These days, you may be able to find purebred Japanese Akitas who are in need of good homes at shelters and in rescues for a nominal fee (these fees help defer the cost of care incurred while at the shelter, rescue of foster home). Though they may not come with pedigrees, they often make for excellent pets, and a good rescue will stand by their placement of dogs.
If you want to be more certain of a dog’s pedigree and prefer a hobby breeder who guarantees the health testing of the sire and dam and will offer you a contract that protects the puppy first, browse through our breeder directory. If you want to import, we strongly suggest you read the article by AKIHO LA’s president, Steve Takamatsu.
Remember that dogs that come from rescues, shelters and hobby breeders come with certain advantages over those that come from puppy mills, pet shops and backyard breeders. Please choose responsibly.
What to look for in a breeder
Every year, the number of Japanese Akitainu in shelters and rescues grows. Although sometimes owners must give up their dog due to lifestyle change (poor health, becoming unhoused, financial problems, etc.), the increase in JAs needing to be re-homed has a great deal to do with lack of education on the part of the buyer. Breed advocates urge potential owners to do the research and to be honest with themselves about the breed. Ask yourself if this will be the right breed for your lifestyle and home for the next 12-14 years. Can you be committed to training and managing a breed that is known for same-sex intolerance, high chase drive, and being territorial? Will you be dedicated to keeping your dog safe from random people, including children, who may not know how to appropriately act around strange dogs? Are you able to provide vet and grooming care for a dog that may develop sebaceous adenitis? If the answer is yes to all the previous questions, proceed to finding a reputable preservationist breeder.
Ethical and responsible preservationist breeders in the US and Canada will always:
- Health test — We don’t just mean a visit to a vet’s office for a physical, or the tests from certain DNA companies that state a Japanese Akitainu is clear of hundreds of random illnesses that do not even affect the breed. At the very least Japanese Akitainu breeding stock should have tests on hips, eyes and Amelogenesis Imperfecta/Familial Enamel Hypoplasia. Test results should be made available to potential buyers via the OFA website or privately.
- Have an in-depth understanding of the breed history, breed standards, and community culture expectations, and be involved in showing and/or participating in performance sport with their breeding stock
- Breed to the standard.
- Be open to learning from and mentored by experienced reputable breeders
- Be knowledgeable and upfront to buyers about the lines they are breeding, as well as well-known health issues in the breed
- Be supportive of and available to their buyers for advice especially if health or behavioral issues in dogs they have bred should arise
- Inform other buyers (who may be other breeders or pet owners) if a dog in a litter they bred develops a health issue that may be hereditary
- Have a contract which states they will take back or help re-home any dogs they bred for the life of the dog in order to avoid being a burden on rescues and shelters
- Not resort to advertising on third-party selling sites but instead rely on their own social media, kennel website, club website and word of mouth
- Be a member of a breed club or local kennel club affiliated with a reputable national registry (or at the very least recommended by members in good standing)
- Be supportive of Akita rescues and known to them in a positive light