Characteristics and Temperament of an Akita

by Lydia Janssen
    Akitas often have strong, independent personalities.

    Akitas often have strong, independent personalities.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    While every dog is an individual, Akitas tend to have strong personalities. They are independent dogs who need an experienced owner to ensure they are properly socialized and are willing to follow rather than lead. With the right care and training, these dogs can make excellent companions and family protectors.

    Calm Temperament

    Akitas do not have a naturally excitable nature. In fact, many Akita puppies will respond to stress by yawning or going to sleep. This behavior can make training more difficult until they become used to it, as they may become more lethargic and less responsive in response to stress and uncertainty. They should seldom bark and should not be easily startled by strange noises. AKC guidelines describe this breed as dignified and courageous.

    Independent Nature

    This breed also has a largely independent nature. Akita owners must demonstrate a dominant personality to lead this dog, while still treating him with respect. Their breed standard calls for them to be alert and responsive, both to their owners and to the surrounding environment. The Akita should be willing to accept leadership, but this tendency toward independence can make fostering that relationship difficult for novice owners.

    Protective of Family

    Akitas are sometimes used for personal protection, although they are seldom used as police dogs, since they respond less quickly to training. They should be particularly affectionate and protective of the family's children. While they should be nonthreatening toward strangers and excessive aggressiveness is a disqualifying fault in show dogs, they should be willing to defend their family against a threat. Akitas should also only bark in response to a threat.

    Potential for Aggression

    While aggression may be found in any breed of dog, Akitas can be prone to aggressive behavior without proper leadership. The breed standards allow for intolerance of other dogs, and the dominant nature of Akitas can lead to fights. Akitas who are socialized with other dogs in their home usually get along well with those individuals. By age 1, Akitas tend to become more protective and territorial, so it's important to socialize them with many different people as puppies.

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    About the Author

    Lydia Janssen began her career writing news articles for the SPCA to connect adoptable pets with their potential owners. She moved into professional writing in 2009 and uses her experience as a dog trainer, SPCA kennel worker and veterinary technician to bring quality information to responsible pet owners.

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