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Adding an Akita Puppy to our Family--Questions for Experienced Akita Owners

This is a forum for bonding with your fellow Dogsters about the traits, quirks and idiosyncrasies of your favorite breed. Please remember that there are absolutely no animal sales or requests for studding or breeding allowed on our sites. All posts and interactions should be in the spirit of Dogster's Community Guidelines and should be fun, friendly and informational. Enjoy!

  
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Sat Aug 25, '12 10:04am PST 
It has been a while since I've been on here and I have a few updates.

First, the breeder we visited ended up not having pups. He though his female was carrying 2 and the breeding was unsuccessful. I was extremely disappointed.

On a positive note, the breeder we were originally going to go with was able to breed her dog since she finally came into heat. (Apparently it was delayed, and when she spoke with other Akita owners, they had the same issue.) So, I was hesitant to post. It's been a week, and clearly she is unable to tell herself whether or not her dog is carrying pups. Even though I liked the second breeder, I feel better about purchasing a pup from this one. Both parents have had all the appropriate tests done and everything came back with the best possible results. The bloodlines are fantastic on both sides, and I couldn't ask for a pup from better parents...wonderful dispositions. The owner of the male confirmed 3 successful breeding's, so now I suppose it is a waiting game for a little while longer. I was actually told, since I have first pick, that if I want to be there when the puppies are born I can be, and I am also able to come visit and get to know the pups before choosing one. I LOVE that. But again, I have to wait and see...I would hate to get my hopes up too much and then find out the breeding didn't "take". Though I know with a proven sire, and a vet-checked and ready to go female, that it is unlikely no pups will be produced.

So we are obviously going to do crate training for a puppy (though I know the pups will be working on being house broken before we bring one home), but what size of crate would we need? If we can, we will be getting a male from this litter. I know they are a little bigger than the females. The sire is around 120 lbs and the mother around 85. So I'm guessing somewhere in that range, though with a male, probably on the larger side of the spectrum. The crate will be used at night until the pup is potty trained, and while we are at work. Gradually, we will leave him lose for small periods of time until we can trust him alone in the house. So, crate size? Also, what kind of food do you give your Akitas?

Thanks! Please keep your fingers crossed for us! Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have more details!
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Tika

1255073
 
 
Barked: Sat Aug 25, '12 2:24pm PST 
I'd recommend the "Extra Large" crate. That's what I had to get for my female. She is 90 lbs but I'm not sure about her height. If you get a male, he will be much bigger probably. When shopping for one, I thought I'd only need a large but I find even the extra large crate to be kind of short for my Akita. It made me wonder how a Great Dane would fit in there! So I would get an extra large crate and get one that has a divider inside so that you can section it off until the dog is adult!
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Sat Aug 25, '12 3:51pm PST 
Perfect. Thank you for that information. I know that the sire, at 11 months of age was 27 in. at the withers. He is older than that now, and obviously was not full grown at the time. I'm not 100% sure on the mother's height, but when I met her she seemed to be pretty standard.

I'm kind of hoping to ask around to see if anyone has a crate they no longer use. I know several people who have had extra large breed dogs who may have a crate I could buy for less than they cost at a store. (I feel they are a bit overpriced at many places.)

I suppose I'm anticipating a male pup to grow into a mature dog around the same size as his father, but either way, it will be a large dog! We have a perfect spot for a crate in our bedroom, and while Bear tends to sleep on our bed, at the foot of it, I don't think I can bring myself to allow a 100 lb (or so) dog up with us! That is a lot of animal! Although, I know how much Akitas love the children in the family, and I have a feeling our daughter will want the dog in her room when she is older! We'll see what happens with that though.

Any other suggestions on food, toys they won't destroy, how often you have them groomed, etc.? I know about the coat blowing, so I'm not too concerned about that...I vacuum daily anyway!

One last question...I know large breed dogs grow quickly...how rapidly does an Akita grow? How long do you keep them on "puppy" food?
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Tika

1255073
 
 
Barked: Sat Aug 25, '12 6:43pm PST 
Yeah, I wouldn't let an Akita on the bed to sleep with you. Not just because you would't have any space for yourself, lol, but because of the dominance issues the breed tends to have. It's best not to allow them on any furniture from what I have read. And as long as they are never used to it, they'll never know the difference and will be just as happy on a doggy bed beside yours! ^_^

I don't think I can be as helpful with your other questions but I know the other posters here have a lot of experience. I feed both my dogs Canidae All Life Stages dog food...it's one of the cheaper premium foods. I wouldn't feed a grocery store brand, personally.

My girl won't play with toys so I'm not sure there...and I groom Tika a couple times a week. When she was losing her hair like crazy, it was a couple times a day actually...but now it's barely noticeable except in the brush! I'm not sure if a couple times a week is typical for an Akita. But with my girl, she's a rescue and didn't have a home for a long time so her fur was not in the best condition when I got her. I'm STILL working on her undercoat. I'm afraid of hurting her so I'm just taking it a little bit at a time. Invest in a good slicker brush and a rake and you should be set!
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 26, '12 1:17pm PST 
I'm not sure how everyone on here got their Akita; be it adoption, or purchasing from a breeder.

If you chose your puppy from a litter, were there any long coats in the litter? I know that both parents carry the recessive gene for long coats, the mother actually has a long coat, though I wouldn't call it "wooly", and we want a "standard" coated Akita. I'm not saying the long coats aren't beautiful in their own right, but we have a Pomeranian, and I think the Akita has plenty of fur as it is. smile That's just my own personal preference though. The breeder knows our preference, so it's not even an issue.

My question is, as a puppies, can you tell the difference between a long and standard coated Akita? I've searched, and searched for pictures and I've only found a few. How soon does the coat length appear? We won't be getting our puppy until it's 8 weeks of age, but will choose it before then. I simply want to make sure that we are choosing a standard coat pup...though I'm guessing our breeder will be able to tell the difference and help us out.

Has anyone had experience choosing from a litter where the pups have different coat lenghts? Is it obvious? How can you tell the difference?
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 26, '12 1:37pm PST 
I would definately recommend the extra large sized crate with the divider. I have raised 3 akitas/akita mixes,all 3 from between the ages of 8-10 weeks.
We did not crate,although I bought one,because every last one of them did the reverse of what the crate is supposed to do. Mine all immediately used it as a bathroom then rolled in their own mess in protest. Left locked in a room with us and taken out every two hours or so,it took each one less than 2 weeks to be potty trained and find a way to wake us when they needed to go,we also allowed all 3 to sleep with us and have NEVER had an issue with dominance,they also know where their spot is on the bed and will get down from it if uncomfortable. They are not permitted on any other furniture and don't even try to get on it,even when we aren't here. Alot of the Alpha stuff you read about Akitas is old and has since been disproven. As far as the long coat/short coat issue,they all look fuzzy but the long coat is obvious from the start,it will be longer and silkier than that of the shorter coated pups.
My first was an Akita/GSD mix from an Oops litter,my second from someone who bred a family pet and advertised in our local paper,and our 3rd from a breeder. Having 17 years of research,raising and training the breed as well as a ton of help early in my research from people who had experience with raising,training,breeding,showing and owning the breed I will be happy to assist you in anyway I can. Feel free to p-mail anytime.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 26, '12 2:04pm PST 
In response to how fast do they grow. VERY VERY FAST. Kai went from maybe a foot high and 12.5 pounds when we brought him home to 24 inches and around 70 pounds at 6 months. From his growth record at the vet,for his first year he gained an average of around 12 pounds a month for at least the first 4-5 months,then finally began to slow down. He was just about 55 pounds at 5 months when I finally frightened or not made him walk down the upstairs steps by himself,he would go up,just didn't seem to like the view of down and I have a bad back,neck and shoulder problems and am not all that big myself at 5 foot and 130 pounds.

As far as the puppy food issue,we stopped feeding puppy food to ours at 8 months. Please make sure if you feed puppy food you stick to a large breed formula and grain-free is really best. As far as toys,aside from a kong,we have yet to find one that can outlast Kai,Mika really doesn't bother with toys much now but she too,managed to destroy pretty much all of them when she was young.
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Lobo

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
 
 
Barked: Mon Aug 27, '12 9:46am PST 
YES. Definitely agree to go with the extra large. We have a dog door that's supposed to be for large breed dogs, but Lobo has to bend his legs just to get through it. If I had the money, I'd buy him a new one. But it's not really important until winter anyway, because he doesn't go outside during summer unless someone else goes out, too, or he absolutely HAS to. So we just open the door for him to go out or come back in.

Tika, Akitas (dogs in general) do not have a dominance-based hierarchy like you've read. Lobo is in my bed all the time, and I have never had a problem. He's not possessive (for two days, he became possessive over food, but I quickly found out it was because my dad was kicking at Lobo's food and yelling at him, so I very quickly did exercises to "re-program" Lobo's mind so he knew that I wasn't a threat to his food source; I now have no problems) and he follows cues splendidly. I understand that there is A LOT of information out there that continuously states that Akitas are dominant-natured, but this is false.

http://www.4pawsu.com/dogpsychology.htm
This is a wonderful post about the dominance topic. I have MANY more, if anyone's interested. Just pmail me and I'll send you the links.
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Lobo

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
 
 
Barked: Mon Aug 27, '12 10:50am PST 
Forgot to add:

As for food, Lobo is fed prey-model raw. He eats raw meat, bones, and organs. My future Akita puppy will be fed the same thing.

If you're uncomfortable with that, there's a nice variety of grain-free kibble to choose from. I suggest getting the very best that you can afford. Taste of the Wild costs about as much as Science Diet, and it is 1000x better. Blue Buffalo Wilderness is also fairly inexpensive around here. It didn't sit well with Lobo, but there are others who have had great success with it. I don't personally know anyone who feeds Nutro Natural Choice, but their ingredients are good, and they're grain-free. Instinct has a relatively inexpensive premade raw choice. They also have a line of kibble called Instinct Rawboost, which adds freeze-dried raw meat in with kibble. I don't know about any other ingredients, though. My holistic vet sells it, and I remember looking at the ingredients, but I can't remember exactly what was in it. I wasn't all that impressed, but then again, it's hard for any kibble to impress me, lol.

Ultimately, it's up to your personal views, your budget, and your pup's digestive system.

Google Dog Food Analysis to get a better idea on high-quality, grain-free kibbles.
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 6:14pm PST 
Thank you for the fantastic responses!

First, in regards to the dominance thing...I've been reading a lot and have been finding a great deal of contradicting material. I am more inclined to read and believe the newer samples, ESPECIALLY knowing the bloodlines of both parents many, MANY generations back. We are really getting a pup from some fantastic parents!

I'm glad to hear there is a distinct difference in the length of the long vs the standard coats. Again, just my own preference with that.

We'll be getting the extra large kennel, especially after reading these responses. It seems pretty unanimous that if there were an even larger size, that would be better.

For food, we knew we'd go grain free, as we do for Bear, I was just curious if any one brand is better. We do feed Bear Science Diet, but perhaps once this bag is gone we should make the switch...confused Bear does really well on it though, so who knows! There are so many choices!

While I'm not anticipating letting our Akita sleep in bed with us, realistically, I'm only opposed because of the size of the dog, not the dominance. Will it happen at some point? Probably so. Hey, I'm being honest!

Thanks for the replies!
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