Showsight Presents The Akita

and your Akita, regular exercise is important. • Akitas will live from 10-14 years with good care and proper nutrition. • Hypothyroid disease affects a large percentage of the breed and is easily treated by twice daily hormone replacement therapy. A simple blood test, including a T3 and T4 thyroid levels test, will determine the existence of the condition. The symptoms may include one or all of the follow- ing: skin and coat problems, sudden onset aggression, itching, lethargy and musky odor. Before treating skin conditions with any drugs, have your vet check for sarcoptic mange, sebaceous adenitis and Hypothyroid disease. Other diseases found in Akitas include Progressive Retinal Atrophy (blindness) manifested by impaired night vision, hip and elbow problems, autoimmune diseases, degenerative myelopa- thy and some blood disorders, though these are not common problems in the breed. • Akitas require a good quality meat and bone meal based food and do not thrive as well on soybean based dog foods. Akitas seven years and older should be fed one of the commercial lite foods to lessen the onset of kid- ney disease which is a problem in older Akitas. (Akita Rescue Society of America)

“WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL BREEDS DOGS FOR ENJOYMENT, WITH THE AKC STANDARD AS A GOAL RATHER THAN A PROFIT MOTIVE, THE END RESULT IS SUPERIOR PUPS.”

a pup than they do on a new washing machine! Armed with knowledge, you can avoid being taken in. Remember that “AKC registered” is not a guaran- tee of quality; it simply means that the pup is registered and that even the most poorly bred dogs have “CH bloodlines”. You will need a breeder who is avail- able to you for the many questions you will have on rearing your dog, feeding, basic obedience, housebreaking, etc. You’ll need someone who knows what makes the Akita tick. If you are inter- ested in showing/breeding, you need a breeder who will help you get started in training and entering shows. It does not cost any more to buy from a good breeder and in fact, the bargain Akita may end up costing more in problems than a show pup! Your best possible choice of a breeder is a hobby breeder. Stress is placed on the word ‘hobby’. The dedicated hobby breeder views his dogs as a hobby from which he expects no profit. When an indi- vidual breeds dogs for enjoyment, with the AKC Standard as a goal rather than a profit motive, the end result is superior pups. Such a breeder feels responsible for each little pup and stands behind every dog he has bred. You should have certain require- ments in order to assure that you are making a wise purchase. One require- ment should be that the breeder belong to a local Akita Club, if possible, the Aki- ta Club of America (ACA), an obedience club or an all-breed club. Why? Through membership in one or all, the breeder is exposed to others who are also inter- ested in Akitas, and dogs in general, and learns more about his breed, dog care,

modern breeding practices, etc. The second requirement is that the breeder be involved in showing his dog(s). At this point you may be asking, “But I only want a pet! I’m not interested in show- ing so what difference could that make to me?” Plenty! For one thing, showing dogs gives the breeder the same oppor- tunity that belonging to a club does. It gives the breeder a chance to share information and thoughts with others. Showing provides the competition that makes breeders want to produce better dogs. Breeders who do show are put- ting everything on the line; they are not depending on impressive pedigrees to carry them. They wish to show how good their dogs are in competition. Show people are not necessarily jet set- ters or even very wealthy people. On average, they are just ordinary people who want to prove that the dogs they breed are worthy. Every dog that a breeder raises may not be worthy of being shown. In every litter there will be those pups that are strictly pet qual- ity. However, a breeder who does not show his dogs has no idea how his dogs would fare in competition and deprives himself of the learning experience that showing provides. Okay, so maybe you don’t want a show dog, but don’t you want a pet that was the end result of a carefully planned litter, rather than the result of an accident or a litter bred for profit alone? Don’t you want a pet that got the same care as the potential champions in the litter? The breeder who shows is known by others in the breed, he has a reputation to maintain. He is more like- ly to be careful and honest.

HOW TO CHOOSE A REPUTABLE BREEDER

When you are looking at a cute bundle of black fur the important facts about just who is offering this Akita pup for sale may escape you. Often the buy- er takes the darling pup home only to find out later that the person who sold the pup is either unable or unwilling to help the buyer. Come-ons like “AKC registered”, “CH bloodlines”, etc. in no way assure that you are getting a quality pup or that you are dealing with a reputable breeder. Big flashy ads in national maga- zines may be impressive, but what do you really know about the advertiser? Unethical breeders thrive because the average buyer is uninformed. Some buy- ers do less research on the purchase of

262 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2017

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