Are Akitas Good With Other Dogs?

It’s hard not to want more than one dog, after all anyone who’s ever owned a dog, knows the joy of coming home to your best buddy waiting impatiently for you, and smothering you with kisses and excitement as soon as you walk through the door. And if you’ve owned an Akita, you know the bond they form with their owners is unlike any other. Although Akitas may not be as affectionate as some other breeds, they are fiercely loyal. I have absolutely no doubt that our American Akita, Haga, would sacrifice himself to protect our home, so when he decides he wants to snuggle, it makes it all the more special.

So if you already have a dog and are thinking about adding an Akita to your home, or if you already have an Akita and want another dog, you may be wondering: Are Akitas good with other dogs?

Typically Akitas are not good with other dogs. While you will find many people with households that have Akitas as well as other dogs, these are the exception to the rule. Typically Akitas are best in one pet households.  The long answer is, unsurprisingly: It’s complicated. So if you want to learn more about having multiple dogs as an Akita owner, read on.

Nature vs. Nurture

It’s not uncommon when people have a question about dogs, they find a Facebook group about the breed, and ask their questions there. While it’s always good to get the perspective of actual Akita owners, but how much experience, and understanding of dogs in general people have will vary greatly from person to person, so take any responses you get with a grain of salt.

Akitas are not robots, and just like people, they each have their own unique personality. That means even if you’ve owned an Akita (or multiple Akitas) your experience may deviate from the norm. It’s not difficult to find people who have Akitas in multi-dog households and have had no issue, but the important thing to remember is: These are the exceptions, not the rule.

One of the defining characteristics of the Akita breed is that they are strongly independent dogs with a high prey drive, and a high desire to protect what they deem is “theirs.” This means they typically do not like other dogs, particularly dogs of the same sex. People who have owned overtly friendly Akitas will tell you that it’s all about how the dog is raised. This is only partially true. While training and socialization will make a big difference in any dog’s life, you have to remember you are battling against thousands of years of evolution and selective breeding.

The problem with someone sharing their personal experience with their Akita is that, they have no idea if their Akita would have turned out differently had they done more or less training and socialization. The way I like to describe it to people is to think of their Akita’s attitude on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being extremely friendly and 10 being extremely aggressive.

If your Akita is naturally a 10, then a lot of training and socialization may bring them down to an 8 or a 9.

If your Akita is naturally a 5, then a lot of training and socialization may bring them down to a 3 or a 4.

But it’s unlikely that an ultra aggressive dog will ever become friendly with other dogs, no matter how they were raised. So while it is important to train and socialize your Akita from a very young age, you must still be prepared for a life with a dog that may need a lot of personal space.

Our Experience with American Akitas

Our previous pup Loki, was a Japanese Akita mix, and his personality was quite a bit different from our current pooch, Haga The American Akita. Like Loki, Haga is extremely protective of the house. Bringing other dogs into the household was a big no-no with Loki, but once outside of the house, he was tolerant of other dogs and was occasionally playful.

Haga started out being welcoming to other dogs in the household, but once he reached sexual maturity, the house became completely off limits to other animals. He’s also very hit or miss with other dogs while on leash. Sometimes he wants to play, and sometimes he simply wants to destroy anything in his path.

Interestingly, Haga loves to go to daycare and play with many other dogs. Typically there are 15-25 dogs in total at the daycare Haga attends, and he gets very excited to go to “school” and play with his friends. I attribute this behavior to a few different factors:

  • He’s in a neutral place. He doesn’t perceive the school has “his” turf
  • We are not with him, so he doesn’t feel the need to defend/protect us
  • The daycare is run by excellent dog trainers, who command respect from all of the dogs in their custody

We’d eventually like to add a second American Akita to our family, but seeing how our current American Akita reacts to other dogs in our house, it’s not clear if it will be possible. One thing is for sure, if we do get another Akita, it will have to be a female for there to be any chance of them cohabitating since Akitas are commonly same sex aggressive.

Does the Breeder Matter?

I saw a question posted in an Akita Facebook group recently where someone asked “If I get an Akita from a good breeder, will they be dog friendly?” It’s an interesting question, but in reality, I don’t think the quality of breeder has a lot to do with it. Let me explain:

Good breeders are most often showing their Akitas in dog shows, also known as conformation shows. The whole point of dog showing is to produce a dog that fits the “breed standard” as closely as possible. The breed standard is defined here in the United States by the American Kennel Club, also known as the AKC.

During conformation shows the emphasis is placed on the aesthetics and health of the dog. Judges are looking at the height, weight, shape, and gait of the dog. While temperament is on the list of things the AKC considers, it’s brief:

“Alert and responsive, dignified and courageous. Akitas may be intolerant of
other dogs, particularly of the same sex.”

Why does this matter? Good breeders are working to preserve the breed standard, that means when they are choosing Akitas to breed together, they are looking for the qualities that the AKC defines as the standard. As you can see, temperament isn’t a big part of that equation, and the breed standard is that Akitas are intolerant of other dogs.

I do not condone buying puppies from backyard breeders, however you may be more likely to get a friendlier Akita from a backyard breeder, because their Akitas are likely bred simply to be good pets, or may even have mixed blood with another breed, which can sometimes produce a mellower dog.

If you are adamant about getting a puppy, make sure to work with a reputable breeder (ideally one from the Akita Club of America’s breeder list) and speak with them in depth about the temperament of the sire and the dam of the litter, and if possible, go interact with the dogs to get a sense of their personality. If both parents of the litter are friendly with other dogs, that bodes well for their puppies to be as well, but it’s still not a guarantee.

Consider Adopting an Akita

There are several Akita Rescues throughout the US (you can find a list of them here), and if you’re concerned about an Akita being intolerant of other dogs, rescuing may be a good option. Most of the Akitas at Akita rescues are adult Akitas. This means that their personalities are more developed, and the amazing people running these rescues will be able to tell you if a particular Akita needs to be in a single pet home or if it can cohabitate with other animals and other dogs.

There is often a stigma around Akitas in shelters, and many people believe that only “bad” dogs end up there. Nothing could be further from the truth. People surrender their Akitas for any number of reasons. Sometimes they lost their job and they can’t afford to keep their beloved friend. Some people fall ill or pass away. Other times someone may be moving for a new career and they can’t take their Akita with them.

The truth is, there are a lot of amazing Akitas at these rescues, so it is always worth giving them a look before forking over the money for a puppy, and like I’ve already mentioned there are advantages to adopting!

Being Prepared

The most important thing for any potential Akita owner, is to be prepared. You can do everything right and still end up with an Akita that is intolerant of other dogs. If that’s the case, you need to be ready to deal with it, which can mean accepting the fact that you’ll only have one dog, or setting up your home and lifestyle in a way that can keep your Akita separate from other dogs. This might sound like a lot of work, but this is actually how many breeders live their lives, considering that they usually have a whole gaggle of Akitas running around.

And ultimately if you can’t make it work. Don’t force it. Don’t put your Akita through a life of being around a dog they don’t want to be around, and don’t force another dog to be around an Akita when the Akita may hurt them. That’s not fair to the dogs, and responsible dog owners put their dogs first, so in that way, being prepared could potentially mean being prepared to rehome your Akita or other dog.

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19 Comments. Leave new

  • I agree whole heartly with this article. I love my Akita she is gentle, kind and loves Catahoula and pit. Not so much other dogs.

  • This is completely false. I have four Adult Akitas and have raised litters of Akitas. All of my dogs are loveable and snuggle all the time. We just introduced a kitten to them and they all excepted her with no problems. As it has been said and is still true.( it’s not the dogs it’s the owners and thier abilities to train dogs.

    • It sounds like you had backyard bred dogs which do not represent the Akita standard. Not only would any reputable breeder tell you that Akitas are not great with other dogs, it literally has “intolerant of other dogs” in the AKC breed standard. It is NOT “all in how you train them.” That is one of the biggest myths in the dog training world. Every dog will be a combination of genetics and training. Pointers point, heelers heel, retrievers retrieve and Akitas are intolerant of other dogs.

      • Thank u Tony !!!! SO true !!! I am here because my rescue Akita Sheperd just killed one of our rescue puppies .. only 4 months old … half of it is my irresponsibility of seeing a loose fence and not mending it in time then not remembering I had that to do and going to my front yard where the Akita was and rescue puppy squeezed her way out to me even though the Akita was barking at her , and those false Instagram videos that show lionesses playing / or observing their kill and talking about maternal instincts kick in and cut the video short before actual instinct takes over and they rip the baby to shreds. I just witnessed in horror my akita taking the life of my puppy and only got her off by turning a hose on her …. had I tried to rekennel the pup another pup would have also probably met her gruesome fate also being female, I tried to calm myself trying to figure out how to get the puppy away and to safety also surrounded by 4 other male dogs who I didn’t want to start a frenzy , but when showed her tummy to be submissive and the akita sniffed her genital area the attack began, and ended with the Akita cracking her skull open .. I wish people would stop giving their own opinions as general facts of a breed , Akita and Akita Sheperd’s are killing machines full stop !! Knowing this is why I am unable to shun her and blame this horrific accident on myself for procrastinating and not following my instinct. And for thinking and hoping that Stony would just play with her , I have seen my Akita beat another dog to a pulp and then show her mercy to get away … the puppy was on her turf ( because I switched spaces to clean up ) and situations and factors and environment all matter. I rescued the Akita off the street fully grown, after being abandoned or running away so having not raised her from a pup even though she shows me loyalty and so much love she has snapped and cracked my wrists when at the height of her temper and I will admit was slow to intercept. Other pup who saw the whole thing is traumatized as well. May sound harsh but almost wish the other female rescue dogs and my personal pack saw as well as they keep trying challenge the AKITA through fencing. My Akita is mixed with German Sheperd and although she has a loving side and gets along with all my 5 males , hates all the females and is a killing machine loyal to protecting me and her turf.

  • I have a 12 year old neutered male Standard Poodle. Do you think I could introduce an Akita puppy? I know Akitas will not tolerate other dogs as they become older, but will a puppy accept an older dog? I previously had an Akita and she was a wonderful dog. Well socialized with people, but absolutely intolerant of other dogs, although she did fine at the groomers or being boarded. While the Poodle will accept the puppy, will the puppy tolerate the older dog?

    • You’ll need to get a female AKita puppy since your poodle is a male. Akitas are same sex aggressive, but they can do okay with other dogs if they grew up with them.

    • En casa de mis padres teníamos un macho y una hembra. Y todo siempre fue muy orgánico, hasta que mi hermano decidió tener un macho, lo introdujo desde cachorro a la pareja que ya teníamos en casa y al año vino a dejar al perro a casa de mis padres, al crecer, el cachorro se volvió territorial y agresivo con el macho mayor. Cabe mencionar que el cachorro nunca fue castrado y ahora todo lo quiere marcar. Es en definitiva como dice el artículo, aventar una moneda al aire, no se sabe que temperamento tendrá el cachorro. En definitiva, recomiendo castrarlo.

  • Tommy Van Valin
    December 16, 2023 9:31 pm

    I have never owned an Akita, but I have owned Jack Russell Terriers, another breed that generally doesn’t like other dogs, and for the most part (do to their extreme hunt/kill drive), they hate all small animals, including cats.
    With that being said, I brought into my home a feral kitten that was accidentally left behind by his mother.
    The kitten was only 4 weeks old, and it was the first cat/kitten my JRT had ever been around, and he was “intact” at that time.
    Within 3 days the kitten would repeatedly harass and attack my JRT.
    One time he attacked my JRT while he was sleeping, the kitten climbed all over him and he clawed and bit my dog’s ear.
    My dog not only didn’t respond in any way, but he never even opened his eyes!
    I have this all on video!
    If anyone knows anything about JRTs, is that JRTs are intolerant of everything.

    My point is, is that even though JRTs were specifically bred to hunt and kill with extreme intensity, there can be exceptions through training.
    Btw, I love Akitas.

  • Well I have a two years old Akita that has live with different owners can it still be with other dogs

    • Were there other dogs living in those homes? IF they are used to being around other dogs, that will help, but it’s hard to say without knowing that.

  • I have a male sprocker who is 7 months we have been offered a male Akita pup I’m worried they won’t get along and don’t want to put my sprocker in danger of being attacked

    • Ethical breeders and ethical rescues would not send a male Akita into a home with another male dog already living there. Akitas by default are same sex aggressive. Whoever is trying to give you that dog doesn’t know anything about the breed.

  • There’s no way to change that behavior in it’s totally. We had a female, she went through some trainers and even the interactions with males were almost always fights. She died Invictus and virgin at 12 yo, a night when I went out for a walk, my Luna broke her leash and ran after a stray dog, then she had a heart attack. However Luna was a lovely companion, a perfect friend inside our home, calm, cute, but outdoors she was relentless and unpredictable.

  • I appreciate this article. I socialized my female Akita puppy with dogs, people, and new surroundings starting at 8 weeks old. She started getting dog aggressive when she reached first heat and it’s gotten worse now at 3. It’s frustrating sometimes she acts like she wants to play with other dogs but we can’t trust she won’t savagely turn on them without much warning. It’s been a struggle trying to figure out how to continue to socialize her with this issue. Do i just keep her away from other dogs? Use a muzzle? It’s very hard to train the aggression away since we need a willing dog participant and don’t have one.

    • I’m very sorry to hear that you’re dealing with that! I think your situation is a great example that it’s not “all in how you raise them” as many people like to say. Clearly you put in a lot of effort to socialize.

      Dogs are like people, we all have our own personalities, and so if a dog is genetically predispositioned to not like other dogs, there’s only so much you can do.

      I would strongly recommend a muzzle if you know you’re going to be around other dogs. When used properly they are a safe and effective tool that will benefit your dog and other dogs as well.

    • My partner and I are very fortunate our American Akita Yuki who we got from an akc breeder has been a wonderful addition to out family he is 2 years old now and we recently rescued a kitten we took all the steps to socialize them and we put alot of work into his training . So far they have become close and even sleep together I know this probably isn’t typical. I believe it’s in part to him not being able to go to doggy daycare after we moved to a small town and now he has another animal there when we are not home we do work long hours and we have had the kitten for over 2 month now. No casualties so far. It is very cute though to watch them play.

  • Hi, great website. I am fostering an adult female 9 year old akita. Not socialised, used as a breeding agent only and vastly neglected. She is however, super people focused and loves to meet them and is very loving, gentle and curious with people. Not so with other animals, reactive and will probably kill as was not socialised. What are the chances of me being able to make her calm in public, so she does not have to meet them, but needs to be able to walk without lunging and feeling murderous on sighting other animals. She arrives next week for three weeks and I am ready to just walk her in more remote zones to avoid death and destruction, but theres going to be cases where she sights other animals. Do you have a strategy for this for her? I am capable with dogs, used to be a zoo keeper, trained working cattle dogs. But never an akita. Rowena

    • Training an Akita is fairly similar to training any other dog, it’s just that all of their habits are more intense compared to other dogs, so it takes more repetition, more patience, and usually stronger positive and corrective reinforcements.

      I would start with “the elevator feeding game”. If you’re not familiar with it I can put together a video on how to do it, but that can be the foundation for teaching your Akita that they have to wait for something they want.


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