If you’re thinking about breeding your Akita you likely have some questions about their reproduction cycles. Or maybe you’ve been trying to breed your Akita with little to no success and are wondering what you can do to help them get pregnant.
Akitas generally can have up to three successful, straightforward pregnancies between the ages of two and seven. And there are some important things you should know about their reproductive cycles and how to ensure your Akita is ready to be bred and has a safe pregnancy and produces healthy pups.
The reproduction and pregnancy process in Akitas is fascinating. But it’s important to keep your Akita healthy and to become familiar with the breeding process and type of litters they have before you start your breeding journey with your Akita.
When And How Long Can Akitas Reproduce?
Like most dogs, Akitas should be full-grown and fully ready to reproduce (at least two years old) when they are bred for the first time. And the age of seven is the recommended upper limit for breeding your Akita.
There should be at least one year between successful mating sessions, and no Akita should have more than three litters of puppies in her lifetime.
How Long Does The “Heat” Last For Akitas Reproduction?
Female Akitas go into “heat” approximately once every six months. This “heat” period lasts about three weeks or so. Their gestation (pregnancy) period lasts an average of 58 – 63 days.
Can Breeding Too Often Affect How Long An Akita Can Reproduce For?
Most Akitas can only successfully carry three litters of puppies in their lifetime. Ideally at — or after — age two, they will have their first litter, then two more, spaced every 18 months to two years until they are seven years old.
If you try to breed Akitas more often or before or after these recommended ages, they may run into some serious health issues during their gestation period and birth.
What Are Some Other Things To Keep In Mind For Akita Reproduction?
Akitas tend to have average to large litter sizes. In Akitas, the litter size can range from three puppies up to a whopping 12 puppies per litter, with an average of seven to eight puppies per litter.
How Can Age Affect An Akita’s Reproduction And Pregnancy?
As mentioned before, it can be extremely dangerous for your Akita to get pregnant before the age of two and after the age of seven. If your Akita is bred outside of this time period there can be issues with the pregnancy, loss of puppies, as well as birthing complications which can lead to organ failure as well as the death of the Mom Akita.
As your Akita ages, they run the risk of developing health problems common in Akitas — most commonly hip dysplasia — but also certain immune disorders or hypothyroidism that can complicate pregnancy leading to loss of the pregnancy or extreme pain for the pregnant Akita.
Ways To Extend The Period Of Time A Female Akita Can Reproduce
If you’re considering breeding your Akita outside of the parameters set out by most breeding experts (between ages two and seven) you should only continue if you’ve seen your veterinarian for an assessment. Your veterinarian can help you decide if your Akita is fit to carry a litter at their age, even if they are a little bit older than generally recommended.
If they don’t have any signs of major health issues and have been bred once or twice before with no major issues during gestation or delivery you will likely get the go-ahead.
Does The Amount Of Litters Affect The Length Of Reproduction In Akitas?
As mentioned before, it’s not recommended that Akitas have more than three litters of puppies during their lifetime. If this number is exceeded serious health issues can occur and future pregnancies can be dangerous.
However, if your Akita is between the recommended ages of breeding and has had only one or two other litters spaced approximately 18 months to two years apart, they should be able to reproduce during the next “heat” they enter into (approximately every six months).
What Should You Do If Your Akita Gets Pregnant?
If your Akita gets pregnant there are a few key steps you need to complete:
See Your Veterinarian.
If you purposely bred your Akita you should have a good idea of when the pregnancy occurred and therefore how far along your Akita is. But if your Akita fell pregnant without your knowledge you will need your veterinarian to date the pregnancy.
Watch For Signs Of Pregnancy.
Your Akita will generally show no signs of pregnancy until at least five to six weeks. Akitas generally do not carry their pregnancies in their loin area like most other dog breeds. Instead, their pregnancy is basically hidden under their ribs for the first while, then drops down into their bellies when they get closer to giving birth.
Either way, it’s a good idea for the veterinarian to see your dog to make sure the pregnancy is progressing nicely and that your Akita doesn’t have any health issues. Your vet will also want to monitor her pregnancy as it progresses or give you detailed instructions for what to watch for.
A Clean Environment.
Some Akitas can be prone to infections and immunity issues and this can be especially dangerous during pregnancy. While you should always make sure your Akita has a comfortable, clean sleeping area, this is especially important during pregnancy.
After seven weeks of pregnancy, it is extremely important to introduce your Akita to their whelping place. A box of at least 4 feet, 6 inches by 3 feet should be prepared, and this box should be even larger if your Akita is larger in size. This will allow plenty of room for your Akita to lay on her side — and for their puppies to lay and roam slightly once they are born.
You’ll want to set this up early to give your Akita a chance to check out the box and get comfortable in it so it’s a natural place for her to give birth. If your Akita seems at all unhappy with the box, move or alter it until she takes to it. Her comfort during this time is of high importance.
Give Them Lots Of Water And Healthy Food.
Your Akita will likely be extra thirsty and hungry during their pregnancy. While their water needs may increase as soon as they get pregnant their extra food needs shouldn’t come in until the second half of pregnancy — unless your Akita is underweight.
Always ensure you keep fresh, clean drinking water nearby for them and feed them regular meals of healthy food. Check with your veterinarian for proper food recommendations and amounts during pregnancy.
What Should You Do If Your Akita Doesn’t Get Pregnant?
If you’ve tried to get your Akita pregnant without any success here are a few things to consider:
Is Your Akita In Heat?
When your Akita goes into heat, she will likely display a variety of symptoms such as:
- swelling in the vulva area
- bloody discharge
- excessive licking of this area
- mounting behaviour
- change of tail position
- agitated or aggressive behaviour
- more frequent urination than usual
This heat period lasts about three weeks and should give you ample time to breed your Akita during this time. If you would like to be extra specific on the timing, you can ask your veterinarian for an ovulation detector to determine the exact time of ovulation and plan to breed two days after that.
Is The Semen Your Akita Is Receiving Good Quality?
Perhaps it’s not your Akita who is unable to get pregnant, it could be an issue with her mate. If you’ve chosen to breed with a dog who is too old or has health problems their semen could not be strong enough to impregnate your Akita. Find another reputable source for semen or have the male dog tested.
Is Your Akita Healthy?
If you’re trying to breed an older Akita it’s possible they could have trouble getting pregnant as fertility does decrease as your Akita ages. And, of course, as with humans, some Akitas will have small to large health issues which could be preventing pregnancy, no matter their age. It’s best to see a veterinarian for a full check-up for insight into why your Akita isn’t able to get pregnant.