Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed Much Hair?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are confident, loyal, intelligent dogs that are characterized by a “ridge” of reverse growing hair on their back. They’re hunting dogs by nature and make excellent guard dogs, but also make great family companions, especially with proper training.

How much do they shed?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are considered a low-shedding breed, and they’re also very easy to groom, which is good news for allergy sufferers and those who enjoy living in a clean, hair-free home!

Keep in mind, however, that they need regular exercise and stimulation because they can get a bit destructive if left alone all day. So, from a shedding perspective, they make great indoor dogs, just make sure they don’t get too bored, or you’ll soon know about it!

About Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are part of the hound group and originate in Southern Africa, where they were once used as guard and hunting dogs by local Boer farmers.

At one point, they were even used to track and hunt down Lions, which is why they are sometimes referred to as the “African Lion Hound” or “African Lion Dog.”

How did this breed come about?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are descendants of various European breeds such as the Bloodhound, Great Dane, Greyhound, and Mastiff. As well as other breeds, including a local African breed native to the Khoikhoi people, which had a distinctive ridge along its back.

The official Rhodesian Ridgeback breed standard was introduced by F. R. Barnes in Southern Rhodesia in 1922. But it wasn’t until 1955 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Rhodesian Ridgeback as a breed in the United States.

Nowadays, they are known as intelligent, loyal, confident family dogs. And although they’re probably not suited to novice dog owners, with proper training, they are known to make excellent guard dogs and faithful family companions.

As far as looks go, they’re characterized by a strip of hair that grows in the opposite direction running down their back, hence the name “ridgeback.”

The color of their coat is light wheaten to red wheaten, which is essentially pale yellow (or gold) to a more reddish yellow. And the texture of the coat is short, dense, and glossy.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Coat Card

Rhodesian Ridgeback laying outdoors on a field.
Coat type:Single coat
Texture:Dense and glossy
Length:Short hair
Color:Numerous
Shedding:Low- shedding
Grooming:Low-maintenance

Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not heavy shedders.

They typically shed a low amount of hair and, like most dogs, a little more during seasonal changes like fall and spring. But nothing to be too concerned about.

The reason they don’t shed much isn’t that they have short hair. There are lots of short-haired breeds, like the Jack Russell Terrier, for example, that shed a fair bit. In fact, shorter hair can actually lead to higher amounts of loose fur as opposed to longer-haired breeds, given the life cycle of the hair is shorter (from growth to falling out).

In any case, Ridgebacks don’t shed much. And because their hairs are only small, you won’t notice them lying around as much as you would a longer-haired breed. Nor will their dead hairs float around your home (and in the air) as much as some breeds.

Grooming Your Rhodesian Ridgeback

Ridgebacks are very easy to groom. All you really need is a short bristle brush or rubber brush to get rid of unwanted loose hairs once or twice per week.

This combination of low-shedding AND being easy to groom makes the Rhodesian Ridgeback a truly unique dog because it’s often a tradeoff between one or the other. Many low-shedding dogs (like the Poodle, Bichon Frise, or Maltese, for example) have high-maintenance coats.

But this isn’t so with a Rhodesian Ridgeback. They have a short, glossy coat, which makes them such a breeze to brush. Not to mention, unlike dogs with thick, wooly coats, they don’t get debris stuck in their coats, and they are not prone to mats and tangles.

What’s the best brush?

The best brush for a Rhodesian Ridgeback is a bristle brush or rubber brush. There’s no need to buy any fancy grooming tools or de-shedders for this dog, the brushes I just mentioned are cheap, easy to use, and all that’s needed to keep your Ridgeback’s coat optimal.

Of course, they also need to be bathed, like any dog. And being a large dog, it’s probably best to invest in either a dog washing station or shower attachment, as these can help save you time.

Are They Hypoallergenic?

No, Rhodesian Ridgebacks aren’t hypoallergenic. But no dog is ever truly 100% hypoallergenic. It’s just that some dogs are better than others for allergy sufferers.

With that being said, they’re far from the worst breed when it comes to allergies. This is because they’re low-shedding, their coat is short, and their hair isn’t particularly fluffy. Meaning you will typically have less hair flying around your home.

It’s important to understand, though, that it’s not the hair itself that causes the allergy. It’s the dog’s dead skin (dander) and saliva. And when this binds to the hair, and that hair falls out, you have allergens spread all over the home. So typically, the higher level of shedding and the more likely the hair is to float in the air, the worse it is.

One easy way to reduce allergens, if this is a concern for you, is to wipe your Ridgeback down with a damp cloth after exercising and/ or brushing. This should reduce the amount of dander on your dog and therefore reduce the allergies she brings into your home. There are also special dander removal products you can use that can work much better than a damp cloth.

Reducing Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding

Shedding is perfectly normal. Old hair falls out, new hair takes its place. Much like in humans when we lose our dead hair, and new hair grows back (well, hopefully, it grows back!)

So shedding is not something you want to “stop” or even significantly reduce if your dog is exhibiting normal levels of shedding. But there are cases when he may be shedding excessively due to seasonal changes or due to some other reason.

With respect to normal levels of shedding, it’s fairly easy to keep this under control. Because they don’t shed much to begin with and their coat is easy to groom, so all you really need to do is brush regularly with a bristle brush or curry comb (aka rubber brush).

Also, regular exercise, proper diet, and regular bathing will help keep your dog’s shedding as low as possible. Just be sure to avoid over-bathing and using harsh shampoos, as this can actually cause shedding in and of itself.

What if your Rhodesian Ridgeback is shedding excessively?

Well, in that case, there are some extra measures you can take.

For example, you could try a supplement designed to reduce shedding. Or you could use a de-shedding tool. Quality shedding tools are designed to get right to the base of your dog’s coat and remove up to 90% of loose hair. Done regularly and in conjunction with the other things we’ve mentioned, this is more than enough to keep your home hair free.

If you’re still having issues, there may be an underlying problem. Like stress, a flea infection, or some other concern. In which case you may want to contact your veterinarian.

Bottom Line

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a very popular breed, and it’s not hard to see why.

They’re strong, confident, and make excellent guard dogs. But at the same time, they’re fun to throw a ball with and make loving family companions. And to top it off, they’re one of the lowest shedding and easiest to groom breeds you’ll come across.

So, aside from needing regular stimulation and exercise, they’re generally very easy to care for and won’t fill your home with loose hair. And if you do notice some shedding at times, hopefully, the tips in this article help you get it sorted lickety-split!

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed Much Hair?

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