If you deem yourself a German Shepherd fan or you’ve heard all about the intelligence of the Akita Inu, then this mix breed will certainly intrigue you. The Akita German Shepherd is loyal, stoic, and as impressive as its parent breeds.
Most designer dogs usually have a cute nickname. In the case of the Akita German Shepherd, they are affectionately referred to as the Sheptika. Sheptikas inherit the best traits of both their parents. While there is not much known about them, there is certainly no shortage of reasons why they make for excellent pets.
If a Sheptika has caught your attention and you’re looking to find out everything you can about this designer breed, then look no further. This guide will cover all things Akita German Shepherd for anyone looking to add one of these fur babies to their family.
- 1 13 Things to Know about the Akita German Shepherd Mix
- 2 7. Temperament and Behaviour
- 3 8. Grooming
- 4 Pros of Owning an Akita German Shepherd
- 5 Cons of Owning an Akita German Shepherd
- 6 Male and Female Akita German Shepherds
- 7 Final Thoughts on Akita German Shepherds
13 Things to Know about the Akita German Shepherd Mix
1. The History of the Sheptika
If you’ve never heard of this breed, then you’re probably not alone. These dogs are rare since there are very few legitimate breeders out there. And they’re not your typical hybrid either. In fact, Sheptika’s are not even recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
This mix-breed originated in the 1800s in Germany, and once it became clear how intelligent they were, they were specifically bred specifically for sheep herding. During WWI and WWII, the Germans even employed the Sheptika as a courier dog in the military.
In later years during the 20th century, the breed’s German Shepherd parent gained quick popularity in North America as not only a beloved pet but also as a working guard dog. In 1908 The American Kennel Club recognized the German Shepherd, and to this day, it’s a popular pooch in the USA and in Europe, particularly in its native country, Germany.
This mix-breed’s other parent, the Akita Inu, is an ancient breed from Japan, (specifically from the mountainous Odate region). Considered spiritual symbols for happiness, health, and protection, Sheptikas were declared a Japanese national treasure in the mid-1900s. Akita Inu dogs were initially bred to hunt medium to large animals like boars, game, and small bears.
The famous American Hellen Keller brought the first Akita to North America in the mid 20th century after falling in love with the breed. From here on, the population grew steadily in the States and was later recognized by the AKC in 1972.
It’s clear to see that the Sheptika comes from two rather special parent breeds, both with longstanding histories. And the result is a loyal, and dedicated Akita German Shepherd.
It was around the 1950s that breeders started creating Akita Shepherds, sometime after Akitas were brought to the United States from Japan. However, they may have existed naturally throughout the years.
The goal was to combine the protective, stoic nature of the Akita with the German Shepherd’s loyalty. Sadly the popularity didn’t quite catch on and the breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
These high-strung hounds are extremely athletic and need plenty of exercise in order to burn off some of their boundless energy. So whether they do this by playing fetch or chewing on your furniture, is up to you.
However, if you can give your Sheptika a job to do, they will need substantially less dedicated exercise time which may be a big help to you, time and energy-wise. In terms of work, they are most often trained to herd animals, or otherwise, they are also excellent at patrolling and guarding. Either of these jobs is a great way to put these pets to work if you can.
3. Can These Dogs Live in an Apartment?
While Sheptika’s can technically live in an apartment, having a big backyard is ideal for these active canines to run around and survey. Otherwise, if they spend most of their day indoors then they will need at least one hour of rigorous exercise to tire them out (preferably in a cool environment due to their thick coats).
However, if you lead an active lifestyle and think that your Akita German Shepherd can slot into it nicely, then it shouldn’t be a problem if they are indoor dogs for the rest of the time. Just be sure that you have the time and energy that these dogs require in order to be balanced and happy.
Now that we’ve established the intense physical needs of these hounds, it’s important to note that in addition to tiring them out physically, they need plenty of mental stimulation too.
When it comes to these pooches, training and proper socialization are non-negotiables. This can be in the form of agility training as well as mentally stimulating puzzles and doggy toys. Without these, their natural instinct to protect can turn to aggression towards people or pets.
Fortunately, training a Sheptika is a breeze compared to some other breeds out there, thanks to them being whip-smart and eager to please. Don’t worry about them getting bored with tricks or routines, they can pretty much repeat the same drills over and over and have the time of their lives.
They can take a lot but be sure not to push them too hard with high-impact moves as they can be prone to back injuries. These pups love a challenge and even more so, love excelling at any task they take on.
In fact, this love for excelling makes them naturally competitive and excellent at dog sporting events and agility trials. They may be easy to train, but they still require a trainer who is dedicated to putting in the time.
If you don’t feel confident to train your Akita Shepherd yourself then don’t hesitate to hire a professional. These dogs have too much potential and natural ability to be neglected in their training.
5. Does an Akita German Shepherd Make a Good Family Dog?
The stoic yet fun-loving nature of these pooches makes them excellent family members, and they will take this role very seriously. When it comes to smaller children, they will both protect them with their lives and roll out all the goofiness during playtime.
Socialization is crucial with these dogs. Their natural guarding instincts can turn from healthy overprotectiveness to a more volatile trait. When you bring these cuties home as puppies, you should focus on getting them used to other animals and people from the get-go.
Socialization with People
While you can train these dogs to be used to kids, you shouldn’t leave them alone with small children purely because of the strength they possess. They may not even mean to be aggressive, but simply not know the extent of their force. In order to avoid any unwanted accidents, keep an eye on younger children around your Sheptika.
Socialization with Other Pets
These mix-breed cuties are excellent playmates and should get along with your other pets just fine. In fact, if you have other high-energy dogs, it may work nicely in your favor to let them expel some energy with each other.
However, same as with people, socialization is very important when interacting with other animals. If not properly trained, they may see other animals as a threat and try to assert their dominance. While they aren’t violent-natured, they certainly have a don’t-mess-with-me side to them.
When it comes to cats, for instance, these hounds can certainly get along just fine with feline friends but it takes tons of socialization. If not, then this is when their stealthiness can become a problem for your cat.
They’re not hunting dogs per se, but they are excellent prey stalkers. And their incognito movements may not give your kitty enough time to make a run for it. So be sure to socialize your Sheptika around your other pets from the beginning.
They are Eerily Quiet
If you’re looking for a verbose pooch with a persistent bark then this is not the pup for you. Akita German Shepherds are strangely quiet and don’t deliberately make their presence known (you may not even notice them in a room).
Instead, they prefer to hang back and assess the situation before unleashing their intimidating woof. So while they are slow to speak, they are certainly a formidable force once they’ve decided that the situation calls for it.
7. Temperament and Behaviour
The Akita Inus and German Shepherd are both beautiful but certainly lack nothing in the brain’s department either. These are two extremely intelligent breeds. It makes sense why someone had the idea to mix them. Their reserved manner is nicely balanced with an adorably goofy side during playtime and when it comes to their dog toys.
Moreover, training these pups is a very rewarding feat. What would take other dogs days to learn, these eager-to-please, intelligent pooches master in no time at all.
But like with any thriving relationship, there needs to be mutual respect. These doggos have so much to offer, but are equally headstrong and will usually only perform once you have their respect. It’s natural for your Sheptika to push some boundaries, so your best tactic is to adopt a stern but loving hand with these fur babies.
These dogs shed like crazy on a daily basis so if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic doggo then this pooch isn’t for you. They also shed seasonally when the weather warms up – this is called blowing their coat and can be a hairy situation.
So if you’re overly bothered by dog hair on clothes and furniture then this might not be the breed for you. Otherwise, investing in a lint roller might be handy.
Brushing them daily will go a long way towards limiting shedding. However, this will be a full-time job, multiple times a week in order to keep their coats neat and shiny. Luckily they don’t need to be bathed often (unless they look visibly dirty).
There is a variety of brushing tools you can opt for depending on your pooch. Pin brushes are good for longer coats, and using a slicker pin brush could work too, depending on the fur length.
In terms of other grooming, they’re pretty low maintenance which may suit some dog owners very well. For the most part, they’ll just need weekly teeth brushing and ear cleaning to make sure any debris is removed. Be sure to keep an eye on their nail length too. However, between running around and jumping they should naturally file them down quite a bit.
8. Coat Colors
These hounds can don a variety of coat colors, ranging from solid in color to a mix. Your Akita German Shepherd can range from white, silver, and brindle to red, brown, black, gray, and sable.
If you’re looking for a dog that masters the work-hard-play-hard balance then you can’t do much better than this mix breed. These pups take their guarding duties very seriously, remaining solemn and focussed while on watch. But when it’s time to relax, they certainly know how to let their hair down too.
Both their German Shepherd and Akita parents display athletic traits, so your Akita German Shepherd will be far from a couch potato. These pooches need plenty of exercise, and they thrive when they have a job to do.
Putting these dogs to work on a daily basis will be first prize. Otherwise, you can expect to spend your free time playing many games of fetch or finding creative ways to expel their heaps of energy.
These pups are rather remarkable and rare. This means you won’t likely pass one on the street or your local pet shop. Most Akita German Shepherd owners specifically seek out this breed and usually have a clear purpose in mind for them.
The biggest reason is usually for their excellent instincts and guarding abilities. When it comes to security, you can’t do much better than this breed. Their intelligence, trustworthiness, and dependability are but a few of the traits that make them perfect guard dogs.
They are also known to make sensible spur-of-the-moment decisions without acting rashly. And of course, the fact that they are eager to please and love taking orders is a huge bonus. These are hard-working dogs that you can rely on to be consistent and obedient.
But of course, the excellent service of these loyal companions comes with a price. Akita Shepherd will require plenty of attention, and any spare time should be spent working with and training them. So if you’re looking for a mans-best-friend who will happily curl up on the couch with you to binge some Netflix, then you’ll most likely be disappointed.
10. How Much are Akita German Shepherds?
Akita German Shepherd breeders are few and far between, so finding a reputable one might be tricky. You can expect to pay anything between $300 and $700 for a puppy. You will pay even more if the pup is bred specifically for security purposes.
Another good bet is to search animal shelters and pounds for one of these special doggos. You might just pay a little less too. However, if you go this route, you may need to be prepared for some behavioral issues or health problems. This is a possibility due to potentially less legitimate breeding histories.
11. Akita German Shepherd Size
Due to very few reliable or dedicated breeders for Sheptika’s, there aren’t really breed standards for this breed. This shows in the size variations of these pooches.
Some of these dogs are medium-sized, weighing around 50 or 60 pounds, while others weigh in at an impressive 100 pounds. They usually have a height of 24 to 28 inches from the shoulder.
It’s quite the mystery buying an Akita Shepherd pup too because you never know what you’re going to get. It’s very hard to tell what size the adult dog will be while they are still puppies.
12. Dietary Requirements
These dogs are like athletes and should be nourished as such. Therefore, a diet high in protein is essential. Luckily there is some excellent high-quality dog food on the market to ensure a healthy and happy pup.
High protein kibble will ensure their muscles are well supported and they have long-lasting energy to sustain their rigorous activity. You can also look into adding some doggy vitamins and fish oil supplements into their diet for their joints and overall health. Some dog owners even like to give their dogs raw foods.
And don’t forget the doggy treats, in moderation of course. These dogs have a tendency to gain weight easily. This in turn puts pressure on their joints and spine so portion control is essential when it comes to your pooch’s meals and treats. It may also be a good idea to invest in a slow feeder for your canine to ensure they don’t gulp down their food.
Not only is an overweight doggy a less happy one, but also an unhealthier one. A good tip is to not leave food or treats out throughout the day but rather, to implement set meal times.
13. Health Issues
Like most cross breeds, these dogs are usually healthier than their purebred parents. However, there are a few health problems to look out for when it comes to the Akita German Shepherds.
It depends largely on which parent breed your Sheptika takes after in a specific area. For example, if they take after the German Shepherd side then you can expect to encounter spinal problems that lead to things like hip dysplasia and arthritis as they age.
This is because German Shepherds’ backs slope down towards the tail. On the other hand, if their back is straighter (like their Akita parent), you may be in the clear in this area. Once again, there is not a lot of definitive knowledge on this breed, including the illnesses or ailments they’re prone to. These are some of the known problems you can look out for.
Less Serious Conditions
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This disease affects the photoreceptor cells of the dog, causing them to deteriorate over time, eventually leading to blindness.
- Panosteitis: Causes lameness in the legs due to inflammation along the long bone of one or more of the legs. It’s also referred to as growing pains.
- Arthritis: A disease caused by damaged cartilage within a joint that leads to the bones in the joint rubbing together, causing painful inflammation.
- Pemphigus: Leads to scabs and ulcers around the ears and face as well as hair loss. It is one of the most common autoimmune skin diseases in dogs.
- Perianal Fistulas: This disease is common in German Shepherd breeds and is characterized by painful ulcers and sinus tracts as well as ulcers on the skin around the anus.
- Sebaceous Adenitis: This disease refers to inflammation of the skin that leads to poor coat quality.
- Elbow Dysplasia: Elbow Dysplasia is characterized by lameness in the forelimb and results in limping.
- Bloat: This occurs when the stomach of a dog fills with food, gas, or fluid and twists.
- Hip Dysplasia: Occurs in formative years when the ball and socket joints don’t grow at equal rates and as a result don’t fit together properly.
- Hemophilia: This disorder is a result of a gene mutation where Factor VIII is deficient and causes abnormal blood clot formation.
- Von Willebrand’s disease: This bleeding disorder is inherited and results due to a lack of von Willebrand factor protein (vWF).
- Congenital Heart Defect: A defect in the ductus arteriosus heart vessel, usually present in puppies soon after birth.
- Degenerative Myelopathy: This is adegenerative disease that affects the dog’s spinal cord and eventually leads to loss of mobility and later, loss of bowel and bladder control.
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: This condition is characterized by the inability to digest food properly due to deficient pancreatic enzymes.
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis: This disease occurs when the dog’s immune system begins to attack the thyroid gland.
Pros of Owning an Akita German Shepherd
You will have a loyal, hard-working companion that will make guarding you their top priority. You also get to own a very rare and rather unique pooch.
If it’s a helping hand you need or even a dazzling show hound then this dog will deliver over and over again. These highly intelligent canines will wow their audience with agility and trick routines.
Cons of Owning an Akita German Shepherd
It’s no secret that this breed is high-strung and rather needy in the area of physical and mental stimulation. You won’t have an easy-going lap dog on your hands so be prepared for the commitment.
These dogs need loads of attention when it comes to training and exercise, and if not properly socialized, can cause you some problems with other people and animals.
Male and Female Akita German Shepherds
One of the main differences between males and females is a range in sizes. However, in saying this, there can also be a significant size difference between two dogs of the same gender. This is once again due to the lack of clarity in the breed’s standards.
While there aren’t many known differences between males and females, regular gendered dog differences apply. Males tend to be eager to please and clingy, while females mature faster and are usually slightly smaller.
So while you’re getting the luck of the draw in many ways since things like size and even temperament are not a given when comparing two Sheptika dogs, it makes your pup all the more unique. Besides, you and your man’s-best friend will have a lifetime to become acquainted with one another’s quirks.
Final Thoughts on Akita German Shepherds
While this breed may not be very well-known, it’s the product of two incredible parent breeds, so you cannot exactly go wrong. In fact, once you go Sheptika you’ll likely never go back. This top-notch guard dog, dedicated family member, and loyal companion is a hound with whom you can build a real rapport.
Once you’re sure you are up for their intensive exercise, emotional, and socialization needs, the hardest part will likely be getting your hands on one of these rare hounds. So if you do, hold on tight.
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