Labrador retrievers are these popular dogs with a perky personality and plenty of patience. They are great for all family members. Akitas are an imported breed from Japan that is also invading the hearts of dog lovers everywhere. So what happens when you mix the two breeds?
Labrakitas are the new breed that you get from mixing labrador retrievers and Akita Inu. This dog has the best qualities of both its parents such as companionship, strength, and hunting capabilities. They also get their retrieving prowess from their labrador parents. Labrakitas are well-rounded dogs with both the looks and personalities you desire in a hunting/retrieving companion.
That doesn’t mean they are flawless as a breed. They certainly have their downsides which we will talk about later. But in general, they are good for your home and if you’re an outdoor person, Labrakitas are the best companion you can ask for. So how do you care for them and what do you need to know about this magnificent breed? Read on to find out.
Physical Characteristics (Size and Physical look)
First making their introduction to our homes in the early 2000s, Labrakitas have proved to be a big hit with all family members. The first thing you notice about them is their solid body structure. They take that from the labrador retriever side of their ancestry.
They grow to reach anything between 24 and 27 inches in height. And they have a solid weight to match. A healthy and fit Labrakita weighs on average between 80 and 110 pounds. That’s a force to be reckoned with at your home.
Labrakitas have long legs which they take from the Akita Inu side of the family. Their appearance is more squarish thanks to the Akita genes but their muscles build belies tremendous physical strength. Their bone structure is well proportioned and gives them an upright posture. Their walk is graceful and springy and they are really fast when they break into a run.
With good care and the right diet and a healthy dose of exercise, a Labrakita can live up to 10 years in good health. Because they’re a relatively new breed, it’s still hard to give them an average lifespan in terms of years or whether there are ways to extend this lifespan.
The labrador side of the family also lives between 10 and 14 years, so this is where the Labrakita gets its long life. Keep in mind that Labrakitas are beset with many health issues which we will cover later in detail. For your dog to enjoy a healthy life and reach old age (10 years is considered 70 in dog years) they need to be disease-free. We dedicate a section below for caring for Labrakitas to help you keep them healthy.
Unlike many other dog breeds such as the golden retrievers, for example, Labrakitas take good care of themselves. They’re quite vain as cats and would spend hours grooming themselves. It’s not unusual to see the Labrakita taking a break to go through her whole fur with her tongue removing in kinks and making it look shiny and clean.
But occasionally you might need to give the dog’s hide a good brushing for good measure. There are parts the dog’s tongue can’t reach such as the lower back and neck so a brush would come in handy.
You don’t need to bathe them often. In fact, frequent bathing gives them dry skin. This has to do with the shampoo removing their natural oil from their wonderful fur. You also need to trim their toenails about once a month. Teeth need to be brushed a few times a week and ears need to be cleaned to prevent wax buildup.
As a crossbreed between the lovable labrador retriever and the more serious Akitas, Labrakitas fall in the middle between these different personalities. They take their perky nature and sociability from the labs. They are outgoing and prefer the company of adults who respect their strength and don’t play pranks on them.
Labrakitas retain their prey instincts from their Akita parents so leaving them with cats or small pets might be asking for trouble. Cats, in particular, don’t get along well with Labrakitas. And the feeling is mutual. If a cat thinks it can mess with a Labrakita the same way it can push a golden retriever around, she will learn quickly what a grave mistake that is.
In general, you need to know that the Labrakita’s size and power have a temperament to match. These are hunting dogs so they should be treated with respect.
Labrakitas are energetic animals. Both their parents are outdoorsy types who like to spend plenty of time running and chasing prey real or imaginary. This means you have a dog that needs to have plenty of exercise time to stay happy and healthy.
This is not the type of dog that is happy to stay inside and a visit once a week to the dog park will make it satisfy it. Far from it. You need to be prepared to give your Labrakita 90 minutes of exercise every single day. Their weekly mileage comes down to 15 miles on average. This covers both walking and running.
This should give you an idea about what you’re getting into. Since the do won’t exercise alone or walk itself, you need to be right there by its side every step of the way. In other words, you’ll also need to go hiking or play fetch with the dog 15 miles every week.
This is another side that shows the complexity of this breed. Labrakitas may take after their labrador parents in terms of appearance and nature, but their skillset and temperament are more Akitas than anything else.
Originally Akitas were bred for their hunting skills. They were essentially working dogs. Labrakitas still maintain this feature too. They are dogs with a purpose and mission in life. They’re not just happy fetching sticks or chasing frisbees. They like to hunt and the thrill of the hunt is what makes them happy and feel fulfilled.
What this means to you is that you need to take them out for long hikes in the woods. They’re eager to go chasing wildlife. It’s their hunting capabilities that really sets them apart from other breeds. This also means you need to be wary of leaving them around with small pets such as cats. More on that later.
We mentioned that Labrakitas can live up to 10 years depending on how healthy they are. The operative word here is health. As strong and powerful those dogs are, they do seem to suffer from many health issues that are common in the labrador side of their ancestry.
Labrakitas major health conditions which occur more often include
- Dysplasia which leads to cancer.
- Gastric torsion.
- Hip ailments.
- Elbow aching.
In addition, the Labrakita might occasionally fall ill with any of these health problems
- Congenital eye defects.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
- Sebaceous Adenitis
To make sure your Labrakita is healthy and doesn’t develop a life threatening disease you need to take it to the vet regularly for checkups. These checkups include eye examinations, skin checks, electrocardiograms, ultrasound, CT scans, MRI, X rays and many others.
As you can imagine, a big dog has a big appetite. Your Labrakita needs large amounts of food to compensate for the high octane life they lead. Their metabolism is super fast so they need to be fed regularly.
Your average Labrakita that has left its baby years behind, is ready to wolf down between 3 and 4 cups of dog food every day. That’s a lot of food, but how else would they reach these impressive heights and weights?
According to the amount of activity the dog has had that day, their food consumption might vary a little. But be ready to feed them at least 3 times a day, more if they have been hiking in the woods. Chasing prey builds an appetite for these hunting dogs. The good news is these are not finicky animals. They won’t demand top food brands and are content to fill their bellies with any nutritious food you offer them.
Are Labrakitas Protective?
That’s one of their most endearing qualities. Labrakitas will defend their human companion and put its own life at risk to save them from an attacker. They are loyal to a fault and their high speed and athletic physique come in handy when the situation arises.
This is one of the reasons many people choose this breed as guard dogs. They’re always alert, have keen senses, and will not let an intruder into the house. This protectiveness extends to outdoor situations as well.
If you go hiking with your Labrakita and find yourself facing a wild animal, you can be sure your dog will stand between you and the menacing animal which gives you an opportunity to make a quick escape. In many situations, the aggressive stance the Labrakita takes is enough to change the wild animal’s mind and back away.
How Much Does a Labrakita Cost?
The cost of owning a Labrakita needs to factor in two important facts. The first is what you need to fork out upfront when purchasing a Labrakita. The second is the cost of food, vet visits, accessories, and other sundries.
Your Labrakita’s daily food consumption won’t exceed $4 on average. As long as you don’t shop for upscale dog food brands, you should keep your monthly food budget to around $120. Vet checkups are a different matter and depend on your vet. In addition, due to their recurring health problems, the cost of treatment might be rather high. They’re not cheap dogs to own.
Best Climate for a Labrakita
Because of their love for the outdoors, Labrakitas don’t fare well in cold weather that requires them to stay home for prolonged periods of time. If it snows heavily where you are and schools are closed for weeks until the blizzard passes over, that’s not the right climate for a Labrakita.
Moderate to warm temperatures suit Labrakitas just fine. They like to shoot out of the door into the yard and spend hours chasing butterflies, squirrels, and anything that takes their fancy. That doesn’t mean these dogs don’t get hot or it’s OK to leave them in a locked car without the air conditioner on. You should always care for their comfort just as you would with any other animal with a substantially less endurance threshold.
The Attention a Labrakita Needs
They might be tough looking and they might be hunters by vocation, but Labrakitas are still dogs that have a soft heart and an immense need for love and attention. Even if you keep them as guard dogs, you still need to spend time with them to pet them and make them feel loved.
You can also take advantage of the daily exercise routines to bond with your dog and nurture their feelings. It’s one of the wonderful things about these animals. Their ability to bond with humans and show a soft side to them is truly surprising.
Is a Labrakita Right for Me?
The only one who can answer that question is you. Just know that Labrakitas are not your average cuddly dogs that get along with just about every person and animal in your household. In fact, they can be hostile to other pets as we will show later.
In addition to their temperament, the demands of owning a Labrakita are rather high. They cost a lot more than your average pet just to feed. You also have to be an outdoorsy person to keep up with their exercise needs and demanding lifestyle.
That said, they are perfect companions for people who love hunting, hiking, and enjoy the outdoors. They’re great as guard dogs, retrievers, and hunters. Their heightened senses and immense strength serve them well in such situations.
Compatibility with kids
Labrakitas are great companions in many households. They can tolerate rough play and will get along well with humans who have the stamina and energy levels to keep up with their love for activities.
However, Labrakitas lack the patience to tolerate small children. Neither their size nor temperament makes them ideal companions for children who expect a dog to be just another toy to mess with. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a Labrakita if you have small children. It just means when you bring those two together, you should be around to supervise.
Compatibility with Other Animals
Not all pets can get along well with Labrakitas and the opposite is true. Due to their hunting instincts, Labrakitas might see other small animals in the house as potential prey. They’re notorious for developing a dislike of cats, especially stuck up cats that treat everyone else in the house, including humans, as their own personal servant.
You shouldn’t leave small pets such as gerbils, hamsters, or any animal of an inferior size with a Labrakita without supervision. This is why it’s recommended you get a baby Labrakita (as opposed to an adult one) and let it grow with the other pets so that they all get along just fine.