Akita Inu & Neapolitan Mastiff Mix (Nekita): Pictures, Characteristics & Facts
|Height:||24 – 30 inches|
|Weight:||90 – 165 pounds|
|Lifespan:||10 – 12 years|
|Colors:||Black, fawn, brown, brindle, silver, sable, red, cream, white, pied|
|Suitable for:||Active families with plenty of room, those looking for a giant guard dog|
|Temperament:||Loyal, alert, protective, imposing, energetic, courageous|
A mix of the Akita Inu and Neapolitan Mastiff, the Nekita is a powerful, imposing dog. They can be gentle giants or ferocious guard dogs — it all depends on how well you train and socialize them. As a result, they’re not ideal for owners who’ve never handled big dogs before.
Nekitas can grow to be huge, often tipping the scales in excess of 130 pounds. They’re not afraid to throw their weight around either, so be prepared for heavy-duty snuggles.
If you’ve never encountered one of these massive pups before, the guide below will walk you through everything you need to know before you bring one home.
Akita Mastiff Mix Puppies – Before You Get One…
If you wanted to write down the top 10 cutest things on planet Earth, Nekita puppies would probably make the shortlist. These pups are huge and fluffy, and they have absolutely no idea how their feet work.
As a result, many people find them irresistible. However, this breed can require an experienced hand.
Once fully-grown, these dogs will require quite a bit of exercise, so owning one is quite a commitment. You’ll also need to be certain you’re capable of providing the steady, confident training that they require as puppies.
Also, like many large breeds, these dogs suffer from a host of health issues. You need to be mentally and financially prepared to spend a great deal of time and money at the vet’s office.
If you’re prepared to handle everything that comes with Nekita ownership, though, you’ll find that these dogs are loving and fiercely protective. They also stay cute their entire lives, which is no small feat.
3 Little-Known Facts About Nekitas
1. They’re Naturally Great Guard Dogs
You’d think that no one would mess with Nekitas based on their size alone, but their temperament also makes them perfect for protecting your stuff. They won’t back down from anyone or anything, and they’ll make evildoers think twice before doing any evil around you.
However, you need to take care to train and socialize them early so you can control their natural aggressiveness. These dogs are incredibly powerful, so if you can’t control them, you can have a serious problem on your hands.
2. They Need Plenty of Exercise
Many large-breed dogs can be surprisingly laidback. Akita Mastiff mixes aren’t like that, however.
These dogs need quite a bit of activity every day — at least an hour of vigorous exercise is an absolute necessity. If they don’t get it, they can turn destructive or aggressive, and you don’t want a 160-pound dog turning into either of those things.
If you’re not prepared to spend a significant amount of time working out these dogs, you’re better off not bringing one home at all.
3. They Love Their Owners
While these dogs can be terrifying to anyone they don’t know, they will quickly grow attached to their owners. They can be extremely loving and devoted to their families as soon as they form a bond with them.
Of course, this doesn’t mean they won’t hurt you — it just means they’re unlikely to hurt you on purpose. They can be extremely excitable when their owners are around, and they may trample you in their enthusiasm.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Nekita 🧠
Nekitas are smart dogs, but not so smart that their intelligence gets them in trouble. They learn quickly during obedience training, and they love to please their owners, which makes them easy to train.
They won’t constantly try to undermine you, however, nor will they constantly look for ways to get into trouble. As long as you keep them well-exercised, they’ll be happy to sit by your side.
However, if you don’t keep them tuckered out, all sorts of behavioral issues can occur. Their natural aggressiveness can flare up (especially if they tend to take after their Akita Inu forebears), and they can become destructive.
It’s unlikely that these dogs will ever become truly docile, no matter how much you exercise them. Their guard dog genes simply can’t be turned off like that. Expect them to be vigilant at all times, but as long as they’re properly trained, that should be reassuring instead of frightening.
Nekitas aren’t happy-go-lucky dogs, but they’re not monsters either. They’re simply animals that are deeply devoted to their homes and families and require quite a bit of upkeep to ensure that that devotion doesn’t go off the rails at any point.
Are Akita Mastiff Mixes Good for Families? 🏡
This question ultimately hinges on how dedicated you are to socializing and training the dog. If you’re not fanatical about it, then these dogs aren’t suitable to have around kids; if you take it seriously, though, you can have a loving and devoted guardian for your entire brood.
Even so, we’d likely discourage bringing a Nekita into a family with very small children. They are powerful dogs, capable of doing quite a bit of damage, and small kids can’t be trusted to behave around dogs. All it takes is one poorly-timed tail pull to have a disaster on your hands.
You may also want to avoid bringing one of these dogs into a home if you have people with mobility issues living with you. They can be excitable, and they’re not known for being able to stop on a dime. They could seriously injure someone quite by accident, without their tempers ever flaring up.
They’re also not a good fit for any family who thinks that a “big night” involves watching an entire season of TV on Netflix. They need rough-and-tumble play, so they’re ideal for active families with older children.
However, if you’re worried about having someone break into your house and threaten your family, there aren’t many things on this planet more intimidating than a ticked-off Nekita.
Do Akita Mastiff Mixes Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽
You might expect a breed with a ferocious reputation like the Nekita to be a poor fit for households with other pets, but these dogs are surprisingly tolerant of other animals.
In fact, having another dog around is a good idea, especially if it’s big enough to run around and play with the Nekita. That can take the edge off their energy levels while also reducing the amount of exercise that you need to provide.
They don’t have a tremendous prey drive, so cats and other small creatures are usually safe around them.
However, you’ll still need to socialize them extensively, so it’s probably best to introduce a Nekita puppy into a house that already has other pets rather than bringing home a new animal. After all, if things turn ugly, it’s unlikely that the other pet will have what it takes to stand up to a 160-pound mutt.
All in all, a Nekita is an excellent choice for a multi-pet home. You’re more likely to have a problem with the other animals accepting the Nekita than the other way around.
Things to Know When Owning a Nekita
Nekitas aren’t the easiest dogs to have around, so they’re not a great choice for inexperienced owners.
Even those with quite a bit of experience with dogs may struggle to rein in these giants, so it’s essential to know what you’re getting yourself into before you add one to the family.
One of the most common reasons people end up surrendering dogs to shelters or rescue groups is that they had unrealistic expectations before adopting the animal. Hopefully, the information below will give you a good idea of what owning a Nekita is like, so you can go into the process with proper expectations.
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
These are big dogs and they have appetites to match. Don’t adopt a Nekita if you can’t afford to buy at least one big bag of dog food every month, because they’ll plow through that much kibble in no time.
Don’t think you can get away with feeding them bargain-basement junk either. These dogs are prone to health issues, so you’ll want to feed them a premium food to try to keep them in the best shape possible.
Look for a kibble that’s high in protein, as that can give your Nekita the energy they need to keep up with their exercise demands. Try to find one that’s high in fat and fiber as well, as that will keep your dog feeling full for longer, which cuts down on begging and reduces the risk of obesity.
Avoid cheap fillers like corn, wheat, soy, animal by-products, and artificial colors or flavors. These are full of empty calories (never a good thing for big dogs), and they may upset your Nekita’s stomach.
Since obesity exacerbates a variety of health conditions, be sure to exercise strict portion control with your dog’s food. You may also want to put your Nekita on a joint supplement early on to reduce the severity of hip, elbow, and spinal problems later in life.
Unlike many other large-breed dogs, Nekitas need a great deal of exercise. If you don’t give your Nekita at least an hour of vigorous physical stimulation per day, they’ll become restless, agitated, and destructive. You may also see an uptick in aggression, as all that pent-up energy will need to come out somehow.
Regular walks won’t cut it either (although we’re sure that they’d still be appreciated). These dogs need to run. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to convince them to do so, as they love to play fetch, tag, or simply accompany you on a jog.
Given their immense size, though, you should limit the amount of jumping they do, especially on uneven terrain. You don’t want to put any more strain on their joints than absolutely necessary.
Also, the breed is extremely susceptible to bloat, which could prove fatal. Do not let them exercise too much after meals — make them wait at least an hour before resuming any serious physical activity.
Training and socializing your Nekita are of the utmost importance. If you’re successful in these two areas, you’ll have a wonderful, trustworthy companion on your hands. If you don’t take them seriously, however, you could end up with a dog that you’ll never be able to fully trust.
The good news is that these dogs respond well to training. They’re smart, so they should pick up commands quickly and easily, and they’re eager to please their owners, so you’ll get little pushback.
Positive reinforcement is a must, as you don’t want to contribute to their aggressive tendencies by being rough or violent with them. They need to learn that playing nice gets rewarded.
Don’t neglect their socialization either, especially in the first 9 months or so of their lives. You’ll want to introduce them to as many strange people and places as you can, as this helps them stay calm and confident when faced with new situations. This is obviously preferable to them lashing out every time they get confused or scared.
If you’re not confident in your own training abilities, then you should either enlist the help of a professional or find another breed entirely. These dogs are too massive to be controlled through sheer strength or willpower, so you’ll need to be absolutely certain that they’ll be obedient in a pinch.
Akita Mastiffs have short, bristly coats, so you won’t find massive amounts of floof on your clothes or furniture. They can still shed considerably, though, especially during the summer months, so you’ll want to take a slicker brush to them once a week or so.
If your Nekita strongly takes after the Neapolitan Mastiff in them, then they might have loose skin that needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent infection. You should also talk to your vet about the possibility of using a medicated shampoo on their skin folds.
Pay attention to those folds when your dog gets wet too. You’ll want to dry them out thoroughly, or else bacteria could build up, causing a nasty (and smelly) infection.
Their floppy ears need special care as well. Clean them out at least once a week, and dry them thoroughly every time they get wet.
Beyond that, most of the Nekita’s grooming needs are standard: Brush their teeth regularly, trim their nails as needed, and bathe them when they’re visibly dirty.
Health Conditions ❤️
Sadly, the Nekita is not a healthy breed. These dogs are prone to a variety of health conditions, many of which can be quite serious.
As a result, you should be sure to keep regular visits scheduled with your vet to keep an eye on their health and try to head off serious conditions. Don’t wait until your pet is visibly suffering or impaired before seeking out medical attention; be proactive instead. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (and potentially thousands of dollars in vet bills as well).
Feeding them a high-quality kibble, keeping their weight down, and ensuring that they get plenty of exercise will help them to stay healthy and prolong their lifespans, but eventually, you’re going to run into a serious condition of some sort. The idea is to just delay the inevitable for as long as possible.
Below, we’ve assembled common afflictions that Nekitas tend to face. There’s no guarantee that your dog will suffer some or any of these conditions, but you’ll likely have to deal with at least one or two.
- Sebaceous adenitis
- Skinfold dermatitis
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Von Willebrand’s disease
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
- Heart disease
Male vs. Female
Male Nekitas can be quite a bit larger than females, around 20 pounds more. However, you’ll be dealing with a massive canine regardless of which gender you bring home.
In terms of temperament, males and females are similar. They both love to play, they’re both incredible watchdogs, and they’re both adoring of their owners.
Both sexes can be prone to aggression, although the triggers may be different. Females are more likely to be protective of their people, while males tend to guard their resources. Both of these inclinations can be mitigated somewhat by spaying and neutering your dog promptly, however.
While Nekitas are generally accepting of other dogs, it’s best if you don’t have two pups of the same gender (especially two females). Having different sexes in the house reduces the risk of an altercation, especially if the animals are unaltered.
Final Thoughts: Akita Mastiff Mix
Nekitas aren’t the most common breed on the planet, but they can be wonderful pets and ferocious guard dogs. They’re big, cuddly, and playful, and they’ll protect your home and family as if they were their own.
Still, the Akita Mastiff mix is not for everyone, and first-time dog owners should probably bring home something a little more user-friendly. They can be prone to aggression if not properly trained and socialized, and their myriad health issues make them an expensive breed to own. They also require a tremendous amount of exercise on a daily basis.
Those who can handle these massive mutts will appreciate their loyalty and companionship, though, as these can be truly great dogs. Just don’t be surprised when you discover that these 150-pound pooches have no concept of “personal space.”
Featured Image: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock