Royalty Akitas - Don Van Dermyden / Royalty Aitas - Don Van Dermyden Complaint
I think potential Akita buyers should be aware that Don Van Dermyden’s Akitas CAN be very LARGE which increases the risk of leg problems. I purchased a dog from Don Van Dermyden of Royalty Akitas ( or Royaltyakitas on Don’s business cards) back in 2009 and I put that same dog to sleep a year and half later in 2010 because she tore BOTH back leg ACL and needed TPLO surgery at a cost of $10, 000 for both legs. I probably spent around $4, 000 between buying her, vet costs, getting custom made braces for both her back legs from OrthoPets. Please know that this was my 4th Akita over a 20 year period. The female was very sweet, but, ended up being abnormally large, she was 100 lbs by 11 months old. I took her off puppy food early and fed her IAMS food but less than I had fed my past Akitas due to her size. The surgical specialist who confirmed it was a torn ACL indicated this is NOT common for a dog that was 15 months old, Usually you see ligament tears in dogs age 5 and up. I contacted Don when I first learned of the TPLO tear and he suggested it was what I was feeding her. Contacted him a second time after putting the dog to sleep, I was hoping to maybe get some of my money back but knew legally I couldn’t prove her problems were genetic. Don asked for all my vet information so he could have his vet review it and then offered to sell me another dog for $600. I emailed him all the dogs’ info including pictures, but, I never heard from him again. I’m sure not all of Don’s puppies have leg problems, but, mine did. Don does construction work, so, his place looks great. I put a review on Puppy Finder so other buyer would be aware of potential leg problems with Don’s Akitas, but, Puppy Finder removed it less than 12 hrs later. I sent Puppy Finder paperwork at their request proving I purchased the dog, my vet records, and emails I had sent to Don, but, they would not reactivate the review. Back 20 years ago, Akitas from breeders (in my case these breeders were a family who only owned two Akitas that had puppies once in a while), the puppies went for $250 maybe $300 which is what I got my first two Akias for. Got my third Akita from Akita rescue for $100. Can’t believe how much Akitas cost now from a breeder even the little family, once in a while breeders. My experience with Royalty Akitas and Don is the first time I ever spent $1, 200 on a dog… my 4th Akita.
ADVICE to people looking to get an Akita based on my experience over the past 20 yrs:
1) Don’t pick out a dog when it’s a few weeks old. Try to wait until the dog is 8 weeks when the puppy is ready to be picked up so you can see how healthy the dog is at THAT time. If the dog seems tired and not very active… it probably has worms, which is what I found out after bring my puppy home and to the vet. If the puppy seems to favor a leg, there might be a problem with the legs, such as, a partially torn ligament that will not show up in an x-ray. Spending a lot of money doesn’t always guarantee a healthy animal.
2) A common deposit is $200 to $250, NOT half the price of the dog.
3) Ask for a copy of the receipt from the vet the breeder is bringing the dogs to for their health checks. If the breeder is reluctant to give you a copy it’s most likely because they are doing all the shots themselves and not bring them to the vet.
5) Go with a breeder who owns two or three dogs and only breeds once in awhile. Their dogs tend to be family pets and the puppies get a lot more attention.
4) Akitas are considered an aggressive breed. They MUST be socialized with people and other dogs as much as possible the first 2 to 3 years, or, the dogs will develop a very PROTECTIVE attitude. I have always socialized my Akitas but have met other Akitas that haven’t been socialized much, and, there is a difference in attitude that presents after the puppy stage between age 2 and 3 years of age.
5) Or, maybe it’s time to google Akita rescues sites since there are so many Akitas being abandoned. Many rescues get in young dogs too.
Good Luck !!