Akitas are one of the most popular household pets. They are known for being loving, playful, affectionate, loyal, and good guard dogs. But as much as we love our canine friends, we must understand that they are still animals. The Akita’s large size, powerful nature, along with their protective instincts, strong will, stubbornness, and independent nature, combine to make them a potentially dangerous breed of dog. That being said, no dog is born inherently dangerous or vicious. It’s up to you, meaning the socialization tools you teach them and their training. Today, we will learn as much as possible about Akita’s character to determine if they are a danger to you and your family.
Before I get into the specifics, let me answer one simple question, do Akitas bite? First off, every dog has the potential to bite, no matter how sweet and well-behaved they may be. Despite being very loyal, Akitas can bite strangers and even their owners if provoked, not well trained, or weren’t socialized.
Akitas are excellent guard dogs and will likely attack intruders. On the other hand, they are very loyal and faithful to their owners and are less likely to attack them unless, of course, they are provoked. Due to their large size, scissor-shaped jaw, and extreme jaw pressure, an Akita bite can cause severe injuries. The Akita is not a dangerous dog, but you shouldn’t forget their protective and hunting instincts. Luckily, with proper training, you can turn your Akita into a wonderful, loving pet for you and your family. Let’s learn more about the behavior patterns of this dog to ensure your and the dog’s safety.
Do Akitas Bite Their Owners or Strangers?
The Akita is known for being loving, loyal, and affectionate, but they can bite for one of the following reasons:
Protecting/Guarding – As guard dogs, Akitas are prone to defend their territory and their human family with courage and even their own lives. In other words, they are likely to bite strangers/intruders. This has nothing to do with being dangerous or aggressive, just that they are extraordinarily loyal and courageous dogs. Akitas can also resort to biting as part of resource guarding behavior. They have strong guarding tendencies and can bite strangers or even their owners if they feel their valuable items like food, chews, toys, or puppies are being taken away.
Fear – Dogs are naturally fearful of unfamiliar or potentially threatening situations, and an Akita in a fearful situation can bite anyone who approaches it. The fear aggression response is usually directed towards strangers.
Startled – Startling your dog by waking it up or suddenly approaching it from behind can provoke it to bite you.
Pain – Being injured or sick can be very stressful, overwhelming, and scary for your Akita, and they may not even want to be approached or touched by their favorite human. Be aware that they may bite when handled because you may unintentionally cause pain. Still, under this point, any dog can be provoked to bite if the pain is inflicted through physical discipline.
Play – Akitas like to nip at each other and those that they love. It’s a good idea to avoid making your dog overly excited as this can lead to a bite, which they consider part of the play. Though this is not an aggressive act, it can still be painful when they pinch your skin.
From the text above, it’s clear that Akitas are more likely to bite strangers as they perceive them as intruders likely to invade their territory or hurt their human family. Lack of training and socialization can also make these dogs aggressive towards other people and animals. Though they are less likely to bite their owners due to their loving and loyal nature, they can resort to that if provoked.
Are Akitas Aggressive to Humans? Are They Dangerous?
The Akita has an interesting and complex temperament; they can behave quite differently depending on their surrounding environment and people. Generally, they are affectionate and loving towards their family and people they are familiar with. They are courageous and loyal to the point that they will do whatever it takes to keep their human family safe. But to strangers, they are very different, which is where their aggression may come through.
Akitas are often cited as one of the most dangerous dog breeds, though not at the top of the list. In fact, they are banned in several cities across the US and restricted in some countries because they have a reputation for being aggressive. Even the American Kennel Club describes them as potentially aggressive and warns that they should always be supervised around children and other animals. Even without meaning harm, an Akita can hurt a child due to their size.
We’ve already answered the question do Akitas bite, but are they prone to attack humans, and are they dangerous? No, they are not. These dogs are prone to bravely defend their human family, sometimes even risking their own lives. Far from being dangerous, I think they are extraordinarily courageous and loyal. Additionally, they are calm, patient, and peaceful breeds, meaning they remain indifferent to various external stimuli.
With regard to their territorial personality and hunting instincts, these traits can be controlled through socialization and good dog training. Irresponsible ownership is more influential than breed on whether a dog is dangerous or not. So, before you bring an Akita home, ask yourself:
- Can I give my dog the daily physical and mental exercise they need? Failure to do so will lead to pent-up energy, and the dog will find destructive ways to release that out of their system, and that includes being aggressive.
- I’m I willing and have the time to do proper training and socialization?
- I’m I strong enough to be considered the leader of the pack? Akitas are strong-willed and, as such, need strong leaders to guide them.
- I’m I ready and have enough time to give my dog all the love and affection they need to maintain a proper balance?
What Is Akita’s Bite Force?
The bite force is the strength that a dog can bite with. It can be measured in Pounds per Square Inch (PSI). The strength of the bite is often determined by the dog’s body size, size of the skull, and the kind of jaw shape they have. Basically, a large-sized dog with larger, wider jaws has the strongest dog bite compared to its smaller counterparts. As a dog owner, it’s important to consider a particular dog’s jaw strength and dog bite. While they may not behave aggressively, they might cause serious injuries or even fatalities if they do bite.
Back to the Akita, these dogs are large-sized with a scissor-shaped jaw and a surprising bite force between 350 and 400 PSI. This is such a powerful bite, and injuries from it can be very serious. In fact, their jaws won’t open until the dog decides to let go. Just a little comparison against other popular dog breeds so you can better understand the Akita’s strength; the German Shepherd, Labrador, and Pitbull all have a weaker bite force than the Akita at 238 PSI, 230 PSI, and 235 PSI, respectively.
As we’ve seen, Akitas are loving household pets who are not prone to aggression unless provoked. However, it has one of the strongest dog bites out there, which makes it dangerous. While dog bites are scary to think about, the truth is most dogs have a natural bite inhibition that allows them to control their bite. The pressure applied may differ depending on the item being bitten; for example, a dog wouldn’t release the same amount of pressure biting a toy or during play as it would in a defensive situation.
Though most people don’t pick a dog breed based on their bite force, it’s an important factor to consider. As mentioned earlier, it tells how severe their bite might be if it happens. Secondly, bite force is the primary reason for certain breeds to be on the dog insurance blacklist. You’ll pay more to own a risky dog with a strong dog bite force like the Akita. You may even be denied housing in certain apartments with restrictive pet policies.
How to Stop Akita (Puppy and Adult) From Biting?
Is your Akita biting all the time? This is a serious issue that you need to solve quickly. As we’ve seen, an Akita’s bite can be pretty dangerous and even fatal. The first step to stopping your Akita from biting is finding out why they are biting. For puppies, it’s usually because they are playing or teething. In older Akitas, biting is part of their hunting instincts, so you are trying to remove a behavior that’s in their nature. With that being said, here are a few ways to stop your Akita from biting:
Inhibit the Behavior
It’s normal for Akita puppies to mouth each other and even nip on you during play. But this can quickly turn into a bite. When this happens amongst puppies, the one on the receiving end will yelp, which startles the one doing the biting, making them release. You can exploit the same technique to stop puppy nipping and teach them ‘bite inhibition,’ which is how much mouthing is allowed. You can also teach them that biting means game over.
The key to a well-behaved dog is proper training. Training refocuses your dog’s mindset and assists with impulse control, thus modifying all behavioral problems. The Akita will grow large and powerful quickly, and if you’ve not established control and your position as the alpha, you’ll run into difficulty later on.
Never Hit Your Dog
Physical punishment or any other form of aggression is never the solution for stopping your dog from biting. This will only make the dog afraid of you and express more aggression towards you.
Socialize Your Akita
Early socialization is required, so your Akita gets used to different situations. Introduce them to humans, other animals, new places, as well as a variety of situations such as loud noises, bicycles, cars, and anything else that might spark fear.
An Akita that is bored, frustrated, and has pent-up energy will chew and mouth bite everything. All you need to burn that excess energy is to provide physical and mental exercise.