Personal experiences with Akitas?

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Torch, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Torch

    Torch New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Messages:
    859
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    5
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Anyone here every owned one or known one well?

    My husband is not really a dog person, but grew up with an Akita and would like to have another one day. I've not really done any research on the breed, and have never known one personally.

    Are the temperament issues that I've heard about with akitas ill-founded? I know they're one of the more controversial breeds out there, but what's fact and what's fiction?

    Thanks for your input!
     
  2. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    15,348
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I think it depends a lot on both where the dog comes from and the handler. I think most saavy handlers going through the right breeder (or getting an adult rescue from a knowledgable rescue), can handle an akita temperament. They're also not as common as other somewhat aloof or protective breeds, like a chow chow, shar pei, etc...so as far as I know temperament problems aren't as rampant.

    I've known a few, mainly watered down city dogs who really liked people and other dogs. That's not common, or standard.

    The better-bred ones I knew (not very well, although a coworker grew up with one and spoke of him a lot) are protective, aloof, and dislike strangers (and non-family dogs coming into their territory or personal space), but they were definitely stable. The kind of dog you could trust with your family's children and take out in public easily. But they were also dogs that weren't going to take a lot of crap (letting strangers in their house unwelcome, letting people get into their face over and over and over)...the kind of dogs who would definitely give a lot of warning before taking action and only use necessary force, but they're not about to tolerate some new person coming in and roughhousing with their owner or some drunk yelling guy get too close.

    They bond really, really closely with their people. Aloof with strangers, but heart-and-soul-willing-to-please their people. Smart as heck, too smart for a lot of people.
     
  3. Dakotah

    Dakotah Kotah BEAR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    7,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    GA
    Home Page:
    I have heard good and bad things about them.

    I think they are GORGEOUS dogs, beautiful beautiful. But you have to be careful with breeders.

    My grandma will not allow one near her house. When she use to show Aussies, an Akita attacked and killed an Aussie in a show ring. It literally ripped the throat out of the Aussie and started to gut the poor thing in front of hundreds of people.
    ^^^ That is one of maybe 10-12 bad stories I've heard about them.

    I have heard 2 good stories about them. One being when I was like 15-16 years old and daddy and I went into Petsmart, a man had a beautiful Akita male, HUGE son of a bitch to. That dog was so unbelieveably sweet, it was insane. He let me pet him, love on him, and give him treats. He did tricks for all of the people in Petsmart.

    If I remember correctly, they were bred to hunt/kill bears? So they are strong, powerful animals.
     
  4. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    9,420
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    The only one I have personal (I say personal, but I don't mean me, I mean family) experience with aside from seeing them at various AKC shows is my uncle used to have one.

    Satchmo. My uncle is a big gardener, and Satch would lay in the front yard while he gardened. The doberman down the street (this was in the earlier 80's, so I'm thinking probably not a squishball of a dog) got out and came running up and attacked my uncle. Satch was already up and across the yard before the dog got a good hold on my uncles leg, and he slammed into him and then killed him right there in the street.

    They always talk fondly about him, but he bloated before I was born, so I never actually met him, and that story is my uncles version of what happened.
     
  5. Torch

    Torch New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Messages:
    859
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    5
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Thank you for your input y'all. I want to take personal accounts/other's knowledge into consideration while doing my research. This dog would be many years down the line, so I plan on researching the heck out of them. I like their looks and the sound of their temperaments (when stable and well-bred). I've been around and lived with guardian breeds, no problem there.

    Unfortunately I have never met one in person. When I was a child, my dad worked with a guy who owned one. From the owner's stories, the dog sounded pretty unstable. My dad (who is very dog-savvy) refused to let me meet the dog in spite of my begging to do so.

    Realistically, this future dog would still most likely be my primary responsibility, despite my husband's fondness for the breed, so it has to fit my criteria of what I LIKE as well.
     
  6. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    15,348
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Definitely try to meet some.

    I also do know someone who was bit rather badly by an akita while breaking up a dog fighting. I forgot about that until just now. I'm not sure the exact circumstances, a fight broke out in our dog day care (all dogs were temperament tested before coming in, and I never saw anything more than a harmless scuffle), and this girl grabbed the Akita, I'm assuming by the collar...and he turned on her. It wasn't just a quick bite, I don't think she needed stitches but did need medical attention and I think was sprained. Not that the incident says much about the breed, or the dog, as I don't know the circumstances...but it was one of the few really bad bites I've seen.
     
  7. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,557
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Hudson Valley
    Home Page:
    one of my co-worker's mom breeds Akitas and she talks very fondly of them. That's about all I've got. Sorry! I think they are beautiful dogs, just too big and too furry for me.
     
  8. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Messages:
    9,158
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    1 Dog, Norris!
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Home Page:
    Akita are very intelligent, stable dogs when bred and raised properly. I have known Akita who were stable, and I have known Akita with some issues. The breed tends to be a one-person dog, and won't always readily accept handling by non-owner humans unless properly conditioned. Akita are a guardian breed, and they do need to be socialized and taught what is a real threat and what isn't. An Akita with proper temperament isn't given to wanton violence, they tend to only use force that matches threat level. DA isn't faulted in the breed, but there are a lot of breeders trying to breed away from it.

    I knew an Akita at FOHA, a big male with one eye. He was a bit strong on the leash, but he was a nice dog. He was good with me, but did snap at one of the guys who was trying to be all Caesar Millan with him. This breed doesn't take kindly to the use of bullying tactics or harsh training methods. There was a large male who boarded at the kennel where I work named Grendel. He did not like you to enter into his space, but if you let him out with you he was ok. We would walk him and then put him back, we didn't try to do anything else with him. And I remember one other HUGE male who came to grooming place when I worked there, he was a big teddy bear. I've never met a truly dangerous Akita thus far.
     
  9. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,953
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    OH
    I have experience with one personally. Her name was Princess LOL and I LOVE this dog. She is exceptionally well behaved, did 4H with the families daughter and is just a mellow, aloof dog. Protective when needed. I don't know how to explain it but when she walked in the room it was like wow what a cool dog. And you could do anything to her she was very tolerant but if you acted like you were going to hit 'her girl' shed put herself in between them calmly and give a "look" and trust me you wouldn't try it ;)
    Very cool dog
     
  10. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,216
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well what have you heard about their temperament? :)

    I grew up around five of them, all from good breeders and owned by the same person, an experience Akita owner but not much for training and the like. I practically lived there for about six years and the owner is actually Mira's namesake ;). The older three were adults when I met them, the younger two were gotten as puppies during that time.
     
  11. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Akitas are....complicated. Very, very complicated. Mostly due to politics and all the usual reasons dog breeds are complicated.

    The Japanese bred the Akita for bear hunting and war. So yes, they were bred to be very intense dogs with some amount of prey drive/aggression. In the World Wars, the Americans and Europeans jumped on the bandwagon and started breeding in other dogs...mastiff types mostly, which is why the American and Japanese Akitas differ so much physically and mentally. When the Japanese began restoring their culture, they halted the mix breeding. The American Breed Club rejected their decision to restore original bloodlines and refused to register any bloodlines imported from Japan. Their studbooks were very scattered for a long time with different breeds...not all bloodlines can be traced back before WWII.

    Thus, while the Japanese Akita is far more pure, they have also become quite idolized in the culture. They are expensive, and their temperament hasn't changed much. They are still very powerful, driven dogs that require intense training and devotion. I believe in modern times, they are used for dog wrestling.

    The American Akita is all over the board...you aren't any more likely to find two alike Akitas than you are GSDs. Due to the scattered breeding and fierce politics, it's a hard breed to get footing with. It requires a lot of research into breeders, lines, and really knowing your priorities and the dog you want. More mastiff lines are likely to be aloof, but depending on the influence they can be VERY DA and even HA. All of the Akitas I've met have been American...and they are all like scrambled eggs. Not stable. I DO know they exist...but, again. It's like trying to find the exact type of GSD you want. Or BC. It's a needle in a haystack.

    But GOOD Akitas are good dogs. Still stubborn and aloof, but no more dangerous than any other intense breed.
     
  12. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    none
    Location:
    UT
    The mastiff & bull breeds were added to improve them as match dogs. DA is very common because of this. They aren't really matched muh anymore in Japan.
     
  13. StephyMei1112

    StephyMei1112 Blackout

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    The dog is an equal - but I've had alot of bfs...
    Location:
    No fixed abode.
    Hmm...I considered an Akita very briefly while I was looking for a dog a year ago. My parents (not that they matter much anymore) were concerned about size and were under the impression that a Kuv would be the size of a St Bernard (they aren't dog people) so I started looking into some medium/large size breeds - maybe it was because I just had my heart so set on my breed already or the fact that our last dog was a Shiba...I dunno, it just wasn't meant to be.

    A proper Akita should be rugged, alert, aloof with strangers, fiercely loyal, with sharp reflexes and a good amount of drive. Haven't met too many, but yeah, that's what I know of them.

    A good reference would be "Dog Man" by Martha Sherill (sp?) - great biography of a Japanese Akita breeder and his tremendous "mountain" dogs.
     
  14. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    8,893
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 Pit bulls and 2 Malinois, We like to stay busy.
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    My rat terrier was almost killed by two, ugly vet bill but their owner obliged. On the flip side I worked with a very sweet, extremely obstinate, American bred Akita at my last work. That's about all I've got.

    Watch the joints, those straight legs worry me.
     
  15. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Southern California
    There's a few in my rally class, and my trainer breeds them. The three in class are neat dogs--the owners are very careful to keep their dogs away from the other dogs, though. They're slow to respond, but the female is fairly enthusiastic. All three are quite serious. They're all conformation bred dogs.

    The trainer's dogs are a little bit more intense feeling, and when they walk into the room they do glance around and size everything up, and I get the feeling they're thinking, "Yeah, I got this. I could take 'em."

    That's not a lot of experience, sorry.

    Oh and Elsie has been lunged at by one at a show.
     
  16. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Messages:
    2,270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    several
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Home Page:
    Have been around a number of Akitas. Dog aggression seems to be a concern regardless of lines or breeding. Even the breed standard mentions it: "Akitas may be intolerant of other dogs, particularly of the same sex." They are a guarding breed, so it's not out of line to expect some degree of anti-social behavior towards people in at least some situations. I have known Akitas who were fairly docile towards people out and about and some who were kind of "no touch" dogs, even from similar lines/pedigrees. I have never seen Akitas in their home but have heard from people who have them they can be pretty guardy.
     
  17. Torch

    Torch New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Messages:
    859
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    5
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Mostly that it's difficult to find an Akita with a good temperament. I've heard more about the HA issues than the DA, but DA to some extent really doesn't bother me.

    Like I said, my husband grew up with one but he was more of an outside dog and my husband is no great judge of temperament. His only memories are of playing in the yard with Roscoe and Roscoe being very protective of the house and yard. Oh, and that he got loose all the time.:rolleyes:

    The one that my dad's friend owned bit him several times (once very severely) and was not good with strangers at all. Of course, I know nothing about the dog's upbringing or breeding, so I can't really judge him too harshly.
     
  18. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,216
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well the five I knew were guard-y but not HA. That said I don't think they would hesitate if they felt it was warranted. And their owner is one who had her working bred Great Pyr as a therapy dog so she's no stranger to strong temperaments and guard instincts...the Akitas were just more willing to back it up though they never had a problem while I knew them because she managed it well.

    One of the five, the female puppy, ended up developing severe SSA and went after the older female and did some real damage. She was fine with the males. The owner tried to separate and rotate but finally elected to send the younger female back to the breeder...she was older and she was afraid that if the younger female got out and went for Midori again, she would not be able to separate them.

    The younger male slipped the gate once and killed two stable cats in a flash. He had been around them as a puppy but wasn't really raised with them per se...had a very strong prey drive and was extremely efficient when he got ahold of them. I wasn't there that day and didn't see it -- just heard about it a few days later.

    They weren't particularly biddable but they were extremely attached to the wife. Her husband and myself ranked second, the other stable hands were given a pass, and all other humans were held in suspicion.

    Sample size of five (unrelated) dogs and all from one household so take it for what it's worth.
     
  19. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,405
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I have some clients who have had a succession of Akitas since I've known them. These are pretty savvy owners, which probably affects my experiences, but I actually quite like them. My impression of them is that they aren't like, loose cannons or anything... they aren't dogs that are necessarily going to start something but they are not dogs you want to start something with. Like someone else mentioned, it's like they're always sort of sizing you and the situation up, but they're just sort of quietly serious and powerful. Definitely need to handle them with respect but no need to walk on eggshells around them, either.

    But keep in mind that's based on my n=3 of unrelated dogs with experienced owners.
     
  20. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,216
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That is the perfect way of describing four of the five Akitas I knew. The fifth was more of a loose canon if you were a female dog, whether you were in her household or not.
     

Share This Page