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Akita Breeding

Breeding Akitas will differ than any other breed, mainly because of the environment and the space that will be needed.  If you only have one dam or one stud dog, this will not apply. However, if you plan on having several Akitas you will need enough space for large kennels to separate them.  We are assuming that you already know that 2 of the same gender will not tolerate each other….And a male and female may get along, but sometimes only if raised together since birth.

Akita breedingThere is a lot to take in regarding the standard and it is suggested that one take the time to think about and plan what you wish to focus on…And what your goals will be.
We suggest that before starting, you participate in AKC shows, at any level that you feel comfortable… From spectator to handler.  If you want to start at a level before this, one can attend matches.  They are very similar to shows other than the fact that the results are not recorded….It is a form of practice for those who are thinking about entering the show world.

Once you feel that you are very ready, it will then all begin with a female Akita. In order to realize your goals of producing high quality Akita puppies, you must have more tan just a female dog. She must be sound, healthy, well-bred and show quality. Do not be tempted by the very first that you encounter, it is prudent to take your time and make the right decision that meets your goals then to rush ahead.   The only female that you will want will have a dependable pedigree (genotype) and you know who to breed her to.

If you already own a female, do take time to consider if she truly is the one that should be bred.  If she has proven herself in the show ring and you are reasonably certain about her genetic probabilities, then and only then are you are ready to decide up on a mating which would be promising for her and a step in the right direction for your program.  

If the dam’s pedigree is in demand and you have bred her wisely, you should have developed a list of prospective show homes. If you practice sound rearing techniques and are acquainted with callers, then you should have no problem selling your pups to wonderful families who will love them as much as you do. 

It will be important to turn away prospective owners perhaps just as much as offering them a pup… You should interview them as much as they will be asking you questions. The sale should only go through if you feel very comfortable with where the pup will be going.

The stud dog owner is also confronted with decisions of commitment, knowing when to say “no”.

To be practical, breeding an average dam with an average pedigree to a stud dog is not a method to produce high quality puppies…In worst cases scenarios, the puppies would have genetic defects.

Understanding Pedigrees

Basically, a pedigree simply tells us who a dog’s ancestors are.

There is basic information that ever paper must have. It reads from left to right.  You will see the name of the dog who’s pedigree it is. We will use the name of “Ice”.

There will be 2 names in the far left column or the next column to the right. The sire (Ice’s father) will be above and the dam (Ice’s mother) will be below.  The male is almost always above the female parent.  Ice’s father’s name is “Blaze” and his mother’s name is “Bella”.

Now, in the next column, you will see 4 names. The 2 above the center line are the paternal grandparents of Ice (Blaze’s parents).  The 2 names below the center lines are the maternal grandparents (Bella’s parents). Blaze’s parents are “Dark” and “Dutchess”, Bella’s parents are “Moe” and “Molly”.

You will often find that the names you see confuse you at first.  The names you see on this document are the registered names which can be completely different than the common name that the Akita is called. For example, an Akita named “Smoke” may have the registered name of “Hot Blazin’ Texas Smoke”.

In the 3rd column, you will see 8 names, as it will show you which 2 dogs produced “Dark”, “Dutchess”, “Moe” and “Molly”.

This goes on for 5 generations. That is standard. Therefore, you will see the great-great-great grandparents and all those that were produced to reach the dog you currently have.

breeding an AkitaYou may, in many cases, want to take things further, requesting the documents of “Molly” and “More”…being able to see 10 generations back on each side.

You will have a lot of information on the charts to help you with your program.  You will see hip health information. If you do not see that info, it is a red flag.  You will see any championships won in show.

Note: If you see the dog’s name (Ice) on both the top and bottom, the dog was inbred.  This term refers to when there is a pairing of dogs that are closely related… mother to son, father to daughter.   Paring uncle to niece or another removed relation is considered to be standard practice and is called Linebreeding.  In a small gene pool, such as is with the Akita, it is expected.  The last type of breeding is Outcrossing, which is the pairing of completely unrelated dogs, but it is almost impossible to have an Akita with a pedigree of only Outcrossing.

Be sure that the document you are looking at is official, it will have gold filigree borders.  Do keep in mind that breeders can lie or may now know that a dog of theirs was actually the result of a breeding that they did not know about.

Obtaining pedigrees beforehand important, but since they can be inaccurate and do not tell you the whole story, your goal should be to establishing a winning, healthy, dominant line which will be in demand…So buy from an established, winning, healthy, dominant line.

Types of Pairings

The mating of closely related dogs will reduce the variances in the gene pool.  This brings forth both good and bad characteristics, in roughly the same ratio as they existed in the parents.  It is wise to not only build a strong gene pool by linebreeding, but with the goal of cleaning the genes by deliberately bringing forth hidden characteristics so that they can be identified and eliminated.

The phenotype is that which is visible to you. What you see may not be a true indication his genotype, the invisible characteristics that he is likely to pass on as phenotype in his offspring.  Tight line breeding is used to strengthen genotype.

One interesting from of breeding and sometimes controversial is close linebreeding or inbreeding with parent to an outstanding offspring.  The results are then compared, empowering someone to be able to create a type of genetic blueprint for that dog. If the outcome is outstanding, the progeny may be back-crossed to each other, thus setting the desired features and moving the faults even further ingot the background.

Another method of establishing a consistent line is the pairing of a 2 outstanding half-sisters to 1 remarkable sire.  
One must remember that any type of breeding is successful only when based on remarkable dogs that are themselves free of serious genetic flaws. 

You will only want to be breeding Akitas who have been cleared for certain hereditary health disease. This includes an CERF certification which clears the dog for eye issues. OFA stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and they clear a dog for hip dysplasia. It should be noted that OFA testing is done at the 2 year mark and even if the dog is found to have no issues, they can develop later on.

What is a Line?

A line has been deliberately developed according to a specific pattern and has resulted in a gene pool with recognizable consistency in phenotype and genotype.   A person may have experience for 2 decades and not have 1 certain “line” if they pair using one type and then switch and cross dogs from various kennels.  There is no such thing as a particular line of Akita that have zero genetic problems.  They are present in all lines, to one degree or another. Anyone advertising such a thing is misrepresenting themselves.

We highly suggest that if you are not already familiar with the history and origin of this dog, that you read as much as you can so that you understand the specifics of how the 2 variations occurred, the limited gene pool and other factors that are going to weigh in deeply for any future breeding plans.

The Longcoat Gene

This gene is present in every single Akita dog.   You may come across those who will argue this or claim to have a dam or sire that has never thrown one…However, some may not throw a long coat for many breedings, but no Akita EVER has been proven clear of this gene.

Since a kennel will always have some litters with longs, one should realize that there are a lot of people who prefer this variety, even though excessive long coats are considered a fault (although not disqualified) in terms of conformation and show.  They are therefore, sought after as pets.

Important Notes & Tips

•    Mating should NEVER be done in hot weather.
•    Mating should NEVER be done after the male has just eaten.
•    Never muzzle the male
•    It can help to feed the female raspberry tea leaves (dried and placed on her regular food) within a week or 2 after the mating.

Knowing When the Dam is Ready

Female Akitas never ovulate on the same day after she enters heat, for example it may be the 4th day one time and on the next cycle, it may the 10th.  The earliest that a female can ovulate is the 3rd day.  Some may have what is known as a split heat, in which it begins…pauses…and then continues.

Smears (vaginal cytology) can be done to determine ovulation, but is not recommended.  A blood test can be done which measures progesterone levels.

Whichever sort of test you opt for, it is essential to do several in the beginning of the estrous cycle, to create a baseline from which a more accurate estimate of ovulation can be made.

Once the day is predicted, the goal will be to allow the chosen dogs to mate 3 to 4 times over a 4 to 6 day span.  If either shows obvious disinterest, it is time to stop.

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