Are Akitas Banned in NZ? Everything You Need to Know

The Akita’s history can be traced back to the mountainous regions of northern Japan. Originally, Akitas were used for hunting, but they soon gained popularity as guard dogs and even as symbols of good luck and protection. The breed faced some challenges during the World Wars, but dedicated breeders worked tirelessly to preserve and revive the Akita lineage.

Breed Characteristics

Akitas are known for their large size, sturdy build, and striking appearance. They have a thick double coat that comes in various colors, including white, brindle, and black. Akitas are known for their independent and aloof nature, which can make them a bit challenging to train for inexperienced owners. However, with proper training, socialization, and consistent leadership, Akitas can be loving and loyal family pets.

Legal Status of Akitas in New Zealand

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter – are Akitas banned in New Zealand? The answer is both yes and no. While Akitas are not outright banned in New Zealand, they are classified as restricted breeds under the Dog Control Act of 1996.

Understanding the Dog Control Act

The Dog Control Act serves as the legal framework for dog ownership and management in New Zealand. It aims to ensure public safety and responsible dog ownership. The Act categorizes certain breeds as “menacing,” “dangerous,” or “restricted” based on their perceived risk to the public.

Akitas as Restricted Breeds

Akitas fall under the category of restricted breeds in New Zealand, along with other breeds such as American Pit Bull Terriers, Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, and Japanese Tosa. Being a restricted breed means that there are specific regulations and requirements that owners must adhere to in order to legally own an Akita in New Zealand.

Specific Regulations and Requirements

If you wish to own an Akita in New Zealand, you must meet certain criteria. These requirements include registering your dog with the local council, microchipping, desexing (unless exempted), and obtaining a special permit. Additionally, Akita owners must comply with strict fencing and containment standards to prevent their dogs from escaping and posing a risk to the public.

Reasons Behind the Ban

Now that we know Akitas are classified as restricted breeds, let’s explore the reasons behind this classification.

Incidents and Concerns

The restricted breed classification of Akitas and other breeds in New Zealand stems from concerns about public safety. Incidents involving dog attacks and bites, particularly those involving certain breeds, have raised concerns within the community and prompted stricter regulations to mitigate the risks associated with these breeds.

Expert Opinions

Experts have differing opinions on the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation, such as the restrictions on Akitas in New Zealand. Some argue that it unfairly targets certain breeds and that focusing on responsible ownership and education would be more effective in preventing dog-related incidents. Others believe that breed-specific legislation is a necessary precaution to protect public safety.

Controversy Surrounding the Ban

As with any legislation, the restriction on Akitas in New Zealand is not without controversy. Let’s explore the arguments both for and against the ban.

Arguments Against the Ban

Opponents of breed-specific legislation argue that it unfairly stigmatizes certain breeds based on their appearance rather than their individual behavior. They believe that responsible ownership and proper training should be the focus, rather than targeting specific breeds.

Support for the Ban

Supporters of breed-specific legislation believe that certain breeds, including Akitas, have inherent characteristics that make them more prone to aggression. They argue that restrictions and regulations are necessary to prevent potential incidents and protect public safety.

Owning an Akita in New Zealand

If you are considering owning an Akita in New Zealand, it’s important to be aware of the responsibilities and requirements that come with it.

Alternative Options for Ownership

If you are unable to meet the strict requirements for owning a restricted breed like an Akita, there are alternative options to consider. You may choose to adopt a dog from a breed-specific rescue organization or consider other breeds that are not subject to the same restrictions.

Responsibilities and Requirements

For those who are eligible to own an Akita in New Zealand, it’s essential to understand and fulfill the responsibilities and requirements outlined by the Dog Control Act. This includes providing proper training, socialization, and containment measures to ensure the safety of both your Akita and the public.

Managing an Akita’s Behavior

Proper training and behavior management are crucial when owning any dog, especially a powerful breed like the Akita.

Training and Socialization

Early and consistent training is key to raising a well-behaved Akita. Positive reinforcement methods, such as reward-based training, are highly effective in shaping their behavior. Additionally, early socialization with people and other animals is vital to ensure that your Akita develops appropriate social skills.

Understanding Aggression and Dominance

Like any dog breed, Akitas can display aggression, particularly if not properly trained and socialized. It’s important to understand the signs of aggression and dominance in Akitas and seek professional help if needed. Consulting with a qualified dog behaviorist or trainer can provide valuable guidance in managing these behaviors.

Importing Akitas to New Zealand

If you are considering importing an Akita to New Zealand, there are rules and regulations that must be followed.

Rules and Regulations

Importing a dog into New Zealand requires compliance with the country’s strict biosecurity regulations. These regulations are in place to prevent the introduction of diseases and pests that could harm New Zealand’s unique ecosystem. It is crucial to research and understand the specific requirements for importing a dog, including quarantine periods and health checks.

Quarantine and Health Checks

Upon arrival in New Zealand, imported dogs must undergo a quarantine period to ensure they are free from any potential health risks. Additionally, health checks, vaccinations, and microchipping are typically required before dogs are allowed entry into the country.

Global Perspective on Akita Bans

It is worth noting that New Zealand is not the only country with restrictions on Akitas and other breeds considered potentially dangerous.

Similar Restrictions in Other Countries

Several countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, have regulations and restrictions on owning certain breeds, including Akitas. The specific restrictions vary, but the underlying concern for public safety remains consistent.

Effectiveness of Bans

The effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing dog-related incidents and promoting public safety is a subject of ongoing debate. Some studies suggest that focusing on responsible ownership, education, and training may be more effective in reducing these incidents.


In conclusion, Akitas are not banned in New Zealand but are classified as restricted breeds under the Dog Control Act. Owning an Akita in New Zealand requires meeting specific regulations and requirements to ensure public safety. While there is controversy surrounding breed-specific legislation, responsible ownership and proper training are essential for any dog, including Akitas. If you are considering owning an Akita, it is important to understand and adhere to the legal obligations and seek professional guidance to ensure a safe and fulfilling relationship with your furry companion.

ThePetFaq Team