Behaviors of the Akita

The Akita is a strong and proud dog.
i Akita Inu image by Callalloo Twisty from

The Akita, a large and powerful breed, comes from Japan and is part of the working group. These intelligent dogs are used for therapy work, are popular in show rings and can make good family pets. Many people choose this breed when they want a guard dog.

Therapy Dogs

Helen Keller introduced the Akita to the United States. The breed is known for its therapy work, but because Akitas can be aggressive, each dog-owner team needs evaluation before approval for therapy. Akitas who were socialized as puppies to be around humans and other animals and who are friendly and like attention from strangers can be candidates for pet therapy. Not all Akitas demonstrate these traits, however. Owners are evaluated regarding whether they can remain in control of the Akita. If the owner and Akita are approved, Akitas can help ill and lonely patients, including the elderly and children, by allowing unfamiliar people to make physical contact with them.


The Japanese bred the Akita to be a hunter. This breed hunts bear, boar and elk. Never let an Akita off leash in an unfenced yard because he is likely to go off on a hunt. He needs daily exercise from you, especially if he lives in a small area. Akitas are not hyperactive, so a good walk or jog will suffice.

Good Family Dog

If properly trained, the Akita can become a wonderful, affectionate dog who will bond with you and your family. They even have a silly side they share with people they trust. Some even “talk” by grunting or mumbling. Akitas are intelligent and respond well to commands. They do better when trained using motivation as opposed to force. Akitas share a couple of characteristics with cats: They bathe themselves as cats do, and they are independent: They like to be with you, will always know where you are in the house, but they are content not to be continually near you. They do not do well when left outside in the yard all day; they need interaction with the family in the house.

Guard Dogs

Akitas typically don’t bark much except to let you know that an intruder or a stranger is approaching the house. This makes them a good choice for a guard dog. In fact, they need no special guard dog training because they instinctively guard your home. Because Akitas naturally view all strangers as threats, they need extensive training to learn to distinguish between controlled versus indiscriminate guarding. But because they are an intelligent breed who responds well to commands and respectful training techniques, this is possible.


Akitas can be aggressive toward other animals, particularly male-to-male and female-to-female. So, they are not good dogs to bring to a dog park or to let off leash around other dogs in most situations. Akitas don’t do well with children who tease them and can bite in retaliation, so don’t leave an Akita alone with a child who is under 12 years old or one who does not know how to interact properly with a dog.

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