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The x-rays show two dogs, one of which has healthy hips (in red). The other is severely dysplastic (in purple). Ethical breeders do OFA testing of hips to avoid this outcome. It’s why we encourage anyone thinking about getting a puppy from a breeder to be SURE a puppy’s parents have OFA or PennHIP tests for their hips. OFA testing is expensive for breeders, but it is critically necessary to avoid hip dysplasia. The dog on the left has OFA Excellent hips; she is an akita from a reputable breeder whose parents and grandparents had health tests. The dog on the right is a German shepherd from a backyard breeder.
The hip is what is called a “ball and socket” joint. The head of the femur is a round ball that can fit into the socket in the pelvis. You want that socket to fit as tightly as possible. To understand why, make a fist and cover it with your hand, holding it loosely. Twist your fist. It will only be able to move a certain amount, and it will only move in the socket. It won’t move up and down or in and out. Now do the same thing, but only cover your fist with your fingertips. See how much more you can move your fist around? That movement is bad, because it puts additional, uneven wear and tear on the joint. It creates a lack of stability. This is the joint assembly a dog is going to walk on for its entire life - hips like the ones on the right will wear out by age 5, necessitating costly surgery to help limit the dog’s pain. It is a painful disease that is difficult to treat.
Please, if you are choosing a puppy from a breeder, get your puppies from OFA tested parents and reputable breeders. It will save you so much heartache down the road.
- Thanks to ACA Member Madison Schaeffer for this explanation.
- Thanks to ACA Member Connie Gaddy for the "excellent" hip xray image
- Thanks to ACA Member Elizabeth Fulghum for the "severe dysplasia" hip xray image
Akitas are a "double coated" breed, much like Siberian Huskies, Malamutes and Samoyeds. These dogs have a top coat called guard hair, and a soft, dense undercoat. The under coat is nature's insulation, that cools and warms the akita. About twice a year, Akitas shed or "blow" their coats. The amount of hair they let go can be surprising. Regular brushing or blowing out with a forced air dog dryer (outside, of course) helps keep the dog hair dust bunnies down, but for a few weeks each "blow" there is a considerable amount of coat shed.
Anita Palmer shared this photo of the result of a good brushing!
Chrissy Delgado shared this photo of one of her Akitas next to fur she brushed out!
The reputable breeder of Champion show dogs has invested a great deal of time, money and energy into producing puppies that he or she has worked to ensure will be healthy examples of the breed. They can't keep every puppy they cause to be born, so some are available as pets to people like you. The differences between the puppy from a reputable breeder and back yard breeder (BYB) puppy (such as you find on Craigslist or in some Facebook groups) are:
- Reputably bred puppies come from parents who have been health tested - minimum OFA, patella, CERF. BYB puppies rarely are.
- Reputable breeders are conscientious about breeding good genetic lines. They have researched pedigrees to reduce the risk of genetic illnesses like hip displaysia, entropion, or temperament issues like rage syndrome. BYB breeders don't care - they just want to sell puppies.
- Reputable breeders show their dogs in AKC events to various levels of Championship - which means the dogs have been judged worthy of breeding by a minimum of three qualified AKC judges. BYB breeders do not show their dogs, so they do not compete against other dogs by any ethical outside entity to determine their worthiness to reproduce.
- Reputable breeders are members of clubs like ACA, and agree to adhere to ethical breeding practices. Back yard breeders do not.
- Reputable breeders will mentor, stay in contact and follow up with puppy buyers for the lifetime of the dog. Back yard breeders do not.
- Reputable breeders will offer and honor health guarantees on the puppies they place. Back yard breeders do not.
- If you can't keep the dog for any reason at any time during its lifetime, the Reputable Breeder will take the dog back. The BYB will not.
- Reputably bred dogs do not end up in rescue. BYB dogs do.
- Back yard breeders are only after the money, are not interested in the health of either the parents or the puppies.
According to the Akita Breed standard:
- The male Akita should measure between 25-27" at the withers and typically weighs between 100-115 pounds.
- The female Akita should measure between 24-26" at the withers and typically weighs between 75-90 pounds.
Like people, some dogs are taller and some are shorter, weigh more or less. This is a guideline given by the Akita Standard. You can read the full Standard here:
A Title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honour the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in the record and in the memory for about as long as anything in this world can remain. Few humans will do as well or better in that regard. And though the dog himself doesn't know or care that his achievements have been noted, a Title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count.
A Title says your dog was intelligent, and adaptable, and good-natured. It says that your dog loved you enough to do the things that please you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed. And a Title says that you loved your dog, that you loved to spend time with him because he was a good dog, and that you believed in him enough to give him yet another chance when he failed, and that in the end your faith was justified.
A Title proves that your dog inspired you to have the special relationship enjoyed by so few; that in a world of disposable creatures, this dog with a Title was greatly loved, and loved greatly in return.And when that dear short life is over, the Title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend, volumes of praise in one small set of initials before or after the name.
A Title is nothing less than love and respect, given and received permanently.