Does A Rhodesian Ridgeback Shed?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a striking and easily identifiable hound, they have that tiny Mohawk that runs along their spine which is typical for this breed. These specially developed hunting dogs are large and impressive hunters that were once bred to help hunt lions. 

Have you considered getting one of these unique and striking wheaten-colored dogs? You might be running through all the pros and cons of the breed. How big do they get? Do they shed? Can they live in an apartment? In this article, we are going to answer these questions and more so that you can be well-informed before you become a dog parent for one of these amazing dogs. 

What Is A Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The first thing you might want to know about the Rhodesian Ridgeback is whether their personality suits your living situation. This breed is quite even-tempered and quiet, as puppies they have a tendency to be highly energetic and rambunctious but as they grow older, they become more mellowed out.

They can be headstrong dogs and will test the boundaries of their relationship with you. So, if you have plans to teach your dog to stay off the furniture or to heel you might want to start training quite early. 

This breed is a hound and has been bred to think of themselves, which means that they might come across as stubborn. They may even test their boundaries with different members of the family to see who will let them get away with certain behavior.

You may need to be quite assertive with this dog and train them well so that you do not have a completely disobedient tearaway for a family pet. 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback can be quite aloof with people that are not a part of their pack. Because of this, you will need to socialize them quite early on so that they do not turn to aggression. They are naturally protective dogs, and this can mean that they will get territorial when it comes to people in their homes. 

Physical Traits

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large dog, the males can weigh between 80 and 90lbs while the females will weigh somewhere in the range of 65 and 78lbs. The males can grow up to 26 inches at the shoulder and the females should be somewhere around 25 inches, give or take.

The coat of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is short and flat, the only color they come in is known as wheaten, which is a range of reds and flaxen. They are classified as hound dogs and sighthounds, because of this they are actually quite athletic and require a lot of exercise. 


If you have your heart set on a Rhodesian Ridgeback there are certain things you can expect to see with the breed. Because of their breeding and origins, they need a lot of exercise, around 40 minutes a day or more would be ideal. 

They often live between 10 and 13 years, so you can expect a long commitment to their care if you choose to get one of these dogs. 

They do not really tend to drool, snore or bark. Despite this, they are not ideal apartment dogs because they require access to outdoor space to truly be happy. 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is not particularly inclined to dig, so you do not have to worry about them digging up your best dahlias. That being said, each dog is different and certain stimuli could turn them to dig. 

They require a fair amount of socialization and attention. That being said, they are not needy, but getting belly rubs and being around their people will make them very happy. 


As a whole, this breed is very healthy and with responsible breeding, there should be few health problems within the breed. Some recommended tests you should look into if you want to get one of these dogs are a hip and elbow, as they can sometimes be susceptible to hip or elbow dysplasia.

Besides these two things, they are generally healthy dogs and do not really have other health issues associated with the breed. 


These dogs have a strong prey drive that can be seen in their breeding and what their original purpose was. Because of this hunting instinct, when they are off the leash, they should be in an enclosed area so that they cannot run after something that catches their fancy. 

They can be quite strong-willed and independent, despite loving to be with their owners. Because of this, they will need a firm hand when training.

Nothing harsh, but they need to understand that you are in charge. Due to this nature, you will need to start training quite young, both with obedience and with socialization so that they grow up to be well-mannered and sociable companions. 


The Rhodesian ridgeback would do well on food that is high quality, this can be food that is made at home or commercial food you buy at the store. You will need to make sure that their food is appropriate for their age.

For example, a puppy would need different food as an adult, this is so that each age group gets what they need at certain stages in their life. 

As always, it is important to understand what foods dogs can and cannot eat in general. Chocolate, onions, and garlic are a few that come to mind. In addition to that, using treats to help train your Rhodesian Ridgeback can be a great way to get them to pay attention to you and pick up on what you want them to do.

Finally, as with most breeds, it is essential to watch your dog’s weight. Some dogs are sensitive to weight gain, which is never good for them. 

The History Of The Rhodesian Ridgeback

This breed of dog can be traced back all the way to the 1500s. At around that time, when a European went over to South Africa, they brought with them several hunting dogs. The settlers at the time needed an exceptional hunting dog and one that would serve as a guard dog and companion as well as being an agile and athletic hunter.

Through selective breeding with the native ridgeback Khoikhoi and various other breeds such as Bloodhounds, Mastiffs, Greyhounds, Great Danes and even Terriers the Rhodesian Ridgeback was eventually born. 

It was then in the 1800s that the Rhodesian Ridgebacks were taken to what we now know as Zimbabwe, back then called Rhodesia. The breed was then developed further to create the optimal big game hunting dog.

This breed actually came to be called the African Lion Hound and this moniker came from the fact that they were used to hassle, chase, and corner lions. With a pack of three to four Rhodesian Ridgebacks to chase and corner a lion or boar at bay, the hunter could more easily take the decisive blow with a well-timed shot. 

Fun Facts About The Breed

While we are learning about this amazing breed of dog, we thought it would be fun to learn about some fun facts surrounding this amazing breed. So, let us take a look at what surprising information about Rhodesian Ridgebacks we can impart on you in this section. 

One Color Fits All

Rhodesian ridgebacks have one official color, and that color is known as wheaten. This literally means that this dog’s color will range between the different colors’ wheat change to through its lifetime. In essence, these dogs are often reddish-brown, or even flax, and the shade can vary slightly.

The Back Mohawk

This dog breed has a distinctive feature, the ridge on its back, as its namesake obviously indicates, is a part of this breed. This ridge begins behind the shoulders and tapers down to the hips of the dog; it occurs when hair grows in an opposite direction to the rest of the fur. 

Bred To Hunt Lions

This breed of dog was bred to help in the process of hunting lions. While they did not actually kill lions, they were used to harass, track, and corral the fearsome lion. But the hunter would deliver the final blow. 

Came From The Khoikhoi

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a powerful hunting dog that came about through very specific breeding with breeds such as the Greyhound. Bloodhound, mastiff, Great Dane, and the native Khoikhoi. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed?

Despite having short fur, that does not need much maintenance. This breed of dog tends to shed all year round, on top of that they will shed more in the summer and spring months as they get rid of their winter coats. Because of this, you will need to brush them fairly and vacuum around your home regularly, so you do not get too much hair building up. 

Is The Rhodesian Ridgeback A Good Family Dog?

This breed is quite tolerant and is a very good companion to their people. They are extremely protective of children and the rest of the family members.

As a breed, they were created to be exceptional guard dogs. That being said, they can be willful and need to know that their owner is in charge. So, training of this breed is extremely important.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Bark A Lot?

While these dogs are quite energetic when they are young, as they mature, they tend to calm down and become calm and quiet. The answer to this question can be tough because any dog is prone to bark given the right circumstances.

Some that are guard dogs will bark when they see something entering their homes, while others may bark if they are bored. But in general, the Rhodesian Ridgeback does not tend to bark a lot. 

Can Rhodesian Ridgebacks Be Left Alone?

It is not recommended to leave any dog alone for too long. But this breed creates very strong ties to its owner and the family that cares for them. Because of this, you should not really leave them alone for more than four hours. You can however train them gradually and show them that being alone is alright and that there is nothing to be afraid of. 

Final Thoughts

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a fantastic dog and as we have found has a fascinating lineage which shows that they were once bred to help hunt lions in South Africa. They are loving and protective dogs that need a lot of exercise, love, and attention.

We have of course answered your question on whether the Rhodesian Ridgeback sheds, and the answer is yes. This is a year-round issue and if you are interested in this breed you will need to put the effort into brushing them regularly so that it does not become a problem. 

Overall, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an incredible breed and one that we definitely recommend if you have the patience and room for them, they will be remarkable family pets. 

Leave a Reply