Long-Haired Akita
Dog Care Tips · Long Haired Breeds

Beyond Expectations: Exploring the Long-Haired Akita’s Allure

The Akita breed originated from the mountains of North Japan with a distinct outlook and a remarkable temperament. It soon became the favorite breed of the nobility. Since then it has captured the attention of dog enthusiasts. 

Just as with any pure breed, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has set a specific standard for Akitas also.

The male stands at 26 to 28 inches at 100 to 130 lbs weight and females are 24 to 26 inches at 70 to 100 lbs. They have a double short coat that comes in white, sesame, red, brindle, pinto, and more.

But did you know long-haired Akitas also exist? They’re also called “wooly” Akita, referring to its dense, wavy fur. 

Its distinct coat is just one of the many things that I will discuss in this article. Stick to the end and you will be able to make a better decision regarding adopting it after knowing all that.

10 Answers To Know Before Adopting The Long-Haired Akita

Going for a distinct breed from the standard one is a long commitment. Therefore, it needs proper consideration and understanding of the needs that you will fulfill for the dog’s betterment.

Here are answers to 10 questions that you may ask yourself before seeking the breed.

1. Where Did the Purebred Akita Come from And How Is Its Temperament?

The Akitas are also called Akita Inu because of their Japanese roots. They were bred in ancient Japan for hunting and guarding before they found themselves in the Royal court and among the nobility.

It was partly their regal appearance and imposing personalities that they were given the job of protecting the most important people of Japan.

Temperament and personality

The dogs are huge and so are their personalities, especially when it comes to loyalty, intelligence, and flawless devotion to their owners.

Whenever you see them from afar the first impression is always overwhelming fear because that’s how powerful and imposing they look. However, their temperament and personalities are completely opposite to the looks they give.

That’s especially true for their behavior with families as they are regarded as one the affectionate gentle dogs around loved ones. At the same time, they do show their protective nature in front of strangers, or other dogs.

The reasons for this lie in their specialty as watchdogs who are always ready to protect their families at all costs.

Sometimes they’re protective instincts can overpower their affectionate demeanor, thus, causing trouble not only for the owner but also for other people. 

Those are the times when the owner has to seriously consider obedience training for the dog. As they are quite intelligent, the training sessions would not be easy.

For that very reason, I always recommend owners focus on early socialization and obedience training. That should happen indoors when the puppy is 4 months old and gradually taken outside after vaccination.

2. Can Akitas Be Long-Haired? What Are the Genetic Roots? 

As I already said, long-haired Akitas are present and they are called wooly Akitas. The distinct wavy coat adds further elegance to an already noble breed. 

Their genetic roots can be traced to the same northern Japan where the standard Akitas originated. As to how they achieved the long coat, they must have inherited the long coat genes from both their parents at some point in history. 

You should know that the gene is recessive. Therefore, the offspring has to inherit both of them from the parents to have full expression.

Since the chances of such a pair of genes to come together and express themselves are low, so are the number of long-fur Akitas.

Does the long forgive have any advantage to the variant?

Besides adding appeal to their regal looks, the long fur acts as another layer of shield against harsh weather conditions.

These dogs are well suited to thrive in freezing temperatures as compared to the short coat variant. Now you know which variant to adopt if you live in a cold environment.

3. Are Long-Haired Akitas Rare?

Because the long-haired coat gene expression takes several generations to materialize in a breed, the occurrence of Akita with long fur is rare.

Alternatively, the short coat counterparts are common because the genes for it are dominant and they get expressed easily even if one of them is inherited from a single parent.

Despite occurring rarely, this variant is quite famous among dog enthusiasts because of its unique appearance and distinctive charm. After all, who doesn’t want a rare breed as their companion? 

But as you will read further, owning it comes with its own challenges that you have to meet as an owner.

4. What Is the Lifespan of a Long-Haired Akita?

The lifespan of a long-haired Akita is similar to the standard version. It’s not like the long fur gives it longevity. Typically both the variants live from 10 to 14 years or maybe longer, given their health conditions do not deteriorate with age.

Speaking of which, proper diet and exercise will definitely contribute to the dog’s living years. We obviously cannot ignore the genetic factor in how long they will live because some diseases are pretty much inheritable due to poor breeding practices.

Even when your dog does not inherit any of such diseases, it’s important to ensure routine veterinary care for a life full of vigor and vitality.

5. What Are the Colors of a Long-Haired Akita? 

This variant looks different because of its distinctive fur, but they more or less come in the same colors as the standard version. You will find it in nearly the same colors as black, white, brindle, red, pinto, and sesame. 

These colors could materialize either in a large patch on the back and the limbs along with the tail, or they may be present all together in a beautiful symphony. Their muzzles are mostly dark colored and the deep chest remains white.

6. What Is The Personality Or Temperament Of A Long-Haired Akita?

Loyalty meets companionship and creates the personality of an Akita. Whether it’s the standard version or the long-haired one, the temperaments and personalities remain nearly the same.

No matter which version you own, you’ll find this dog to be your loyal guardian, cuddle buddy, and trustworthy member of the household.

Because they were bred initially to be the guard and hunting dogs, they form a pretty strong bond with their families, especially the owner. This bond makes them wary of strangers stepping into their territory, thus, making them vigilant and watchful most of the time. 

You must also know that behind their loyal companionship lies an independent thinker that will cause problems during training sessions. Their single-mindedness comes from sheer intelligence that can be only countered with proper and consistent training.

The training has to be frequent and repeated to remind the dog how to behave around the house and who to listen to when things get out of control.

Behavior with children

As a large imposing dog, Akita can easily overpower a child, but of course, it won’t do it on purpose. They get excited during play times and that’s when accidents can happen.

Therefore, you’ll have to train it consistently to help it be gentle around children and play at their pace. Once done, the breed comes out to be very gentle and loving toward children.

Behavior with strangers

Akita always looks with suspicion at a stranger because of its guarding instincts. It’s not a loud breed but when danger comes lurking, you’ll hear it bark out its heart and possibly go for an attack if it’s not trained well.

With proper early socialization and desensitization, you can tone down the breed’s tendency to work on its suspicion. When done properly, it will welcome strangers or should I say accept them in its territory when you are around.

Behavior with other dogs and pets

As independent thinkers with a dash of stubbornness, other dogs and pets find it hard to overpower them. In fact, they will always try to be the leader of the pack, drawing their inspiration from their guarding and hunting instincts.

Besides trying to be leaders, they will chase small animals for the sake of it. Things could also get out of your hands when you have another stubborn breed under the same roof.

Here again, proper socialization will work in your favor. Besides that, keep on repeating the obedience training sessions to control the dog’s urges. 

7. How To Care For A Long-Haired Akita?

Caring for the long-haired Akita requires commitment on your part because slight neglect could cause havoc for its health, behavior, and overall well-being.

Generally, the breed has cat-like tendencies to groom themselves with the tongue. You may see it licking itself frequently in an effort to look its best. Still, you’ll have to pay attention to the following.

Grooming requirements

Traditional Akitas are double-coated dogs and so are the long hair versions. They require additional care due to heavy shedding and the potential of mats and tangles.

I recommend that you regularly brush the fur or do it several times a week depending on the dog’s activity, and environment. You can use a slicker brush or a pin brush to effectively remove and lose hair to keep the coat smooth and shining.

The areas to pay special attention to are behind the ears, armpits, and tail. The fur in these areas has a high propensity to become tangled.

Bathing frequency

Because of the long coat, the Akitas do not require frequent baths. However, that does not mean that you won’t have to pay for that at all. Instead, occasional bathing depending on the activity and environment of the dog is necessary to keep the coat healthy and clean. 

Use a high-quality dog shampoo for long-haired breeds. Make sure that it’s gentle on the skin because the breed is also prone to allergies.

Once you’re done thoroughly cleaning the outer and the inner coat, rinse it properly to prevent any residue from forming. That’s also to ensure that the dog’s skin does not get dry later to cause any irritation.

When the fur dries, use a soft slicker brush to groom the dog and prevent any matting. 

Regularly inspect the coat

As I mentioned before, the breed is highly susceptible to allergies from dirt, debris, and allergens. Regularly check their coat for any signs of irritation that may be characterized by raised bumps, redness, and patches of irregular pattern.

During the inspection, always be on the lookout for potential flea infestation as double-coated dogs are prone to that also.

Dental and Paw Health

It goes without saying that regular brushing will prevent any tooth decay in the dog. The sheer size of each tooth makes up a good case for extended dental care. You can find a dog-friendly brush in toothpaste online or in-store.

However, make sure that you consult your vet to learn how to properly brush its teeth. 

This breed is also susceptible to overgrown nails hurting their paws. Therefore, trim the nails when they start clicking against the floor to prevent that from happening.

Here too, you’ll have to spend some time learning how to trim the nails without hurting the pinkish part that contains all the blood vessels and is painful when cut. 

Exercise needs

Long-haired Akitas are energetic; however, they have less intensity in everything they do. You can resume that their potential to do something in a short burst surpasses most breeds.

But when it comes to a high-intensity task for a long time, they would certainly need a few stops to catch some air. 

Considering this, they have moderate exercise needs that can be fulfilled with regular walks, short playtimes, and interactive toys that not only relieve boredom but also teach the dogs important skills.

In fact, the dog’s brain requires more exercise than its body. You should definitely consider puzzle toys and training sessions that involve thinking to keep the dog entertained as well as mentally and physically fit.

Nutritional requirements

Whether it’s the long-haired Akita or the short hair, the breed requires a lot of food because of its size and metabolic rate. As a general recommendation, 3 to 5 cups of high-quality dog food should suffice.

However, you can fluctuate this amount depending on the size, age, activity level, and general disposition for food. It’s also better to divide the cups of food into multiple meals to keep the dog going during the day without starving for food.

Doing this will also save your dog from bloating which could be life threatening.

I always recommend dry kibble for dogs and the long-haired Akitas are no different. This type of food is not only balanced but also provides other benefits such as cleaning the teeth and maintaining gut health. 

Vaccination and Veterinary Care

The well-being of your dog will depend on early vaccinations against common diseases and administering preventive medications when necessary.

Usually, the vaccines are given from four to six months of age but it also depends from case to case. Talk to your vet at the earliest if your dog has not been vaccinated and it’s puppyhood.

You should also pay your visit to the clinic for regular or routine checkups to keep a stern eye on your pet’s mental and physical well-being.

8. Where To Find A Long-Haired Akita?

You can find a healthy long-haired version of Akita by searching for reputable breeders in your area with a reliable outlook in the community.

It’s important that you go for certified breeders whose reputation precedes their names to adopt a healthy dog. If you’re asking how they ensure that the puppy is healthy, they do regular health screenings, genetics screening, and veterinary checkups to provide proper care to the dogs.

Before that, they practice healthy ethical breeding to keep things within acceptable limits. 

Besides searching online and asking your friends, you can rely on breed clubs and associations to find ethical and responsible breeders from their breeder directories.

Alternatively, you can visit rescue or adoption services in your area to find a long-haired Akita waiting to be taken to a loving home and be part of a family thirsty for love.

Adopting such a dog is a noble cause because everyone deserves a second chance and it’s your opportunity to provide that for it. Some of these dogs have a brutal past and your adoption will act as a glimmer of hope in their shattered life.

9. How Long Do Long-Haired Akitas Live?

Much like their short-haired counterparts, the long-haired Akitas have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. With proper care, regular health checkups, a balanced diet, and an environment full of love and care, the breed can live longer than they spend.

Health considerations – Some diseases to look out for

Akitas are prone to some diseases that reduce their overall life quality and also their lifespan. 

Hip dysplasia is one of the inherited conditions where the femur does not fit well into its socket. The breed is known to grow very fast from the age of 4 months to 7 months.

During that time they are more susceptible to show signs of this disease or other bone-related diseases that together can reduce their lifespan.

This is where making sure that the dog you have adopted has a healthy parentage and has been tested for the disease initially.

The dog is also susceptible to certain skin diseases because of hypothyroidism, which is a disorder of the thyroid gland that causes problems in the secretion of the hormone. These conditions include obesity, alopecia, epilepsy, pyoderma, and a host of other problems.

Another skin-related problem is sebaceous adenitis that’s characterized by extreme drying of the dogs’ skin because of the destruction of sebum-producing glands. There could also be secondary skin infections and alopecia.

Along with that, Akitas, whether short coats or long, are susceptible to bloating. This is a condition characterized by the presence of air in the stomach. It develops after eating large meals or drinking large volumes of water and then exercising vigorously. Rapid eating and drinking also can contribute to it.

The dog cannot get rid of this gas because its stomach gets twisted. Because of a reduced blood flow to the heart, its blood pressure reduces and it goes into a shock that can lead to death when it’s not treated on time. 

The breed is also susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy, which is an eye disease that gradually destroys the retina. As a result, the dog first loses night vision and then it also faces problems seeing things during the day.

For the dog to live a longer and healthier life, you have to keep an eye on diseases like these.

10. Is A Long-Haired Akita Right for You? 

The long-haired Akitas, just like their short-haired counterparts, are loving creatures with a deep sense of loyalty to their families, especially the owner. It is this loyalty that makes them excellent guard dogs.

However, it is the same loyalty that makes them suspicious of strangers. They will not easily trust anyone unless you are safe and you tell the dog that everything is alright. How are you going to tell that? Through obedience training, of course.

Besides strangers, they also need plenty of socialization and obedience training to be good around children and not trip over them because of their size. This also goes for any small or large pet raised under the same roof. 

In terms of grooming, they are high shedders, especially during the shedding seasons. You will find their fur lingering everywhere in the house. Your frequency of vacuuming will increase and that may be an inconvenience for you.

In terms of health, these dogs are more susceptible to diseases in their fast-growing age from 4 months to 7 months. Even after that, you cannot ignore regular veterinary care.

On the bright side, the breed requires moderate exercise. Regular walks and plenty of mental stimulation games and puzzles would do the job. 

When you take care of these things and properly train the dog, you will have a trustworthy companion that will do anything to protect you and your family, all the while showering limitless love.

They are also not fond of barking a lot. In fact, they mumble under their breath as if telling you to do tasks a certain way. 


  • Great protectors
  • Intelligent 
  • Loyal
  • Low exercise needs
  • High trainability
  • Low barking tendency


  • Needs frequent training
  • High maintenance

I hope this guide about Long-Haired Akita was helpful to you.

Have a nice day.

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