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Akita Information

The Akita is a nordic-spitz type dog with a thick double coat that requires regular grooming.


Show Grooming The Akita

by Jo Ann Charnik

 

The Akita has been called a “wash and wear” dog and, compared to many breeds that require extensive scissoring, etc., this is a true analogy. A healthy, clean Akita will require little additional grooming to look his or her best in the ring.

 

Nothing you will learn in grooming replaces good nutrition, health, and breeding. When these three essentials are in place, your job will be simply to enhance what is already there.

 

Before beginning, compile the items you will need for grooming: a grooming table with attached arm, towels, a forced air dryer or hair dryer, a quality pet shampoo, cream rinse, slicker brush, pin brush, wide tooth comb, boar bristle brush, chalk or corn starch, block chalk, scissors, Vaseline or dry oil spray, mousse, and cholesterol.

 

For best results, you should bathe and comb out any dog you are campaigning once a week to remove dead hair and promote healthy new hair growth.


From the time your Akita is young, you should begin table training so that your Akita will stand on a table confidently while you are working on him. This will make your job easier and your Akita will learn to enjoy these grooming sessions and the attention he receives.

 

Begin by brushing through your Akita’s coat with a slicker brush to remove excessive dirt and foreign matter. Next, grind or cut the nails. I have found that most Akitas will tolerate a nail grinder better that the conventional nail clippers. Both will do the job equally well thus, it is a matter of personal choice. Upon completing this task, you are ready for the bath.

 

The Akita’s coat is made to withstand the elements so, be sure that you have completely wetted the dog down before applying the shampoo. Use a good quality pet shampoo working it into the coat well with your fingers, rinse, and repeat. When rinsing, be sure that all the soap is removed from the coat and the water runs clear. If staining at the elbows and hocks is not removed by the shampoo, make a paste out of white vinegar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Apply to the stained area, wait ten minutes, and rinse. Now apply a small amount of cream rinse and again, rinse well.

 

Towel dry and you are ready to complete the drying process with the hair dryer or forced air dryer {the forced air dryer does not have excessive heat and is much better for the coat than a hair dryer made for humans}. While you are blowing the coat dry, use the pin brush to pick up the hair and ensure that you are completely drying the dog. Clean inside the ears with an ear wash solution and cotton balls.

 

Next, with a wide toothcomb, completely comb through your dog’s coat. This helps the coat to stand out and keep it even during “blowing coat” periods. While you are combing, you should mist the dog with a spray bottle of water to which you have added a small amount of bodifier or coat dressing. I begin at the rear legs working upward and hen forward towards the head. The hindquarters are brushed up and out to suggest a wide, powerful rear. If your dog is a little weak in topline, you should also apply a small amount of mousse to the hair at the withers and using the dryer and comb, lift this hair up. The tail should also receive a little mousse and with a pin brush and the dryer, blow out and then back brush the tail until it is bushy.

 

Now for the legs, scissor the hair between the pads to help create the tight cat foot and any long hairs sticking up and out between the toes. Apply a small amount of cholesterol to the legs up to the elbows and hocks. If your dog has white stockings, you will also want to apply powdered chalk or cornstarch over the cholesterol with a soft bristled brush. Be sure not to use too much as this will have to be completely removed from the dog before he enters the show ring. I apply the corn starch well in advance so that it has time to dry and then be brushed out with a boar bristled brush just before going in the ring. A blaze on the face can be enhanced with the use of a block chalk {again remembering that you must remove all residues by show time}.

 

Whiskers are a matter of personal preference. I usually leave them on puppies and remove them from adults. However, I think that removing them generally gives a cleaner look to the head. Finally, rub some Vaseline or dry oil spray into your hands and rub across the face, nose, and back of the ears to give a sheen. Do not use too much or you will get a greasy look instead of the desired shine. After making sure that you have removed all chalk residues, apply a light misting of the bodifier/coat dressing formula and you are ready to head to the ring. Bring a small pin brush or comb with you for final touch ups and ....Good Luck!

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