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Q&A

Akita as my hunting buddy

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I thought about trying unconventional breeds for hunting. I stumbled across the "Akita", which was initially cultured to hunt. However, it seems that it's pretty much a common house/pet dog nowadays (nothing wrong with this of course).

How does an Akita do as a hunting buddy?

The Japanese Akita:

Working life

Predecessors of the modern Akita were used for hunting bear, wild boar and deer in Japan as late as 1957.[67] They would be used to flush out the bear and keep it at bay until the hunter could come and kill it. Today, the breed is used primarily as a companion dog. However, the breed is currently also known to be used as therapy dogs,[68] and compete in all dog competitions including: conformation showing, obedience trials, canine good citizen program, tracking trials and agility competition,[69] as well as weight pulling, hunting and schutzhund (i.e., personal protection dogs).[70]

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I would definitely say that the Akita has the capacity to be a hunting dog.

For clarity, there are two main variants of the Akita; in the US, they are lumped together as just the Akita, but in countries where the kennel club is connected to the FCI, they are considered separate breeds. This is the American Akita, and the Japanese Akita (the latter of which is often called just Akita). The Japanese variant is somewhat more spitz-like, while the American variant is somewhat more heavily built:

Image alt text

(image source; American variant left, Japanese variant right; females top, males bottom. By Wikipedia users Peter Theakston, Keetanii, Melodorakitas, and Sevenfatdogs. Image under CC BY-SA 3.0.)

While it's not the most common breed to use for hunting, there absolutely are people who use these dogs to hunt. Also, many Akitas that are kept as pets are trained, trialed and do well in tracking both humans and wildlife.

What one definitely should be aware of in considering one of these dogs as a hunting companion is that they have a tendency toward aggression toward other dogs, especially of the same sex. For this reason alone, I absolutely cannot endorse letting an Akita pursue a quarry off-leash, and more so than with happy-go-lucky dogs that are likely to get along with just about any dog, early socialization is critical. Historically, Akitas have typically been worked either alone, or in pairs.

As with every other situation in which you're getting any dog with the goal of having it partake in a particular activity, you should discuss this with the breeder or rescue organization you're planning to obtain a dog from. A breeder in particular will be in a much better position than any stranger on the Internet to inform you about the particular lines involved, any working trials or titles, and suggest training venues to help you reach your goal.

Also, last but certainly not least; don't get an Akita because you want a teddy bear of a dog. Akitas are physically strong, strong-willed, and can definitely think on their own. A well-trained Akita can be an absolutely wonderful dog, but you are going to have to put in a lot more effort to get there than with a breed that has historically been bred to work more closely to the human handler.

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