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The Akita Information Center
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Akita Fur



You will find many who say that the Akita fur is 2 layers.  Now, this holds true for many. However, some have 3 layers. A triple layer will have the inner layer, a middle layer and guard hairs. With doubles, there will be an inner and outer layer (the latter which holds the guard hairs).  Whether 2 or 3, it will be thick with a luxurious, soft texture.

Akita furThere will be a heavy shed 2 times per year.  This phase will last approximately 2 weeks.

The amount of shed will be lighter for those dogs that live in a location in which there is not a drastic change seasons and heavier for those that have 4 distinct seasons including a hot summer and a cold winter.

The length will depend on the time of year. In areas which have warm to hot months that follow a cold season, the fur will be approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.  In winter months it will be roughly twice that length, 2 inches (5 cm).  Longcoats are approximately 3 to 3.5 inches (7.6 to 8.9 cm) long.  

It should be noted that per AKC standard, the coat will be roughly 2 inches on the withers (the ridge between the shoulder blades) and rump and a tad shorter over the rest of the body…Ruff or feathering is considered a fault. The tail, however has hairs that are a bit longer.

It should be noted that puppies may have a bit longer hairs (not enough to be mistaken for a long coat) that is then replaced by shorter during the gradual change to adult coat.

Grooming the fur is vital to keep both it and the skin healthy. When dead hairs are allowed to remain, they can work their way down to the bottom layer and onto the skin. This blocks air flow…A situation which can cause dry, itchy, flaky skin.

Therefore, throughout the entire year and especially drying the sheds, you will

 
want to properly brush.  Not long enough to develop tangles (unless you have a longcoat), the goal will be to free it from unbound hairs and keep it soft and supple.

Dry Fur

This can be a problem, but can be fixed.  This can be caused by allergies or other health issues, however many times it can be due to grooming methods.

One element that can cause dry fur is the shampoo, both the brand used and how it is rinsed out at the end of the bath.  

This large dog can be sensitive to chemicals, and for this reason a hypo-allergenic shampoo, followed by condition should be used.  It must be strong enough to thoroughly wash dirt and debris, but gentle enough to not cause irritation.

Enough should be used to form a good amount of suds, but one must then be keenly aware that the Akita will need to be rinsed off quite a bit to sufficiently  remove all of those suds.  A couple of pails of water will not suffice.  It is best if one can use a nozzle bath hose, which allows the water to really get down to the surface. But if not, do be sure to rinse off the Akita at least for 2 minutes after you think you should be done.   Any reside left behind will be trapped, will form into a pastel consistency and then will cause dry, itchy skin.

Patches of Loss

Many will tell you that this is due to alopecia, however that term actually MEANS fur loss and is neither a cause nor a disease.

There are so many causes, ranging from hormonal imbalance to ringworm and over 20 medical reasons in-between, that we highly recommend that any areas of obviously loss be brought to the attention of your Akita’s veterinarian. While many cases are due to simple dry skin and then subsequent chewing at the sight that ensues, this breed is too prone to immune related health issues for an owner to not have testing done and be closely involved with the vet to determine the exact cause.

With that said, if it is a case of dryness, adding an Omega 3 supplement can make a huge difference.   It will also help the coat (give it 3-4 weeks) become very soft and supple.  

Shaving


Never, ever shave an Akita.  There are some who mistakenly believe it will help the dog remain cool in hot weather – this is not true. They cool off by panting and by sweating from the paws….shaving would not affect body temperature.

Shaving in an attempt to control shedding is reprehensible. A person would be removing the top layer of fur, but it is the bottom layer that falls…therefore it would serve no purpose other than to ruin the coat.

In addition, the skin would be exposed too much, and sunlight could cause burns.



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