Akitas have a standing reputation for being protective of their owners, while often being aloof and silent with strangers and visitors. If you are looking to get an Akita and you are expecting or already have kids, it is a good idea to do some in depth research ahead of time. Being a temperamental breed, you cannot always be sure how they will react with children. Thankfully, I have done all the research for you, so all you need to do is read this article to find out everything you need to know!
So, are Akitas good with kids? Akitas are not the best breed of dog for kids. This is because they are large, powerful, and headstrong; and can become aggressive if they feel the need to protect. They can also be possessive of food and toys and are generally not open to play and being fussed over. That being said, with consistent training and proper socialization from a young age, Akitas can behave safely around children and make great family pets.
Nevertheless, adults should always supervise interactions and play between children and Akitas and children should be taught how to properly behave around dogs.
For the same reason, Akitas tend to be more suitable for families with older children.
While Akitas are very intelligent and equally loyal, it is important to consider that they have an independent and stubborn streak in them.
Reaching up to 28 inches in height and 39 kg in weight, these are not small dogs.
As such, it is essential that they are taught how to properly behave, consistently, from the time that they are a puppy.
Being naturally protective, socialization with other people, dogs and experiences is also a must.
With all this being said, owners do deep Akitas as family pets and so long as they are raised appropriately, not mistreated, and certain considerations are in place, they do make loving and loyal companions.
Let us now take a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about this breed and keeping them alongside children.
We will be covering how to train your Akita to be safe around children along with some practical approaches to teach your children dog-friendly manners.
So be sure to keep on reading!
Are Akitas Kid Friendly?
Akitas can be considered both kid and non-kid-friendly and as such, there is both a yes and no answer to this question.
What makes the fundamental difference is how your Akita has been raised, treated and socialized.
Careful socialization is the key factor. If they grew up from puppies around children, there should be no problems. Equally, the better behaved the children and more familiar they are to the Akita, the better.
In Akitas raised around children, there is also the likelihood that they will even attempt to protect them; keeping a close eye on their movements and whereabouts.
For other Akitas who have not had the benefit of being around kids, can and will struggle with the noise and energy. Kids love to play, and not all Akitas will take to it so kindly.
Ultimately, the calm and reserved nature of an Akita is in direct conflict with the majority of kids.
For this reason, Akitas are often not recommended for those who have smaller children. This is simply because they refuse to tolerate any nonsense. They are not the type of pet that enjoys being climbed all over during playtime.
However, for families with older, calmer and more considerate older children, there are less issues that are likely to arise.
Are Akitas Dangerous To Kids?
An Akita could be a danger to a child, but again it depends on the dog, their individual personality, temperament, the context and how they have been raised.
It basically resorts back to their guarding instincts, and if they feel the need to ever act upon them.
The personality of an Akita is extremely complex, and this makes them a challenge to raise. This protective, powerful, and reserved with strangers breed are renown for their guarding instincts. They make excellent guard dogs for this reason.
This instinct can be dangerous when it is indiscriminate, so children are far safer with an Akita who has guarding instincts that are under control. It is only through effective and regular training that this is likely to occur.
Akitas tend to choose one family member with whom they are closest. Because of this, they could choose to attack anyone they perceive is a threat to their human, even a child.
And Akitas are so reserved that they generally do not give any warning of an attack in the making so there are no outward signs that they are upset.
This means that you are unable to step in to diffuse the situation and when danger is likely to arise.
We always have to remember the sheer size of an Akita, especially against a child. Even if an Akita is willing to play, accidents can occur unintentionally. Knocking over children can and does happen, as it does with all breeds of dogs.
Additionally, children need to be aware and learn that Akitas are protective of their items; be it their food and toys. Children should never attempt to take something away from an Akita, even well-trained ones, because this is when they are likely to react.
How Do You Train Your Akita For Kids?
Akitas have a high intelligence level, making them trainable to a high level. However, Akitas are not the easiest of breed to train.
As smart as they are, their will power is equally matched. They are not the type of dog that will listen just because you tell them to do something.
Akitas want to be the assertive one and they bore easily while during training.
Often their intelligence may be used in ways that further their own purposes. Training an Akita takes a large amount of cleverness on the part of the owner as well!
They only do well with positive reinforcement training.
Harsh training forms do not work well at all.
Above all, an Akita needs to be shown respect during training.
Teasing is not for Akitas and children need to know this as well. Children who are old enough should absolutely be included in training your Akita.
This allows your pet to realize that the kids are also to be obeyed when commands are given.
Akitas are food aggressive so your kids should know never to reach into their bowl while they are eating, but during training they should be encouraged to give favorite treats as rewards for a job well done.
This way your pet will associate your children with only good things.
Besides the common commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “come”, with children in the home it is essential that your Akita also understands that jumping is not desirable.
The “down” command will be vital to ensuring that there are no accidental injuries. Akitas also do very well in agility if you wanted to consider continuing their training.
How Should Kids Behave Around Akitas?
Children need to know how to properly behave around an Akita as well. This is perhaps even more crucial, and something you will need to consider ahead of time.
Not for just your own pet, it is crucial that kids know how to act around all dogs. Keeping this in mind, there are several things that your child should never do around an Akita.
- Take Items: Children should never reach into the food bowl of an Akita while they are eating. There is a high likelihood that your child will get bit. Start training your pup as early as possible that there is no reason to get upset that their bowl is being taken away.
- Shout at the dog: The ears of an Akita are extremely sensitive. Children should not yell at your pet or get right into its face. When there is no escape route available to the Akita, it is possible that their more aggressive side may show.
- Wake the dog: Let sleeping dogs lie! If you Akita is sleeping, ensure that your kids know that they should never wake them suddenly. Their power and behavioral traits make awakening them suddenly to poking a hornet’s nest. They could lash out with extreme hostility before they are fully aware of what is happening.
- Pull their tails: The tail on an Akita is just as sensitive as their ears and they should never be pulled on. Behavior like this is what traumatizes dogs. Even if they do not react the first time it happens, you will do well to assume that they will not forget it the next time.
When it comes to teaching your children how to behave, be sure to install real consequences whenever they do something that could harm the dog, and by extension, themselves.
Animals need to be treated with kindness and respect, and that is a life lesson they can share with their friends as well.
Things To Consider When Owning An Akita And Having Kids
Choosing to get an Akita when you have kids, or you are expecting, should take plenty of careful thought on your part.
Here are some of the main consideration you will need to take into account:
- Willing to be the pack leader: Are you willing and able to become the alpha? Your Akita will need strong leadership for training and socialization if you want them to bond with your kids. Akitas are too much dog for most people and this is something that needs to be seriously considered. If the dog does not respect or listen to you, they will likely not respect or listen to a child either.
- Put up with and manage the shedding: Akitas shed a crazy amount of hair. You will need to spend hours brushing, dusting, and vacuuming if you do not want your child to be constantly swallowing and inhaling hair.
- Consider Insurance: You will need to think carefully about how your insurance company will react. They are well known to refuse to insure someone who has one of the so-called dangerous breeds. Because Akitas are a type of dog that looks ferocious to the casual observer, there is the possibility that they could potentially be targeted for Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Pit Bulls are the current target, but it has been tried in the past with Dobermans, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds. Many parents will not let their children visit a home with a dog they consider to be mean.
- Your Children Nature/Behavior: For the most part, Akitas are very calm dogs. Yours may not be okay with the excitement levels that your child is bound to produce.
- Age of the Akita: Should you get a puppy or adopt an older dog? With a puppy you have no way of knowing how they will turn out until they are grown. That is why it is so important to check out the breeder and call their references as well. When you adopt an older Akita, their temperament is known, and they have already proven themselves.
- Potential For Aggression: Your dog could become aggressive towards other children if they perceive a threat. You need to be aware of this and put measures in place to ensure that your children, and dog, are safe at all times.
- Size: Akitas are physically powerful. They are capable of seriously harming a small child even by accident. Just their tail is like being whipped if you get hit with it. You may want to consider the age of your kids before choosing to get an Akita.
- Pregnancy: If you already have an Akita and become pregnant, give your pup plenty of time to get used to the idea. Allow them to smell all the baby stuff and see the baby’s room. Once the child is at home, the room should be off limits to your pet.
- Time Away: An Akita is not a substitute for a nanny. Never leave your pet alone with your infant. The child may cry for attention and your Akita could attempt to bring the baby to you, often with tragic results.
Thankfully, Akitas are now being bred very carefully, with special attention being paid to temperament. Because of this the Akita breed is far less aggressive than it was previously.
That being said, we must always remember the nature of these dogs.
Akitas are a wonderful, loyal breed but they are not for everyone. For the most part, they are not best suited to families with young children.
They are not the easiest of breeds to train, but they do require plenty of it to behave properly and appropriately. Socialization is also key; and the younger an Akita experiences new people, animals, contexts, environments, smells and noises; the better for everyone involved.
There are many Akita owners whom have raised this breed with young children, and successfully. That being said, there is work that goes into this and an experience of dogs is generally recommended.
At the end of the day, ensure you do your own research before you make the commitment to purchase a pup or adopt an Akita.
Remember, they will be with you for years to come so you have to be certain that you can give them all the time they need to make the loyal and loving companion they can be.
Are Akitas Good Family Dogs?
Akitas can be a good family dog if raised properly, trained, and socialized from a young age.
Firm and loving discipline is required by owners of this breed. Akitas however, are not the best breed for families with young children and can be a danger if mistreated, even unintentionally.
Families with older children tend to do much better with Akitas and those where children have been properly taught how to behave around dogs and other animals.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.