Long Haired Akita – Everything You Need to Know

Long-haired Akita is a Japanese Akita or an American Akita with a long outer coat. It occurs due to the recessive genes inherited by Akitas when crossed with Karafuto Ken, the Sakhalin Husky

The Karafuto Ken was commonly used as a sled dog, an excellent selection for anyone living in the cold region. The Karfutis became popular during the late 50s, and Japanese explorers went on a voyage to Antarctica with these canines. While the explorers had evacuated in haste, they left these 15 sled dogs behind, hoping they would soon retrieve them. Unfortunately, only two of the fifteen dogs survived a year later, and these Sakhalin Huskies were named Jiro and Taro, who immediately became national heroes. 

Since long-haired Akitas result from recessive genes, a rare long-haired Akita will be seen in the litters primarily when the breeder has not performed genetic testing for the long-haired alleles. Two copies of the gene should be present for the long coat to be expressed in the puppies. This means that both Akita parents would require at least one gene carrier. Thus, there would be 25% of long-haired puppies while two normal coated Akitas carry one long coated recessive gene reproduction. 

Long-haired Akitas are rarely seen in the show ring and are disqualified for not meeting the breed standards. As the long-coated Akita doesn’t fit preferred breed standards, most breeders would purposely never breed, expecting a long-haired Akita. However, it is difficult to determine if your Akita puppy is long-haired until he reaches 8 – 10 weeks.

According to the AKC breed standards, “Triple coated with the outer coat consisting of coarse, straight guard hairs that stand off the body. The two inner coats are undercoats. One is thicker and somewhat soft, generally matching the coat color. The second is closest to the skin, generally dense with a wool-like texture and can be a different color than a guard coat. Tail guard hairs are much longer and fuller. The Japanese Akita should be presented in a natural state without trimming or shaping. Fault – Short, flat coat. Disqualification – Long Coat.”

Long Haired Akita Pros and Cons

Sweet and loyal in dispositionThey are aggressive with other pets
Excellent therapy dogsHigh grooming requirements

Long Haired Akita Basic Information

  • Name: Long-haired Akita
  • Height: 24 to 28 inches 
  • Weight: 70 to 130 pounds
  • Coat: Long and smooth outer coat, dense undercoat 
  • Color: Brindle, pinto, white, black
  • Energy: Medium to high
  • Activities: Hunt large prey, retrieve waterfowl, track events, and agility
  • Group: Working
  • Barking Level: High
  • Shedding Level: High
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 5 – 7 puppies
  • Life Span: 10 – 14 years
  • Other names: Woolies, Long Coated Akita

Akita Vs. Long Haired Akita – A Comparison

Features  Akita Long Haired Akita
Origin JapanJapan 
Height 24 to 28 inches24 to 28 inches
Weight 70 – 130 pounds70 – 130 pounds 
Size Medium to highMedium to high 
Group WorkingWorking 
Children Compatibility LowLow 
Family Compatibility High High
Pets Compatibility Low Low
Barking Level HighHigh 
Shedding Level HighHigh 
Hypoallergenic No No
Grooming Needs Medium to highMedium to high 
Overall Health Medium to highMedium to high 
Energy Medium to highMedium to high 
Exercise Needs Medium to highMedium to high 
Trainability Medium to highMedium to high 
Activities Hunt large prey, retrieve waterfowl, track events, and agilityHunt large prey, retrieve waterfowl, track events, and agility
Complication in breedingNoNo 
Litter Size 5 – 7 puppies5 – 7 puppies 
Lifespan 10 – 12 years10 – 12 years
Other Names Akita InuLong Coat Akita, Woolies

Long Haired Akita Personality

The dense coat differentiates the standard Akita from the Long Coat Akita. The Long-haired Akitas tend to be shorter and bulkier with more prominent bones than the standard Akitas, owing to the additional gene in their Karafuto Ken DNA. They appear to be fluffier than the traditional Akita, giving him a teddy look. The recessive long coat gene on the L-locus is responsible for their coat. 

The outer protective hair is a few inches longer in varying lengths. Also, the coat is silkier and softer in texture since they have a longer coat with a thick undercoat. However, the fur thins out significantly during warmer months. A long-haired Akita will have a coat that ranges from a modest feathering to an enormously wooly that reaches the canine’s feet. It can be woolier, softer, and silkier than the short coat due to the longer protective hair and thick undercoats. AKC does not recognize long-haired Akita, and judges consider it an obvious fault. 

Long-haired Akitas are large, well-built dogs having a good balance. Their curled tails are carried high and correspond with the large head. They bear a broad chest and neck that form a solid base for their large heads. The broadhead and short muzzle form an unsharpened triangle when seen from the top. Akitas have small eyes and erect ears giving them a majestic look. The legs are straight and strong. The colors of the Akita include pinto, brindle, and white. 

White long-haired Akitas do not bear masks. Instead, pinto Akita takes a white coat with large patches of color covering the body. The color varies from under to outercoats. However, they are always bold and clear. 

Friendliness Overview

Affection level Low to medium
Family-friendly High
Kid-friendly Low
Pet-friendly Low
Stranger -friendly Low to medium

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment living Low to medium
Good to new owners Low to medium
Sensitivity level High
Tolerates being alone Low
Cold-tolerance High
Heat-tolerance Low to medium

Long Haired Akita Temperament

Long-haired Akitas are more loving and gentle than the standard Akitas, who are, on the contrary, independent and more aloof. Additionally, long-haired Akitas are friendlier and negligibly aggressive than their traditional counterparts. However, other than these differences, the long-haired Akitas are still Akitas that would require owners to understand the nature of this strong-willed and independent breed. 

Akita prefers to be the only dog at home and is aggressive towards other dogs. Proper socialization can make an Akita animal-friendly. However, they would like to be treated as superior to other dogs. These dogs are loyal and affectionate towards their family but can be somewhat territorial about their homes. They are exceptional watchdogs and will bark to alert. Since they are larger, they may not be suitable for all pet parents.

Long Haired Akita Training

Since long-haired Akita is steady and robust, he requires dedicated training to help him focus his energy correctly. In addition, these canines are intelligent breeds; so they may get bored quickly with exercise.  Thus, engage them with puzzles and activities to keep them fit and healthy.

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Trainability Overview

Easy to train Low to medium
Intelligence Medium
Mouthiness tendencies Medium
Barking and Howling tendencies High
Prey drive Medium to high
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium to high

Long Haired Akita Exercise Needs

Long-haired Akitas do well when living with their family inside their homes. This breed is not very active, but they do require daily exercise. 30 minutes to one hour a day is enough for these canines. Some brisk walks, jogging, and romping in the yards are activities that they will enjoy. Visits to park on a leash can reduce their aggressive tendency towards other canines. A secured fenced yard is vital for Akitas and the stranger’s safety. 

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy level Medium to high
Exercise needs Medium to high
Intensity Medium
Playfulness High

Long Haired Akita Grooming

Long-haired Akita sheds exactly like the short-haired Akitas. They blow their coats once or twice a year with a bit of shedding. Whether it is a long-haired Akita or a short-haired Akita, they need weekly grooming to maintain good fur. You should groom the long-haired Akita with a long-toothed pin brush and an even more long-toothed metal comb. The coat must be pin brushed starting from the outer coat and brushing inward until it gets tangle-free and then touched to the skin until it slides through the coat quickly.  

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Particular attention should be paid behind the ears, inside the rear legs, and the armpits, where the coat is often smoother and silkier and tends to knot easier. Never pull the comb or pin brush through a tangled coat, but work the coat slowly from the outer tips to the skin. Finally, end with a nice pedicure to make your Akita look pretty. The most comfortable way to manage either a long-haired or short-haired Akita during the heavy shedding period is to give them several baths with a tremendous force air blow-dry to get out the worst of the undercoat. If you do not have time for grooming your Akita, then regular trips to the groomer are mandatory. 

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Like any other breed, regular grooming like trimming nails, brushing teeth, and cleaning eyes and ears, keep them away from infections.

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Grooming Overview

Easy to groom Low
Drooling tendency High
Amount of shedding High

Long Haired Akita Health

Long-haired Akitas are generally healthy. However, like any other breed, these dogs are susceptible to specific health conditions and illnesses. Special care should be taken while raising a long-haired Akita puppy. They overgrow between four to seven months, making them prone to bone disorders. Do not allow your puppy to run or play on hard surfaces like pavements. Pet parents must not force their Akitas to jump or jog on rough terrains until the dog is at least two years old and till their joints are fully grown.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a painful, life-threatening condition caused when the bones of the rear legs don’t fit properly in the joints. It is primarily hereditary, but injuries, excessive weight gain, and wrong exercises can cause hip dysplasia. Some dogs might exhibit symptoms, while some might not. Treatment ranges from medication to replacement of the hip through surgeries. To avoid this problem, do not crossbreed with a parent who has the issue of hip dysplasia. Regular checkups are suggested as it causes defects and damage to the hip bones joints and worsens without treatment.

Other Causes of Hip Dysplasia 

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs include:

  • Reduced activity and movements
  • Reluctance to rise, jump, run, or climb
  • Lameness in the hind limbs
  • Reducing thigh muscle mass
  • Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait
  • Grating in the joint during movement
  • Enlarging shoulders
  • Pain
  • Stiffness

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or Bloating: Bloat, also known as gastric torsion and gastric dilatation volvulus syndrome, is a potentially fatal condition that occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and twists. 

Hypothyroidism is a deficient hormone level produced by the thyroid gland. A common sign of the disease may be infertility. More obvious signs include obesity, low energy levels, mental dullness, drooping of the eyelids, and irregular heat cycles. In addition, your dog’s fur becomes rough and brittle and begins to shed, while the skin becomes firm and dark. You can handle hypothyroidism with daily medication, which must continue throughout the dog’s life. A dog undergoing daily thyroid treatment can live a whole and happy life.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: A degenerative eye disorder that causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eyes. It can be detected earlier. A very later stage is blindness. Dogs with this condition can survive for several years since they have other senses to compensate. 

Sebaceous Adenitis: Akitas are more prone to this condition, and it is believed that half of all Akitas are carriers or infected by the disease. Sebaceous Adenitis is a hereditary condition that is difficult to diagnose, so it is often mistaken for hypothyroidism, asthma, or other illnesses. The sebaceous gland produces sebum that protects the coat. In sebaceous adenitis, the sebaceous gland will inflate, leading to the dog’s death. This is a prevalent condition with symptoms including hair loss and rough, scaly skin on the dog’s head, neck, and back. In severe cases, secondary skin infections and skin thickening can also occur. The vet will take a skin biopsy to confirm the condition and provide appropriate treatment.

Entropion: This condition is caused due to the facial shape, which is acquired genetically. It is more prevalent in short-nosed breeds like Akitas. This genetic condition builds up tension on the ligaments of the inner eye that causes the eyelids to roll inward. 

Signs of Entropion in Dogs

  • Squinting
  • Excessive tearing
  • Eye discharge
  • Swelling around eyes
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Excessive blinking
  • Corneal ulcers

Skin Problems: The continual scratching and licking paws can be worrying, but don’t blame your dog for his bad behavior; it’s because of skin allergies and diseases. Parasites, allergies, and underlying sickness can be the reasons. Symptoms of skin problems include:

  • Skin Sores
  • Dry Skin
  • Rashes
  • Lumps
  • Redness
  • Dandruff
  • Bumps
  • Sunburns
  • Hair Loss

Glaucoma: A condition involving excessive pressure on the eyes, causing the eyes to stretch out due to aqueous humor that fails to drain out normally. When it is left unnoticed, it can cause blindness in Akitas. Symptoms include uneven pupil size, frequent squinting, bulgy eyes, and cloudy cornea. You can resolve glaucoma with special eye treatment and medication, or an invasive solution would be surgery.

Patellar Luxation:  Knee Dysplasia, also known as Patellar Luxation, is a condition that affects both the parent breeds. The kneecap dislocation can be excruciatingly painful, causing the dog to avoid leaning on the injured leg.

Signs of the luxating patella in dogs

  • While your dog runs along, he may suddenly pick up a back leg and hop for some time. 
  • He may kick his leg sideways to get the kneecap back in position and is normal.

Elbow Dysplasia:  Elbow Dysplasia is a heritable condition commonly seen in large-breed dogs. This disease is caused due to different growth rates of the three bones that form the dog’s elbow, causing joint laxity and painful lameness.


  • Mild to moderate pain  
  • Lameness in the forelimbs  

Although the symptoms begin to show as early as four months, some dogs will not show these signs until later in life. Further, this may involve both elbows, but one of them may be heavily affected.

Epilepsy: A disease that causes mild to severe seizures, often an inherited neurological disorder. A long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally reasonable.   

Osteosarcoma: Osteosarcoma is a malignant bone cancer common in large and giant breeds.

Vogt – Koyanagi – Harada disease is a multisystem disorder of a presumed autoimmune cause that affects pigmented tissues containing melanin. The most important indication is bilateral diffuse uveitis that affects the eyes. This can also involve the inner ear, which leads to hearing impairment, skin diseases, and affects the meninges of the central nervous system.

Health Overview

Overall health Medium to high
Weight gain tendencies Medium to high

Long-Haired Akita Diet and Nutrition

Long-haired Akitas do well on three to five cups of a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps them from overgrowing. It is recommended to provide them with a diet that consists of various products like fish, meat, and vegetables. 

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Long Haired Akita Living Condition

  • Long-haired Akitas require high grooming needs as they shed a lot. 
  • They must be left to play where there are tall and secured fence yards as they can be escape artists. Since they are playful, they may need a vast space to move around.
  • Long-haired Akitas are unsuitable for houses with small children and other pets due to their size and aggressive nature. 
  • They are ideal for large homes due to their size. 

Adding a Long Haired Akita to Your Family

Things to Remember Before Adding a Long Haired Akita

  • Long-haired Akitas are suitable for cold weather conditions.
  • They need pet owners who can dedicate their time.
  • Getting a pup from a reputed breeder who guarantees the health of the canine and their purebred parents is essential.  
  • You must inquire about their health clearance documents and gene testing reports.
  • Before getting Long haired Akita puppies, make sure they have been vaccinated.

Cost of a Long Haired Akita 

The cost of a long-haired Akita is $1,500.

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