Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
If you’re considering getting a Rhodesian ridgeback, you’ll most certainly want to know whether they’re big shedders or not. This article will answer just that and cover more FAQs on this important topic.
Rhodesian ridgebacks shed minimally for most of the year. As their single-layered coat doesn’t shed a lot, a simple ten-minute brushing session, once or twice per week will suffice to keep on top of any dead hair.
Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed A Lot?
Compared to many other breeds, even other short-coated breeds, Rhodesian ridgebacks really don’t shed very much at all. Your floors and clothes are safe! Just about.
From my experience, Rhodies that live indoors seem to shed slightly more than those who spend the majority of their days outside. Likely due to a consistently warmer temperature.
But as always, it’s important to mention that all ridgebacks are different, and some may just shed more than others. Thankfully, even the ones considered to be “shedders”, are still very easy to manage.
Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed All Year?
Most ridgebacks will shed very lightly year-round. Depending on how dramatically different the winter months are from the summer months, you might see your Rhody shed more in the warmer months.
Of course, this all depends on the climate where you live.
If you experience very stable temperatures throughout most of the year, your ridgeback will likely shed consistently, albeit very minimally.
Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Have Undercoats?
No, Rhodesian ridgebacks do not have an undercoat. Ridgebacks are a breed with a single-layered, short, and dense coat. This is the main reason why their coat doesn’t shed much at all.
Breeds with a “double coat” have both a topcoat and an undercoat, whereas breeds with a single coat, of course, only have a topcoat.
The undercoat is the soft fluffy insulating layer that’s responsible for heavy shedding among many popular breeds. As ridgebacks simply do not have this layer, they don’t have it to shed. Easy win for Rhody owners!
Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Need Brushing?
Yes, ridgebacks do need brushing, despite only shedding minimally.
Brushing doesn’t just help to remove dead hairs but it also aids in removing dirt build-up and any debris stuck in the coat.
How often should you brush your ridgeback?
Thankfully, you’ll only need to give him a brush once or twice a week to keep on top of shedding.
Some owners say that brushing a Ridgeback isn’t necessary, and while they’re not totally wrong, brushing doesn’t just help with hair removal.
Brushing him once or twice a week will help stimulate and distribute his natural oils throughout his coat. As well as keeping his coat free from any dirt or muck, essentially keeping him cleaner for longer.
Which brush is best for a Rhodesian ridgeback?
The short, dense coat of a ridgeback is only suited to a small selection of dog brushes on the market. In my experience, a slicker brush is the safest and most effective brush for short single-layered coats, like that of a ridgeback.
I’ve brushed all kinds of breeds ranging from thick double-coated Malamutes to single-coated Rhodies and a slicker brush is by far the best for removing hair and maintaining short topcoats.
The thin wires don’t penetrate deeply so this avoids any irritation of the skin, but at the same time, does an excellent job of clearing out the topcoat. Another suitable brush would be a pin and bristle brush, another safe, high-quality option to try.
Popular read: Why do Rhodesian ridgebacks have a ridge?
Factors That Can Affect How Much Your Ridgeback Sheds
There can be certain factors that change how much your ridgeback sheds, either for better or for worse. Let’s run through them below.
1. Diet and nutrition
When your ridgeback is consuming a high-quality diet consisting of the correct macronutrient breakdown (high protein, medium to high fat, low carbs) and is plentiful of healthy fats and omega’s, his coat should shed less, in general.
When the skin and coat are strong, healthy, and moisturized, it’ll remain intact for longer, and his diet has a big impact on exactly this.
When his body lacks nutrients or isn’t receiving them due to maldigestion or malabsorption, it will show via his skin and coat, leading it to become dry, dull, and brittle. And this contributes to a higher rate of shedding.
The general climate where you live will also have an impact on shedding.
Typically, ridgebacks that live in warmer and drier climates tend to shed more than those that live in cooler northern regions.
For double-coats, this is mostly due to temperature regulation, but for Rhodies, with their single-coat, it’s most likely alters something called the canine hair cycle, which is the rate at which hair grows, falls out, and regenerates.
Not only are allergies common, but they can also have a range of health side effects, one of the main ones being dry skin. As I mentioned earlier, dry skin can have a huge impact on your ridgeback’s coat health. If it’s dry, it’s likely to become brittle and weak, and will therefore fall out at a much quicker rate.
Allergies can be caused by food and being intolerant to certain ingredients, or from the environment and substances, he may come into contact with. Common allergens include dust, pollen, mold, mites, fleas, grass, and even certain washing detergents.
Allergies can go undetected for a long time. If you notice your ridgeback having unusual reactions (to anything) throughout the year, be sure to visit your veterinarian for a health check-up and allergy check. Knowing what allergies your Rhody has is extremely helpful information.
Of course, your ridgeback’s genetics play an important role in how much he will shed.
If it just happens to be the case that both parents of your Rhody were two “shedders” then there’s more of a chance that your ridgeback will be one that sheds more than others too.
It’s not uncommon to see a slight genetic difference between dogs of the same breed, that live in contrasting climates. Ridgebacks that have lived extensively in cooler climates may eventually adjust on a genetic level that results in lower shedding.
5. Underlying health issues and stress
Underlying health issues can also impact shedding. And so too can stress, much like how stress can induce hair loss in us, it can do the same in canines.
Certain health issues like hypothyroidism which ridgebacks are unfortunately prone to can cause hair loss, balding, or skin issues.
With most health issues, there will be additional symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, a change in temperament, a change in appetite, or any other unusual behavioral changes. If you notice any of these it’s recommended to visit your veterinarian.
Interesting read: How much do Rhodesian ridgebacks cost?
Tips To Handle Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding
Even though you likely won’t have much shedding to deal with anyway, it’s still worth knowing the following, at the very least, these tips will only help keep your ridgeback clean and healthy.
- Brush his coat with a slicker brush at least once a week
- Be sure his diet is high-protein, high-quality, and working well for him
- Consider a fish oil supplement (omega 3’s) (consult veterinarian)
- Spend plenty of time outside
- Ensure he’s receiving sufficient exercise of at least 2 hours per day
- Never over-bathe him as this could strip his natural oils and dry out his coat
- Be attentive to his overall health and visit your veterinarian if he develops symptoms of any kind
By following the above tips, you’ll have a good handle on the shedding.
Can You Stop Your Ridgeback From Shedding?
Unfortunately, you can never prevent a dog from shedding completely. It doesn’t matter which kind of coat they have, shedding is a natural and healthy process.
All dogs have a hair growth life cycle comprising of four stages, the growth stage (anagen), the regression stage (catagen), relative quiescence (telogen), and the final stage, exogen (shedding).
This cycle cannot be stopped or prevented, the only thing you can do is better manage the shedding. And with a ridgeback, that shouldn’t be too difficult anyway!
How much does your Rhodesian ridgeback shed? Let me know!
Thank you for reading!