If you intend on adding an Akita to your life, make sure you also purchase a good vacuum cleaner. Although your dog's heavy on the seasonal shedding, he's a clean canine. Akitas actually groom themselves, much in the way cats do.
Blowing the Coat
Akitas don't actually shed year-round, although it might seem that way. They're a double-coated breed, "blowing" out their undercoats twice a year. That happens at six-month intervals, generally winter and summer. However, that blowout cycle can take between two to four weeks, so in a worst-case scenario you're looking at two months of heavy-duty dog hair. You'll have large clumps of Akita hair all over the place. Regular brushing helps reduce the volume of hair in the house.
The American Kennel Club describes the Akita's double coat as consisting of a straight, harsh outer coat standing off the body and a dense, short, thick undercoat. At the shoulders and hind end, the hair is about 2 inches long, a little bit longer than the hair on the rest of the body except the tail. The tail boasts the most hair on the Akita. If you have your dog professionally groomed, he'll get a bath and a brushing, but no clipping according to the breed standard. If you ever get frustrated with the shedding, resist the temptation to clip the topcoat. There's a possibility it will never grow back in. Brush your dog several times a week with a metal slicker brush for his topcoat and a "rake" tool for his undercoat.
How much Akita hair you can expect to deal with depends on where you live. If you live in a climate where the change of seasons isn't so dramatic, your dog's shedding level might be milder. If the area you call home has extreme temperature changes from winter to summer - such as New England - expect a heavier and longer seasonal coat blowout. If you live in the South, your dog hair cleanup burden is somewhat easier.
On The Plus Side
Although you can't get away from the semi-annual shedding, there are positive elements to the Akita's coat. Besides the tendency to self-groom, Akitas don't smell doggish. You might have hair in the house, but no accompanying odor. When they get dirty, the soil tends to dry and fall off the coat. Some dogs don't blow their coats but shed all year round to some degree. Other than the seasonal shedding, you won't have much dog hair around the house.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.