Pros and Cons of Owning an Akita

Table of Contents

akita walking on the beach

In the diverse world of dog breeds, Akitas hold a special place with their striking appearance, loyal disposition, and fascinating history. Hailing from the mountainous regions of Northern Japan, these sturdy canines have captured the hearts of many.

However, like any pet, owning an Akita has its share of pros and cons. In this article, we’ll take a balanced look at what it truly means to add an Akita to your family – the joys and challenges alike. Ready to embark on this informative journey? Let’s dive in!

Overview of the Pros and Cons

ProsCons
LoyalStubborn
IntelligentReserved and wary of strangers
Strong guarding instinctsHigh-shedding
Calm and dignifiedLarge and need plenty of exercise
Robust and heartyProne to certain health conditions
akita puppy in the field
Photo: Eduard_Mikrykov/Getty Images Pro

Pros of Owning an Akita

Akitas are known for their loyalty, courage, and often reserved nature. These distinctive canines are a bundle of joy when welcomed into the right home. Let’s delve into some of the wonderful advantages that come with owning an Akita.

Loyal

Akitas are renowned for their unwavering loyalty to their owners, a trait that is deeply ingrained in their nature. This esteemed Japanese breed is known for its steadfast devotion, often forming an incredible bond with its family that is unparalleled.

They are protective and valiant, always alert and ready to stand guard for their loved ones. Their commitment to their family is a testament to their noble heritage and is one of the key reasons why Akitas are cherished pets around the globe.

This breed’s loyalty isn’t a casual attachment – it provides a level of companionship that few other breeds can match.

Akitas are not just pets; they become an integral part of the family unit, offering comfort during trying times and joining in celebration during moments of joy. Their presence brings a sense of security, warmth, and a unique kind of friendship that is truly special. Owning an Akita means gaining a loyal companion for life.

Intelligent

Akitas are highly intelligent creatures, making them stand out among canine breeds. This innate intelligence manifests itself in various ways, one of which is their remarkable ability to understand and respond to their owner’s instructions.

They are capable of learning complex commands, tricks, and roles, which is a testament to their cognitive prowess. This level of intellect also means they are adept at problem-solving, often figuring out ways to overcome obstacles or challenges that other breeds might find difficult.

Their intelligence lends well to their trainability. Quick learners, Akitas can grasp new commands with relative ease, given consistent guidelines. Training an Akita requires a balanced approach that combines firmness with positive reinforcement.

They respond better to an encouraging, reward-based training style rather than harsh methods. This is largely because of their sensitive nature and their desire to please their owners. A well-trained Akita is a joy to have around, demonstrating their intelligence through their eagerness to learn and their ability to adapt to their owner’s lifestyle and routines.

Strong Guarding Instincts

Akitas are known for their robust guarding instincts, a trait that has been carefully nurtured in the breed over generations. Their natural protectiveness of their families, coupled with their discerning nature, makes them exceptional watchdogs.

They are vigilant, always alert to changes in their surroundings, and have a keen sense of judgment when gauging potential threats. This inherent guardian instinct is part of the Akita’s strong genetic makeup, reflecting their historical role as protectors in their native Japan.

However, their guarding behavior should not be confused with unwarranted aggression. While they are fierce protectors, Akitas are also mindful and balanced. They are not quick to react without cause, but when their family is at risk, they will not hesitate to step in and protect.

Their loyalty to their owners is unmatched, and their courage in the face of danger is admirable. A well-socialized Akita knows the difference between a friend and a threat, striking the perfect balance between a family companion and a reliable guardian.

akita relaxing by the lake
Photo: Liliya Kulianionak/Getty Images

Calm and Dignified

Akitas are generally characterized by their calm and dignified disposition. Unlike some breeds that are highly energetic or hyperactive, Akitas often carry themselves with a serene and composed demeanor. They are content with a moderate amount of exercise and enjoy quiet time, which makes them suitable pets for individuals or families who prefer a less hectic environment.

Their tranquility, however, should not be mistaken for laziness. Akitas are alert and attentive, always keenly aware of their surroundings. Despite their typically calm nature, they are also playful and engaging at times, providing the perfect blend of peaceful companionship and spirited playfulness. Their dignified persona combined with their loving and loyal nature truly sets them apart as unique pets.

Robust and Hearty

Akitas are a robust and hearty breed. Unlike some other dog breeds that may be prone to a host of health complications, Akitas are typically healthier and rarely suffer from severe genetic issues.

Their robustness and vitality are a testament to their strong genetic lineage, which has been preserved over centuries. This makes them an excellent choice for prospective pet owners looking for a breed that embodies strength and health.

Their resilient nature also extends to their adaptability in different weather conditions. Akitas are well-suited to harsher climates, thanks to their thick double coat that provides ample protection against cold weather.

This makes them an ideal companion for those living in regions with severe winters or colder temperatures. Moreover, their inherent strength and physical stamina further equip them to thrive in challenging environments, making Akitas not just delightful pets, but also remarkable survivors.

akita walking in winter
Photo: Jade Bastian/Getty Images

Cons of Owning an Akita

While Akitas can be wonderful and loyal companions, they also come with certain challenges that potential owners should be aware of. It’s important to consider these potential downsides fully before deciding to welcome an Akita into your home.

Stubborn

Akitas are notoriously independent dogs, which can often be perceived as stubbornness. Their strong-willed nature coupled with an innate need to assert dominance can sometimes make training a bit of a challenge.

Especially when it comes to obedience training, Akitas require a responsible, consistent, and firm handler who can guide them with gentle yet authoritative leadership. While their stubborn streak can be a point of frustration for some pet owners, it also showcases their intelligence and unique personality traits.

Furthermore, their stubbornness can also mean that Akitas may not be the best fit for first-time dog owners or families with other pets. Their independent spirit and assertiveness can sometimes lead to disagreements or conflicts with other dogs, particularly if both are attempting to assert dominance.

Therefore, they require a home environment where they can be the sole pet, or at least where the other pets are not dominant. It’s important to remember that while their stubbornness can be a challenge, it’s also part of what makes Akitas such unique and intriguing pets.

Reserved and Wary of Strangers

Akitas are typically reserved dogs, often wary of strangers. This trait stems from their instinctual role as protectors, and while it can be beneficial in ensuring the safety of your home, it can also present challenges.

Akitas may be hesitant, or even unfriendly, towards unfamiliar people. This reservation can extend to friends or extended family members the dog does not see regularly. Socialization from a young age is critical to help manage this aspect of their personality.

In addition to early socialization, it’s also important to provide frequent, positive interactions with a variety of people to help your Akita become more comfortable around strangers. Despite their initial wariness, with appropriate training and social exposure, Akitas can learn to be more accepting of new people.

However, due to this characteristic, Akitas may not be the best choice for highly social households or for families who often have guests. This is another trait potential Akita owners should consider when deciding if this breed is the right fit for their lifestyle.

High-Shedding

Akitas are high-shedding dogs, known for their double coat that changes with the seasons. They typically “blow” their undercoat twice a year, resulting in a significant amount of shedding. This heavy shedding period often requires daily brushing to manage the volume of hair.

If you’re someone who values a spotless home or has allergies, you might find this trait challenging. The hair can end up on your furniture, clothing, and even in your food! Therefore, potential Akita owners need to be prepared for a regular grooming routine and possibly investing in a high-quality vacuum cleaner.

However, outside of these shedding periods, routine grooming and maintenance of an Akita’s coat are relatively straightforward. Regular brushing helps to distribute natural oils, keeping the coat healthy and reducing the amount of loose hair.

Despite the shedding, many Akita owners find grooming a bonding time with their dog, a quiet period for relaxation and strengthening the connection between pet and owner. But for those considering an Akita, understanding and accepting this high-shedding trait is essential before bringing one into your home.

akita lying in the park
Photo: Milica Aleksic/Getty Images

Large and Need Plenty of Exercise

Akitas are large, muscular dogs that require plenty of exercise to keep them healthy and prevent behavioral issues. They have a high energy level, particularly when young, and enjoy a good run in a secure area, various interactive games, and even agility training.

Regular walks twice a day are a must for this breed to burn off energy and stimulate their mind. Remember, an exercised Akita is a happy Akita. It’s worth noting that their exercise needs make them less suitable for apartment living unless you can commit to regular vigorous exercise.

On the flip side, Akitas are known for their calm demeanor indoors when they receive adequate exercise. They are not hyperactive or disruptive, but rather, they are serene, dignified, and discreetly playful. After a good exercise session, they are quite content to lay by your side and relax. This trait, coupled with their immense loyalty to their family, makes them excellent companions.

Nonetheless, potential owners must be prepared for the commitment to exercise an Akita requires. Inconsistent or inadequate exercise can lead to boredom, and a bored Akita may turn to destructive behaviors such as chewing or digging. Therefore, a commitment to meet the Akita’s exercise needs is crucial for a harmonious household.

Prone to Certain Health Conditions

Akitas, like many purebred dogs, are prone to certain health conditions. These include hip dysplasia, a common condition in large breed dogs where the hip joint doesn’t form correctly. This condition can lead to arthritis or lameness if left untreated.

Another health concern is progressive retinal atrophy, an eye condition that gradually leads to blindness. Regular vet check-ups and screening for these diseases can help identify and treat them early, ensuring your Akita leads a healthy, happy life.

Furthermore, Akitas are also susceptible to hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, leading to issues like hair loss, obesity, lethargy, and various skin conditions. Autoimmune disorders are also relatively common in the breed.

Despite these health challenges, a well-cared-for Akita can live a long, hearty life. Regular visits to the vet and a balanced diet can go a long way in mitigating these health issues and enhancing the quality of your Akita’s life.

akita walking in a park at sunset
Photo: Erik Torguson/Pexels

Conclusion: Should You Get an Akita?

Deciding to bring an Akita into your home is a significant decision that should be made with a comprehensive understanding of the breed’s unique traits. Their loyalty and companionship are undeniably rewarding, and with a proper exercise routine, behavioral issues can be kept at bay.

However, the potential health concerns require a deep commitment to regular veterinary care. If you are prepared for the exercise and healthcare needs, and ready to embrace the unconditional love an Akita provides, then this noble breed could indeed be the perfect addition to your family. Yet, always ensure you are fully equipped to provide a loving, caring, and nurturing environment before making this lifelong commitment.

Table of Contents

Related Articles