It is not uncommon for dog owners to rely on their canine companions to protect their homes and family. With vast options for safety and security, many people prefer their four-legged furry friends to guard them.
There are many guardian dog breeds to choose from and it’s a matter of selecting what works for you. If you’re considering the Akita breed, I’ll answer your thought bubbles so you can make your choice. Are Akita good guard dogs?
Yes, Akita are good guard dogs because of their natural hunting instincts and their imposing build that commands authority. If you are looking for a loyal watchdog who is wary of strangers and will intuitively defend your family and your home, the Akita is the guard dog for you. They tend to be aggressive when faced with potential threats but this can be managed by early socialization and obedience training.
In this article, I’ll share with you what you need to know if you’re considering the majestic Akita to guard your home.
Akita Physical Traits
Akitas are large and muscular dog breeds. The American Kennel Club breed standard describes the Japanese Akita with its sturdy built, curled up tail, and confident disposition. They look powerful with their height and well-balanced proportions. The males stand at 25 to 27 inches tall followed by females ranging from 22 to 25 inches. The females weigh 55 to 65 pounds and males weigh 65 up to 75 pounds. Their sheer size poses a scary sight for strangers and an effective deterrent for any intruder.
The regal Akita dog breed has an alert, spirited, and intense look that some will find both adorable and intimidating. They are dignified and self-confident when they walk. If they need to run, they are fast, powerful, and have a lot of stamina. With its physique, this Akita breed is a natural-born guard dog.
Bred as hunting dogs, the Akita is independent, persistent, and alert. They are endurance runners and silent hunters. They’re big but not loud. Akitas are not barkers and will only do so when needed. This makes them effective early warning signals.
Akitas are calm and calculating. They act like detectives who scan their surroundings. They respond to threats in different ways which could be hard to read. Akita dogs are not expressive in their body language. Some may stare, nudge, or bark when on high alert. Since they’re mostly quiet, a barking Akita is not to be ignored.
Their natural protective instincts come from a deep sense of loyalty. Akitas are among the most loyal dog breeds. A testament to this is the story of the popular Akita, Hachiko, the dog who waited for his owner for nine years in a Japanese train station. Moved by this story, many dog owners also want an Akita in their life.
Akita dogs truly exemplify being man’s best friend. For an Akita owner who wants this dog breed to protect their home, their instincts will not fail you.
Akita as Guard Dogs
The Akita dog breed made its mark in Japanese history as guardians of people and property. Samurai soldiers chose them as protectors due to their strong will and extreme loyalty making them excellent guard dogs. Akita breeds are considered a symbol of protection in Japan and are currently used as police dogs.
They are natural guard dog breeds with a well-developed protective instinct. Extremely loyal, alert, and strong, they possess the qualities of a good guard dog.
They’re loving and affectionate to their families and reserved to non-family members. Akitas don’t like outsiders and they tend to perceive them as threats. They are intolerant to other dogs unless they see them as part of the family. To know if they make good guard dogs, let’s look at how the Akita breed guards family and property.
Guarding Your Family
Akita is a protective dog who is profoundly loyal to its owner. They see their family as their own pack and will protect everyone at all times. They may have been bred as hunters, but they’re bred as companions too. This dog has a sweet, affectionate, and silly side reserved only for Akita owners and family.
Akita dogs are watchful for any potential threats. They might follow you around the house, taking their guard duties very seriously. Because of their desire to protect their pack, they are suspicious by nature. If convinced of a threat, they may show aggression. This is why they need to know your friends so they don’t mistake them from someone they need to protect you from.
Early socialization is crucial for an Akita. It would be ideal to socialize your Akita as a puppy. You can still do the same with adult Akitas which will require obedience training and a lot of patience.
Once they have formed a relationship with your family, they will protect your brood for life.
Guarding Your Home
Many people want a guard dog for the safety and security of their homes. Akitas are territorial dogs that guard their turf. They are gentle giants who are always watching out for any intrusion into their family and territory. Acting as the leader of the pack, they may exert their dominance over anyone who crosses their territory.
They frown at outsiders which is great for guarding homes. This may become a challenge if you are a social butterfly and love entertaining visitors. This does not mean that you can no longer have visitors if you are an Akita owner. Your Akita needs early socialization for familiarity. They need to be trained that not all strangers are dangerous.
What happens if the Akita is left alone?
As a loyal breed, they understand their responsibility to guard the home. Take caution with visitors going to the house when you’re not there. Guests who enjoy safe passage when you’re present may not be welcomed by the Akita when left to be in charge. They will assert their leadership and decide based on instinct.
Socializing Your Akita
Living with your Akita guard dog requires intimate getting-to-know within your inner circle. They need to learn acceptable behaviors so they don’t berate every single visitor. Socializing your Akita at an early age is so important so that they can adapt to your lifestyle.
Here are some ways to socialize your Akita:
- Invite guests to let your dog get to know them. Start with one or two and gradually expose them to more people who visit your home.
- Get them used to the outside environment by taking daily walks at the park, going to the neighbors, or visiting the vet. Make sure your dog is leashed as it can be unpredictable.
- When going out with your dog, stay alert for anyone he might deem as a potential threat and act aggressively to.
- Only when they reach a certain familiarity to people should you allow them to pet your Akita.
When socializing your Akita dog, you need to increase their experience with friendly people so they learn normal behaviors. Lack of any form of exposure to people, places, and other pets will make your Akita suspicious to all. This will just make them ineffective guard dogs and difficult to live with.
Akita With Kids
Akitas enjoy a special bond with children who are part of the family. They will play with them and keep them safe. Some observe that female Akitas get along with kids better.
Like with other large breeds, it is advisable to have an Akita with older children. As a tall and heavy dog breed, the slight movement of an Akita may accidentally knock down a toddler. Small kids tend to make quick movements and noises that an Akita may interpret as a potential threat. Kids may yank their plush tails as part of playing and the Akita may respond in aggression.
Akita dogs are intelligent and are capable of understanding relationships with kids. Akitas who grow up with children adore the kids in their home. This does not mean they will behave the same with other kids. They can learn to play with small children but should still be supervised by adults. Their behavior will depend largely on how they are raised and socialized
Akita With Other Pets
Due to the dominating nature of an Akita, it’s best to have it as an only dog at home. They tend to be aggressive towards other dogs and pets. Akitas are more tolerant to being around another Akita of the opposite sex. Male Akitas would prefer female dogs and vice versa. They can be hostile to other dogs or same-sex Akita dogs.
If you have other breeds, expect the Akita to act as the top dog given its size. Due to their hunting instincts, most Akitas chase after smaller prey, including cats. Akitas tend to consider birds or chickens as meals and should be far from them.
If you are unable to supervise them when they’re not yet familiar with each other, put up temporary physical boundaries. It will take early and continuous socialization for Akitas to accept other pets as members of the pack. It is recommended to let your Akita interact with other friendly dogs three times a week.
Are Akita Dangerous?
Due to their hunting instinct, Akita dogs can be aggressive especially in a threatening situation. If they’re convinced that there is a threat, they will instinctively attack. While most dogs would bark or growl as fair warning, the Akita breed tends to be less expressive when it attacks. As intelligent dogs, they’re not aggressive for no reason.
Let’s look at some triggers of aggression for an Akita:
- Eye contact – A unique pet peeve this breed is known for is its dislike of eye contact. They interpret prolonged eye contact as a challenge and may show aggression. Avoid getting down to the Akita’s eye level with your face close to them unless you have earned the trust of an Akita.
- Mistreatment – Akitas will respond aggressively if hit or kicked. They will perceive this as a direct threat and won’t back down. They also don’t like being teased even if it’s just playing. This is why they shouldn’t be around small playful kids.
- Feeding Time – They are very food possessive. Any hint of taking their food away from them will be responded to with aggression. Akita owners advise not to let children, visitors, or other pets near this dog while it’s feeding.
- Lack of Socialization – Akitas who are not socialized enough tend to be aggressive because they are suspicious of so many people and their surroundings. They need exposure to friendly experiences with a variety of people which they will associate as normal and non-threatening.
Akitas are great guard dogs who can be taught to discern what is right from wrong. The best way to curb potential aggression of this breed is to socialize and train them while they’re young.
Owning and caring for an Akita requires firm training and confidence which is why it’s not advisable for first-time dog owners.
Are Akita Easy to Train?
Akitas are an intelligent breed and can easily understand and follow commands. They are attentive and responsive which makes them highly trainable. However, they have a dominant personality and a tendency to be stubborn. They will need firm training and consistent reinforcement from their dog owner. They also tend to bore easily so you have to make training interesting for them with games and treats.
For Akitas to be excellent guard dogs, they have to be under your control. They should be trained with positive reinforcement as they respond best to praise and motivation. Don’t use force or punishment when training your dog. Avoid being confrontational as they will see this as a threat and may provoke aggressive behavior. Be patient. Training should be done as early as four months old or the moment you bring them to your home. An untrained Akita who thinks independently can be difficult to live with.
Whether or not you decide to have an Akita as a guard dog depends on your readiness and willingness to train this gentle giant. It will require a lot of effort and patience for your Akita dog to live harmoniously with your family and according to your lifestyle.
While there are many guardian breeds, what differentiates the Akita is its unwavering loyalty. The Akita breed is a magnificent guard dog. Their powerful form and natural guardian instinct are enhanced by their physical and mental agility. They will watch over you and protect your home and your family for all of its days.