First-time dog owner, Concerns about Akitas.

edited November 2018 in Akita (秋田犬)
Hello there! I've been researching dogs for many years waiting for the right time to get one. I've considered a lot of different breeds but lately I'm quite stuck on the Akita. Being that I live in Japan, they're one of the easiest breeds I can get my hands on. I love their aesthetic and after much research, I do think that they could be a good fit for my husband and I.

However, neither of us have ever owned dogs and every time I look it up, everyone warns that Akitas are "definitely not for first time dog owners". :I Has anyone had an Akita as their first dog? What was your experience? Any breeders here who have given their pups to first time dog owners? What were their experiences, if they shared any with you?

Do you have any recommendations for training and socialization materials to read/watch beforehand? I watch a lot of different dog training videos, but admittedly I feel like there's no substitute for hands on experience. But certainly being prepared must make it a bit easier? I was interested in "puppy culture" for when the time gets closer but for now (and for many years) I have been watching youtube videos from positive method trainers.

My main concerns are aggression, socialization and training. I don't want the dog to think he/she is the "alpha", as I have seen so many people make note of online! My husband and I are both quite small people (we both weigh under 130lbs), so if the dog becomes difficult to control, I could see it being a huge problem. Any tips on how to keep this from happening?


Important notes: I intend to walk the dog at least 1 hour per day. Jogging 3 times a week if he/she enjoys it. Nature trail hikes several times a month. I would also like to get the dog a lot of interactive toys! So hopefully this will curb any bad behavior from boredom or pent up energy.

And this is just a side note but I'm in love with the appearance of white Akitas in particular but they seem very difficult to find from breeders. If you know any good breeders, particularly in Japan, who breed white Akitas, I'd love to know about them. :)


  • I think that having owned a dog before helps, just as having done anything for the second time, the third time, etc., means you have a deeper pool of learning to draw from- BUT, one of my breeder friends told me a new person who is willing to learn and listen and study up can own these breeds well. Much better to place a dog with a new person like that than a set in their ways, know it all owner who has experience with dogs, but a different kind of breed and does things their own way regardless. :) It's in your outlook and attitude! I hope you can find a breeder with a similar outlook. :)

    I am going to leave akita-specific responses for the akita people, they are the real experts. and responding to the 'alpha' stuff to someone else as well today. I haven't got the energy. :)
  • I have placed Akita pups with first time dog owners in literally every litter I’ve bred. Never had a problem.

    Honestly, when people tell me they have prior dog or Akita experience, it means nothing to me. There are SO MANY bad or just plain ignorant owners that I run into every. single. day. and which tells me that just because someone had a dog before doesn’t mean they know wtf they’re doing. I have no way to know just what their so-called “experience” really amounts to.

    Instead, what matters to me — and the reason why every single one of my first time owners has been successful — is an active desire to seek out and learn new information, ask questions, challenge their own preconceptions and upbringing (I guarantee everyone learned at least a few things wrong about dogs and canine behavior as a kid - or from Cesar Milan), admit when they’re wrong or what they’re doing isn’t working, humbly accept that they don’t know everything no matter how much “experience” they have and that each dog that enters their life will teach them something new. Those are the people I pick to place puppies with, and because they’re willing to get help from me, the Kaiju Family, our breed clubs, this forum, other mentors or knowledgeable people, etc they have all done very very well.

    Alpha dominance stuff is bullshit but I also don’t have the energy to respond to it. Be your dog’s guardian and partner, not a tyrant.
  • edited December 2018
    Oh and I just want to add... I’d just steer clear of breeders who insist that Akita are difficult, stubborn, aggressive, can’t be around children or other pets, require experienced owners or a “firm hand”, etc. Believe them; they know their own dogs best, and clearly are not selecting for dogs who make easy family companions. Just look elsewhere for a breeder who is going to be realistic about challenges you may face but wants to help you get over the hurdles and do everything to set both you and your dog up for success. If someone tells you you’re going to fail (instead of telling you how to succeed) they’re not the person you want to get a dog from.
  • One of my childhood dogs who I consider to be my "first" dog (she was the first dog I was old enough to train and care for primarily on my own) was a Kishu. She was a fantastic dog and we earned many training achievements together.

    With enough dedication and patience (and an open mindset to learning!), NK can be good first dogs. I actually think a well bred JA would be a pretty easy start. They are pretty low energy dogs, and I find them to be more mild-mannered than some of the medium NK.
  • Here's a video of my Akita, see how aggressive she is!

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