Hi, my name’s Irena and I live on the largest Greek island, Crete in the Mediterranean Sea with my dog, Sherlock and my 3 cats, Hamlet, Dimitris and Ebony.
But I’ve not come here to talk to you about my wonderful pets. Today we’re going to find out a bit about Akitas and whether or not they shed.
First a few words about shedding. Most dogs do shed; some a lot more than others. Hairs all over the carpet and couch can put some people off having dogs, though not me.
I wouldn’t be without Sherlock. Shedding is a minor problem compared to the love you get from your dogs.
Why do Dogs Shed?
Well, their hair goes through a cycle of growth, rest and loss. New hair pushes the old out and that’s the time to get out your vacuum cleaner.
I am always doing this with Sherlock. As much as I love him, he really is a shedder.
However, the extent to which your dogs shed depends on a variety of factors, for example, their breed, their health, the season and the environment in which they live.
Some dogs shed all the time, like Sherlock, while others will shed at certain times of the year, for example, the spring and the fall.
Dogs with an undercoat usually shed, but this is not always the case. You might be surprised to know that even some dogs with a short coat will shed.
Anyway, today we’re going to take a look at Akitas and learn about how much they shed.
What is an Akita?
Perhaps you don’t know what an Akita is. Well, an Akita, which by the way is my dream dog, not that I could ever replace Sherlock with any other dog.
Perhaps I could get an Akita as well although Sherlock might have something to say about that!
However, these dogs are double-coated and don’t really suit a tropical climate. It is really hot here in the summer and mild in the winter, with some wet weather.
However, I did see one in the vet’s recently so they must adapt. The dog was absolutely gorgeous by the way, though don’t tell Sherlock.
Akitas are heavy-boned and tall, standing at 24″ – 28″ at the shoulder. They have large and broad heads and a full curled-over tail.
They can weigh up to a hundred and thirty pounds. That’s some size. They come in a variety of colors including white, brindle and pinto.
The pinto has a white background with large splashes of color and I think I would want one of those.
Akitas are wary of strangers but are devoted to their owners. They have an affectionate side directed at their humans and protect the people that they love.
They don’t particularly get on with other animals so it is important to socialize your Akita from a puppy if you intend to have more than one dog. I
f I get an Akita, it will definitely have to be a puppy so that it learns to live with Sherlock and the cats. I already have enough problems with 2 cats not liking each other.
History of the Akita
Akitas are an ancient breed going back at least 1000 years. They originated in Japan and were first bred as hunting and fighting dogs because of their size and strength.
They can even take on bears and wild boar. I can’t see Sherlock doing that but another dog is a different matter. He’d probably lick the bear to death!
In the Middle Ages Akitas became prized by Japanese royalty and only them and the Emperor’s ‘Samurai’ were allowed to own them.
However, by the early 20th century they weren’t valued as much anymore and were used for fighting again.
During the Second World War, many Akitas were killed to make fur coats out of their soft and luxurious fur. I am totally against fur, but at least this practice seems to have stopped now.
Akitas first came to the US in 1937 when the Emperor of Japan gave 2 Akita puppies to Hellen Keller, the blind and deaf woman who reached extraordinary heights when she was taught how to communicate.
Nowadays there are 2 different lines of Akitas, the Japanese Akita and the American Akita. Both are recognized separately by the AKC, but they both have the original genes and they really are one and the same.
What is an Akita’s Coat Like?
Akitas are double-coated dogs with a thick and soft undercoat. The outer coat is a little longer and coarser. The overall coat is short to medium in length and is very thick.
This is why they are suited to colder climates although their coats do thin out in the summer. I think that the Akita I saw in the vet must have had its’ summer coat on.
Some Akitas do have longer hair, but they are not accepted at dog shows which I think is a pity as they are still Akitas.
Akitas with white fur don’t have a mask while other colors do. The undercoat can be a different color from the outer coat, but the colors are always distinct and bold.
Do Akitas Shed?
Yes, Akitas shed and you will definitely need a vacuum cleaner if you decide to adopt an Akita. A lint roller won’t go amiss either for getting the hair off your couch and off your clothes.
I have one because of Sherlock. Akitas are considered to be medium shedders although at times you might think that they never stop shedding.
When do Akitas Shed the Most?
Time of Year
Akitas don’t shed year-round, unlike my Sherlock. Because they are double-coated they ‘blow’ their undercoat twice a year, usually at the beginning of winter and at the beginning of summer.
You might think, ‘hey that’s not bad’, but the shedding is fierce and it lasts between 2 and 4 weeks.
Yes, you’ll have major hair shedding, but at the worst, this will be for 2 months and it might not even be for that long. Not a big sacrifice to pay for having such a fantastic dog.
Your Akitas are going to shed their puppy coats, but when this happens is another matter. Dogs usually shed their baby coat between 6 and 12 months of age.
If this time comes in-between the seasonal shed, they will get rid of their puppy coats there and then. So you may have an extra shed, but then it will settle down to the seasonal cycle.
That’s not so bad, is it? I know I would be able to put up with it to have such a lovely dog.
After all, I put up with Sherlock’s shedding and he is the best dog in the world. Well to me anyway!
If your Akitas aren’t getting a wholesome diet, they could end up shedding more than normal.
They need to have essential vitamins and minerals on a daily basis and a cheap own label dog food might not give them this.
The cheaper the dog food is, the more likely it is to contain empty fillers like wheat, corn and soy which have no nutritional health benefits.
Protein is very important in the diet of dogs as well and some cheap dog foods don’t have enough.
You might not notice that they’re not getting the right nutrition at first, but a couple of months after starting your dogs on this diet you might experience more shedding.
How to Combat Akita Shedding
You can’t stop your Akitas from shedding, but there are ways to reduce the amount of hair they leave all over the place.
The first thing to do is to brush your dogs every day. You will probably get some hairs on the brush, but this can easily be cleaned.
It will stop too much shedding at one time. Go and talk to your groomer if you have one or to your vet. They should be able to recommend the best type of brush for your dogs’ hair.
Equipment to Help Combat Akita Shedding
There definitely is equipment you can get to help reduce the amount of shedding your Akitas do. The first thing you need to get is a good brush.
However, if your Akitas have sensitive skin, it is better to use a rubber bathing brush. Another thing to use is a de-shedding tool which has a stainless steel blade.
This makes grooming so much easier and it also has a quick-release button so you don’t have to pick hairs off the tool.
I wish I could get one of those here on Crete because I’m forever pulling hair from Sherlock’s brush.
Too much shedding can be caused by a lack of dietary fat, so add fish, flaxseed or extra virgin olive oil to their food.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are also a good way to go but check with your vet first to see if what you are giving your dogs is suitable.
Brewer’s yeast is full of Biotin and B vitamins which will cut down on the shedding.
Your vet may also have special dog supplements to help with excess shedding and don’t forget to ask about shampoos as well. They can also help to cut down on shedding. Use a conditioner as well.
Are Akitas Considered to be Hypoallergenic?
To tell you the truth, there really isn’t a dog that is completely hypoallergenic not even the Mexican hairless dog or the Chinese Crested.
Yes, some people will say that their dogs are hypoallergenic especially people who have designer dogs like Labradoodles.
They may shed minimally, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t cause allergies. The allergens aren’t particularly in the dog hair, but in the dander and pollen that the dogs pick up when they are outside.
Akitas aren’t considered to be hypoallergenic at all because they shed, but the reason is more in the fact that they have a lot of fur which will pick up more pollen and dander.
In addition, you can also get allergies from dog saliva and urine so you will never be totally free of the chance that you could be allergic to your dogs, even if you get a hairless breed.
I am lucky in that I’ve never been allergic to any of my animals, but I think I would suffer through it if I was. I can’t think of a life without animals.
Health Reasons Why Your Akitas Might Shed More
To end with, I’m going to talk about the health reasons why your Akitas might shed a lot. Your Akitas might get affected by parasites such as ticks, lice, mites and fleas.
It doesn’t take much for these pesky creatures to take hold so go and see your vet to get preventative measures.
It’s best to give flea and tick medications once a month as these parasites are very determined to get to your pets. I know that I give all my animals the right medication but it’s no time at all until I have to do it again.
In addition ringworm, fungal infections, dermatitis, immune diseases and cancer can cause hair loss so if you see more hairs on your couch than usual, my best advice is to go and see your vet, especially if your dogs seem to be irritated or in pain.
I think that we can surmise that Akitas do shed, but they usually do this twice a year so you will have a lot of vacuuming to do then.
However, the rest of the year should be fine. If there is extra shedding it’s always a good idea to visit your vet as there will probably be an underlying cause.
Don’t let shedding put you off having an Akita as they are fantastic dogs and you will have many years of companionship and love.
I keep telling my Sherlock that he would love to have an Akita friend, but I don’t know if he’s convinced.