The Akita is a Japanese Breed. In his native country the Akita has been declared a national treasure. An Akita in a home is believed to be a symbol of good health, prosperity and good fortune. Helen Keller brought the first Akita to the US in 1937.

Akitas do not bark unless there is a good reason. When an Akita is barking, PAY ATTENTION. They are silent hunters who hunt low to the ground without growls or noise, similar to cats.

Akitas may consider small animals prey and hunt them. This may include cats, rodents, birds, small wildlife and smaller dogs. Akitas can be raised to tolerate animals in residence. Many adult Akitas can fit into a home where other animals are already established. It is, however, imperative that the Akita be closely watched around the other animals until you have established a peaceful co-existence.

Akitas are natural guardians of the home and SHOULD NOT be trained as a guard dog. When there is a reason to protect family and property, your Akita will act to do so. Guests welcomed in your home when you are present will NOT be welcomed by the Akita when no one is home. Your gates should be padlocked at all times to protect the Akita and to keep unwelcome neighborhood children from entering and teasing the Akita.

Akitas can be inherently aggressive towards other animals and for this reason, they should never be allowed to run free. You can exercise your Akita off leash only in a protected area, being sure to follow the leash laws at all times.

Male Akitas show aggression towards other male dogs, and female Akitas usually will not tolerate another female. There are always exceptions to these rules, but it is safer for the Akita to not mix same sex dogs. Akitas can live peacefully with opposite sex dogs, although some Akitas prefer being an only dog!

Akitas can be very possessive of food, toys, and treats around others. If you have other pets, be sure the Akita is given its own food and water bowls and keep these and other treats away from other animals. Akitas generally will not share food with others, so give them their space when eating.

Akitas not raised with children are not always tolerant of them. NEVER leave an Akita alone with a child even if the Akita appears to love all children. Accidents can happen with an animal as large as an Akita. Often Akitas raised with children will tolerate their OWN children but not strange children so it is wise to never leave an Akita, or any large dog, alone with children without adult supervision. Because of the Akita's protective nature, it may decide to protect "his" child(ren) from others who are picking on or upsetting the Akita's child!

Akitas are large, powerful dogs.  They don't always realize how big or powerful they are and can cause injuries without meaning too.   Puppies and some adults are very clumsy and tend to crash into things when playing.

Akitas are very "tuned in" to their family.   They will show concern when a family member is upset, sick or injured.  They will seem to guard the person until they have returned to normal.  They will check up on you regularly!

Akitas do NOT like being teased and may respond by biting or growling. 

Some Akitas consider eye contact a challenge and may react aggressively. Like people, Akitas prefer to have their own "space" and don't care to have "their space" invaded by strangers.  Don't challenge an Akita by "getting in his face", making eye contact, or crowding him.  Some will warn you once or twice with a low growl or bark, some will try to get away, others may not warn at all.

Akitas are a dominant breed and like to take charge. Akitas, like their wolf ancestors, are pack animals and establish a pecking order. At some point the Akita may challenge family members for the dominant position in the family "pack".  This behavior cannot be tolerated and a consistent, firm correction should be your immediate response. Akitas with good temperament accept discipline well from those it loves - not beating, but intelligent discipline.   Frequently, a firm verbal command will be all that is needed. Once you have reaffirmed your and the Akita's positions in the pack, you normally will not have any more challenges.  Typically, adolescence is when the Akita thinks he needs to take over.   

Akitas should be obedience trained BY THEIR OWNERS and NEVER sent away to school. A good obedience class will guarantee you a firm bond with your Akita and a well-behaved Akita in the end. Remember though, that Akitas are extremely intelligent and bore easily. 'They learn quickly so short training periods are suggested. This keeps the dog from becoming bored. Akitas are also very stubborn and when the dog thinks its a waste of time to "sit" or "stay" one more time, it will simply walk away! Be sure you are working with an obedience trainer who understands Akita temperament and has patience. Akitas may respond with aggression if treated harshly-do not hit or kick any dog, that sort of behavior means YOU have lost control of the situation.

Akitas are dogs, and unlike humans do not have the same short term memory as humans. Do not discipline your dog hours after an incident-the dog will NOT associate the discipline with an incident which occurred hours earlier in the day. If you can see and catch your Akita getting into mischief, discipline should be firm and immediate for it to be effective.

Do NOT call your Akita to you for discipline, that encourages your dog to not come when called. Do NOT use its name when disciplining it, you want the Akita to associate its name with love and affection, not punishment. The "come" command is important and someday may be a life saving command for the dog. Do not jeopardize that safety factor. Each time your Akita comes to your side, it should be rewarded with praise and love.

Some Akitas are talkers! They may grunt, groan and mumble to entertain themselves. Many Akitas "woo" to greet you and others it loves and it should not be interpreted as growling. Akita 'woo' is an endearing trait and should not frighten you. After living with your Akita you can easily distinguish between "woo" and growl.

Most Akitas enjoy carrying things in m their mouth, including your hand, arm, and wrist. They may take you by the wrist to lead you the cookie cupboard or to the front door for a walk. It is NOT an aggressive act, it is an endearing trait. Akitas also like to nibble or "flea-bite" those that they love.   It's not an aggressive act either, and while it can be painful when they pinch skin, they are showing affection to you!  Most will learn to "flea-bite" when you have long sleeves on and avoid doing so to bare skin. 

Akitas have a sense of humor so don't be surprised to see you Akita do something really strange to make you laugh!  Many like to sneak up behind unsuspecting people and nip them on the bottom.  If this happens, you will see the Akita running like crazy with a very large grin on his face!  He will come back later to apologize, but will pull his sneak attack again at a later date.

Akitas are VERY family-oriented and are not happy when kept apart from their family. If you do not plan on having your Akita live inside your home, you should not consider adopting or buying an Akita. When left alone in a yard, the Akita will regress in socialization and his/her boredom may cause destructive behavior.

Akitas are not usually hyperactive and fit into a sedentary household; but exercise is important so plan on giving your Akita walking or playing time. Dogs left alone outside simply sleep until you return for them.

Akitas can live for 10-14 years with good care and proper nutrition. Feed only a good all-natural food that contains no ethoxyquin or soy and is moderate in protein. The origin of the Akita is Japan where fish, rice and sea plants are a diet staple and the ideal diet for an Akita. If possible, they should be fed twice a day to avoid bloat. Their diet should be supplemented with kelp, digestive enzymes and a multivitamin daily for optimum nutrition. Obesity is dangerous for many health reasons.  

Many of the Akitas in Akita Rescue are affected with hypothyroidism which is easily treated by inexpensive twice-daily thyroid hormone therapy. This condition is often the TRUE reason the Akita has lost its home in the first place. A simple thyroid panel will determine the existence of the condition.

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This page was last updated on 05/27/2012
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