Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed? A Comprehensive Guide to Shedding in Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a popular breed among dog lovers. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and athleticism. 

However, many potential owners wonder about shedding when considering adding a Rhodesian Ridgeback to their family.

The question of whether Rhodesian Ridgebacks shed is a common one. This breed has short, dense coats, which may lead some to believe they do not shed much. 

However, shedding can vary from dog to dog and depends on living conditions and grooming habits. Potential owners must understand shedding in Rhodesian Ridgebacks before bringing one into their home.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Coat

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a short, dense, sleek, and glossy coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. However, regular brushing can help keep shedding at bay. The coat is low-maintenance and needs very little grooming.

The coat color of Rhodesian Ridgebacks is predominantly wheaten shades, which can range from light to dark. The breed also has the potential for red wheaten and occasional white markings.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback stands out because of a unique ridge of hair on its back that grows opposite from its main coat. This defining feature starts at the shoulders and runs down to the hips.

The rest of the coat is short and sleek, with a fine texture. The coat protects the dog from the sun and keeps them cool in the African heat.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks need little grooming. Brushing them once a week with a short-hair pet brush maintains their coat’s health. While baths are essential when necessary, it’s best not to bathe them too often to preserve the coat’s natural oils.

Shedding Insights

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their short and dense coats, requiring minimal grooming. While they do shed, it is generally considered light shedding throughout the year, with slight increases during seasonal changes. Shedding can be influenced by various factors, including living conditions (indoor vs. outdoor), age, and health.

Living conditions can significantly affect the amount of shedding that occurs. Dogs that spend more time outdoors may shed more due to exposure to environmental factors such as dirt, pollen, and other allergens. Indoor dogs may shed less due to a more controlled environment.

Age can also play a role in shedding patterns. Puppies may shed more during the teething process, while older dogs may shed more due to changes in their skin and coat as they age.

Dogs with health issues or poor nutrition might shed more than their healthier counterparts. Additionally, parasites and allergies can cause increased shedding.

In comparison to other dog breeds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are considered to have moderate shedding levels. Breeds with longer coats, such as the Golden Retriever and German Shepherd, typically shed more than Rhodesian Ridgebacks. However, breeds with shorter coats, such as the Boxer and Beagle, may shed less.

Reasons for Excessive Shedding

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their short, dense coats that require minimal grooming. However, excessive shedding can be a concern for many pet owners. Here are some reasons why a Rhodesian Ridgeback may experience excessive shedding:

Health Concerns

Hypothyroidism, bacterial infections, and hormonal disorders can cause excessive shedding in Rhodesian Ridgebacks. If a dog sheds more than usual, it’s crucial to see a veterinarian to check for potential health problems.


A dog’s diet can also impact coat health and shedding. A diet lacking essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids can produce dry, brittle fur that sheds excessively. A high-quality diet with balanced nutrients can help promote healthy skin and coat, reducing shedding.

External Factors

Several external elements can influence excessive shedding in Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Parasites, including fleas and ticks, can lead to hair loss by causing skin irritation and prompting the dog to scratch more. 

Allergic reactions from food or environmental sources can also increase shedding due to skin discomfort. Moreover, environmental changes such as shifts in temperature or humidity can play a role in their shedding habits.

Grooming and Care

Regular grooming keeps the coat of Rhodesian Ridgebacks healthy and minimizes shedding.

A brush designed for short-haired breeds every week or two can effectively manage shedding. This type of brush efficiently removes loose hair, preventing it from spreading throughout your home.

While bathing can reduce shedding, it’s essential to do it sparingly. Overbathing can remove the coat’s natural oils, leading to dry skin. A bath every three to four months is usually enough unless the dog becomes dirty or has a strong odor.

A dog’s diet significantly impacts the health of their coat. A well-rounded diet rich in essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 promotes healthy skin and fur. It’s crucial to select high-quality dog food that contains these nutrients.

Beyond brushing and bathing, monitoring a Rhodesian Ridgeback’s ears, eyes, and nails is essential. Clean their ears with a gentle solution to avoid infections. 

Wipe their eyes with a damp cloth to clear any discharge. Ensure to trim their nails regularly to prevent them from becoming overly long and causing pain or harm.

Tips for Managing and Reducing Shedding

Rhodesian Ridgebacks shed minimally, but owners can further decrease the shedding with certain measures.

Routine Care

Regular grooming is crucial for maintaining a healthy coat in Rhodesian Ridgebacks and minimizing shedding. By brushing their coat weekly with an appropriate brush, you can notably decrease the amount of shed fur.

A monthly bath using a gentle dog shampoo also aids in removing loose hair and further reducing shedding.

Dietary Adjustments

A well-balanced and nutritious diet that supports healthy skin and coats can help minimize excessive shedding. Essential fatty acids and high-quality proteins are important for maintaining a healthy coat. Adding fish oil or flaxseed oil to their diet can help reduce shedding.

Environmental Factors

Maintaining a clean living environment and using pet-friendly cleaning products can reduce shedding. Minimizing stress and providing a comfortable living environment can also help reduce shedding.

Addressing Health Concerns

Rhodesian Ridgebacks typically have good health. However, like all dogs, they might face specific health challenges. As a diligent pet owner, it’s essential to recognize these issues and address or prevent them.

Common Health Issues

Hypothyroidism is a common health concern for Rhodesian Ridgebacks. When their thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, they can experience symptoms like increased weight, fatigue, and excessive hair loss.

Additionally, allergic dermatitis is prevalent in these dogs. It’s an allergic response to things like pollen or dust mites, causing symptoms such as itching, skin redness, and hair loss, further leading to shedding.


In conclusion, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their minimal shedding nature. While they do shed, it is typically a moderate amount that can be managed with regular grooming and a healthy diet.

Maintaining good nutrition and health care is essential for shedding. Regularly brushing and washing can eliminate loose hairs and sustain a vibrant coat. Moreover, consuming a diet with vitamins and minerals enhances skin and coat health.

Despite shedding, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a great breed to consider for potential owners. They are loyal, intelligent, and protective dogs with a low tendency to bark. With proper care and attention, their manageable shedding levels should not deter anyone from considering them a pet.

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