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Is an Akita Good With Kids? Temperament, Tips & FAQ

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

happy akita inu dog resting at the park

Is an Akita Good With Kids? Temperament, Tips & FAQ

The Akita breed is renowned for its distinctive blend of gentle and affectionate qualities. Akitas are generally good with kids. However, there are some considerations to make before you straight up decide to bring the dog home.

For example, they can be dominating and assertive, and proper socialization is necessary.

In this article, we will examine the nature of the Akita breed and outline practical tips for ensuring a safe environment for both the dog and the kids.

Akita Breed Overview

The Akita breed’s history dates back to ancient Japan. The dog was initially bred for hunting large game, such as bears and boars. Akitas were also esteemed as loyal and courageous protectors. Today, they have gained popularity as loving family companions.

Let’s explore this breed’s historical background, physical characteristics, and temperament.

Akita Inu puppy outdoors
Image By: Kristina Chizhmar, Shutterstock

Physical Characteristics

Akitas are large, powerful dogs with well-built and muscular bodies. They typically stand between 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 70 to 130 pounds (32 to 59 kg). Akitas also have a thick double coat, which comes in various colors, including white, brindle, and pinto.

Their tails carry over their back in a curled or sickle shape, adding to their majestic appearance.

Temperament

Akitas have a complex temperament. First, they are fiercely loyal to their human companions. They are also independent and have a natural protective instinct. Most pet owners who have had the pleasure of living with this dog know them for their devotion and loyalty to their families, often forming strong bonds with their human companions.

Concerning strangers, you will find Akitas reserved and aloof. This particular trait makes them excellent watchdogs. While Akitas can be gentle and affectionate with family members, they may exhibit a dominant nature and assert independence. Do not be surprised if your Akita takes on a situation with a confident stance and direct eye contact. You will need to train them consistently and show firm leadership.

The breed has a strong sense of hierarchy and may not readily let other dogs dominate them. Therefore, careful supervision and controlled introductions to new dogs are necessary.

Akita dog
Image Credit: Anaite, Shutterstock

Activity Level

Akitas are less active than other breeds like Border Collies or Jack Russell Terriers. Despite its large size, this dog does not need excessive exercise. Moderate activities, such as daily walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation activities, are enough.

Akitas also enjoys having a secure and spacious yard to explore and exercise. Take time to engage them in play training sessions, and obedience exercises to help stimulate their intelligent minds and prevent boredom.

Training and Socialization

Training an Akita requires patience and consistency. While they are intelligent dogs, they also come with an independent nature, sometimes making them less inclined to obey and follow instructions.

Therefore, early and ongoing socialization is crucial to help them become well-rounded and well-behaved dogs. Proper socialization should aim to expose them to various people, animals, and environments.

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Are Akitas Safe With Children?

Akita dogs are loyal, affectionate, and protective of their families. This also includes the children in that family. They often develop strong bonds with the children in their households and can be gentle and patient companions.

However, it is crucial to remember that individual dogs may vary in temperament and behavior. So don’t assume that your Akita will automatically fit into your family. The trick to building this harmonious relationship between the dog and the rest of your family, including the kids, is focusing on early socialization and training.

smiling child petting an akita inu dog beside the Christmas tree
Image Credit: Olha Yefimova, Shutterstock

Tips for Owning an Akita Around Kids

Akita dogs have the potential to be loving and loyal companions for families with children. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you properly settle your dog in a dynamic household.

Choose the Right Dog

You must pick the right dog to bring back home. Select a reputable breeder or rescue organization focusing on breeding and placing well-tempered Akitas with a history of positive interactions with children.

Also, consider the dog’s temperament and behavior during the selection process, looking for signs of friendliness, calmness, and sociability.


Early Socialization and Training Are Key

Don’t wait too long before you start training and socializing your dog. Start at an early age and gradually expose them to people and other animals.

Encourage positive interactions with children, ensuring they are calm, gentle, and respectful in their approach. If it helps, enroll in puppy socialization classes and obedience training to establish a foundation of good behavior and responsiveness to commands.


Maintain Close Supervision and Guidance

Supervision and guidance are crucial steps you need to make before you even bring the Akita home.

Close supervision is necessary when an Akita interacts with children, especially during the initial stages of their relationship. Your vigilance ensures the safety of both the child and the dog. Teach your children to interact respectfully with the Akita, including avoiding rough play, not disturbing the dog while eating or resting, and recognizing signs of discomfort or stress in the dog’s body language.


Teach Proper Handling and Respect

Teaching your kids how to handle the dog is important, especially when you will not supervise their interactions. Educate children on how to handle and approach the Akita, including gentle petting. Teach them not to pull on the dog’s ears or tail and not bother them while eating or sleeping.

Teaching your kids how to understand and respect the dog’s body language is also essential. They should be able to recognize signs of fear, stress, or discomfort. The best way to do this is to involve them in the training and socializing process.

Let them join in the feeding, grooming, and training under adult supervision to foster a positive bond and responsibility.

young girl petting an akita inu puppy at home
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Don’t Ignore Their Size and Strength

Akitas are large and powerful dogs, which can pose challenges when interacting with small children.

Their vitality and size may lead them to knock over or intimidate young kids inadvertently. Therefore, make sure to supervise interactions between your kids and dog to prevent any accidental injuries. Also, teach children how to interact with the dog appropriately.


Consider Their Protective Instincts

Akitas have a strong protective instinct towards their families. While having such a protective dog can be beneficial in certain situations, it is crucial to ensure that the Akita does not become overly possessive or aggressive.

This goes back to proper socialization and training that teaches the dog to differentiate between real threats and normal interactions with friends and family.


Consider Personalized Assessments

Every dog is an individual, and there are variations in temperament and behavior within the Akita breed.

It is essential to assess each dog’s personality, previous experiences, and compatibility with children individually. Consulting with reputable breeders, rescue organizations, or professionals in canine behavior can provide valuable insights when selecting an Akita for a family with children.


Provide Regular Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Do not get an Akita if you live a sedentary life. Remember, boredom is likely going to lead to destructive behavior.

While the dog does not require plenty of physical activity, providing the Akita with regular exercise is still important to meet their physical needs. Let them take part in activities such as daily walks and play sessions.

Also, engage the dog in mental stimulation activities to keep their mind sharp.

little boy sitting on the bench holding the leash of an akita inu dog
Image Credit: IVASHstudio, Shutterstock

Consistent Discipline and Training

Establish consistent rules and boundaries for the Akita and your children and ensure that everyone in the family reinforces these rules. During training, use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, praise, and rewards, to motivate and encourage desired behavior.

You can also enroll your dog in obedience classes or work with a professional trainer to ensure proper training and reinforce good behavior.


Open Communication and Education

Finally, make sure that you maintain open communication with your children about responsible pet ownership. Teach them concepts such as proper care, handling, and interaction with the Akita. Ensure they understand dog behavior and body language and respect the dog’s space and boundaries.

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How to Keep Your Akita Safe and Healthy

Keeping your Akita safe and healthy ensures their overall well-being and longevity. Here are important considerations and practices to help you maintain the health and safety of your Akita.

Akita puppies eating food_New Africa_Shutterstock
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Provide Proper Nutrition

Feed your Akita a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate type and amount of food for your dog based on age, size, and activity level. It is important to monitor their weight to prevent obesity, which can lead to various health issues such as unhealthy joints.


Maintain Proper Grooming and Hygiene

Akitas have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and free from matting. Brush their coat at least once a week and more frequently during shedding seasons. Also, bathe your dog using a dog-specific shampoo that won’t dry out their skin. Be sure to thoroughly dry them after washing to prevent skin irritation.

You must also pay attention to other hygiene areas, such as their nails and ears. Take time to trim their nails regularly and check their ears for signs of infection or excessive wax buildup. Don’t forget to brush their teeth regularly to maintain good oral hygiene.


Provide a Safe Environment

Akitas thrive best if they are in a safe environment. Therefore, ensure your home and yard are secure so your Akita does not escape or encounter potential dangers. Remove or secure hazardous substances, plants, or objects that could be harmful if ingested or cause injuries.

Also, provide a comfortable and designated sleeping area for your Akita, with access to shelter from extreme weather conditions.


Maintain Regular Veterinary Care

Schedule routine veterinary check-ups for your Akita to monitor their health and catch any potential issues early. Stay up-to-date with vaccinations, deworming, and parasite prevention, as your veterinarian recommends.

Talk to your vet immediately if you notice any changes in your Akita’s behavior, appetite, or physical condition.

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Final Thoughts

Akitas are a unique breed with gentle and affectionate qualities, making them good with kids. Still, they can be dominant and assertive. While they can form strong bonds with their family members and be loving companions, it is essential to understand and manage their dominant tendencies.

Remember to provide a safe and nurturing environment, meet their physical and mental needs, and ensure their overall health and well-being. By embracing their unique qualities and dedicating time and effort to their care, you can enjoy a fulfilling companionship with your Akita for years.

See also: Is an Akita Good With Cats? History, Facts & FAQ


Featured Image Credit: Kristina Chizhmar, Shutterstock

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