I need an honest assessment of American Akita's.

I need an honest assessment of American Akita's.

Joined: February 28th, 2012, 1:25 am

March 4th, 2012, 6:55 am #1

I currently have an Akita/BorderCollie female who is an amazing dog... Her personality is wonderful. I've been considering a male for quite some time now, and need some honest answers. Please, no smoke and mirrors. I want the hard facts! I'm trying to decide between an Akita or German Rottweiler. I'd like to support one or the other for life, and may even do some light hobby breeding with quality dogs.

- Are they overly aggressive? I know they have a high prey drive and can't be left around unknown kids, but is their aggression out of control? Is it true that no one is safe in your home who the dog doesn't know? I hear some won't even allow eye contact with a stranger.

- Do they ignore commands, and how often or why? I see myself as a very sturn and dominate type personality, but in balance. Do these dogs know what respect is?

- Are they nervous and unsure/uneasy dogs?

- Some say they are not mentally stable. True, or just ignorance?

- I hear they can turn on their own owners and bite. True? If so, is it above the norm?

- How do you describe their personality?

- How's grooming?

- What's the best diet?

- Can they learn to tone down their dog aggression?

- Will he try to constantly dominate or abuse my girl when he matures?

- How do you rate them as a guard dog?

- How do you rate them as a loyal friend?

- How do you rate their intelligence? My girl is brilliant, but she's a Border Collie mix, so I'm unclear.

- Do they truly favor one person above all others? I'm single, but...

- How are they when left alone while at work? Do they behave?

- Do they make good jogging buddies?

- Do they enjoy play and how often? My girl loves fetch, but like keep away too. I hear some Akita's just want to do their own thing and destroy your yard instead of play with you.

- How do they accept displine and what's the best route? I don't spank unless super necessary.

- How's their health in general?

- How are they at different ages? Young, mid-life, old...

I will have more questions later, and please, feel free to add any relevant information I've over-looked now. Answer as many or as few as you please. Thanks in advance!
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Pauline
Pauline

March 4th, 2012, 11:53 pm #2

There`s too much to answer in one go, but I must say that all the stuff you've asked about agression and dominance is a load of bull, if any dog was half as aggressive as you've suggested they wouldn`t make family pets at all!! like any other dog Akitas are as aggressive as you make them, there are the exception that due to health or breeding problems can be aggressive, but this is common in all breeds.

I would say that if you have such a negative veiw of akita`s they are not for you, they can be trained, my girl does all the basics :) they do have a mind of there own and when out (unless in an enclosed and exscape proof area) should be kept on a lead at all times as they don`t do recall, if they want to just wonder off into the distance they will ignore all calls for them to return, there are exceptions though :) They are a very gentle giant and, just like any dog or human come to think of it! they won`t turn on you unless you give them reason to, so, NEVER! "spank" it`s not needed for any dog, my girl was "spanked" in her first two homes and it took me 2 years to stop her from whincing every time I moved my hand near her, shouting and spanking causes fear and a fearful dog is an unpreditable dog. As for destroying your yard, well as long as you control the dog they won`t destroy it any more than any other dog. An akita is very different to a border collie (my sister has always had borders) a border collie is very excitable and will want to play forever, akitas do it in their own time, they`re very laid back, my Asia loves to play tug with me and her teddy, but she will stop after just a few minites. As for grooming, they're double coated and they cast all their very deep undercoat a couple of times a year and you'll have fur everywhere for a few months.

Personally, and I hope you don't mind me saying, but I think your knowledge of akitas seems to be mainly about the negatives and aggression, so perhaps akitas arn`t for you, they do need a firm but gentle approach. Also, please don`t "hobby" breed! puppies arn`t hobbies they are little lives that need proper homes and lots of love and attention, breeding is a commitment and it takes every moment of your time to do it properly and with care, stamp collecting is a hobby, you can pack it up and put it away when you're finished with it, you can`t do that with puppies, they deserve more than that bless them.
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Joined: February 28th, 2012, 1:25 am

March 5th, 2012, 4:21 am #3

You've completely misunderstood. I'm ASKING about these things I've heard and read about. I may very well know more than you do about their history, etc. However, I do not have first hand knowledge of a pure Akita. I'm trying to address potential concerns... That is all. I never said any of these issues where true, I've asked if they are. I'm searching for truth... As far as being a hobby breeder, I see no wrong in it whatsoever. Seeing as I will purchase high end dogs and raise them right, I would be adding to and supporting the breed. Just because I would offer quality dogs at reasonable prices doesn't mean I'm going to sell to dog fighters or a homeless person. lol I love and respect dogs. If Akita's are anything like my mix, they are amazing... She is outstanding on re-call btw, and even free runs with me around a huge baseball park. She loves going with me to work or where ever. Hopefully I know how to communicate with a dog as well as I believe I can, or better.
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Candi
Candi

March 5th, 2012, 7:09 pm #4

You are doing the Right Thing by ASKING QUESTIONS !!!

I'll give a very brief response first, and add more later, if necessary -- I'm only on my 1st Akitas right now, but others here have had more of them & both sexes ... So just take my reply for whatever it may be worth:

My Akita is a spayed bitch I've raised from a 10 week old puppy -- Shaka lived with my grown Borzoi for 7 YEARS until he passed away at the age of fourteen, and she was NEVER aggressive toward him at all ... She also interacts with my son's two Dobermans (one neutered male & one spayed bitch) under my STRICT supervision, without showing aggression, but she would DOMINATE them both if we ever allowed that, which we do NOT.

Shaka LOVES EVERY well-meaning person she meets, especially & particularly ALL children -- But she is Dog-Aggressive toward canines she does NOT know ... Shaka will "!Down & Leave It!" around any strange dog IN my presence AT my command, but if allowed to follow her OWN instincts, she would put them on the ground & if they would not submit, she would FIGHT.

Akitas require ongoing Patient & Consistent/Kind & Fare, but Also Firm training right from the beginning -- This does NOT include any sort of Harsh Bullying or Overbearing Man-Handling at all, because this is a very serious breed which must be treated with RESPECT ... Shaka obeys ALL commands Both onlead And off-leash, but if she happened to be running free & if another loose dog happened to Attack Her, she might very well kill it before I could stop her, so I never ALLOW my Akita to run free anywhere around other dogs !!!

Shaka has NEVER shown the least bit of Aggression toward any Family, Friends, Neighbors, Guests, Visitors, Delivery People OR Harmless Strangers -- She LOVES the Vet, the Groomer, the Boarding Kennel Staff, the Pet Shop Employees, and everyone else we meet UNLESS they give off "Bad Vibes" or are carrying something that could be used as a Weapon -- Akitas are a Guardian Breed by nature, and they are instinctively Vigilant Protectors of their Pack & Territory, so Shaka would NEVER let anyone come in our home WITHOUT being Invited by Me.

Okay, that's the short answer for now...

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Joined: February 28th, 2012, 1:25 am

March 5th, 2012, 9:52 pm #5

She sounds like a great dog. Much more what I would expect and accept from my Akita. As stated, I'm just trying to get a feel and to acknowledge or dismiss my concerns. I've been fascinated with Akita's for years now, and want to be ready. Thanks.
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Candi
Candi

March 6th, 2012, 4:37 pm #6

Please don't be a stranger here, Bryan, because this is a great place to decide IF an Akita should really be your next dog, and IF you would actually be up to the Very HEAVY Responsibility of breeding them -- I discussed Akitas "inside & out" for a good six months here on the Forum before I ever got Shaka ... Believe me when I say: they are Absolutely Nothing at all like border collies (if your mixed-breed behaves like a BC virtually non-stop, then owning that dog will NEVER prepare you in Anyway Whatsoever for living with an Akita) !!!

Before I got Shaka, I had owned the following breeds over 5 decades since childhood:

English Setters & Springer Spaniels

Standard Doxies

German Shortaired Pointers

Basenjis

German Shepherds

Rottweilers

Australian Shepherds

Irish Wolfhounds

Whippets

Greyhounds

Borzois

Dobermans

NONE of my extensive experience working with them evan began to prepare me for owning & training an AKITA.
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Joined: February 28th, 2012, 1:25 am

March 7th, 2012, 11:43 pm #7

Based on what I've read, my girl thinks she's all Akita. Many of her personality traits are certainly Akita, as are her priceless expressions. She even does the hand holding in her mouth thing.
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Joined: June 17th, 2006, 6:15 am

March 23rd, 2012, 5:06 am #8

I currently have an Akita/BorderCollie female who is an amazing dog... Her personality is wonderful. I've been considering a male for quite some time now, and need some honest answers. Please, no smoke and mirrors. I want the hard facts! I'm trying to decide between an Akita or German Rottweiler. I'd like to support one or the other for life, and may even do some light hobby breeding with quality dogs.

- Are they overly aggressive? I know they have a high prey drive and can't be left around unknown kids, but is their aggression out of control? Is it true that no one is safe in your home who the dog doesn't know? I hear some won't even allow eye contact with a stranger.

- Do they ignore commands, and how often or why? I see myself as a very sturn and dominate type personality, but in balance. Do these dogs know what respect is?

- Are they nervous and unsure/uneasy dogs?

- Some say they are not mentally stable. True, or just ignorance?

- I hear they can turn on their own owners and bite. True? If so, is it above the norm?

- How do you describe their personality?

- How's grooming?

- What's the best diet?

- Can they learn to tone down their dog aggression?

- Will he try to constantly dominate or abuse my girl when he matures?

- How do you rate them as a guard dog?

- How do you rate them as a loyal friend?

- How do you rate their intelligence? My girl is brilliant, but she's a Border Collie mix, so I'm unclear.

- Do they truly favor one person above all others? I'm single, but...

- How are they when left alone while at work? Do they behave?

- Do they make good jogging buddies?

- Do they enjoy play and how often? My girl loves fetch, but like keep away too. I hear some Akita's just want to do their own thing and destroy your yard instead of play with you.

- How do they accept displine and what's the best route? I don't spank unless super necessary.

- How's their health in general?

- How are they at different ages? Young, mid-life, old...

I will have more questions later, and please, feel free to add any relevant information I've over-looked now. Answer as many or as few as you please. Thanks in advance!
I hope you have already dismissed some of these assertions as false in your own mind before posting here, otherwise I don't really understand why you'd still want to consider an Akita at all. Of course most of these things are completely false. Who in their right mind would want an Akita as a pet otherwise??

I have to say up front that I don't support hobby breeding at all. There are SO many dogs in shelters (I volunteer with Akita rescue) and so many undeservedly put down because of so-called hobby breeders. Breeding should be taken extremely seriously, not as a hobby at all. If you are not going to be completely responsible for every puppy you produce, for their entire lifetimes (i.e. if you can't sell them, YOU will keep them and care for them for the rest of their lives; if their new owners cannot or no longer want to keep them, YOU will take them back, house them, and take care of them for the rest of their lives), PLEASE do not even consider breeding. There are enough unwanted dogs as it is and most of them lost their homes through no fault of their own, but through the irresponsibility of their owners, who treat their animals like throw-away objects, instead of family members, or even precious LIVES. Off my soapbox now and if you're still here I'll answer your questions to the best of my knowledge and according to my experience.

- Are they overly aggressive? I know they have a high prey drive and can't be left around unknown kids, but is their aggression out of control? Is it true that no one is safe in your home who the dog doesn't know? I hear some won't even allow eye contact with a stranger.

NO. I had a very dominant male that did not like strangers to stare him straight in the eyes. This is not an Akita trait though. In dog body language staring straight in the eyes is a challenge. If you see two dogs staring each other straight in the eyes, a fight is about to break out. All dominant dogs react to being stared straight in the eyes (holding the stare) somewhat, regardless of breed. I could stare at my dominant male Akita straight in the eyes and kiss him on the nose. So could my friends that he knows. With people that the dog trusts, this action is not taken as a challenge so he doesn't feel the need to answer the challenge. Never try this with a dog you don't know, any breed, Akita or not... it's how people get bitten in the face.

- Do they ignore commands, and how often or why? I see myself as a very sturn and dominate type personality, but in balance. Do these dogs know what respect is?

No. The only time any of my Akitas ignore commands is when they're too focused on something else to pay attention. Get their attention (really yummy food, what have you) and they'll obey commands they know. But they don't respect automatically like many labs do. You have to earn their respect through fair and consistent means. Trying to "dominate" them generally backfires.

- Are they nervous and unsure/uneasy dogs?

Not unless they weren't properly socialized as puppies.

- Some say they are not mentally stable. True, or just ignorance?

False. That's just retarded. Why would anyone keep a mentally unstable animal in their house?

- I hear they can turn on their own owners and bite. True? If so, is it above the norm?

False.

- How do you describe their personality?

Extremely smart, sensitive, thinking (i.e. they will think before they leap, not the other way around), independent, aloof to strangers, very loyal to their family, generally dominant with other dogs, can be protective

- How's grooming?

A lot of shedding at least twice a year for several weeks at a time. Longcoats are a pain to groom.

- What's the best diet?

Grainfree, meat based

- Can they learn to tone down their dog aggression?

Depends on the dog. Most just want other dogs to respect their space (i.e. you leave me alone and I'll leave you alone), but there are some that are very dog aggressive and some that are very good with other dogs. If having an Akita that is friendly with other dogs is important to you, I suggest you get an adult. All puppies are friendly to other dogs until puberty. When puberty hits some can turn dog aggressive.

- Will he try to constantly dominate or abuse my girl when he matures?

Again depends on the dog. Their personalities vary so much from one dog to the next, but they are usually good with the dogs in their own home. If you introduce adult dogs (providing they're not truly dog aggressive), an initial adjustment period is required where some squabbling may occur (shouldn't be any real injuries though).

- How do you rate them as a guard dog?

Not good. They tend to think too much on their own. If they think someone is a real threat, they may not off by command, unlike dogs trained in schuzhund. Do NOT train an Akita as a guard dog. They already trust strangers less than most other breeds by nature.

- How do you rate them as a loyal friend?

Very good. An Akita that's bonded to you will give his life for you without hesitation. That said, not every Akita has that kind of bond with its owner.

- How do you rate their intelligence? My girl is brilliant, but she's a Border Collie mix, so I'm unclear.

Extremely smart, more so than any other breed I've owned (German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Pekingese). They don't generally demonstrate their intelligence by doing commands over and over though. Most of them get bored if you ask them to do the same thing over and over.

- Do they truly favor one person above all others? I'm single, but...

Yes. Some dogs do this more than others.

- How are they when left alone while at work? Do they behave?

All of mine do and I didn't have to teach them to. As puppies I'll find my shoes scattered about sometimes, but nothing destroyed or damaged.

- Do they make good jogging buddies?

Not really. Some do, but labs and border collies make better jogging partners. Akitas are kind of lazy. Many of them would rather walk at a leisurely pace.

- Do they enjoy play and how often? My girl loves fetch, but like keep away too. I hear some Akita's just want to do their own thing and destroy your yard instead of play with you.

Not really. They do as puppies and young adults. Again, they're kind of lazy and aren't energetic like labs and border collies.

- How do they accept displine and what's the best route? I don't spank unless super necessary.

Do not hit an Akita. They're really sensitive dogs emotionally. Using physical force damages the bond between the Akita and the owner. Some will just shut down. More dominant ones will up their ante in defense. Verbal discipline is all that's needed most of the time. They're happy to keep the peace if they understand what you want and have a good relationship with you. The most "discipline" I've ever had to use is a spray bottle (just say a firm "NO" and squirt them in the face with water). That worked even on my most dominant Akita.

- How's their health in general?

Bloat, hip dysplasia, cruciate tears, allergies, cancer at old age are the most common problems that I've heard of.

- How are they at different ages? Young, mid-life, old...

Young: friendly, energetic, sometimes mouthy, generally likes everybody, teenagers are testy
Mid-life: more calm, more discerning between family and non-family (aloof to non-family, loyal to family), more protective
Old: gentler, even calmer, lays around and sleeps a lot but always happy to go for a walk
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Pauline
Pauline

April 7th, 2012, 12:11 am #9

especially on the so called "hobby breeding" how the heck can breeding be a "hobby!" breeding is a commitment!and more!

I love your descriptions of the tree ages of the akita, especially old age, that describes my old benny to a tee:)
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