Akitas are large, powerful, dominant dogs that originate from Japan, where they were loyal the guardians of royalty and hunted wild animals.
Do they shed a lot? Akitas have a thick double coat that sheds heavily. They lose a moderate amount of hair year round but a couple of times per year, normally during spring and fall, they shed their coat (blow coat) which can leave a real mess. However, they’re fairly easy to brush and doing so can make a huge difference.
Read on to learn more about how much they shed, how you can reduce this, and what they’re like to groom.
Akita Shedding – What to Expect!
There’s no getting around it, Akitas shed a lot of hair.
Some say they only shed a couple times per year. But the truth is they shed year round, they just lose more fur a couple of times per year.
And the reason for this is because they have thick, dense double coats. Which means they have an outer coat and an undercoat that keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer.
This is the same for other large, heavy shedding, double coated breeds like the German Shepherd, Siberian Husky and St. Bernard for example.
The reason double coated breeds shed more twice per year (typically during spring and fall) has to do with changes in weather.
During spring, they shed their winter coat to make way for a new summer coat. In fall (autumn), they shed their summer coat in preparation for the coming winter months.
So this is a natural process, but it does mean you should expect to be cleaning up a whole heap of fur during these times. Or should I say, more than what you normally would. As I said earlier, they do shed year round, just not as bad as when they’re in full “blowing coat” mode.
So, all in all, Akitas aren’t the best breed if you can’t stand cleaning up dead hair. Because it’ll end up on your floor, couch, car, clothes and just about anywhere else you can think of.
That is, unless you brush them regularly.
What Are They Like to Groom?
Akitas are a fairly low maintenance breed when it comes to grooming, a simple brush once per week should keep their coat looking good.
However, because they shed so much fur, brushing daily is going to be more suitable if you don’t want to be seeing fur throughout your home.
What type of brush should you use?
A slicker brush is ideal for the outer coat. Start by brushing the coat all over with the slicker to remove as much of the dead fur as possible, carefully working out any matts.
And a deshedding tool is on of the most effective ways to remove the loose fur from the undercoat. Given the length of their coat, a larger deshedder is best as it will allow you to reach all the way down to the undercoat.
You can compare our top rated shedding brushes here if you want to learn more about how these work, the differences between them, and how much they cost.
Bathing your Akita every few months in warm water, and with a good quality dog shampoo, is also worthwhile. They’re not a very smelly breed, but this is a good idea to maintain their coat and can help with shedding. Especially if you give them a good brushing, ideally with the help of a blower, afterwards.
Aside from brushing and bathing, regular grooming needs should be taken into account. Such as regular teeth cleaning, nail trimming and so forth.
Can You Stop Your Akita From Shedding:
The simple answer is no, you cannot stop a dog from shedding. Dogs lose hair, this is a normal process of hair dying and new hair taking its place.
It’s just that some dogs, like the Akita, do it more than others.
The best way to reduce how much hair your Akita sheds is with regular brushing. Not only does this remove the dead fur from the dog before it falls out, which can save you a lot of time cleaning up, but it can help prevent excessive shedding.
Why? Because when you brush your dog, it helps distribute their skin oils which can prevent skin dryness. And when it comes to shedding, dry skin is not your friend.
It will take some time and effort to brush regularly, but it can save you a lot of time cleaning up. The more loose fur you can remove, the better of you’re going to be.
Don’t be tempted to have your Akita clipped though. This may seem like a logical way to save yourself some time and energy, but they need their undercoat to stay warmer in winter AND to stay cooler in summer. It protects them from weather extremes.
Instead, be determined to stick to a regular brushing routine. A quick 5-10 minute brush in the morning, or of an evening, is all it takes. And maybe a more comprehensive brushing once per week.
Speaking from personal experience, doing this can save you hours upon hours of vacuuming, even if you have a good quality vacuum designed to clean up dog hair. So it’s well worth it.
Brushing isn’t the only solution though. There are some other great ways to reduce shedding, which you can learn about in detail in this article.
Shedding in Japanese vs American Akitas
There are actually two different types of Akita:
- Japanese Akita (Akita Inu)
- American Akita
And there’s controversy over which breed standard is “superior,” the Japanese or American. I’m personal am not going to get into that, because I like them both.
However, there are some differences between the two that are important to consider. Such as their size, appearance and temperament.
For example, Japanese Akitas are smaller, more fox-like in appearance and were bred more as companions. Whereas American Akitas are large, have a bear-like head and is better known as a guard dog.
There’s also differences in color between the two, but overall they share very similar coats and shed equally as much. You just may not notice quite as much fur around the home with a Japanese because they’re a smaller dog in size.
It’s not that smaller dogs shed less, they don’t. In fact, small dogs can shed just as much and the Pug is a good example of this given that they’re a small, high shedding breed.
However, even though the speed at which the Japanese and American Akitas shed is similar, there’s just less hair to shed on the Japanese Akita given their smaller size.
Should You Adopt an Akita?
Akitas are loyal, strong, dominant dogs that originate from Japan.
According to Wikipedia, they were originally used for guarding royalty and nobility in Japan, as well as tracking and hunting deer, bear and wild boar.
In Japan, Akitas have a symbolic meaning to the people of good health, happiness, and long life. To the point newborns are often given Akita figurines as gifts.
On one hand, Akitas make excellent guard dogs and will loyally protect the family. Which is something they’re well suited to given their size and strength. They also don’t bark much unless they deem it necessary, so will suit people looking for a quieter breed.
As an added bonus, they’re known to be quite a clean dog, often cleaning themselves as cats do and breeds like the Japanese Chin for example.
On the other hand, they aren’t the best dogs for novice owners. Akitas can be reserved around strangers, territorial, and are notorious for not getting along with other dogs of the same sex.
Which is why proper training and socialization is key early on. Doing so can make a huge difference and minimize potential issues down the road.
All in all, Akitas make excellent family companions. They do shed heavily, but regular brushing, along with some of the other tips we mentioned, can make a huge difference.
Are Akitas Hypoallergenic?
No, Akitas (American or Japanese) are not hypoallergenic. No dog is ever 100% non-allergenic though, it’s just that some breeds are worse than others in this respect.
What’s the Best Shedding Brush for an Akita?
The best brush to remove dead fur on your Akita is probably a combination of slicker brush for the outer coat and deshedding tool or metal comb for the undercoat.
Do Akitas Smell?
Akitas are not a bad smelling breed. In fact, they are known to be fastidious which means they clean themselves regularly. A good bath every few months is all they need.
Do Akitas Bark Much?
Akitas are not considered to be heavy barking dogs. They will typically only bark when they need to, to let you know there is a stranger lurking around or unfamiliar animal.
Examples of similar breeds to the Akita include the German Shepherd, Siberian Husky and Shiba Inu. All of which shed heavily though, so if you’re looking for a low shedding alternative, there are better options to consider.