The Akita is a large dog breed that originates from the northern regions of Japan. It has an intimidating presence and was originally used as a guard dog by royalty in Japan. The Akita were also used to track and hunt deer, black bear, and wild boar. They have a large curled tail, a broad head with a deep muzzle, erect ears and small eyes. Akitas are known for being loyal and fearless companions of their families. In addition, they are also very respectful and affectionate when socialized and properly trained.
Breeding Akitas can be quite challenging since this breed is highly susceptible to several health conditions including autoimmune diseases, breed specific conditions, non-immune specific conditions, among others. It is therefore very important that the breeding should be done very carefully if you want to get healthy offspring.
This article will take a closer look at everything you need to know about breeding a new Akita. It shall highlight the best age to breed them, how to prepare your Akita for breeding, and how to handle the puppies when you finally get them, among other topics, to make the ultimate guide to breeding your Akita.
The Best Age to Breed a New Akita
The Akita, like all other dog breeds, should breed once they reach full sexual maturity. The best time to breed the Akita is when they are 18 months. The male Akita can be bred earlier, when he is about 12 to 14 months of age. This is because generally, male dogs achieve sexual maturity earlier than their female counterparts.
The female Akita, however, has to be bred later than her male counterpart. You have to wait until she has at least completed her first heat cycle. Most responsible breeders usually wait until the female Akita is at least 18 months old before they start breeding her.
As a breeder, you should wait until both the dam and the stud are completely ready to breed and can fully cope with the pregnancy that comes afterwards. This is to ensure that you get healthy and quality offspring.
Why is This Age the Best?
The best age for studs to breed is when they are 18 months. At this age, they have already achieved sexual maturity. In addition, they are also fully developed with high sperm quality, making them very likely to sire a healthy litter with a healthy number.
The best age for Akita dams to start breeding is when they are 24 months of age. At two years, the female Akita is at the prime of her fertility. The heat cycles are regular and the chances of having a big and successful litter are very high.
Why Breeding Too Young is Harmful
The male Akita is usually ready to breed even when they are yet to reach 1 year. However, breeding them this early is not advised. This is because at this age, they are still immature. Before 1 year, the male Akita is still not fully developed. Generally, the sperm count of dogs tends to be low at the beginning of the sexual maturity of the dog.
The dams usually mate later than their male counterparts due to their hormonal cycles. Although they reach sexual maturity when they are 1 year old, it is not advisable to let them mate until they are at least 18 months of age. This is because they are yet to reach their prime time of high fertility. When a female Akita mates while she is too young, she will have a lower overall puppy count.
Why Breeding Too Old is Harmful
The male Akita, similar to other dog breeds is able to mate every day of his life once he has achieved sexual maturity. However, this is not advisable since as the male dog continues to age, he starts losing his physical abilities.
Breeding your dog at an old age is very detrimental as the dog is losing its viability. The quality of its sperm reduces since the motility and vitality of the sperm reduces with age. This results in a low sperm count once your male Akita is past his prime. Your dog will end up producing a litter that is genetically weaker than the litter produced by a younger Akita.
Similar to the male Akita, the ability of the female Akita to mate deteriorates with age. Although they do not go through menopause, they lose their fertility as they age. Once they reach five years of age, the fertility of the females sharply declines. This because at this age, their bodies are unable to handle the physical demands that come with pregnancy.
Furthermore, as your bitch ages, she will begin experiencing abnormal heat cycles as a result of a decline in the regularity of the estrus cycle from two times every year to just once. Also, as she gets older, the chances of your Akita getting premature labor or giving birth to absorbed or stillborn increases. When you breed your bitch past her prime, her health is compromised, making her more susceptible to complications such as uterine inertia among other problems.
Tips on How to Prepare Your Akita When it Comes Time
Before you get your Akita to breed, it is important to ensure that it is in an environment where it is comfortable. You can make arrangements so that your female Akita arrives at the mating location several days before the actual mating.
The Akita tend to be aggressive towards other dogs. It is therefore important to get both dogs together for them to get friendly with each other. In case the dogs do not accept each other, the dogs should be separated and reintroduced to each other in 24 hours. This will improve the chances of the male and female Akita accepting each other, thus making the mating process easier.
Understanding the Heat Cycle of Your Akita
Although a female Akita reaches sexual maturity at about 8 months, it is not advisable for her to mate after her first heat cycle. She should instead mate at about 18 months of age when she is highly fertile. A female Akita usually goes into heat once every six months. The heat cycle occurs in several stages, with each sign having its own distinguishing signs.
The first sign of the heat cycle of your Akita is vaginal bleeding, signifying that your dog has entered her heat cycle. This is then followed by swelling of the vulva. This lasts for about two to three weeks. This makes her more attractive to the male Akita. However, she will not be inclined to mate until a week to 10 days later. At this stage of their heat cycle, females may be slightly aggressive.
The bleeding then subsides and the females start showing increased interest in mating. They become more receptive when a male partner is introduced. This usually happens between the 11th and 13th days of the cycle. She will then start flagging her tail and getting closer to the male partner, indicating that she is ready for mating.
If you intend on breeding your Akita during the Summer, you should plan the breeding to take place during the cooler times of the day, preferably early morning or evening. It is advised that you avoid feeding the dog for at least four or more hours before the breeding takes place.
The place where the mating is to take place should be quiet, small and confined, to prevent injury of the dogs, especially the male, during mating. You should also ensure that children are not around the breeding pair, to avoid the risk of injury to curious children, since the male Akita is often not considerate to distractions when approaching a female for mating.
The dogs should then be left to get acquainted with each other by giving them time to play with each other. This will increase the chances of the dogs to accept each other, making the whole mating process a whole lot easier. Once the dogs mate, they should not be allowed to breed again on the same day. This allows the male to rebuild his sperm count. The mating should then be repeated at least one more time, about 24 to 48 hours after the first mating to increase the chances of conception.
How Many Puppies Do Akitas Usually Have?
The number of puppies that an Akita female has in a litter usually varies depending on the individual dog. The average number is between 7 or 8 puppies in a litter. However, there are Akita females with litter sizes ranging from 3 to 12.
How Long are Akitas Pregnant for?
The Akita has a gestation period of between 58 and 63 days. However, following the gestation chart of the Akita is a challenging task. This is because although most dog breeds whelp on the 63rd day, this dog breed does not follow the rule book. Some of them may whelp as early as on the 56th day. When giving birth, they tend to take long breaks between puppies. The lengths of these periods of rest varies, ranging between 2 to 6 hours.
Handling Akita Puppies
The Akita should not be vaccinated or given any form of medication while the puppies develop in her uterus without the consent of your veterinarian. In case your Akita has not shed naturally around her breasts, you should trim any excess fur around these areas before the puppies are born.
The place for whelping should then be selected wisely, preferably a secluded area such as a corner in a rarely used room or in a spare room. If you have children, you should caution them against bringing their friends close to the puppies since the mother might be over protective.
The whelping spot should be spacious enough to accommodate the Akita and her litter. It should be large enough such that the puppies are not in the way of their mother to avoid them being pressed against the wall or being rolled on by their mother. It should have guardrails to prevent the puppies from getting out and should be smooth to avoid injuring the puppies.
When feeding the puppies, you should do so with sterilized baby bottles. The baby bottles should have an opening large enough to allow milk to drip slowly. As you feed the puppy, you should hold it on its stomach in your lap.