If you’re about to own a Rhodesian Ridgeback, one question on your mind is probably, do Rhodesian Ridgebacks shed a lot?
The short answer is, no, Rhodesian Ridgebacks do not shed much.
Shedding Frequency and Nature of the Ridgeback Coat
Ridgebacks do shed somewhat but are not high maintenance dogs.
Their shedding is mostly seasonal, occurring mostly in the spring and fall.
The fact that they have short hair alone is not the reason that they don’t shed much.
It’s because their so-called fur is more hair than fur.
Since Ridgebacks are from Africa originally, their layered short-haired coat is probably an adaptation to the hot climate.
What makes the Ridgeback stand out is, of course, the ridge of fur going down their backs.
The thing with the ridge is that it grows in the opposite direction of the rest of their hair.
The ridge starts at the shoulders and ends at the hip area. There are usually two crowns or whorls at each end. It is usually in a symmetrical shape.
How much your Ridgeback sheds depends partly on whether it is primarily an indoor or outdoor dog.
The second group is prone to a little more shedding.
Why Do Ridgebacks Shed?
Because it’s natural for dogs and any living creature that has any hair or fur to shed to some extent.
No kind of hair lasts forever. The wisps get old or die and then new ones grow in their place. When they do, the old hairs fall out.
Shedding can be slightly uncomfortable for dogs, including Ridgebacks.
As a result, having something like a dog-friendly brush and comb around can make it easier on your dog.
Ridgeback Basic Grooming Care
Ridgebacks can benefit from occasional bathing. However, it shouldn’t be done too often.
Their coats have natural essential oils and bathing them too frequently dries those oils out.
However, there are some shed control shampoos that contain essential oils that help prevent that drying.
It’s also helpful to use a blow dryer rather than a towel because it also prevents excessive dryness in your dog. Many groomers sell their own dog-friendly dryers.
Some groomers sell specialized razor-like de-shedding tools as well. However, you will need to consider if that would be right for your dog.
If you’re simply concerned about shedding maintenance, a weekly brushing should do it.
Be sure to start brushing your Ridgeback when it’s a puppy or when you first bring it home. That way, it will associate brushing with your loving care.
Grooming mitts are a little less threatening to puppies and make them less likely to resist being brushed.
When your dog becomes an adult, you can upgrade to a brush and comb.
However, make sure that all of your dog’s grooming products are for short and layered coats.
One advantage of owning a Ridgeback is that it’s not a breed that requires a groomer. At least not very often.
However, if you prefer to have it cleaned by a professional groomer, you can. Just be sure to prepare your dog ahead for the first time, if possible.
Your Ridgeback’s coat should be kept dense, sleek, and glossy. It should never be wooly or silky.
So Excessive Shedding is Not Normal for Ridgebacks?
No, and here are a few things that it could be a sign of.
If it’s not due to illness or poor nutrition, stress is usually assumed to be the main cause.
Hopefully, you haven’t been neglecting their grooming needs. If so, that could be a cause as well.
Don’t worry, we’re assuming that you love your dog and that that’s not the case.
More than likely, it’s probably due to something like being left alone too long or something specific to the environment.
If your dog is a rescue, it may also have post-traumatic stress issues.
Excessive shedding in your Ridgeback could be caused by a food allergy or sensitivity. Like humans, dogs sometimes have issues with certain ingredients.
If you can, I would recommend taking your dog to your local veterinarian to have some tests run.
However, if you can’t afford that at this time, the next best thing you can do is experiment with different brands of food.
One key that I recommend that you look for is something that is friendly for sensitive stomachs and skin.
There are also specialized dog treats that help to reduce shedding.
Other Medical Conditions
The following medical conditions have been known to cause excessive shedding in Ridgebacks:
- Pregnancy and lactations
- If it has recently touched an irritating or burning substance
- Both bacterial and fungal infections could be contributors
- Immune diseases
- Allergies to certain medications
- Excessive licking
- Thyroid, adrenal, liver, or thyroid diseases
- Excessive issues with parasites
Keeping Your House Clean From Shedding
Since your Ridgeback’s shedding is unavoidable, please have some cleaning products on hand before getting your dog.
Lint rollers are great for cleaning hair off your clothes and furniture.
Pet-friendly vacuums can clean carpets and furniture. Hard floors can be swept and moped or swiffered.
Some Other Advantages to the Ridgeback’s Minimal Shedding
- Parasites, such as ticks, are easier to spot
- Some skin conditions can be easier to spot
- As gross as this is, it also means less dander and saliva around your house. This is what actually causes allergic reactions in some people.
A Word on Allergens
Low shedding dogs, such as Rhodesian Ridgebacks, may produce fewer allergens. However, it doesn’t make them completely hypoallergenic.
Low shedding simply means that they will cause fewer allergic reactions. However, that chance is still not zero.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are low-shedding and don’t need a lot of grooming.
A weekly brushing and an occasional bath should more than do it for reducing shedding.
However, excessive shedding is not a good sign and could be a symptom of stress, poor nutrition, or a serious medical condition.
It’s not recommended to bathe Rhodesian Ridgebacks more than about monthly because it could dry out their natural oils.