. They are truly companion dogs.


RoRo8129@aol.com of San Jose, CA writes on 11/16/99:

Soft of heart ...
I have a 5 yr old 100 lb. female Akita that I call the "Gentle Giant". This is the sweetest and most polite dog I have ever had the pleasure off knowing. No chewing, soiling, destructive behavior and is quiet (never barks). She has a soft mouth - when giving her a treat, she uses her lips and she would rather it fall on the floor than have the fear that she will bite your hand. Before I had my child, I lived with my 90 yr old grandmother. She never damaged any of the furniture and was especially gentle around her. My 2 1/2 daughter is allowed to crawl all over and even feeds her. When she was younger, she used to sit next to her bowl to watch her eat and Mia never raised a whisker.
I found a great breeder who believed in temperment first. When I went to see the puppy, the mother was in the next kennel and was very friendly - no problem with a stranger petting her babies. This is important! Training is also important - gentle, but thorough. Work a little every day. If they seem like they don't get it, they do, they are just bored. These are smart dogs!
When you least expect it they will do something extraordinary ... we recently had a very loud thunderstorm. I went outside to see the lightening, and when I returned, I couldn't find Mia. She had opened the handle (lever-type) on my daughters' closed door and was laying in front of the window next to her bed as she was sleeping. I have never seen her even attempt to open a door before, but she figured it out in order to protect my child. When this one passes on, I will definitely be getting another!


amschlerd@mailcity.com of California writes on 10/22/99:

Great companion if bread and trained properly.
I currently own my second Akita and both have been great dogs, good with both adults and children. However, despite my having taken the time and care to raise them to feel part of our family and to play gently with both dogs and humans, both Akitas would automatically get very protective if they felt their "pack" was threatened. I do not worry about letting my 20 month grandson play with Major, but I do ensure that they are watched closely. Major plays very patiently with kids (as did my older dog), but I know he is large enough to hurt if he wasn't careful and I would never leave a child alone with any dog just because of the bite potential.
My dogs have both been caring and faithful, but we took the time and care to find good breeders and to carefully raise and train the dogs. I cannot enforce enough the importance to do these things if you choose an akita. Akitas are strong dogs with a tendancy to be dominate. Poorly bred dogs will have poor temperments and so will poorly trained dogs. It is unfair to both your family and the akita for you to chose one of these majestic dogs and not provide them with the time and devotion to lovingly keep them in their place, or worse yet to have to abandon or destroy an akita simply because you have allowed him to become rough or aggressive.


camms@wwonline.com of Brampton, ON writes on 10/10/99:

A large powerful dog with the potential for a lot of damage in the wrong hands
While the Akita is touted in all literature as having been used as a babysitter in Japan, the North American breeding has led to many dogs with the temperment equivalent of having a loaded shotgun in the house, although there still are some "soft" Akitas to be found. Protective and loyal this is a good breed in the right home, but my recommendation from personal experience is NOT to place them in a home with children, although many would argue otherwise. Coat sheds twice a year in large moulting clumps, otherwise their maintenance is fairly easy.


kamuch@bmi.net of Washington writes on 9/5/01:

Companion and faithful friend, but not for everyone.
The reason there are 150 plus breeds all molded by the human hand is that they were developed for specific reasons and purposes. Some of those reasons and purposes are part of history, not the modern, litiginous world in which we live. I have read the reviews, and say with pride, that I have owned, bred, trained, showed (with success), and worked with this magnificent breed for over sixteen years. Early this morning, we lost another of our "geriatrics," so if I say this with some fierce loyalty, perhaps the reader will forgive me. I would own the Akita (reputably bred and trained) over ANY sporting dog. Even with the negatives, I trusted my dogs implicitly with both my children and my children's children, and they have never disappointed me. Okay, so who should NOT own an Akita?
1..Anyone who is not a heart and soul dog person, ie, anyone who is slightly afraid of dogs should not apply. You need confidence, kindness, and experience. You need to enjoy grooming, and teaching a large, strong, and intelligent dog that you really do have the right to be the boss. (And doing it so that the dog RESPECTS you NOT fears you.)
2. Anyone who thinks children and people should be able to do whatever they want to an animal, said animal reacting as if it were an automaton and 'taking it'.
3. People of diminished egos, who think owning a big, powerful dog somehow enhances themselves or their own pathetic existence.
Would I sell an Akita to a family? Sure I would. To the right family and selling the right Akita for said family. For every "misinterpretation" by the dog around unsupervised children, which I read in this segment, I keep thinking about a child like poor little Polly Klaus of California, taken from her bed. Just think how that could have been different, if they had met a child's guardian who MEANT it. Granted, this is not an everyday occurance-thank God, but if you have children and an Akita, it IS a golden opportunity to direct and supervise contact between the dog and kids, thereby fostering RESPONSIBLE behavior in children.


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