Bathing a Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian ridgeback is a unique breed. Named for the ridge of hair that grows backward along the spine, ridgebacks have short coats that require minimal grooming. However, routine bathing is essential to keep your ridgeback’s coat clean and shiny.

Brush your dog with a stiff rubber curry comb. Rhodesian ridgebacks may have short coats, but they do shed, and a pre-bath brushing will cut down on the amount of loose hair clogging up the bathtub.

Fill the bathtub with six inches of warm water, and lift the dog into the tub. Ridgebacks are large dogs, and bathing in the tub gives the dog plenty of space. Test the water temperature with your wrist; it should be very warm, but not hot enough to burn your skin.

Soak the dog with warm water, and squirt a line of soap along her back. Distribute the shampoo over the coat with your hands, scrubbing gently to get the dog completely clean. Some Rhodesian ridgebacks are extremely sensitive along their ridges, so be gentle as you wash the dog’s back.

Rinse the dog thoroughly, and add a palmful of coat conditioner to her fur. Rub the conditioner all over the dog, and let it soak in for a few minutes before you rinse. Conditioner keeps the ridgeback’s skin moisturized and the coat soft and shiny. Towel the dog dry. Wipe in the direction of hair growth along the body, and in the direction of the ridge along the back. Ridegbacks get cold easily, so keep her in the house until she is fully dry.

Items you will need

  • Rubber curry comb
  • Dog shampoo
  • Coat conditioner
  • Towels


  • Rhodesian ridgebacks have very little natural odor and are fastidiously clean dogs, so bathing once a month is enough to keep your dog clean.

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About the Author

Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.