Introducing Panda: Our Long Coat American Akita Woolie!

You might be wondering…what the heck is a Woolie Akita? If you haven’t yet, you can read all about long coat Akitas aka Woolies in our article about them, but the short version of the story is that a long, long time ago, Akitas may have been crossbred with the Sakahlin Husky, which is a very long coated dog, and now the long coat gene lives within some Akita dogs, both American and Japanese Akitas!

We had long talked about getting a second Akita so our first American Akita, Haga, could have a friend, and the opportunity finally presented itself last year! So in this article, we’re going to answer all of YOUR questions about our new American Akita named Panda, and what it’s like owning two Akitas and owning a Long Coat Akita!

Where Did You Get Your Akitas?

This is probably the number one question we get about our Akitas. I get it, they’re good looking dogs, and people want an Akita that looks like them! If you’re in the United States, we also recommend starting with the Akita Club of America’s website for a list of breeders that are registered with them. The Akita Club of America has a code of ethics that registered breeders commit to following. Of course this doesn’t insure that everyone on the list will follow those ethics, nor does it mean a breeder NOT on the list isn’t a good breeder, however I do think it is a red flag when a breeder is not registered with he parent club, as doing so is fairly inexpensive.

With that said, we got our first Akita Haga, from Paradise Akitas in Idaho. Haga is a male standard coat American Akita. He was one of 9 puppies, and both of his parents were champion show dogs in the AKC.

We got our second Akita from Morrow Akitas formerly in Tennessee, but they will soon be resuming their breeding program in Wisconsin. Both breeders are fantastic breeders who put breed integrity and the health of their dogs first. Alexis Spalding, the owner of Morrow Akitas is also very active online with providing education to the community via her Instagram page.

One thing that is important to remember with ethical breeders, particularly with a rare breed like Akitas, is that they usually will have more people wanting to buy puppies than there are puppies available. This means when you get puppy fever and you’re ready to fork over some cash for a dog, you may have to hop on a waitlist.

If a breeder has a wait list, that’s usually a good sign, and they will probably be worth waiting for. However both Morrow Akitas and Paradise Akitas will likely be glad to point you in the direction of a breeder with puppies available if they themselves do not have any puppies for sale.

Where Can I get a Long Coat Akita?

When most people see our Long Coat Akita, Panda, one of the first questions they ask is “Where can I get my own long coat woolie?” What you need to know about Woolies, is that in dog showing, the long coat is considered a “fault.” This means that the AKC does not recognize the long coat as part of the “ideal” Akita, and after all, that’s what dog showing is all about, it’s about producing dogs that fit the breed standard as closely as possible.long coat Akita puppy playing with rope toy

With that in mind, breeders who care about the integrity of the breed do not breed specifically for the long coat gene…it just happens from time to time. If you find a breeder that is specifically breeding for long coats, I would steer clear of them. However, most breeders will know if their dogs carry the long coat gene and have produced woolie puppies in the past, and they may be able to keep a lookout for you to see if they have a long coat from a litter, as many people¬†don’t want long coats, particularly if they plan on showing their Akitas.

When and how can you tell if a puppy will be a long coat?

Generally speaking the easiest way to tell if a puppy will be a long coat is the quality of their fur. Alexis Spalding of Morrow Akitas has told us that she has had puppies that can tell as soon as they are delivered, while others it took a few weeks.

While long coat puppies don’t really have the super long fur that they do as adults, you can tell when side by side that there’s something “different’ about them compared to a standard coat Akita.

 

 

What are the Pros and Cons of Having a Long Coat Akita?

Long Coat Akitas, while still Akitas, definitely have some unique traits. It has been said that Long Coats are usually more mild mannered than regular Akitas, and so far, that has been my experience with Panda. In general she is a lot more lovey and cuddly than her big brother, although she is still not a year old, and we’ll see what happens when she has her first heat, as most Akitas have a fairly drastic change in temperament when they sexually mature.Long coat Akita puppy with adult Akita

You’ll also have to consider the additional grooming efforts of a long coat. Long coats shed more, they have a different texture of fur and because their fur is so dense, they are more prone to things like matted fur, or even hot spots. We’ve found that we’ve needed to use a different type of brush on Panda the long coat Akita.

The pros are you get a fun loving, fluffy companion that really does look like a combination between a bear and an ewok! You’ll feel like a celebrity every time you leave the house because everyone will want to pet your dog, and take a picture of them! This could also be considered a con of owning a long coat Akita, since it will take you twice as long to get anywhere with all the people stopping you to ask you questions!

Does Haga the Akita get Along with Panda the Akita?

Adding another dog to your household when you already have an Akita at home requires a lot of planning and patience. We actually just did a whole write up on this, which is a must read if you’re thinking about having multiple dogs or multiple Akitas.

With that said, yes, Haga and Panda the Akitas do get along. While they do enjoy playing together, Haga often tires of it more quickly, and Panda wants to keep the play going.

It’s normal for puppies to not understand boundaries, so Haga often has to “correct” her. This usually entails him being very vocal and nipping her just behind the ears and using his body to push her off of him. Sometimes Panda will get the hint right away, and other times she will need to be told a few times before it clicks.

As Panda gets older, she has a better understanding of Haga’s boundaries.

How Big are Long Coat Akitas?

Long Coat Akitas tend to be a bit shorter and stockier than standard coat Akitas. So far that has been the case with Panda. At the time of this article, she’s coming up on one year old and she weighs 80lbs. While she’s almost as tall as her brother, Haga is a bit on the short side for a male American Akita. He stands about 1″ shorter than the breed standard, but is still a solid 110lbs.

Most Akitas are done growing in height by the 12 month mark, but don’t fully fill out their frames until about the 3 year mark. Haga the Akita stayed true to this timeline, At about 18 months he was 90lbs, and his weight stayed there for a while, and then one day we brought him to the vet and he weighed 110lb!

Are Long Coat Akitas Right for you and your Family?

If you like the idea of owning an Akita, but you want a dog with a slightly more mellow temperament, long coat Akitas may be right for you, however you must remember that proper training and socialization of your Akita will always be important, no matter if they are a long coat or a standard coat Akita.

Furthermore, there will be extra grooming work necessary for a long coat. While puppies don’t need much grooming, once your Long Coat Akita becomes an adult, they will need daily brushing, and frequent trips to the groomer, particularly if you aren’t comfortable with grooming your long coat Akita yourself.

If you think you’re ready for a long coat Akita of your own, check the Akita Club of America’s website for a reputable breeder near you, and if you have any questions, comment below!

 

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