It’s a fact of life that many of our beloved pets shed their hair and it’s something us pet parents are often keen to avoid where possible. It can be a nightmare for those with allergies and your carpets!
It’s important to be aware before you choose your new furry best friend of the challenges their particular breed can bring.
Ridgebacks can make wonderful family pets, if well trained with lots of positive reinforcement obedience training. They are great around children, obedient and wonderfully affectionate.
A Little Background Information on Ridgebacks
Ridgebacks originate from Africa where they were bred to be hunting and guard dogs.
They are intelligent dogs with a stubborn streak if not obedience trained.
But their stubborn behavior can be modified with the right training and is far outweighed by their affectionate nature and gentle temperament.
This is one type of dog that will fully integrate into everyone’s hearts and become one of the family.
Occasionally this breed of dog is also called the African Lion Hound due to the fact they were bred for hunting big game prey.
A trait to chase ‘prey’ is still common among Ridgebacks today so be prepared for a dog that likes to chase and play, especially when they are still a puppy.
The original South African Ridgeback was bred in the 16th century with a European dog to create a brand new breed that we know and love today as the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
The ridgeback is arguably one of the most handsome of the dog family with its golden short haired coat and inquisitive features.
It’s easy to fall in love with this breed but it is always important to make sure you are able to fully care for them as they can develop a disobedient streak if their needs are not being adequately met.
They need a moderate amount of exercise daily when they are young and can grow to be quite large dogs so be sure you are ready for lots of walks and to make space for them in your home.
Their intelligent nature makes them inquisitive and they can get bored easily – especially when they are still puppies.
Ridgebacks were bred for hunting and guarding a home so they have an instinctive chase response when they sense any prey nearby so be aware of this while walking your doggy pal.
They tend to get on well with other dogs and even strangers but they do require socializing when young to inhibit their guard dog instincts.
They have a low tendency to bark which might seem at odds with their guard dog history but these are a type of dog who will only bark when necessary and has an instinct to protect his owner with a fierce loyalty.
Socialization at an early age is a must if you want to dampen the guard dog spirit and ensure your Ridgeback is friendly to strangers.
About The Rhodesian Ridgebacks Coat
A ridgeback should have a short, dense coat made up of single hairs rather than a coat of fur made up of a double layer of hair.
This makes it sleek in its appearance instead of looking woolly or fluffy.
The colour is usually a shade of tan but it can vary in colour a little between wheaten, tan and red with the occasional patch.
One of the more unusual features of a ridgebacks coat is its ridge which is a line of hair that grows opposite to the direction of the rest of its hair.
This is well defined and tapers in a symmetrical line from the shoulders to an area on their back near their hips although it may not be present in all Ridgeback dogs as it has disappeared in a lot of pure breeds.
Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed?
They are considered short haired dogs which does limit the amount of shedding that you should expect but you should still expect mild to moderate shedding all year round – yes even in winter!
Although they may shed a little more in spring when the weather starts to get warmer and their coats prepare for summer.
These are generally easily maintained dogs that only take a little bit of time, maintenance and grooming, no matter the time of year.
Grooming A Rhodesian Ridgeback
A Ridgebacks coat is fairly easy to take care of and maintain. A quick brush with a suitable short hair pet brush every week or two should help keep some of the shedding at bay.
You should be prepared for a dog that is likely to always have a little bit of shedding to deal with no matter what you do.
Bathing your ridgeback is only necessary when they have been enjoying a long walk on muddy days and you should avoid bathing any more often than is strictly necessary.
Bathing too often can irritate the skin. You should always use hypo-allergenic shampoo that has been designed for use on pets.
Do Ridgebacks Shed More Than Other Dogs?
The quick answer is no! Ridgebacks are only considered moderate shedders when compared to their other doggy cousins.
Whilst they continuously shed all year round, this is nothing in comparison to some dog breeds who require a lot of maintenance in order to keep their coats healthy and their owners homes hair free.
Ridgebacks are considered highly manageable when it comes to grooming.
Can I Stop My Ridgeback Shedding?
Unfortunately, shedding their coat is a part of maintaining a healthy dog and any healthy Ridgeback is likely to shed a moderate amount.
If shedding is becoming a big problem then there are a couple of easy steps to take to help maintain your dogs healthy, glossy coat and save your home a little.
Choosing a suitable short haired dog grooming brush is a great start and then grooming your dog about once a week will keep the hair shedding to a minimum.
Some dogs will love this grooming time and it will soon be something they look forward to every week.
If your dog isn’t quite so keen then it’s important to introduce the routine in a calm manner so they can become comfortable with the idea and at a bare minimum tolerate it happily.
Health Matters When It Comes To Shedding
We all want our doggy best friends to be happy and healthy and it’s important to note that a dog’s overall health can have an effect on how much or how little it sheds.
So if you notice your pet start to shed more than usual, take a look at some of the following things to see if they need taking into consideration.
It might be easy to feed your dog tidbits of human food but a lot of the food we eat isn’t healthy for dogs.
Your Ridgeback usually has an iron stomach but even the strongest stomach needs a rest now and again!
Make sure you are feeding your dog a species appropriate diet with the nutrients and food types they need to maintain a healthy body and sleek coat.
Stress in dogs works in a similar way as it does for us humans and can have some strange effect on the body.
Increased shedding can be one of the symptoms which many a pet owner is aware of when they take their furry friend to the vets and end up covered in fur.
Not all Ridgebacks will have allergies but this doesn’t mean that yours doesn’t! If your dogs coat isn’t as healthy as it could be then this is worth looking into.
This is especially important if your dog is showing other signs of skin irritation or ill health.
Having a few pesky parasite pests to deal with is enough to make any dog feel a bit under the weather.
Ridgebacks short and sleek hair has been bred to be more difficult for fleas and other pests to take hold but it is still a possibility that you need to check.
With your Ridgeback only requiring minimal maintenance you only require minimal equipment.
A good grooming glove is the perfect thing to have on hand for a quick daily brush.
The glove slips onto your hand and you pet your pooch as normal while the glove works its magic capturing loose dirt and hair in its rubber tips.
A grooming comb suitable for short haired pets is the perfect tool for a weekly brush as this will remove dead hair and help circulate the natural oils that your dog produces that helps moisturize their skin and coat.
If you are having problems with shedding and have eliminated any health or other issues that could be causing excessive shedding.
Then once in a while you could use a de-shedding brush which is designed to remove any dead hair and loose hair and keep your dog shedding to a minimum.
Final Thoughts: Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed
A Rhodesian Ridgeback makes a wonderful family pet. They are loyal, protective and have a mild temperament that makes them extra attentive.
They have a natural affection for their human pack that will win the hearts of the whole family. Rhodesian Ridgebacks will become a firm fixture in your life and on your sofa!
Whilst this breed of dog does shed, the shedding is only moderate and is year round and can be helped with regular brushing with a brush or mitt suitable for brushing short haired dogs.
If you want a dog that will become a member of the family then a Rhodesian Ridgeback could be the dog for you!