Three stars for homes with kids; four stars for single (childless) people.
I researched the Akita breed for a year and then adopted a retired show champion who was with me for two years before she died of bloat, taking my heart with her. I loved her dearly, she was beautiful, when we walked the neighborhood each day, people literally came out of their homes to ask what type of dog she was. Being a very well-socialized, intelligent, and well-bred Akita she was wonderful with people. She knew when to be standoffish and protective, and when she could relax. However, I have known other Akitas who didn't fit that description. I do believe that the way this breed turns out has first and foremost to do with how they are raised; coming second in line to that is the breeding for health and temperament. If this breed is raised with a firm and also fair and loving hand, and if they are exposed under good conditioins to many, many people and situations, I do think they have the potential to be great with people. I am concerned as I read some of the reviews, telling of "only two bitten," and so on. To me, if these dogs are well-socialized and raised right, they should never bite a human if they are to be considered an Akita with a good temperament. Unfortunately, sometimes, they do bite, from what I have read on this site. I would therefore not recommend them for young children. You never know what kids will do in playtime rambunctiousness. If you are willing to always, always separate the dog from the kids who have friends come over to play and roughhouse, then you will be fine. But to leave the dog within the area, chancing a protection bite, I would not ever do. What I am saying is, this is a wonderful, very powerful/strong/mostly fearless, loving, intelligent companion, very independent and not always obedient even with obedience classes. If you are someone who is willing to have a sense of humor when needed, and to be firm when needed, and you are willing to go out of your way in doggie ownership, then this may be the breed for you to continue researching. An Akita is rarely a dog to leave off-lead out in public. They are small animal killers by nature, they are very dog aggressive (usually) by nature, and they like to run away, even sometimes when you call them back. If you don't mind having to keep them on-lead when out in public, and always be conscious and aware of the power and possible aggression you have within your midst, then maybe this is the dog for you. They shed twice a year, but keep in mind that sometimes that means they begin to shed twice a year, when they finish is another story! My female used to begin to shed in the spring, but she'd not finish the shedding for three months! Then, she'd spend three months growing it back (no shedding) and finally, she would begin to shed again in the fall, and not finish for quite some time; basically half the year, they shed. And folks, this is a lot of hair, and it takes regular grooming. If you don't have the time to spend on at least light exercise, and a fair amount of grooming and vacuuming, this is not the dog for you. If you want your neighbor kids to be able to walk by themselves into your yard where your dog lives, when you are not at home, this is not the dog for you. If you want a dog to lie still and watch from a few feet away as your kids are jumped on and screeching and laughing with a neighbor child, this is not the dog for you. If you want to go to the park, and let your dog off-lead to go and romp and play with all the dogs in the park, this is not the dog for you. If you do not want to have a secure fenced yard, this is not the dog for you. It is true, most homeowner insurance companies DO discriminate against the Akita. Some landlords do, as well. And yes, they will dig a hole going back to Japan just for the fun of it, just as they may live with your favorite cat in the house for two years, and then one day, decide to lay chase and kill. A cat is a small animal, and they will by nature kill them for fun. That goes for small dogs as well, and occasionally, other large dogs. They do like to fight, and even though most people-friendly dogs may love to fight other dogs, even submissive ones, it just depends on the individual Akita. If you don't mind making plans and providing for the right circumstances given the nature of this breed, then perhaps it will be the right dog for you. You can teach them tricks, for sure, but usually they perform for an audience of one! As soon as you have the trick down pat, done it a hundred times, and you go to perform for your friends, your Akita is very likely to look at you and wag its tail, and just smile, as if to say, "Hmm, what are we doing? I've never heard of this trick!" You need a good sense of humor to live with an Akita. And, you need to know beforehand that you are in love with the breed. If you aren't sure, then don't get one. They are wonderful dogs, for the right individuals, and under the right circumstances. If you do decide to get an Akita, beware of backyard breeders who do not do health tests. It is a lot safer to get a pup from someone who has done health certifications on the sire/dam.”
The breeder you choose is the key.
I own a five-month-old female Akita. I spent a year researching Akita breeders. I went to dog shows, read books on the breed, checked out internet breeder sites, etc. I found a breeder who specializes in MILD TEMPERAMENT. To me, that's the key. The last thing I want/need is a dog with a BAD attitude/temperament. I don't need a lawsuit. I don't want my dog attacking the neighbor's kids, or other neighborhood pets. I chose a top breeder who has consistently produced Akitas with GOOD temperaments. I now have a beautiful, top quality Akita,with the milder temperament I was seeking. She is a delight. She loves people. She loves other dogs. I have two indoor cats and I was concerned about them all getting along. The Bengal cat used to play with her. Now, the puppy is too big and she plays too rough. My cats now run from her ­p; which makes her chase them. This is not good. They can all be in the same room as long as the puppy is asleep or not interested in chasing them. She does not eat a ton. She likes to go for walks. Unlike some Akitas, mine loves to fetch, just like a Lab! I've had problems with her jumping on me (excited) and play biting. Not good. I am going to take her to obedience training to eliminate this. She does not always come when I call her. I hope the obedience will help. Overall, she is wonderful. I have had German Shepherds, Boxers, Miniature Poodles, and two Labs. The Shepherd was the best at obeying commands. The Boxer was a good family dog. The Poodle was the most intelligent. The Labs were the friendliest (and the most work). But the Akita gets the most attention ("Wow, what kind of dog is that? Looks like a teddy bear!") and has the ability of a guard dog without the association of one (unlike a Shepherd, Pitbull, Rottie, etc.). One last thing: Everyone's lifestyle is different. I do not live on a farm with lots of acreage. If I did, the dog I chose might not be as important. I do not kennel my dog in the winter. In fact, I never kennel my dog. She stays in the house. She is my trusted companion. She is the child I never had. I have no other children. I live in an upscale family neighborhood. My dog is a reflection of me. I try my best to make it a good one. Good luck!”
My Akita has just turned eighteen months. We got her knowing full well of the large size, shedding, and aggressive history. Starting from the beginning we were diligent about her training. She showed some tendency to mouth rather roughly early on, but we were able to break her. Potty training went well with the aid of a crate. She is now 80 pounds, with probably a little more filling out to do. She has the sweetest temperament of any dog I have owned. She is protective of her house and will bark if anyone approaches the yard. Other than that she rarely makes a sound. She is not aggressive toward strangers, and is gentle and obedient with kids. She has never chewed any item in the house. The shedding two times a year can be a nuisance, but it helps to keep up with the grooming. Overall with diligent training right off the bat, and socialization with people, the Akita is the best of all breeds!”