Breed Group: Working
Temperament and Behavior
The Akita (a-KEE-ta) is “bold, independent, stubborn and tenacious.” It is also calm and dignified. Akitas are very devoted to and protective of family members. If they feel that the home or “pack” is being threatened, they can become aggressive. They can also be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex. In fact, two same sexed dogs should never be left alone together. Akitas are also predatory toward smaller animals. These are not dogs to leave untrained in the back yard. Despite their size, Akitas can live indoors as calm house pets but need a fenced yard for daily physical and mental activity. They especially like vigorous exercise during cold weather. Excellent watchdogs, Akitas are good with children provided they have been raised with them. However, they may become overly protective if a child’s playmates start roughhousing. Quiet dogs, they only bark when there is a reason. As a house pet Akitas are very clean and easy to housebreak. Some are possessive of their food.
Physical CharacteristicsAkitas are large, powerful dogs whose build reflects their original job of pursuing big game through deep snow in rugged terrain. Their double coat includes a dense undercoat and a straight, harsh, outer coat that provides protection against both water and cold weather which they enjoy. They do poorly in hot, humid conditions. They have four primary colors: red, sesame, brindle, and white. Their tails are carried high and curled over the back. Akitas have webbed feet for swimming. Males stand 25-28 inches while females are 23-26 inches. Males weigh 85-130 pounds while females weigh 65-110 pounds. Akitas are above average shedders. At least weekly brushing, more when shedding heavily, is needed. But bathing should be done only when necessary to avoid stripping the dog’s coat of its natural oils.
Trainer's NotesAn Akita requires intensive and extensive socialization and obedience training to keep their guardian instincts in check. Although they are very trainable dogs, they can be challenging as they are assertive and strong-willed. Akitas need to understand early on who is dominant. If the owner does not assume the role of pack leader, the Akita will try to assume that role. They need the patience, firmness, fairness, and consistency of an experienced dog handler rather than a first-time dog owner. Use only positive training methods. Clearly, one should not try and bully a dog used to hunt bear. Akitas tend to be very clean dogs making them easier to housetrain than many other breeds. Their performance abilities include obedience, tracking, weight pulling, and backpacking.