Are Akitas Hypoallergenic?

helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on August 21, 2019
Fact Checked

Akitas are a Japanese breed that blow out their undercoat twice a year.

So these large dogs aren’t hypoallergenic.

Although they’re relatively low to moderate shedders compared to some Spitz dogs, Akitas will go through a shedding season twice a year.

Akitas have built a reputation as supreme guardians of the family over the past few centuries.

They’re currently the 47th most popular dog in the United States.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at why Akitas aren’t hypoallergenic and just how much they shed.

We’ll break this article into the following sections:

• What does hypoallergenic mean?
• What are hypoallergenic dogs?
• What causes an allergy to dogs?
• What are the symptoms?
• Are Akitas hypoallergenic?
• Do Akitas shed a lot?
• Akita maintenance
• Hypoallergenic dog breeds
• Anything else to consider?
• In conclusion

So with the introduction over, let’s take a closer look at the meaning of the word hypoallergenic.

What does hypoallergenic mean?

You may have previously encountered the word hypoallergenic if you’re someone who regularly buys cosmetic or health-related products.

Hypoallergenic was a term first coined by the cosmetic industry to denote a product that was less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. However, it’s important to emphasise that such a product was less likely rather than guaranteed not to cause an allergic reaction.

The cosmetic industry started to use the word to describe some of their products in the 1950s. Nowadays, you’ll often hear about “hypoallergenic dogs”.

To get a clear idea of the word hypoallergenic, let’s look at how WebMD.com define it:

If you see “hypoallergenic” on makeup or a skin care label, it means that that maker claims its product causes fewer allergic reactions than other ones. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is allergy-proof or gentler for your skin.

With an understanding of what hypoallergenic means, let’s take a look at some “hypoallergenic dog”.

What are hypoallergenic dogs?

A hypoallergenic dog is one that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other breeds.

However, the American Kennel Club make it clear that there’s no such thing as a 100 per cent hypoallergenic dog breed.

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, there are a variety of breeds that do well with allergy sufferers. These dogs have a predictable, non-shedding coat which produces less dander.

So don’t fret if you’ve got allergies to dogs, there are some breeds and some mixes that are known to have more hypoallergenic qualities than other canines.

For example, the Poodle has a low shedding coat that doesn’t product a lot of dander. Hence why Poodles are often bred with other dogs such as the Golden Retriever to produce a hybrid called the Goldendoodle. These designer dogs combine the Golden Retriever’s temperament with the Poodle’s coat.

However, there’s no guarantee that a dog will inherit certain traits from each parent. A breeder will usually have a good idea of whether a puppy will be hypoallergenic between eight and 12 weeks after birth.

Both the American Kennel Club and British Kennel Club list dog breeds that have hypoallergenic qualities to help dog lovers on the quest to find a suitable pup.

What causes an allergy to dogs?

Studies in the USA claim that 150 million Americans own a dog, which amounts to nearly half of the country’s population.

However, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology claim that 10 per cent of the US population is allergic to dogs (although more Americans are allergic to cats).

That equates to 32 million Americans who are allergic to dogs.

It perhaps explains why so many people are researching and trying to find hypoallergenic dog breeds.

You’d be forgiven for thinking dog hair is the biggest culprit with regards to allergies. While dog hair can cause a problem, it’s usually because it carries allergens such as dander and pollen.

In fact, a lot of the hypoallergenic dog breeds are not only low shedding but don’t produce a lot of dander. If they do, their coats have a unique way of handling the allergen.

Haven’t heard of dander before? Well here’s the American Lung Association to explain a little more:

Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.

Dander isn’t the only culprit with regards to allergies to canines. Other allergens can include dog saliva, dog urine and pollen from plants that attach themselves to a dog’s coat.

What are the symptoms?

If you suspect you could be allergic to dogs, you’ll want to watch out for some tell-tell symptoms.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology list some symptoms to look out for:

• Sneezing or a runny or stuffy nose.
• Facial pain (from nasal congestion)
• Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
• Watery, red or itchy eyes.
• Skin rash or hives.

If you believe you’re suffering from any of these symptoms around dogs, we recommend making an appointment with your local doctor or GP to discuss in further detail.

Are Akitas hypoallergenic?

Akita Inu dog lying in the snow (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Akita Inu dog lying in the snow (Photo: Adobe Stock)

If you’re a lover of the Akita breed but suffer with allergies to dogs, you’ll be disappointed to learn that Akitas aren’t hypoallergenic.

Although they’re aren’t known as big shedders, they do blow out their undercoat twice a year.

Do Akitas shed a lot?

As we’ve already mentioned, Akitas aren’t a dog breed that shed as much as some other Spitz-type dogs. They’re seasonal shedders that blow out their undercoat twice a year.

During shedding season, Akita owners will need to brush these regal dogs on a daily basis to remove dead hair, fur balls or clumps of fluff in or on their coat.

Akita maintenance

The American Kennel Club recommend brushing an Akita two or three times a week outside of shedding season.

It’s not advisable to shave their coat.

You don’t want to wash your Akita in the bath more than three or four times a year.

Akita are described as fastidious dogs that self groon. Therefore, they don’t omit a dog odor like some other breeds.

Hypoallergenic dog breeds

Both the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in England offer recommendations for those looking to acquire an hypoallergenic dog.

Let’s start with the AKC’S list of 19 breeds:

• Affenpinchser
• Afghan Hound
• American Hairless Terrier
• Barbet
• Bedlington Terrier
• Bichon Frise
• Bolognese
• Chinese Crested
• Coton de Tulear
• Giant Schnauzer
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Kerry Blue Terrier
• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Maltese
• Peruvian Inca Orchid
• Poodle
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka
• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
• Schnauzer
• Xoloitzcuintli

England’s Kennel Club offer an more extensive list of 31 breeds:

• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Spanish Water Dog
• Bouvier des Flandres
• Giant Schnauzer
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Russian Black Terrier
• Hungarian Puli
• Komondor
• Bichon Frise
• Bolognese
• Chinese Crested
• Coton de Tulear
• Havanese
• Maltese
• Yorkshire Terrier
• Lhasa Apso
• Intermediate Mexican Hairless
• Miniature Mexican Hairless
• Standard Mexican Hairless
• Miniature Schnauzer
• Standard Poodle
• Toy Poodle
• Miniature Poodle
• Shih Tzu
• Tibetan Terrier
• Bedlington Terrier
• Dandie Dinmont Terrier
• Glen of Imaal Terrier
• Sealyham Terrier
• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Anything else to consider?

If you suspect you’ve got an allergy to dogs, you should speak to your doctor before you think about getting a dog whether you’re looking at a hypoallergenic breed or not.

Even with some so-called hypoallergenic breeds or designer dogs, there’s still a potential for puppies to have varying hypoallergenic qualities. It’s not a simple case of creating a 100 per cent hypoallergenic dog.

If you’re still curious about the shedding patterns of Akitas, you could always contact an Akita owner on a social media platform such as Instagram.

In conclusion

So to recap, Akitas aren’t a hypoallergenic dog breed.

These Asian dogs will blow out their undercoat twice a year at the changing of the seasons.

You’ll need to regularly brush your Akita, while daily grooming is required during shedding season.