This article was graciously provided by Sue Van Hees of Kensita Akitas.
Pictured are two of her Akitas - Left to right - Suelangan's Akita No Kuma, TD (Teak) and Canadian Champion Sunstone's Make My Day (Kaz).
The Akita The Breed For You?
By Sue Van Hees
The Akita's history dates back nearly 400 years and derives its name from the prefecture of Akita in Northern Japan. In 1931, the breed was proclaimed a natural monument by the Japanese Ministry of Education. The government more recently took steps to preserve the breed which is now regarded as a National Treasure.
This is a large, powerful breed of dog that requires a completely fenced area. The Akita is prone to dog aggression and likes to be "Number One" dog of the block. For this reason and to protect all Akitas from a disreputable name, Akitas should not be allowed to run-at-large. Akitas are loyal members of a family and do not need any form of protection training. They do however, mainly due to their "pound for pound" power, require proper and solid obedience training which must be a constant part of their lives. Harsh training methods do not work well with the Akita but the breed is easily food motivated. It is a breed that will love you to the ends of the earth but they do not need you for existence. They are quite capable of taking care of themselves and many that have become lost for long periods of time (3 months) are returned to their owners in unbelievably good health. Although they are irresistibly darling as puppies, they grow very quickly. Rescue shelters across the country are filled with Akitas who outgrew their owner's ability to control them.
Training an Akita takes imagination and patience. They are a very free thinking dog, love to hunt and explore and will return to you when their curiosity has been satisfied. If you are looking for a powerful dog with a Golden Retriever temperament then this is not the breed for you. We require all our people to be thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the breed before placing a puppy in their care. Remember that it is a 10-15 year commitment and there are not many truly "bad" dogs but there are many uneducated owners.
If I have changed your mind about owning this breed, then perhaps one less Akita will find it's way into a shelter somewhere. It is a breed like no other in cleanliness, loyalty and as lifelong friend but the Akita is not the breed for everyone.
When contacting any breeder for information, insist upon knowing the background of their dogs. Have they been certified free of hip dysplasia, have their eyes been certified, who else in your area has one that perhaps you could visit and speak with it's owners. Most breeders are more than willing to provide you with copies of all certifications. They should be willing to be you mentor for as long as you need.
If after all this, you still wish to share your life with an Akita , you will have years filled with amusing antics and unending loyalty.