Character and temperament of the Japanese Akita
The Japanese Akita character can be compared to that of a samourai, espescially where their loyalty and fearlessness are concerned. They are independant and decisive. Unlike most breeds, JAs often make decisions on their own based on their estimation of the situation. For example, they may estimate that what you ask of them is unjustified or unnecessary, thereby ignoring your request. They also like to go at their own pace, and sometimes be in their own bubble. This is espescially noticeable during a walk. Additionally, don't be surprised that your perfectly trained "recall" isn't working, out of the blue. Your JA simply didn't finish what he set out to do. When he returns to you, he may appear aloof bordering on arrogant, and in no hurry to come back.
Even with this independance, the Japanese Akita grows very close to his humans. The Akita will have a special bond with all his family members, remaining forever loyal to all, but will bond particularly strongly with one chosen family member. In Japan, JAs are the symbol of loyalty.
The Japanese Akita is usually calm and not very active in the home. They love long walks espescially if they can discover, smell and observe all along the way.
The Japanese Akita must be treated with self-assurance combined with kindness. A JA will likely not accept inappropriate rough handling. He will expect to be treated with respect, as he himself provides his family members. Though it may not be outwardly apparent, they are incredibly sensitive dogs. We humans must learn to negotiate with our JAs as partners, instead of ordering them around. The JA has many cat-like aptitudes; they enjoy casually walking around without being hurried, they groom themselves regularly and place themselves in cat-like positions. The Japanese Akita is highly intelligent and learns quickly but like a cat, may do certain things only when they want to.
When fully grown, Japanese Akitas often become aloof with strangers. It is preferable to let them approach the stranger first, instead of the other way around. Once the JA gives his OK, all is well. The JA has a slightly different communication system than other dogs. Some JAs don't appreciate a too familiar approach by other dogs, espescially same-sex dogs. This intolerance is often apparent in dogs aged 10 to 24 months, and may last for life if the situation is not correctly managed. JAs have a high posture upon approaching other dogs. This may cause conflict in play if the other dog insists on role switching. It is not recommended to have same-sex dogs living with your JA. But JAs, if well managed, may be very social and you should never cut them off from socializing. Additionally, JAs don't always communicate their intentions to other dogs in an obvious manner, as other breeds do. Like a samurai, their signals and body language are very subtle. Akitas not destined to be shown or bred must be spayed or neutered.
The question you should ask yourself before considering a Japanese Akita is not if a JA will be right for you, but if you are the right person for a JA.