1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. This powerful companion is known for his loyalty to family. How is the breed with strangers who come to call? 3. What is the most important thing to know about living with an Akita? 4. Is the breed experiencing any particular medical problems? 5. How do you place your puppies? 6. What is the breed’s most endearing quality? 7. At what age do you choose a show prospect? 8. What is your favorite dog show memory? 9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. REBECCA KESTLE
with Akitas and the one thing they may do is intervene in rough housing and can sometimes discern if someone is not a good apple. What is the most important thing to know about living with an Akita? Akitas are not meant to run free as they will run after and try to catch animals they are not acclimated to. They are pretty tough dogs that need a leader. I think dogs can be more assertive especially when they are going through puberty and both sexes feed off owner’s energy just like all animals. So if an owner gets nervous about something an Akita is going to pick up on it and may not be agreeable to that situation if not trained properly. I don’t think Akitas are one person dogs but typically love everyone. The breed has always had problems with hip dysplasia, hypothy- roidism and eye diseases including microphthalmia, VKH and reti- nal dysplasia which is not a horrible disease. Akitas can also show sebaceous adenitis and other auto immune diseases of the skin. I think our breed also has a good amount of cruciate ruptures. Before breeding we recommend that the parents be OFA certified Hips and elbows, eye exam and thyroid testing. I like to do preliminary hip x-rays and a Michigan State University thyroid check before even considering breeding or spending a lot on showing. How do I place my puppies? We are probably not breeding any- more but used to place puppies by word of mouth and referral. The Akitas most endearing quality is that they are very loyal. At what age do I choose a show prospect? I choose at eight weeks. My favorite dog show memory? Being very late to a dog show after having gone to the wrong local show site to only having time to jump out of the car and run in the ring to win breed and later a group placement. Another was meeting my husband, Stuart King- horn, at the 2000 National Akita specialty. He was visiting from Scotland. I also love all the Akita and dog show friends I have. I’d also like to share that they are not for everyone. People who love the breed just can’t do without one. I hope to always have one. PRISCILLA B. MCCUNE I live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I worked with my husband until his death eight years ago. He was a small animal practitioner and I have a degree in Animal Science and genetics and was hired by a company that had me calling on veterinarians. So it kind of fell in my lap to help in in his business as a semi tech/vet assistant/girl Friday. I was too young to retire and still needed an income and one of his best friends offered me a position with his veterinary organi- zation. I have been working as a practice manager for the Noah’s hospitals for the past 7 1/2 years and am still working. I truly enjoy my work. How is the breed with strangers who come to call? Over the past 46 years that I have had Akitas most of them are fairly predictable.
Rebecca Kestle, DVM grew up in Georgia with a love for all ani- mals, especially dogs and horses. She graduated from the Univer- sity of Georgia Veterinary School in 1985. As an Akita breeder, she had a keen interest in canine repro- duction and owns Cliftwood Ani- mal Hospital which freezes canine semen with Zoetis since 1992. Rebecca is an AKC judge and has judged Akitas around the world. Her first regular assignment was
the 2010 Akita national best of breed. Rebecca and her husband, Stuart Kinghorn, live on a farm in Canton, Georgia. Rebecca is on the Judges Education Committee and a lifetime member of The Atlanta Kennel Club. I live in Canton, Georgia on a small hobby farm and own Clift- wood Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Besides loving all ani- mals, I am totally horse crazy. Besides having five Akitas, two cats, 20 chickens, three ducks and a bunny, we have four horses that we love. My hobby is low level eventing which is riding dressage, cross country and stadium jumping. When not working at Cliftwood doing primarily reproductive canine medicine, I am riding horses. As a member of the Judges Education Committee I also spend time working on our illustrated standard with a wonderful committee. How is the breed with strangers? Akitas are good watch dogs and very gamey. Mine will bark for attention and love just about anyone. Having owned them for almost 40 years, I think the tem- perament has gotten better but they are a tough dog. Mine enjoy strangers but let them know they are there. I raised two children
“Akitas are not meant to run free as they will run after and try to catch animals they are not acclimated to. THEY ARE PRETTY TOUGH DOGS THAT NEED A LEADER.”
316 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2019
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