Author & Writer

Lastaras Of Tokuguay

Lassie was my first akita, and heart dog.

When I first fell in love with the breed, I knew that I wanted them in my life from then on out.

While I was growing up, I knew from a young age that I wanted to be involved in dogs. I wanted to show in conformation and performance, and knew that I would potentially want to breed.

I made an active effort to find a show male out of champion parents. I tried for a good 10 months to get a pup or at least on the waiting list for a show quality pup, but every breeder I contacted either ignored my emails or turned me down. A big issue in akitas is that breeders repeatedly get burned by charismatic liars, and then those breeders stop so much as even trying to trust newcomers. I didn't personally know anyone in akitas, or even anyone in dogs period. So it was one big "NO" across the board from everyone. It was discouraging.

At 19 I was impatient, and not at all confident, so I gave up. A local akita litter was posted, and I caved. I fell madly in love with this tubby white puppy, and after talking to the litter owner, he was mine.

He was the product of an oops litter. The woman had been told by family that it wasn't possible for a female dog to become pregnant until a year old, something that is absolutely not true. Lassie's mom became pregnant on her first heat cycle, and gave birth a week or so after her 1st birthday. I actually found her homes for the majority of his siblings. I wont go into details, but the owner was incredibly stressed, suffered a loss, and betrayal (husband's brother threw them together while she was at work the next heat cycle to intentionally have her have pups again), and we helped her get his father neutered so it couldn't happen again. Later on (a few years later) her husband got very sick, they had to relocate, and we actually found an amazing home for his parents TOGETHER for her.

Lassie was entirely pet bred, about as pet bred as one can get. He has no titled dogs in a 5 generation pedigree. His parents were purchased from the same puppy store a few years apart, their parents 1st generation mill dogs, and before that just several generations of pet homes having puppies just to have puppies. Looking back now, I'd have never have bred him based on that alone. But back then I thought the only way I would be able to eventually get that show pup was to produce it myself. I knew it would be long and slow, but I figured I could keep breeding to CH lined dogs, and improve the pedigree with each generation, and eventually it would b something I could be proud of. Lassie was never health tested via OFA, but that was mostly a vet communication issue, as he did have his hips, knees, and thyroid checked by said vet, but afterwards the vet refused to submit the results to OFA. In breeding, I let myself get conned by a local man, that tried his hardest to use him as a stud- far younger than I was comfortable with, and ditch. Eventually I did manage to get my puppy back, but that in itself was a harsh lesson on stud services. Lassie was bred to a CH lined female named Mia. My personal pick of litter was placed in a pet home at a year old, but a friend of mine's pup turned out very nice, and so we ended up with a pup from her, Koko. By the time of Koko's pedigree, the quality of the pedigree had become what I was hoping to accomplish. However, this line simply wasn't meant to be, as Koko ended up being sterile. Knowing what I know now, it was for the best.

It was a learning experience. While I will never regret getting him, I do regret giving up and caving, as had I not I would have escaped a lot of heartbreak.

Don't be me. Don't be young and dumb.

While thankfully ALL of Lassie's relatives (parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and even offspring) were completely healthy, Lassie developed incredibly bad flea allergies when he was 2.5yo. By this point he had already sired the litter with Mia that was fully grown. He'd get bit by one flea, and the site of the bite would swell up and lose fur. His joints would swell up. His eyes would swell and cause lash issues. He'd chew frantically, to the point where he'd be bleeding heavily, and had to wear a cone all of flea season.

We battled his seasonal issues for 2 years. However, when he was 4.5 years old we lost that battle. A flea bite to his face he scratched at, and it caused a big blow out on that half of his head. Despite antibiotics, frequent cleaning, topical creams, and cone the infection raged. He ended up losing most of the fur on that half of his head, and the skin looked unrecognisable. In the end the infection effected his brain, and he started having neurological issues, which stressed him, and began making him lash out as result. It was in his best interest to have him humanely euthanized. It broke me. I was absolutely heartbroken and a mess for months. He got one last great afternoon at the park, and a full fledge mass meal from McDonalds as a send off. I couldn't go back to that park for years afterwards.

Lassie was my dear, sweet boy. Not an aggressive bone in his body. He loved every dog he met regardless of gender. He adored puppies. He was friends with the cats. Had he not started his issues at 2.5yo he would have been an amazing performance dog. He was eager to please and did everything you asked of him- in short bursts. Oh did he love being lazy, sleeping, and blocking doorways with his bulk. He would have been an amazing therapy dog. He was a total momma's boy, glued to my side, and he trusted me absolutely. He would have LOVED weight pull. He loved to drag logs attached to his harness. Know those childrens red and yellow pedal cars? He would pull really young children up and down the block with the car attached to his harness. He loved to go hiking in the woods with me. He enjoyed visiting the rivers and sticking only his feet in the water (he didn't even want to get wet up to his elbows, but he liked it). He let kids climb all over him without a care. Lassie was the sweetest boy, and oh how I wish I had had many more years with him than I had gotten.

He is the poster child of why you do not buy from a pet breeder, BYB, or puppy store. Please, everyone, don't set yourself up for that heart break. It simply isn't worth it. Be patient. Get your puppy from a reputable breeder, one that health tests, breeds champion health tested bloodlines, and knows any potential conditions in the line to look out for.

Dam: Suki Of Murillo, Sire: Samson Of Murillo