Are Akitas Herding Dogs? Discover the Truth about Akitas’ Natural Instincts

Herding dogs are a group of breeds that were originally developed to assist humans in controlling livestock. These intelligent and agile dogs have the innate ability to gather, move, and protect herds of animals. They work closely with their human handlers to guide livestock, such as sheep or cattle, in a controlled and organized manner.

Characteristics of herding dogs

Herding dogs possess certain characteristics that make them well-suited for their job. They are highly intelligent, trainable, and have a strong work ethic. These dogs are often alert, energetic, and have excellent problem-solving skills. They have a natural instinct to chase and control moving objects, making them indispensable in herding and livestock management.

Common herding dog breeds

Some popular herding dog breeds include Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, and Corgis. Each breed has its own unique set of skills and characteristics that make them effective in herding tasks.

Akitas: A Breed Overview

Brief history of Akitas

Akitas, originating from Japan, have a rich history that dates back hundreds of years. Originally bred as hunting dogs, Akitas were used for tracking and hunting large game, such as bears and boars. They were revered for their strength, courage, and loyalty.

Akitas’ physical characteristics

Akitas are large, powerful dogs with a distinct appearance. They have a sturdy build, a broad head, and a thick double coat that comes in various colors. Their imposing presence and dignified expression make them instantly recognizable.

Akitas’ temperament traits

Akitas have a unique temperament that sets them apart from other breeds. They are known for their loyalty, independence, and protective nature. Akitas can be aloof with strangers, but are fiercely devoted to their families. They are also known to be intelligent and courageous, making them excellent guard dogs.

Instincts and Behaviors of Akitas

Natural instincts of Akitas

Akitas, despite their hunting background, do not possess the same herding instincts as traditional herding dogs. While they may exhibit some chasing or controlling behaviors, it is not their primary instinct. Akitas are more inclined towards guarding and protecting, which stems from their history as formidable hunting companions.

How Akitas interact with other animals

Akitas have a strong prey drive and may exhibit aggressive behaviors towards smaller animals. It is important to socialize them from a young age and provide proper training to ensure they can peacefully coexist with other pets. While Akitas may not be natural herders, they can still live harmoniously with other animals with proper socialization and training.

Akitas’ guarding instincts

One instinct that Akitas do possess in abundance is their guarding instinct. Akitas are known to be protective of their families and property. They have a strong sense of territory and can be wary of strangers. This guarding instinct is a valuable trait that has been honed over generations, making Akitas excellent watchdogs.

Are Akitas Herding Dogs?

Debunking the misconception

Despite their hunting heritage, Akitas are not considered herding dogs. While they may exhibit some behaviors that resemble herding, such as chasing or corralling, it is not their primary instinct. Akitas are better suited for other roles and purposes, such as guarding, companionship, and even therapy work.

Why Akitas are not considered herding dogs

One of the main reasons Akitas are not classified as herding dogs is their lack of specialized herding traits. Herding dogs possess specific physical and behavioral characteristics that enable them to effectively control and move livestock. Akitas, on the other hand, have different traits and instincts that align more with their history as hunting and guarding dogs.

Other roles and purposes of Akitas

While Akitas may not be herding dogs, they excel in various other roles. Many Akitas are beloved family pets, providing companionship and loyalty to their owners. Some Akitas are also trained as therapy dogs, offering comfort and support to those in need. Their noble and regal demeanor, coupled with their protective nature, make them a truly versatile breed.

Similarities to Herding Dogs

Behavioral overlap with herding dogs

While Akitas may not be classified as herding dogs, they can exhibit some behaviors that overlap with herding breeds. For example, Akitas may display chasing or circling behaviors when playing or interacting with other animals. However, it is important to differentiate between these playful behaviors and the focused, controlled herding instincts of true herding breeds.

Comparable traits between Akitas and herding dogs

Despite their differences, Akitas and herding dogs share some common traits. Both breeds are known for their intelligence, trainability, and loyalty to their families. They can both excel in various training activities, although the specific techniques may differ due to their different instincts and purposes.

Training Akitas: Considerations

Training challenges specific to Akitas

Training Akitas can present some unique challenges. Their independent nature and strong-willed personality require a patient and consistent approach. Akitas may not always respond well to traditional training methods, and it is essential to understand their individual needs and motivations.

Applying herding dog training techniques

While Akitas may not be herding dogs, some training techniques used for herding breeds can be beneficial when training Akitas. For example, incorporating mental stimulation, problem-solving tasks, and positive reinforcement can help engage their intelligent minds and channel their energy effectively.


In conclusion, Akitas are not classified as herding dogs due to their different instincts and purposes. While they may exhibit some behaviors that resemble herding, their natural inclinations lean more towards guarding and protection. Akitas are unique and versatile dogs, bringing loyalty, companionship, and a rich history to their owners. Understanding their instincts and traits can help us appreciate and nurture the special bond we share with these magnificent creatures. So, whether you’re considering adding an Akita to your family or simply curious about their abilities, remember that while they may not be herding dogs, they are undoubtedly remarkable in their own right.

ThePetFaq Team