Rhodesian Ridgebacks are large, confident, intelligent dogs that are characterized by a "ridge" of reverse growing hair on their back. They're strong hunting dogs by nature, but are also very obedient with proper training and make loving, loyal family companions.
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 recognised the Rhodesian Ridgeback as a breed in the United States.
Nowadays they are known for being intelligent, loyal, confident 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".
Their color of their coat is light wheaten to red wheaton. Which is essentially pale yellow (or gold) to a more reddish yellow. And the texture of the coat is short, dense and glossy.
Short, dense and glossy
Wheaton to red wheaton
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 because 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 oppose 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.
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.
Their short, glossy coat is what makes them such a breeze to brush. Unlike dogs with thick, wooly coats, they don't get debris stuck in their coats and they are not prone to matts and tangles. Like a Border Collie or Tibetan Terrier for example, who are more work to groom.
You could use a shedding tool, like a Furminator or equivalent. But it's really not necessary for this breed, unless you're finding the shedding is getting a bit out of control during seasonal changes such as winter or spring. Even then, a damp cloth and bristle brush is generally sufficient. You can learn more about the different types of dog brushes here.
Other than brushing, they don't really require any special grooming. Just regular dental hygiene and nail clipping, stuff like that. They are definitely among the lowest shedding, lowest grooming breeds out there. So keeping their coat in good shape isn't hard.
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 coat is short and the 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 dogs dead skin (dander) and saliva. And when this binds to 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, 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 will reduce the amount of dander on your dog and therefore reduce the allergies she brings into your home.
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 grows back lol!)
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 respects 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.
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 she's shedding excessively?
Well, in that case, there are some extra measures you can take.
For example, you can start from the inside, and try a natural home remedy like putting some quality virgin coconut oil in her food. Or another oil such as olive oil which also works well. Or you could try a specialized supplement or diet in consultation with your local vet.
You can also work on shedding at the "coat level" by using a dedicated 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'd want to contact your local veterinarian.
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 going.
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!