The Long Coat AkitaThe Long Coat Akita is a beautiful and unusual looking breed. Strangely, this lovely dog is not “kennel club breed standard” so can not be shown, and is therefore unlikely to be bred by registered breeders.The long coat which is often described as looking like a teddy bear, has a more laid back approach to life in general, somewhat different to the more aloof traditional short coat!Short fur is the dominant version of coat length, while the long coat is recessive so pups are quite rare, and are only born if both mother and father are carrying the long coat gene - which would be highly improbable. The long coat is thought to be the result of breeding the Russian “Karafuto” dog with the Japanese Akita to produce a longer thicker coat to help with the harsh cold climates. Sadly the Karafuto is almost extinct, so it is even more of a tragedy that the long coat Akita is deliberately being selectively removed from the breed, especially considering what a lovely temperament they have.....
From day one the long coat needs a lot more care than the short coats, it is in fact quite high maintenance and requires some form of daily grooming with the correct tools to keep matting at bay, and regular professional grooming is highly recommended. With this in mind invest in some good quality grooming tools for the home, and get your puppy used to being groomed by yourself and a professional as soon as you can, as this will be a large part of both of your lives! As a new born it is not obvious this is going to be a long haired one! Slowly but surely the dense fuzzy coat pushes through to become a woolly thick mass of fur, grooming during this puppy coat time is essential to keep the woolly coat from matting - particularly behind the ears.As the woolly coat comes out - it is replaced with the more traditional thick straight coat, but the top coat is longer - so still needs diligent grooming.The seasonal coat blow is quite irritating for them, and is much messier than the short coat - it can be quite difficult to keep the house clean and tidy during the coat blowing weeks, but surprisingly (and thankfully) they do not shed too much outside of their normal blow. Size wise - they tend to be a bit heavier, bigger boned and bulkier than the short coats with slightly rounder heads. Keep a close eye on their weight as with any breed, a little extra weight can be hidden under all that fur! With good handling through regular grooming you should be able to detect extra weight quickly and keep it under control. Make sure you and your family provide enough exercise for their age and health needs. It is a common mistake with larger breeds to think big puppies need much more exercise, but joint development can be slower in large breeds so care must be taken not to overdo it. Running and jumping around with the extra body weight on undeveloped joints can lead to injuries, if you are in any doubt contact your vet for advice.
Another consideration is the heat, while Akita’s generally don’t fair well in hot weather, the long coat is particularly uncomfortable during warm weather - water on their daily walks SHOULD NOT be forgotten so be prepared. It is especially important to monitor their exposure to sun, keep them in shaded areas or take them out during the cooler hours of the day.
Central heating can also be uncomfortable for them - but if you turn it down you’ll save money on your fuel bill and you can always stay warm by cuddling up with them!!
Don’t be too surprised if you cant get them in once they get out in the snow - its what the Akita lives for!!