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  #11  
Old 12-31-2012, 03:44 AM
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Akitas are....complicated. Very, very complicated. Mostly due to politics and all the usual reasons dog breeds are complicated.

The Japanese bred the Akita for bear hunting and war. So yes, they were bred to be very intense dogs with some amount of prey drive/aggression. In the World Wars, the Americans and Europeans jumped on the bandwagon and started breeding in other dogs...mastiff types mostly, which is why the American and Japanese Akitas differ so much physically and mentally. When the Japanese began restoring their culture, they halted the mix breeding. The American Breed Club rejected their decision to restore original bloodlines and refused to register any bloodlines imported from Japan. Their studbooks were very scattered for a long time with different breeds...not all bloodlines can be traced back before WWII.

Thus, while the Japanese Akita is far more pure, they have also become quite idolized in the culture. They are expensive, and their temperament hasn't changed much. They are still very powerful, driven dogs that require intense training and devotion. I believe in modern times, they are used for dog wrestling.

The American Akita is all over the board...you aren't any more likely to find two alike Akitas than you are GSDs. Due to the scattered breeding and fierce politics, it's a hard breed to get footing with. It requires a lot of research into breeders, lines, and really knowing your priorities and the dog you want. More mastiff lines are likely to be aloof, but depending on the influence they can be VERY DA and even HA. All of the Akitas I've met have been American...and they are all like scrambled eggs. Not stable. I DO know they exist...but, again. It's like trying to find the exact type of GSD you want. Or BC. It's a needle in a haystack.

But GOOD Akitas are good dogs. Still stubborn and aloof, but no more dangerous than any other intense breed.
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  #12  
Old 12-31-2012, 04:15 AM
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The mastiff & bull breeds were added to improve them as match dogs. DA is very common because of this. They aren't really matched muh anymore in Japan.
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2012, 06:35 AM
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Hmm...I considered an Akita very briefly while I was looking for a dog a year ago. My parents (not that they matter much anymore) were concerned about size and were under the impression that a Kuv would be the size of a St Bernard (they aren't dog people) so I started looking into some medium/large size breeds - maybe it was because I just had my heart so set on my breed already or the fact that our last dog was a Shiba...I dunno, it just wasn't meant to be.

A proper Akita should be rugged, alert, aloof with strangers, fiercely loyal, with sharp reflexes and a good amount of drive. Haven't met too many, but yeah, that's what I know of them.

A good reference would be "Dog Man" by Martha Sherill (sp?) - great biography of a Japanese Akita breeder and his tremendous "mountain" dogs.
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  #14  
Old 12-31-2012, 07:40 AM
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My rat terrier was almost killed by two, ugly vet bill but their owner obliged. On the flip side I worked with a very sweet, extremely obstinate, American bred Akita at my last work. That's about all I've got.

Watch the joints, those straight legs worry me.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:43 AM
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There's a few in my rally class, and my trainer breeds them. The three in class are neat dogs--the owners are very careful to keep their dogs away from the other dogs, though. They're slow to respond, but the female is fairly enthusiastic. All three are quite serious. They're all conformation bred dogs.

The trainer's dogs are a little bit more intense feeling, and when they walk into the room they do glance around and size everything up, and I get the feeling they're thinking, "Yeah, I got this. I could take 'em."

That's not a lot of experience, sorry.

Oh and Elsie has been lunged at by one at a show.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:30 AM
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Have been around a number of Akitas. Dog aggression seems to be a concern regardless of lines or breeding. Even the breed standard mentions it: "Akitas may be intolerant of other dogs, particularly of the same sex." They are a guarding breed, so it's not out of line to expect some degree of anti-social behavior towards people in at least some situations. I have known Akitas who were fairly docile towards people out and about and some who were kind of "no touch" dogs, even from similar lines/pedigrees. I have never seen Akitas in their home but have heard from people who have them they can be pretty guardy.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shai View Post
Well what have you heard about their temperament?
I grew up around five of them, all from good breeders and owned by the same person, an experience Akita owner but not much for training and the like. I practically lived there for about six years and the owner is actually Mira's namesake . The older three were adults when I met them, the younger two were gotten as puppies during that time.
Mostly that it's difficult to find an Akita with a good temperament. I've heard more about the HA issues than the DA, but DA to some extent really doesn't bother me.

Like I said, my husband grew up with one but he was more of an outside dog and my husband is no great judge of temperament. His only memories are of playing in the yard with Roscoe and Roscoe being very protective of the house and yard. Oh, and that he got loose all the time.

The one that my dad's friend owned bit him several times (once very severely) and was not good with strangers at all. Of course, I know nothing about the dog's upbringing or breeding, so I can't really judge him too harshly.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torch View Post
Mostly that it's difficult to find an Akita with a good temperament. I've heard more about the HA issues than the DA, but DA to some extent really doesn't bother me.

Like I said, my husband grew up with one but he was more of an outside dog and my husband is no great judge of temperament. His only memories are of playing in the yard with Roscoe and Roscoe being very protective of the house and yard. Oh, and that he got loose all the time.

The one that my dad's friend owned bit him several times (once very severely) and was not good with strangers at all. Of course, I know nothing about the dog's upbringing or breeding, so I can't really judge him too harshly.
Well the five I knew were guard-y but not HA. That said I don't think they would hesitate if they felt it was warranted. And their owner is one who had her working bred Great Pyr as a therapy dog so she's no stranger to strong temperaments and guard instincts...the Akitas were just more willing to back it up though they never had a problem while I knew them because she managed it well.

One of the five, the female puppy, ended up developing severe SSA and went after the older female and did some real damage. She was fine with the males. The owner tried to separate and rotate but finally elected to send the younger female back to the breeder...she was older and she was afraid that if the younger female got out and went for Midori again, she would not be able to separate them.

The younger male slipped the gate once and killed two stable cats in a flash. He had been around them as a puppy but wasn't really raised with them per se...had a very strong prey drive and was extremely efficient when he got ahold of them. I wasn't there that day and didn't see it -- just heard about it a few days later.

They weren't particularly biddable but they were extremely attached to the wife. Her husband and myself ranked second, the other stable hands were given a pass, and all other humans were held in suspicion.

Sample size of five (unrelated) dogs and all from one household so take it for what it's worth.
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  #19  
Old 12-31-2012, 12:43 PM
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I have some clients who have had a succession of Akitas since I've known them. These are pretty savvy owners, which probably affects my experiences, but I actually quite like them. My impression of them is that they aren't like, loose cannons or anything... they aren't dogs that are necessarily going to start something but they are not dogs you want to start something with. Like someone else mentioned, it's like they're always sort of sizing you and the situation up, but they're just sort of quietly serious and powerful. Definitely need to handle them with respect but no need to walk on eggshells around them, either.

But keep in mind that's based on my n=3 of unrelated dogs with experienced owners.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
I have some clients who have had a succession of Akitas since I've known them. These are pretty savvy owners, which probably affects my experiences, but I actually quite like them. My impression of them is that they aren't like, loose cannons or anything... they aren't dogs that are necessarily going to start something but they are not dogs you want to start something with. Like someone else mentioned, it's like they're always sort of sizing you and the situation up, but they're just sort of quietly serious and powerful. Definitely need to handle them with respect but no need to walk on eggshells around them, either.

But keep in mind that's based on my n=3 of unrelated dogs with experienced owners.
That is the perfect way of describing four of the five Akitas I knew. The fifth was more of a loose canon if you were a female dog, whether you were in her household or not.
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