Akita Shepherd
Courageous and Serious

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Akita Shepherd

The Akita Shepherd is also known as the Shepkita and it is under the latter name that the hybrid is registered on the IDCR (International Designer Canine Registry). This is a mix of a German Shepherd and an Akita and is a giant breed with a lifespan of something between 10 to 13 years. He is a more popular designer dog in the US compared to anywhere else in the world. He has a serious manner but is also quite courageous and makes a good working dog as well as a good companion.

Here is the Akita Shepherd at a Glance
Average height 24 – 28 inches
Average weight 75 – 120 pounds
Coat type Dense double coat, medium length
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Moderate
Shedding Very high
Brushing Needs daily brushing
Touchiness Not very, they are even tempered
Tolerant to Solitude? To a degree yes moderately so
Barking Not barkers, only when warning
Tolerance to Heat Moderately good
Tolerance to Cold Very good
Good Family Pet? Only if trained and socialized
Good with Children? Not especially
Good with other Dogs? Not especially
Good with other Pets? Moderately so
A roamer or Wanderer? Yes, need to make sure the yard is fenced in
A Good Apartment Dweller? Not really just because of size and exercise needs
Good Pet for new Owner? No
Trainability Moderate
Exercise Needs Mid to High
Tendency to get Fat Moderate
Major Health Concerns Bloat is a possibility
Other Health Concerns hip dysplasia, dry eye problem, possible corn allergy
Life Span 10-13 years
Average new Puppy Price $625
Average Annual Medical Expense $475 - $600
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $400 - $600

Where does the Akita Shepherd come from?

As a hybrid mix the Akita Shepherd will have a mix of both paternal and maternal breeds which can influence how he looks and his temperament. While the look are easier to spot which way he leans, temperament is harder to judge until you have him home and raise him. With this mixing the breeders wanted to blend the strength of the German Shepherd with the temperament of the Akita. To really grasp the kind of dog you are getting it helps to know a little about the parents.

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The German Shepherd

The German Shepherd originates, perhaps not surprisingly, from Germany! He was bred at first as a herding dog right at the end of the 19th century. Since then though he has become one of America's most favorite breeds. He is loyal, extremely intelligent and easy to train, agile, strong and quick. With his owners he is easy going but with others he is more aloof. He is commonly used as a working dog in roles such as narcotic detection, search and rescue, guide dog, bomb detection and more. He needs a lot of physical and mental exercise and does not do well being left alone.

The Akita

The Akita is a dog originally from Japan bred in the 17th century and used for hunting large game, fowl and for guarding royalty. The US first heard of the Akita from Helen Keller who brought one back with her from a visit to Japan. She praised the temperament of the breed but it was not until after World war II and American servicemen returned with more Akitas that they became more appreciated. Today this dog is brave, bold, loyal and has a strong personality that needs an owner able to establish themselves as pack leader. They can be stubborn and are very protective which can lead to aggression if they are not trained and socialized from a young age.

Temperament

Akita Shepherds are intelligent and brave but also have a serious nature. They can be very affectionate and loyal and are usually willing to do anything for their owner. They are even tempered and quiet but always alert. They have a strong instinct to defend their home and family and are also good as working dogs. While they tend to be obedient when well trained because of their Akita heritage they may have the potential for behavioral issues or lean towards being aggressive.

What does an Akita Shepherd look like

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He stands 24 to 28 inches tall and weighs 75 to 120 pounds. He has a head that is smaller than the Akitas but a bit bigger than the German Shepherd’s. The muzzle is narrow and short and he has strong teeth. He has a big black nose, almond shaped brown eyes and erect ears that are pointed. His body is large thick and strong with sturdy forequarters and a broad chest. His feet are large too and his tail is curled. He is double coated and common colors are black, tan, golden, brown, sable, spotted, white, speckled and brindle. It is a dense coat medium length and thick.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active should he be?

He is a giant breed and comes from two very active large dogs so it stands to reason he needs a fair amount of activity each day to stay well behaved, happy and healthy. He will enjoy tugs of war, tussling, playing Frisbee, fetch, and so on. On top of at least 20 minutes of play time a day he also needs a couple of long walks a day too or take him jogging with you. He would very much prefer having a yard where he can play but make sure it is fenced in correctly as he is known for digging and escaping. Akita Shepherds also enjoy participating in a wide range of activities and work duties such as guarding, agility, herding, police work, competitive obedience, search and rescue, sledding, retrieving, military work, hunting and tracking. You can take him to a dog park safely as long as he has been trained and socialized as in a neutral territory like a dog park he is less likely to perceive the other dog as an intruder.

Is he easy to train?

He is intelligent and if he leans more towards his German Shepherd side he would be easier to train. However sometimes they are stubborn and whoever is training him needs to really establish pack leadership and act as a strong alpha before they will cede command! He is certainly not one of the harder types of dogs to train but is also not the quickest as you may have to re-establish your dominance more than once. Stay calm, very firm, and consistent and use positive reinforcement in your training.

Living with an Akita Shepherd

Grooming needs

The Akita shepherd is a high shedding dog which means you will need to brush him daily to try to minimize the hairs left everywhere in your house and on you! Use a shedding rake or a slicker brush. Twice a year that shedding gets worse too so a good vacuum for pet hair is definitely a must. Do not be tempted to shave him in the summer months, his outer coat actually insulates him against the heat so shaving him would make him get hotter not help him cool down.

Other grooming needs include regular nail clipping, taking care not to cut too low. Ears needs checking and cleaning once a week with a damp cloth to prevent infections. In terms of bathing that should be kept to just when needed, as it can strip the oil from his coat.

Is he good with children and other pets?

He is not really a kid friendly dog naturally. If he is socialized, trained very well and he grows up with children as part of the family then he is fine with them as long as the children have also been taught not to bug him, sit on him, take his food and so on. His size means it is not a good idea to leave him with small children. If he is not trained or socialized then no it is not a good idea to home him with children or any other animals.

He has a tendency to be aggressive to other pets and other dogs in what he sees as his territory. Again if socialized and raised in a house with pets other than dogs he may tolerate them.

General

He can live in most climates, from hot to cold and can even be an outdoor dog though he should be brought inside in extreme temperatures and at night. He will need to be fed 4 to 5 cups of good quality dry food each day divided into two meals. Since he may be prone to bloat the quality of the food and making sure he does not gulp down large portions of it is very important. He is not a barker unless he is alerting you about something which makes them good at being a watch dog.

Health Concerns

The main health concern that is serious that they may be prone to because of their ancestors is bloat. Other than that possible issues may include Hip Dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and dry eyes from not always completely closing their eyes when they are sleeping. There is some suggestion too that some may be allergic to corn.

Costs involved in owning an Akita Shepherd

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Puppies cost around $625 though that may change depending on where you live, availability and whether they have become more popular at the time of purchase. Try to buy responsibly and ask for health clearances on both the parents. You will need to pay for blood work, neutering, micro chipping, bedding, bowls, collar, leash and a create at this time too which will total about $500. How much he costs you each year depends on whether you have to put him in kennels when you go on holiday, the kind of toys and treats you get, whether you use a professional dog groomer and so on. For recurring basics like saving for medical emergencies, food, toys, treats, licensing, training and other miscellaneous things this sum will be between $800 - $1200.

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