Are Akitas Dominant? Understanding Their Dominance and How to Manage It

It is important to note that not all Akitas display dominant behavior, but many do have a predisposition towards dominance. This can manifest in various ways, such as asserting their dominance over other dogs or challenging their owners for leadership. Understanding this inherent trait in Akitas is crucial for developing a harmonious relationship with these beautiful and majestic dogs.

Understanding Akita Dominance

To better understand Akita dominance, it is essential to consider various factors that influence this behavior. Genetics and breeding play a significant role, as certain bloodlines may produce dogs with a higher propensity for dominance. Additionally, early socialization and training, as well as the environment and upbringing of an Akita, can contribute to the development and expression of dominant behaviors.

Factors Influencing Akita Dominance

Genetics and Breeding

When considering getting an Akita, it is essential to research reputable breeders who prioritize temperament and behavior in their breeding program. Responsible breeders carefully select dogs with balanced temperaments and work towards creating well-rounded puppies. This focus on genetics can significantly influence the dominance tendencies seen in Akitas.

Early Socialization and Training

Proper socialization and training are crucial for any dog, but it is especially important for Akitas. Exposing them to various people, animals, and environments from a young age helps them develop confidence and adaptability. It also teaches them appropriate behaviors and manners, reducing the likelihood of dominant tendencies developing later on.

Environment and Upbringing

The environment in which an Akita is raised plays a significant role in shaping their behavior. Consistent boundaries, clear rules, and positive reinforcement training are essential components of creating a balanced and respectful relationship with your Akita. A stable and loving environment can help prevent dominance-related issues from emerging.

Recognizing Dominance-Related Behaviors

To effectively manage Akita dominance, it is important to be able to recognize dominant behaviors. These behaviors may include aggression and territoriality, resource guarding, and an alpha-dog mentality.

Aggression and Territoriality

Akitas have a natural instinct to protect their territory and loved ones. This can sometimes lead to aggressive behavior towards other dogs or unfamiliar people. Understanding and addressing the triggers for aggression is crucial in managing this aspect of Akita dominance.

Resource Guarding

Many Akitas have a tendency to guard their resources, such as food or toys. This behavior can be seen as a display of dominance, as they assert control over their possessions. Implementing positive reinforcement training techniques can help mitigate resource guarding tendencies.

Alpha-Dog Mentality

Akitas, being a dominant breed, may exhibit an alpha-dog mentality, where they challenge their owners for leadership. This can manifest in behaviors such as refusing to obey commands or attempting to control situations. Establishing clear hierarchy and leadership is crucial in managing this aspect of Akita dominance.

Managing Akita Dominance

While Akita dominance can present challenges, it is important to remember that it can be effectively managed with the right approach. Here are some strategies to consider:

Establishing Clear Hierarchy and Leadership

Consistency is key when establishing clear hierarchy and leadership with your Akita. They need to understand that you are the pack leader and that they can trust and respect your authority. Setting boundaries and enforcing rules in a fair and consistent manner will help establish a harmonious relationship.

Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive reinforcement training techniques, such as reward-based training, are highly effective with Akitas. This breed responds well to praise, treats, and positive interactions. By focusing on rewarding desired behaviors and redirecting unwanted behaviors, you can encourage and reinforce positive behaviors while minimizing dominant tendencies.

Socialization and Exposure to Various Stimuli

Socializing your Akita from an early age is essential to help them develop good manners and appropriate behavior. Exposing them to different people, animals, and environments will help them feel more comfortable and less likely to exhibit dominant behaviors in unfamiliar situations.

Proper Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Akitas are active and intelligent dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. Providing them with outlets for their energy and providing mental challenges can help alleviate any pent-up frustration or dominance-related behaviors. Engaging in activities such as obedience training, interactive play, and puzzle toys can be beneficial.

Addressing Dominance Issues

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, dominant behaviors can still arise. In such cases, it is crucial to address these issues promptly and effectively.

Seeking Professional Help

If you are struggling to manage your Akita’s dominance, seeking the assistance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who specializes in working with dominant breeds can be incredibly beneficial. They can provide guidance, tailored training plans, and techniques to address specific issues.

Consistency in Training and Boundaries

Consistency is vital when addressing dominance issues. Ensuring that everyone in the household is on the same page and follows the established rules and training methods will help reinforce the desired behaviors and discourage dominant tendencies.

Implementing Calming Techniques and Strategies

Incorporating calming techniques and strategies can be helpful in managing dominant behaviors. These may include providing a safe space for your Akita, incorporating relaxation exercises, and using calming aids such as calming pheromone diffusers or calming music.

Setting Realistic Expectations

It is important to set realistic expectations for your Akita. While it is possible to manage and minimize dominance-related behaviors, it is essential to recognize that they may never completely disappear. Understanding and accepting this fact will help you approach training and management with a realistic mindset.


In conclusion, Akitas are a breed known for their dominant tendencies. Understanding the nature of Akita dominance and the factors that influence it is crucial for effectively managing their behavior. By establishing clear hierarchy and leadership, implementing positive reinforcement training, providing proper socialization and mental stimulation, and addressing dominance issues promptly and appropriately, you can develop a harmonious relationship with your Akita. Remember, with patience, consistency, and love, you can navigate the challenges and enjoy the many rewards that come with owning an Akita.

ThePetFaq Team