Showsight Presents The Akita

Akita Q& A

“Once you live with an Akita you will never again experience the depth of loyalty and love you will share with your dog.”

My house dogs would protect me with their lives. When a stranger comes to the door the Akita will stand between myself and the door. Then he watches to see my reaction. If I welcome this person he kind of backs up and allows entry, however if he senses any hesita- tion on my part, he stays put. The breed is amazing. What is the most important thing to know about living with an Akita? Their loyalty is incomprehensible. It truly upsets me when I hear of our Akita rescue groups around this country having picked up an “owner surrendered” or an abandoned Akita, or a puppy mill- er where the Akita has contact with a human maybe once a day for food and water, when all he wants is to be loved and to love back and to protect and serve. The ones that have experienced a loving relationship with a family, then to suddenly be neglected, will no doubt suffer. Is the breed experiencing any particular medical problems? I believe there are health risk that still lurk around most breeders. Good breeders do all they can with hips, elbows, patellas, eyes, car- diac, thyroid etc and sometimes these things still appear. I think the breed in general is much, much healthier than it was even 15 years ago due to some of the genetic markers that can identify issues. How do I place my puppies? I am not a huge breeder and I don’t seem to have big litters. But many of my pups are repeat puppy buy- ers, and word of mouth. I breed for myself first. What is the breed’s most endearing quality? The loyalty and unconditional love. At what age do I choose a show prospect? Day one then eight weeks of age. My favorite dog show memory? A 19 month old puppy bitch that I bred, bred her mother and father won winner’s bitch at our Akita National under a breeder judge that I respect, at last year’s National 2018. WENDY SORRELL Wendy Sorrell has bred Akitas under the “Subarashii” kennel name for 40 years. She has selectively and carefully bred very few litters but always striving for breed type, overall balance, quality and soundness. Wendy is a breeder/owner/handler, retired AKC judge and now enjoys showing in multiple venues with her Aki- tas. Wendy is always available to talk with those who want to learn about the Akita. She is also the Director of Northwest Akita Res- cue, a 501c3 rescue organized in Washington state. I live with my husband, Mark, and our four Akitas in Teni- no, Washington. I work full time and enjoy my off time at home or enjoying time with our two sons and grandchildren that live in Oregon. How is the breed with strangers who come to call? At first is the “Akita pose” and a bark. When I tell them “Okay” they are socially annoying—meaning you will get mauled with love and snuggles. I do have one male that takes his guardian job serious- ly. He will stand at guard and does not care to visit with company. What is the most important thing to know about living with an Akita? Early socialization is the key to raising a pup up to be a happy, trusting dog. The Akita is a perimeter guardian and so a good fenced area is a must. Once you live with an Akita you will

never again experience the depth of loyalty and love you will share with your dog. Is the breed experiencing any particular medical problems? Can- cer! ACL injuries have become almost commonplace these days. I feel that the preservation breeders of today have done a great job cleaning up health issues from the past. Unfortunately, the disrepu- table breeders are a huge problem in our breed, as I am sure they are in others as well. How do I place my puppies? Very carefully. Strong referrals and references are required. Most of our puppy buyers we have known for years and they are Akita-experienced. What is the breed’s most endearing quality? Undying loyalty, unconditional love and intelligence. At what age do I choose a show prospect? It is a process that starts at birth. Generally, by six weeks of age I know who I am keeping to grow out. At eight to nine weeks the litter is evaluated by myself and others that I trust from outside my breed. My favorite dog show memory? There are so many but, last year at this time I started to show my young male, Rusher. He is a pow- erhouse and a handful for me! He had picked up a couple singles earlier in the year and I was showing him locally only. We entered in an Akita supported entry and I was thrilled that Rusher won Best of Breed from the Bred By class. A major. He then went on that same day to win the NOHS Working Group as well. It was a very proud moment for me. He is a very sound, solid animal with great breed type. In very limited showing he easily finished from the BBX class. My first after 40+ years of raising and showing Akitas. As with many purebred dogs, it is sad to see fewer new folks coming into the breed willing to put the work and commitment into learning the history of the Akita here in America. Learning about structure, genetics, pedigrees, etc. You cannot learn by look- ing at photos and watching YouTube videos. With each litter I tell myself this is the last because who will make the commitment to carry on where I leave off? But, I am already planning the next steps in my program that I must see through over the next four to five years. It is what we do as purposeful preservation breeders. Thank you for asking me to share about my beloved breed, the Akita. INGRID STROM I am with Crown Royal Akitas and we are on ten acres in North Idaho. The Akitas have been my passion for 38 years and I do not have a job other than my dogs. The Akita should be accepting with strangers, but also on guard. The most important thing to know about living with them is they need firm training and are wonderful family companions if trained correctly. Is the breed experiencing any particular medical problems? There are health issues with this breed. Make sure the breeder you buy from is a member of the parent club. How do I place my puppies? My show puppies are evaluated at eight weeks. My greatest dog show memory was when Ch. Crown Royal Get Off my Cloud received his 30th All breed Best in Show, owner breeder handled by me!

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2019 • 317

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