I did want to mention one thing and do so with a bit of reservation. As you have been doing research, no doubt you have seen the words "dominant "and "can be aggressive" mentioned. This doesn't mean that every owner need to be overly concerned, it basically means "as compared to other breeds" they may tend to exhibit such behavior more often than others. This results in spaying / neutering option being raised in dogs which exhibit such tendecies .... or even if there's perception that they do.
Our neighbor's had an Akita (Husband, wife and 2 teen daughters that I knew from later teens till ate 20's). We share about 150 feet of fence. Every time I walked out to the mailbox the dog had a "guarding reaction" whether I was by myself or our male Dobie was tagging along. He'd bark for a bit, and either Dad would yell out the window telling him to shut up or sometimes he'd realize I was not doing anything to affect him and leave it alone.
Then Dad left and the dog adopted an entirely new personality. Now it jumped upon the fence barking much more aggressively; he paid absolutely no attention to Mom (retired) or the 2 daughters. I walked over to the fence a few times while they were trying to get the dog to calm down. I felt if I stuck my arm over that fence the 1st time, I'd be bitten. Called him by name and told him to sit down. He did, I petted and praised him and then he and my Dobie ran up and down the fence for a while. This ritual was repeated whenever we were both out at the same time, I always stopped to say Hi. The daughter mentioned one day that they were very frustrated, the dog wouldn't listen except when Dad was over and the vet had recommended having the dog neutered.
While not to be confused with canine pack hierarchy, to my eyes, (meaning I have seen it displayed and behavior successfully modified numerous times) there was a clear "domestic hierarchy" within the home. Dad was 1st, dog was 2nd and the gals were below him. Shortly after, Mom sold the house, daughter's got their own places, dog was neutered. I did later hear 2nd hand that normal,well less frustrating, owner / pet behavior ensued. So what was the cause ...neutering ? location change ? daughter stepped up ?
I wanted to mention it as if you do a web search on the topic, neutering and spaying is often a recommended solution to e Akitas' real or perceived behaviors, From a quantity standpoint, based upon owners groups and such the anecdotal
information leans towards "yes, it in the majority of cases, it is effective". On the other side,the largest (16,000 dogs from 3 studies) scientific study I found when researching this issue came to the opposite conclusion:
".... the distressing results of these studies are that spayed and neutered dogs actually show considerably more aggression. Depending upon the specific form of aggression (owner directed, stranger directed, etc.) the size of these effects is quite large, varying from a low of around a 20 percent increase to more than double the level of aggression in the neutered dogs as measured by the C-BARQ scoring scale.
Spaying or neutering dogs can cause unexpected and unwanted behavior changes.
A further surprise was that these effects were similar for both males and females ..... for females early spaying (before the dog is one year of age) causes a considerably larger increase in aggression relative to later spaying.
A different worrisome finding is that there was a roughly 31 percent increase in fearfulness for both sexes. This is accompanied by a 33 percent increase in touch sensitivity. The spayed and neutered dogs also showed a roughly 8 percent increase in excitability. About the only positive effect on behavior that seems to result from spaying and neutering is the roughly 68 percent decrease in urine marking."
So there it is ... one one side you have many, many owners saying it was a good thing .. and the science saying another. I'm not making things easier am I ?
But again the goal here is not for anyone to tell you what to do, or that your choice is wrong, but to help you obtain the information you need to make a final decision.
If I had to guess, the action that changed the behavior of the neighbor's dog was that domestic dynamic changed; when that akita and daughter got their own place. The akita had no one else to provide it's needs, she fed it, took it for walks, played with it and quickly learned for the dog to get whet he wanted, he had to behave like she wanted.