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Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Hypoallergenic? Tips, Facts & FAQs

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by Dogster Team

rhodesian ridgeback dog lying at the beach

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Hypoallergenic? Tips, Facts & FAQs

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a dog breed bred from both mastiffs and sighthounds to track lions, but not a lot is known about how to care for them as pets because they’re so rare. For instance, are they a hypoallergenic breed?

No, sadly, the Rhodesian Ridgeback isn’t hypoallergenic at all. In fact, no dog breed is. All dogs produce at least a little pet hair and dander on a regular basis, and the Ridgeback is no exception. That means they can trigger pet allergies, but not as frequently as heavier shedders. With that said, the Ridgeback has a short, dense coat that sheds very little throughout the year.

If you find hair throughout your house or on the furniture, it’s going to be very thin and fairly short compared to other fluffier breeds. Less hair generally means less dander too, but dander is inevitable no matter what breed you buy.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Rhodesian Ridgeback, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll be discussing more about their coats, personality, and how to best take care of their grooming needs. Read on below for the details.

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About the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a relatively new dog breed tracing back to the guard dogs kept by the native Khoikhoi people of Africa.1 When Dutch traders came into contact with them in the 17th century, they described these progenitors as ferocious hounds with backward-growing stripes along the back.

Europeans imported numerous popular hunting dogs to interbreed with these native dogs, and the modern Rhodesian Ridgeback can count Greyhounds, Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, and even Great Danes among their ancestors.

These courageous, athletic dogs make excellent hunting dogs but also fantastic family dogs for the right experienced dog owners who can handle their stubborn streaks. Let’s delve into more about their personalities and appearance below in further detail.

rhodesian ridgeback dog sitting on grass
Image Credit: du_weist_schon_wer, Pixabay

Personality & Character

Bred to track and bay at lions in the unforgiving, harsh African landscape, the Rhodesian Ridgeback retains a fearless loyalty to this day. They bond very closely to their family but need lots of socialization from puppyhood to correct their naturally reserved nature. They’re innately suspicious of strangers but, with proper training, aren’t typically an aggressive breed. Ridgebacks can be a lot of dog for inexperienced dog owners, especially families with kids, and we don’t recommend them around young kids because they can play too rough by accident.

Ideally, a Rhodesian Ridgeback owner would have a few pets under their belt and experience with strong-willed dog breeds. They need firm boundaries and handling to temper their rowdy edges but mellow out into devoted lap dogs with enough patience and training. Don’t get us wrong, they love to play too, and need plenty of fresh air to get their energy out!

Appearance & Coat

Rhodesian Ridgebacks weren’t recognized by the AKC until 1955 but their established breed standards go all the way back to 1922 in modern-day Zimbabwe. Their colors are called “wheaten,” which roughly includes all the colors you see in a wheat field year-round. That includes a pale yellow, golden flaxen, brown, burnished copper, and red.

The Ridgeback’s real distinguishing feature is the strangely reversed ridge of hair that grows along their spines. This ridge starts at the shoulders with two wider whorls along the shoulder blades, which tapers to barely cover their spine all the way down to the tail. While the Rhodesian Ridgeback has been bred with a lot of other dogs at this point, the ridge comes from their native African ancestors.

As far as build, Ridgebacks grow up to a muscular 85 pounds, with powerful legs that were bred to run down lions in the savannah. Females tend to grow a little smaller than males, capping out in weight at just 70 pounds.

rhodesian ridgeback dog standing in the forest
Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock

Rhodesian Ridgeback Grooming Tips

Shedding is a normal process for any dog, and the Ridgeback makes it easier by shedding much less than the typical pup. You’ll still need to help their coat stay clean, healthy, and in good condition by utilizing some of our handy grooming tips below.

Tips for Grooming Rhodesian Ridgebacks:
  • Visually inspect your Ridgeback’s coat weekly for skin conditions and remove dead hair with a de-shedding comb.
  • Bathe your Ridgeback once a month with an unscented, gentle dog shampoo—more frequently if they like to play in the mud!
  • Consider using a grooming mitt or rough-bristled brush to remove the most stubborn dead fur from your dog’s coat.
  • Don’t neglect to trim your dog’s nails and check their ears regularly—the coat isn’t the only important part to check regularly.


Final Thoughts

When looking for a low-shedding dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an awesome choice if you can handle their willful stubbornness. They only need an occasional appointment with a grooming glove or brush, and their gorgeous coats stay in remarkable shape through all but the dirtiest outdoor escapades.

Featured Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

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