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Do rhodesian ridgebacks shed? Tips for Families with Allergies.

Do rhodesian ridgebacks shed? Tips for Families with Allergies.

How much a dog sheds is invariably down to what breed they are, though there are, as always, exceptions to the rule. Seasons can also play a role but not so much since most dogs now live indoors year round. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is no exception to these statements but let’s take a closer look.

Any dog owner out there, with few exceptions, will know the joys of their pooch shedding! Hair or fur gets on your clothes, your carpet, your furniture, and into the weirdest of places. It is unavoidable and something that if you can’t cope with means you really shouldn’t have a shedding dog!

It has to be said, however, that not all dogs are created equal when it comes to shedding. Some dogs shed profusely, some not so much, and a few not at all. There are also dogs that tend to shed more seasonally than all year round, and others that shed for no reason at all!

How much a dog sheds is invariably down to what breed they are, though there are, as always, exceptions to the rule. Seasons can also play a role but not so much since most dogs now live indoors year round. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is no exception to these statements but let’s take a closer look.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Coat

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a coat that according to the American Kennel Club breed standards should be short and dense. It is sleek and glossy in appearance but should never be woolly or silky. It comes in one simple color which is wheaten, but various different shades. There may also be white markings and usually a black mask.

If you are wondering whether the Rhodesian Ridgeback coat is made up of fur or hair, the answer is definitely hair. This is because, in general, fur is associated with double coats, whilst hair is linked with single ones.

The ridge of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is also worthy of note when you are talking about their coats. This is a line of hair that grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. It is the very characteristic of this breed and should be clearly defined, tapering and symmetrical. It starts behind the shoulders and continues to a point near the hips. There should be two identical crowns or whorls on the ridge directly opposite each other.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding

It has to be said that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an extremely clean dog with very little odor and a minimal shedding. How much exactly, will depend on whether your dog lives indoors or outdoors. Those kept indoors will shed a little all year round whilst those living outdoors will be more prone to seasonal shedding.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding Care

As coat maintenance goes the Rhodesian Ridgeback would be classed as extremely minimal. A simple weekly brushing will more than suffice. This will help to remove any loose hair and to keep the coat nice and glossy.

Brushing of your Rhodesian Ridgeback should start at an early age so they can become accustomed to being brushed. As a puppy, you can start by using a grooming mitt which allows you to stroke and groom at the same time. As they get older, you can then move to a brush or comb. Ensure that any grooming products you do buy are designed for short dense coats.

Your Rhodesian Ridgeback may also benefit from the occasional bath using a gentle shampoo. This will keep them looking their silky, shiny best, but should not be done too often. Bathing too often can remove essential oils from your Rhodesian Ridgebacks coat.

Why Does My Rhodesian Ridgeback Shed?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks shed for the same reasons as any other dog breed because it is natural! They lose old or damaged hair in pretty much the same way as we humans do. How much and how often, however, can depend on health, breed, and where they reside.

As we have mentioned before dogs that live outside will tend to seasonally shed. This is where in fall your Rhodesian Ridgeback will develop a thicker winter coat. This will stay with them right up until spring when they will shed it in favor of a lighter summer coat.

Dogs that live inside, by comparison, will be far less susceptible to seasonal shedding and the fluctuations in their coat thickness will be smaller. However, the Rhodesian Ridgeback may still shed lightly all year round.

Why Does My Rhodesian Ridgeback Shed Excessively?

Excessive shedding can be normal in many dog breeds, but not the Rhodesian Ridgeback. If they are shedding more than usual, there is probably a reason other than normalcy behind it. These reasons could include stress, poor nutrition, and even medical problems. Your vet is best placed to determine hair loss that is not normal.


There are a myriad of reasons why your Rhodesian Ridgeback could be stressed. Usually, however, it will be down to them not receiving the care that they need. This could be something as simple as they are being left alone too long, or something in their environment frightens them.

Pinpointing the causes of stress is not always easy but, if illness and poor nutrition have been ruled out, you should start looking to things that are possibly distressing your Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Poor Nutrition

The majority of Rhodesian Ridgeback owners all feed their dogs a high-quality diet that provides all the nutrition they need. However, this may not be enough. Some Rhodesian Ridgebacks may have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients in dog foods which could cause hair loss.

Experimenting with different brands is recommended in this scenario although it can take a while to discover exactly which ingredient you need to avoid. Your vet could also help by running tests but these can be expensive and take time too.

Medical Conditions

There are various illnesses that could be causing excessive hair loss in your Rhodesian Ridgeback. These include:

  • Parasites (flea, lice, mites)
  • Fungal / bacterial infections
  • Food allergies
  • Kidney, liver, thyroid or adrenal disease
  • Pregnancy / lactation
  • Certain medications
  • Self-induced trauma due to licking
  • Immune disease
  • Sunburn
  • Contact with irritating or caustic substances

If you think a medical condition could be affecting your Rhodesian Ridgebacks hair loss you should contact your vet. They will be able to diagnose what the issue is quickly and advise/ give appropriate treatment.

How To Minimize Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding

You cannot stop a healthy Rhodesian Ridgeback shedding but you can reduce the amount of hair in your home. You can do this by regularly grooming your dog with a suitable brush and bathing them on occasion. If you are unsure what brush is most suitable, then your vet or groomer will be able to recommend one.

You do not need a groomer to take care of this breed but you can take them to one if you wish. However, this can work out expensive and an inconvenience since you would need to take them on a weekly basis.

Dealing With Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding

Since you cannot stop a healthy Rhodesian Ridgeback shedding, you will need to find quick and easy ways of removing hair from you and your home. Lint rollers are ideal for getting dog hair off your clothes, and a good pet vacuum cleaner with tools will clean carpets and soft furnishings. Hard floors can simply be swept and mopped.

Dog Breeds That Shed The Most, The Least, And Not At All

If shedding is a real problem even at the low levels of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, but you still love this breed you may want to consider a Rhodesian Ridgeback cross. Cross breeds with the Rhodesian Ridgeback that shed less include:

  • Pharaoh Ridgeback (Pharaoh Hound/Rhodesian Ridgeback)
  • Rhodesian Basenji (Basenji/Rhodesian Ridgeback)
  • AmStaff Ridgeback (American Staffordshire Terrier/Rhodesian Ridgeback)
  • Pit Bull Ridgeback (American Pit Bull/Rhodesian Ridgeback)

Dog breeds you will want to avoid altogether if shedding is a huge issue for you include:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Alaskan Husky
  • German Shepherd
  • Chow Chow
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Akita
  • Saint Bernard

Believe it or not, there are dog breeds that do not shed at all. These are ideal for those who do not want the cleaning related to dogs shedding, or those who may be allergic to dog hair/fur.

  • Portugese Water Dog
  • Poodle
  • Labradoodle
  • Bouvier Des Flandres
  • Basenji

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