I’ve had extensive experience as a dog owner and “Mommy.” My family purchased our first Akita when I was 6 years old while we lived in Duncanville, TX. Kimba was her name, and we lived in a small single family house with a rather small backyard. However, Kimba loved it, and she was very happy and well behaved. She loved my little Chihuahua and we three would often play together. I’ve had many Akitas since Kimba. I’ve loved each one just as much as the last, and almost always for some other than what I loved and admired in the previous others.
In telling you about the breed in general, I can only tell you what I’ve experienced. I’ve found akitas to be intensely loyal, highly intelligent, protective, funny, sweet, quirky, good with kids, and just all around wonderful family dogs. I could tell you stories about my Akitas Kimba, Thunder, Rusty, Queen Ester, Adam, Eve, and Ruth, from here till you’re bored to death, but I’ll spare you most of the boring stories.☺ However, I do want to give you a few.
Kimba and my little Chihuahua, Picacho, used to play hide and seek and tag with me. Picacho used to hide under Kimba leaving Kimba to look for her around the yard. They both knew what “base” meant while we played tag. She slept inside some of the time, and on the nights she wanted to sleep indoors, my mom would have to get up and go around the house to hold the curtains back for Kimba to look outside. She just wanted to make sure everything was safe for her people inside.
Thunder, our first male Akita, was a favorite of mine to take walking. I led him around with some thin twine like rope I found in our garage. He also loved to jump our fence so he could go hang out with the next door neighbors and their little baby boy on their back porch. He would push the baby swing with his nose while they were relaxing outside.
Rusty was the first Akita I bought with my own money. I was older and played a more active role in his training and care. He also loved to go on walks with my Chihuahua and me. My little Chihuahua was getting rather old, but still thought she was a puppy. She also had the attitude of a German Shepard. She would try to pick a fight with some dogs that lived down the road from us. Rusty would never let her know he was the one breaking up the fight, but he would every afternoon. Even in breaking up these finds, he never showed any aggression. We were friends with a police officer, Officer Duffy, here in our home town. Rusty loved both of the Duffy’s girls and even allowed Officer Duffy’s youngest daughter to lead him around the yard with a ribbon.
Queen Ester was my Christmas gift from my husband one year. She was, in my opinion, as beautiful as the Biblical Queen Esther. She stayed in the house with us most of her life. She loved to play in the snow in the winter, and she also loved to be sprayed down with a water hose in the summer. She was more playful than any of my previous Akitas, and she loved to play wrestle.
Adam is our current Daddy Akita. He is the typical Akita in that he has such a royal attitude. It’s like he knows he’s supposed to be the pet of royalty. He and my father-in-law, James, have a game where Adam gets belly rubs with James’ foot. Adam loves it, and watching the game is rather entertaining. Adam also talks to us. I’ve never had a talker before, but now that I have one I love them.
Eve and Ruth are sisters. My sister adopted Ruth at the same time we adopted Eve. We decided that we wanted to breed them both with our current Daddy, Adam. Ruth is learning to Shake and Sit right now. Sometimes it’s called “Shake”, and sometimes it’s called “So nice to meet you.” Eve talks more than Ruth, but they are both rather opinionated. They’ve developed a habit of getting into conversations in the middle of the night and waking my husband and me up. There’s never anything wrong, they just want to talk to each other and us. I’m also working with the two of them to play nice with my little Chihuahuas. That’s still a work in progress.
They don’t need a whole lot of exercise, but they do need a nice yard to play in or a walk once a day. They will be less active in the summer months than in the other three seasons of the year. Some enjoy a good wrestling match while others may be lazier and enjoy watching a movie with their people. They do need to be a significant part of their people’s lives. We’ve had some that were outside dogs, and others were inside/outside dogs. I think those that were inside/outside dogs were those happiest in our family.
In conclusion, I will say again, I find the Akita to be a wonderful dog for the American family with children of all ages. However, just as the case with so many other large breeds, the Akita needs for you to be the “alpha dog” in the relationship. This doesn’t mean you have to abuse them or even be mean to them, but just the opposite. You must be kind and firm in providing your baby a home where s/he will know the rules and what is expected of them. While they’re not one of the breeds that “need” to please their humans, they do get more out of the relationship with their people when they aren’t in trouble or displeasing you.