There are a lot of dogs that come in a variety of coat types. For example, German Shepherds can have short or long coats, just like Australian Shepherds and many other breeds. Similarly, Akitas can also come with short coats or long coats.
This might come as a shock for many people because a lot of them won’t have even heard of long haired Akitas or know that they even exist.
Well, we are here to inform you that they have been around for just as long as short-haired Akitas.
Both American Akitas and Japanese Akita Inus come in long-haired versions. There are just a couple of differences but, after reading this article, you will see that all in all, these dogs are almost the same.
We are here to shine some light on these beautiful dogs and we want to describe them as much as possible. We hope that a lot more people will start to hear about these dogs and give them just as much respect as short-haired Akitas.
Long Haired Akita Dog: Their Origin
We are all familiar with the world-famous dog Hachiko, who was a short-haired Akita. We all fell in love with him because of his loyalty towards his owner that had passed away.
The Akita breed is thought to have originated in the 1600s in Japan, where they were working dogs. Somewhere around the 1920s, when Hachiko gained his fame, Helen Keller fell in love with this breed and she was the first one to bring Akitas to America, and since then we have had the American Akita dog.
At the end of World War II, Akitas transitioned from working dogs to the pets that we all know and love today. But in the midst of all of this, a dog was created that we all kind of forgot about.
These dogs were the long haired Akitas. In 1912, a breed that was just like the Akita but with some different features was bred. Some breeders thought that cross breeding Akitas with Sakhalin Huskies or in other words, Karafuto Ken, would give Akitas longer coats, and that was indeed the case.
Since Sakhalin Huskies had denser and longer coats, breeders decided to use this gene by breeding them with Akitas, ending up with a long haired Akita, or as some call them, Wooly dogs.
This was done because they wanted their Akitas to endure the winter better by having long coats. They were fighting dogs, so if they gave them longer coats they would also have fewer wounds and be more durable.
They still exist today, but some people either mix them with other breeds or just think that this is a fault and avoid them. We hope that we will convince you that these dogs are amazing, just like their short-haired cousins.
Genetics: How Does This Occur?
Long coated Akitas are created because of a recessive gene, aka. the long hair gene. To be more precise, the gene mutation that is responsible for the long hair is on the FGF5 gene.
If you want to produce long haired offspring, there needs to be two copies of this gene. That means that the parents, both male and female, that have short coats, need to carry at least one long haired gene to produce a puppy with a long coat.
But even with this in place, there is only a 25% chance that there will be a long coated Akita puppy in the litter.
Since these dogs aren’t as popular and are thought to be a fault, most reputable breeders do DNA testing to prevent them from being produced. This does sound unfortunate, but if you have a breeder that wants only short-coated Akitas, it is their responsibility to prevent long haired Akitas.
Fortunately, there are more and more breeders that want to preserve this breed and are doing everything that it is in their power to produce as many as they can and spread the word that these dogs are just as beautiful and kind tempered as Akitas with short coats.
Why Aren’t They As Well Known?
There are a couple of reasons why these dogs are not really on the radar and why some people don’t even know that they exist. We’ve listed 3 of the main reasons why these dogs aren’t as well known as their cousins.
Fortunately, they are gaining some popularity lately and there are now more breeders that want to preserve this dog. A lot of long coated Akita owners try to showcase the amazing attributes of these dogs.
You can find some Facebook groups and portals that gather together all the owners of these beautiful dogs. Even if you are not a dog owner but are interested in this breed, you can always join and take a look.
Long Haired Akita Puppies Are Rare
Well, the first reason is that they are super rare. Not every litter will have long-coated puppies, and when they do, it is usually only one puppy or two at most. When they do appear, most Akita breeders aren’t very happy about this because they are much harder to sell.
We are happy that there are some breeders that think of these dogs as like winning the jackpot. They value and respect them and manage to present these beautiful dogs to their customers, who now eagerly wait for one to appear.
We hope that more and more breeders will cherish the rare long haired Akita puppy and will sell them proudly, just like the short-coated ones.
They Are Not Within The Standard
Since they are still Akitas but just have long coats, they do not fit the standards that are made for this breed. The American Kennel Club, The AKC, and the United Kennel Club have standards set for the Akitas.
They are bigger than the short-haired Akita, and not just because of the fur. They have bigger bones. They can grow to be around 30-33 inches and can weigh anywhere from 66-111 pounds.
The most obvious thing is that they have long coats, which are not within the breed standards. They even consider this as a cosmetic fault and almost don’t accept their existence at all. We hope that this will change soon.
They Can’t Be Shown
These dogs, even though they are beautiful, cannot be shown. The one reason is, as we’ve already said, they are not accepted by the AKC and UKC. And this has been going on forever.
In Japan, Akitas are a symbol of loyalty, intelligence, and protection. A lot of Japanese judges cannot accept that the long haired Akita is the same as the short one. They often refer to these dogs as a contaminated bloodline.
It is almost shameful for them to accept these dogs and to let them compete with Akitas with shorter coat lengths. They think that there is nothing to be compared and that they can’t even be thought of as the same breed.
There were a couple of times where long haired Akitas have been shown and had praise from the audience. But, the judges and the headquarters weren’t that accepting and stated that they hope that the breed will be bred as the national treasure that they are known for.
Because of this, a lot of people that want to show their dogs in the show ring avoid the Akitas with long coats. And this is why breeders don’t like to breed them or preserve their bloodline.
Long Haired Akitas’ Main Feature: Their Coats
The coats of these dogs are a show stopper and can be considered as a magnet for people. Because of their coats, they attract people of all ages. They are usually compared to a teddy bear and a big snuggle buddy.
If you pass by with this dog, you can bet that you will be stopping every second for someone to either pet it or ask to take a picture.
Their coats are made of an outer coat and an undercoat, which means that they have double coats. The outer coat is made out of two layers that are mixed. One is shorter and softer, while the other layer is longer and a bit harder.
The undercoat, or the inner layer of the coat, is less dense and is more of a protective layer. When these two are combined, you end up with a dog that has long and silky hair that can protect it from the cold or any possible attacks.
Their coats can be either very long, medium length, or on the shorter side, but are always longer than the short-haired Akita. Sometimes, the fur on the head can be longer than on the rest of the body but usually, it is equally long throughout the whole body.
Their coats can be really similar to the Akita with a short coat, but they just look a bit fluffier. The important thing is that they don’t have more, but just longer hair.
An interesting fact is that a lot of people confuse them with the Tibetan Mastiff, which is another dog breed that has a really similar coat to the long haired Akita and can even have similar colors.
Grooming A Long Coated Akita
As with every dog breed that has a long coat, long coated Akitas have a bit more of a demanding grooming routine. These dogs are recommended to be kept in houses and areas that are colder, which can ease the grooming process a bit.
If you ever thought that you would help your dog by clipping their coat, you are wrong. This can actually damage their hair, which can cause them a lot of problems.
The best thing you can do is brush your dog regularly. The best thing to do is to brush them daily. You should buy a good quality brush and brush your dog either every day or every two days. The brushing should start from the outer layer to the inner coat.
You should pay special attention to places like around the ears, belly, tail, and paws. These places are prone to matting, much more so than the rest of the body.
You can take your dog to the groomers once every couple of months to keep them neat and tidy. This way, their coats stay healthy. Once every half a year is also good enough.
Colors Of The Long Haired Akita
Akitas come in different colors, both long and short-coated. But Akitas with long coats can have a bit more variation. They can have brindle spots that standard Akitas don’t really have.
The most common color combination is black, brown, or gray combined with white. They can only be pure white or mixed with darker colors.
Another recognizable color variation is white and orange, the colors of the Japanese Akita Inu. The rarest is a combination of white with a light gray. This isn’t a usual color for Akitas but sometimes it can appear, and we think it is just beautiful.
There are many color variations in which these dogs can come in. It is always exciting to see what the puppies will look like. Sometimes, while they are growing up, the colors and patterns can change a bit.
Do Long Haired Akitas Shed?
Long-haired Akita shed just the same as ones with shorter coats. Since they have double coats, the shedding is quite significant. This is one of the reasons why they are better pets for houses with yards.
Since they have long hair, the shedding can get overwhelming. When the shedding season comes, you should prepare your vacuum cleaners. This is one of the reasons why you should brush your dog daily.
An interesting fact is that you can make yarn out of the undercoat that has fallen out. There are some companies that take the coat that has been shed and turn it into a yarn that you can give to a friend that loves to knit.
The Rich Personality Of Long Haired Akitas
Both Akitas are very similar, and the first thing that pops into our minds when mentioning the Akita, is loyalty. These dogs love and respect their owners and always make sure that they are protected. This is why they make amazing guard dogs.
The only difference between these two is that the long-haired Akitas are considered to be more friendly and calm than their counterparts. Because of this, they make amazing family pets. You can be sure that you will get a best friend that will do anything for you.
Early socialization is very important for these dogs because they tend to get a bit overprotective, stubborn, and suspicious towards strangers if they’re not socialized properly. But if it is done the right way and on time, you can have the most cheerful and playful dog.
They are amazing with kids, and when you think about it, this is a win-win situation. The kids get a giant teddy bear which they can cuddle, while the dogs get small companions which they can guard and also get a lot of cuddles from, which they love.
They are super intelligent dogs that need to be mentally stimulated. They love to learn new tricks and commands. Puppy training is a breeze and can also be a fun thing for both you and the puppy.
They aren’t recommended to first-time dog owners, but if you have a strong will and a lot of space, you can make it work. When you gain their respect, you will have a dream dog.
How Much Does A Long Coated Akita Cost?
This will depend on the breeder. If the breeder thinks that these dogs are a fault, you can probably buy them for a bit cheaper. This price will be around $700 to $1000.
If you find a breeder that fights for these dogs and wants to preserve their bloodline, they can get expensive. The price can be anywhere from $1500 to $5000.
These dogs are super rare, so reputable breeders will pour a lot of time, love, and money into raising these puppies. There is always the option of adoption from an Akita rescue
These dogs have been put in the shadows for so many years but slowly, they are gaining their fame. These beautiful dogs have almost everything in common with their peers. The only difference is their coat length and the possibility of them being a bit heavier.
These dogs have a wonderful temperament and are just amazing with people. We are saddened that they aren’t as popular as the Siberian Husky or Retrievers, but we have a lot of hope that this will be different soon.
If you are thinking about getting a long haired Akita, we hope this article convinced you to do so. You won’t regret it but always make sure to get your puppy from a breeder that deeply cares about this breed.