Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed More Than Other Dogs? Vet Reviewed Facts

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The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a popular canine companion in the US, and for good reason. This noble and athletic South African dog is, when properly socialized, affectionate, gentle, and friendly, but the perks don’t stop there. While Rhodesian Ridgebacks shed a bit more than some very low-shedding breeds they don’t shed an awful lot or have any complex or time-consuming coat care requirements.

In this post, we endeavor to answer all your burning questions about the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s shedding tendencies and coat care to help you decide if you’ll be the perfect fit for one another.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback’s Coat

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a short, smooth coat that comes in various wheaten shades, including light wheaten, red wheaten, and wheaten paired with various nose colors, for example, light wheaten black nose, red wheaten brown nose, etc.

The “Ridgeback” part of the breed’s name is a reference to the long stripe of hair that goes down these dogs’ backs and is shaped like a ridge. This stripe is very unique, as it grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. In some cases, a Rhodesian Ridgeback will lack the gene responsible for the distinctive stripe of hair. Some call these kinds of Ridgebacks “Ridgeless Ridgebacks.”

Healthy Rhodesian Ridgebacks should only shed lightly throughout the year and a little more heavily during shedding seasons, but not excessively. Furthermore, they’re typically very clean dogs that don’t tend to drool much or get excessively stinky.

rhodesian ridgeback
Image Credit: boumapetrovice, Pixabay

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Hypoallergenic?

Though Rhodesian Ridgebacks don’t shed heavily, they still shed a bit year-round, so they are not considered to be hypoallergenic. Dogs labeled “hypoallergenic,” like Poodles, Bedlington Terriers, and Schnauzers, shed very minimally, so are sometimes marketed as more suitable breeds for allergy sufferers. However, people are usually allergic to protein found in dander and saliva, and as all dogs produce some dander and saliva, no breed is 100% hypoallergenic.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Coat Care

Luckily for Rhodesian Ridgeback parents, these pooches’ short and low-shedding coats are quite easy to look after. In most cases, a weekly brushing session should be sufficient to keep the coat in good condition and keep shedding under control, in addition to, of course, feeding a nutritional and balanced diet.

It’s a good idea to use your weekly brushing sessions as an opportunity to have a good look at your Rhodesian Ridgeback’s skin and coat condition to make sure there are no signs of soreness, itchiness, or lumps and bumps that may require treatment.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are unlikely to need frequent bathing, especially since these dogs’ coats don’t get matted, tangled, or dirty easily. As a rule of thumb, a bath every 2 or 3 months would typically be fine for a Rhodesian Ridgeback. More frequent bathing is only necessary if they’ve gotten dirty or have a skin condition for which your vet has recommended regular bathing.

rhodesian ridgeback having a bath
Image Credit: Alex Zotov, Shutterstock

Why Is My Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding Excessively?

It’s completely normal for Rhodesian Ridgebacks to shed lightly and continuously throughout the year (and a bit more than usual during shedding seasons), but if yours is losing a lot of hair all of a sudden, environmental triggers or even medical conditions could be to blame, so it’d be wise to check this out with your vet. Possible causes of excessive shedding and other skin and coat problems in dogs include:

  • Inadequate diet
  • Stress
  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Using the wrong shampoo e.g. human shampoo
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Tumors
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Other underlying medical conditions
rhodesian ridgeback check by owner
Image Credit: ANNA TITOVA, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

In short, Rhodesian Ridgebacks do not shed a large amount, but they’re not classified as hypoallergenic because they still shed year-round.

You can contribute to keeping your Rhodesian Ridgeback’s skin and coat healthy by feeding a healthy, balanced diet, minimizing stress in their environment, checking the skin and coat regularly, and brushing them weekly with a soft bristle brush or grooming mitt.

Featured Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock

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