I acquired my first Akita in 1988 from Wales, United Kingdom (I had been stationed in England while I was in the United States Air Force.) Nikko, my first Akita, was an all white male from the Krug line (pictured). His sire and dam's parents were imported into England. I acquired Nikko through a referral from Helen Burke of Firedragon Akitas in Wales. We remain friends to this day. He was a companion (neutered-never bred) and lived to be almost 14 years old.
I still remember Nikko at four weeks old. He was one of a litter of nine of which seven were white. I left a deposit and when I went to pick him up, I knew exactly which white puppy he was. Knowing what I know now, I realize that that was sign that I had a good eye for the small differences in a dog. There are sometimes slight differences between a show dog and a companion that many people just can detect.
My first Akita, Nikko, taught me so much. He taught me about the dominance of an Akita and how important it is to establish the pack order and your alpha status early on. He showed me the natural protective instincts that the breed has, that doesn't need to be trained, its natural. Nikko proved to me that the breed is an amazingly clean housedog, a gentle dog and an amazing companion to have as a four legged friend. He was a stoic, low maintenance dog.
Nikko was healthy throughout its entire life. He always acted like a young dog, until one day, he was an old dog at thirteen years old. He finally showed his age and nine months later he was gone from old age. I joked with my friends that he lasted twice as long as my ex-husband (Nikko was supposed to be his dog) and when Nikko died he had been with me for over one-third of my life. He wasn't a show Akita by any means, but he was a beautiful dog with an amazing personality. He made me fall in love with this breed. A very interesting occurance, shortly after Nikko passed, I was placed a litter and two owners named their Akitas "Nikko"--not because of my Nikko (they didn't even know about him).
Helen Burke had invited me to attend Crufts (the biggest dog show in the world) in 1989. I went and thought this looks like fun I could do this. That was it, I knew I was going to acquire a show dog and start showing Akitas. When I moved back to the United States (yes, Nikko flew back to the states with me) I stated my search for a show female. Many breeders might remember me contacting them (the old fashioned way over the phone) back in 1990. I found someone in Colorado, North Star Akitas (who no longer own or breed Akitas), who had a young female Akita with a great pedigree available.
Moonlight Akitas began in 1991 with the purchase of my first show Akita Scarlett, Ch NorthStar�s Crime of Passion ROM (pictured on left and above-click link for pedigree). Scarlett became Nikko�s buddy. Scarlett took awhile to mature but when she was ready she finished in three weekends. Scarlett�s first litter was born in 1993, and resulted in a Best in Show winner. Scarlett produced ten champions. Scarlett was spayed in 1997 and enjoyed retirement life until she passed away at over thirteen years old from old age.
Scarlett had an amazing disposition and she established the beautiful head piece that many of my dogs have. She could run with her daughters and grandpuppies, even when they are adults. She was my guinea pig, the Akita I learned about breeding and showing from. I learned how to whelp litters with Scarlett, how to raise the puppies and how to show an Akita. I remember consulting my book each time a puppy was born in her first litter. Taking photos and video every other day (I don't do that any more), it was like having your first baby (I've never had a baby, but I assume a new mom feels the same way). I was so proud and showed everyone puppy photos. Now the newest has worn away but its still exciting to see the colors and sexes that are born with each litter. The hope for another Best in Show winner to be one of those puppies.
My second show Akita was Ch Timbersky�s Moonlight Desire (pictured on right). Desi produced three champions, one of which was Indi, who sired Xena who is Queen's granddam. She and Scarlett hated each other, the battle started when she turned one year of age. Unfortunately, this is one of the poor characteristics that the Akita has (same sex aggression). She was spayed in 1996 and went to live in a retirement home in Texas. Sadly she passed away at nine years old from bloat complications.
All my Akitas go back to either back to Scarlett and/or Desi. They were the foundation of Moonlight Akitas. I must thank Chris Weatherman of North Star Akitas for giving me the honor of having Scarlett in my life. I must also thank Jodi Engel Lundin of Timbersky Akitas for allowing me the privilege of having Desi in my life. They began the Moonlight endeavor to produce very typey Akitas with good movement and a temperament that can be lived with.
Best in Show Champion Moonlight's Duke of Passion (pictured on the left-click link for pedigree) was born in my first litter in 1993, which resulted in three champions out of five puppies. Duke was my first breeder/owner/handled champion. He took his time to decide if he was going to allow you to be his friend. Unfortunately, Duke didn't sire very many litters as he went sterile at an early age. He did produce six quality champions, including Winners Bitch and Best of Winners at the 1999 Akita National. I lost Duke at ten year of age from a stroke which caused the loss of his rear legs. I made the decision to let him go as I couldn't watch him not be a "total" dog.
Being a breeder of Akitas is wonderful. Showing and breeding Akitas opened a whole new world in which I developed some wonderful friendships. I have owners that are on their second set of Akitas from me because the first ones have passed away. That's the sad part, getting a phone call or e-mail to tell me that their beloved companion has passed on. But its a great feeling to know that my puppy made them happy for so many years.
To the right is a photo from 1996 showing a collection of my Akitas after a day at an Akita Specialty judged by Akita Breeder Frank Thomas (deceased-may he rest in peace). Everyone in that photo still owns an Akita or two or more. Laurie Aguilar was Tailwag Akitas but she is no longer actively showing or breeding. Lynn Nystrom is Magicbear Akitas and she resides on the east coast with her family and Akitas. Pris Metzger was Challenge Akitas but she is no longer actively showing or breeding. Alicia Meyer established Majiksun Akitas and is very active and successful with her breeding program on the west coast.
A little about me, Christina Stanley, call name "Chris", who is very addicted to Akitas and dog shows. Moonlight Akitas is located near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Even though I have a bachelors in business with a major in accounting, I choose to work full time for Monarch Properties, Inc. (a property management firm) as an administrative assistant. Yes, I work a normal forty hour job, which is why I like to have less than five dogs at my home. I have the greatest boss, Jack MacGillivray, who is an AKC judge of poodles (his breed-- in which he had many top show dogs) and who is active with the Poodle Club of America. Working for a understanding dog enthusiast enables me to have the freedom required to enjoy my dog habit.
I have personally shown and trained most of my dogs. I also show other breeds (Labradors, Boxers, German Shorthair Pointers, Bullmastiffs, Siberians, Alaskan Malamutes, and even some small dogs). Showing is another world in which I love to get people involved.
I am a member of the Land of Enchantment Akita Club (as President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary, or Board Member) since 1990 and a member of the Akita Club of America (ACA) since 1991.
On the left is "Luke" an Akita, who I kept just because I loved him. He was a dog that I had a connection with with the moment he was born, maybe because he had a huge head and I thought he was gorgeous and it didn't hurt that he was born on my birthday. He would have been able to make a major contribution to the breed if he hadn't been severely dysplasic. He finished easily with four 4-point majors from bred-by. He was the best in my book. I had to let him go in November of 2007, just short of eleven years old, because he couldn't stand on his rear any more. I still remember the day he was neutered, right after he earned his AKC championship. It was the only day he was ever left at the vets office. When I picked him up, he was glued to me, that night he climbed onto my bed and used my body as a pillow. If I moved, he would reposition himself to have his head on me again. He was my dog, the sweetest male I've ever owned and a dog that could make me feel special just by looking into his face and eyes, he wore his heart in his eyes.
I truly love the Akita and can't imagine life without one. I live the Moonlight Experience. Providing a quality companion, be it show or pet, and placing the Akita into a wonderful home, to be loved is a large endeavor. It takes a lot of time and effort and dedication, which is what Moonlight offers. Its a job that I truly enjoy.
I hope you enjoy visiting my Akitas.