Any dog can be dangerous if badly trained, neglected or abused. Irresponsible ownership is more influential than breed on whether a dog poses a risk. However, larger dogs are always capable of inflicting greater injury on other animals or people. The Akita is a large, powerful breed with strong protective instincts. If handled badly, Akitas can be dangerous.
The Akita, or Akita inu to give his full designation, is subject to various local restrictions. Dog ownership laws vary from state to state, but dangerous dog laws typically refer to the size of a dog, rather than breed. However, residents of the New York City Housing Authority are specifically banned from owning Akitas, as well as many other perceived dangerous breeds.
In his native Japan, the Akita is considered a noble hunter and formidable guard dog. Originally bred for hunting, the breed is revered for his caution, steady nerves and courage. While hunting breeds aren’t necessarily dangerous by definition, their hunting instincts may mean they pose a higher risk of being dangerous in certain situations, such as if left unattended around small animals. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Akita is not among the most likely breeds to attack humans. However, his sheer size and power means that any bites that do occur are likely to be more serious.
An adult male Akita can grow up to 28 inches high and weigh up to 120 pounds. This means that it takes a strong adult to be able to physically restrain an Akita. For this reason, the breed is unsuited to certain owners purely because they would be unable to physically control the dog, should he decide to give chase to another animal. Although the Akita is intelligent and easily trained, there is no guarantee with any dog that they will be obedient, especially if they become scared or feel threatened.
The Akita is naturally confident, territorially protective and courageous. This means that if provoked, especially while in his own home, he may react aggressively. The breed is also very protective of food, so may respond aggressively if disturbed while feeding. For these reasons, Akita owners must be mindful of how they train their dog and how they behave toward him.
If not properly trained and socialized, the Akita will pose a risk to the safety of other animals and people. Any dog that isn’t correctly reared can become aggressive or badly behaved, but large, athletic, confident dogs like Akitas are more capable of hurting people when out of control. Due to their hunting instincts, leaving an Akita to roam free in a park or area where other animals are present is a bad idea, too.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.