ABOUT THE AKITA
Anyone considering owning this breed needs to know the hardships and difficulties that can come with owning them.
Akitas, per the standard, can be wary with strangers and aggressive with other dogs, particularly those of the same sex. While there are Akitas who love everyone and get along with other dogs, they are the exception and not the rule. Knowing and understanding the standard temperament for the Akita breed is important when going into ownership of them. Many still mature with this temperament, despite extensive training and socialisation. It is NOT all in how you raise them. Genetics play a massive role into the behaviour of your dog. Go into ownership of this breed expecting it to behave as the standard depicts.
Proper raising, training and socialising is imperative to a well rounded and balanced dog. That said, understand that genetically predisposed behaviours cannot be "trained" out. You never train away genetics. You manage them. So while you may raise an Akita that grows intolerant to other animals, you can manage those behaviours and train the dog in a way that they don't become reactive, aggressive and dangerous.
Training is a MUST. From day 1. This is a very head strong breed and they are challenging. You will often hear owners state that "This is not the breed for everyone" or "This is not the breed for a beginner dog owner."
There is a reason this is said about the Akita.
Many people who don't do the proper research prior to purchasing one go into ownership of the breed blind. They purchased a cute and fluffy puppy, one that grows into a beautiful and regal dog .. but they weren't prepared for the temperament and challenges that came along with it.
This is why we see so many Akitas find themselves in the shelters or rescues. Very seldom are Akitas owned by breed savvy and breed educated people turned into the shelters. Most Akitas find their way into shelters by simply being what they are - Akitas. They were just unfortunate to find themselves in the hands of someone who didn't know what to do with them.
Same sex aggression is common in the breed. Even dogs raised with another dog of the same sex may mature to not get along with them. Many owners find themselves at wits end when their two boys or two girls who were once best friends have begun violently fighting. For this reason, ethical breeders and rescues rarely place their dogs into same sex homes.
This is something to be prepared for when considering an Akita.
Akitas are a hunting breed. Because of this, they can have a very high prey drive. We are brought the bodies of many woodland critters that were unfortunate enough to find their way into the yard. This is not a temperament issue, this is again .. genetics. It is something to make note of and prepare for, especially if you have cats or other small animals. The Akita must be introduced to and trained to properly interact with them early on.
These dogs are very smart and typically very clean. For this reason, they are usually very easy to housebreak. They shed like crazy. A good vacuum is an important part of owning an Akita!
They learn commands and tricks quickly as well, but they tend to get bored fast and are quite stubborn. Finding a way to keep them engaged during training can be tricky.
They are very in tune to their owners as families. This isn't the breed to leave out in a cage or on a chain. They like to be with their people and form very strong bonds. They can be wonderful with children in the family, but it is also important to note .. children must be taught respect for the dog. They are not an overly tolerant breed. So a child pulling, jumping on, hitting or kicking the dog can end very badly.
The breed has a commanding presence and respect is needed in all outlets of its life.
Boundaries and rules should be set early on and upheld. They do best in a structured and consistent environment.
The idea that they are constantly trying to dominate you or being the alpha is false; however, if you don't take charge .. they will. It's important that they know their place and what is expected of them.
They are a fantastic breed, but these are things to consider when considering bringing one into your home.
For an owner that is understanding of what they are and prepared to have that for the duration of their life - which very well may be 14+ years .. there is no better breed. But it is certainly not something to jump into and proper research and choosing an ethical breeder is crucial.
Courtesy of Alexis Spalding
The most common health conditions found in the Akita breed are hip dysplasia and auto immune diseases. These auto immune diseases take several different forms but all are related to the immune system producing antibodies which attack the body's cells and tissues. There is no cure for any of the known auto immune diseases but they can be kept under control and sometimes go into remission by following a strict treatment path agreed with your veterinarian. The most common of these diseases and how they present themselves are listed below:
Pemphigus Foliaceus - The antibodies attack the skin and present as red blisters that quickly form deep crusts more commonly around the nose, eyes, mouth and upper torso, although they do occur all over the body. Treatment usually consists of antibiotics to clear any infection and high dose steroids.
Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) - This disease usually presents firstly as inflammation of the eyes and then by loss of pigmentation of the skin and coat. Secondary conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment are often seen with the condition. Again, treatment is usually high dose steroids.
Sebaceous Adenitis - Antibodies destroy the sebaceous glands which secrete oil into the hair follicles on the skin. This causes hair loss and dry, scaly skin that can become infected and crusty. Treatment is usually a drug named Atopica which works to prevent the antibodies attacking the sebaceous glands and oily baths which help to soothe and replace lost moisture in the skin.