Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Smell? | What You Need to Know

Ridgebacks do not normally smell and are usually clean dogs. If you do notice a strong smell coming from your Rhodesian Ridgeback it is usually because they have rolled in something. Regular grooming, including brushing and bathing, can help keep your dog smelling fresh and clean. It’s important to ensure that your dog’s ears are clean and dry and they are given fresh bones to keep their teeth clean.

This article will explore more about how to keep your ridgebacks clean and to avoid them smelling.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Smell?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their short, sleek coat, which requires minimal grooming. They shed in larger amounts twice per year and will need more grooming during thsi time. Like any other breed of dog, they can smell if they are not cared for.

Here are some reasons why a Rhodesian ridgeback will smell:

  • Lack of Bathing: Rhodesian Ridgebacks do not require frequent bathing, but they do need to be bathed occasionally. If you neglect to bathe your Ridgeback, they can develop an unpleasant odor. My ridgeback needed to be washed every week after we walked because he would always find his way into the local duck pond.
  • Skin Infections: Skin infections can cause a foul odor in dogs. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are prone to skin allergies, which can cause itching, redness, and inflammation. If left untreated they can become smell so take them to the vet if you notice any changes in their skin.
  • Diet: A dog’s diet can also affect their smell. Feeding your Rhodesian Ridgeback a high-quality diet that is free from fillers and artificial additives can help keep their coat and skin healthy, reducing any unpleasant smells. Use a good quality dog food or a well designed raw diet.
  • Dirty teeth: Ridgebacks with bad teeth will have smelly breath. Feed them raw bones and take them for a teeth cleaning at the vet if you notice their teeth look dirty.

To keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback smelling fresh, it is important to maintain good hygiene habits. This includes bathing them occasionally, brushing their coat regularly, and cleaning their ears and teeth. If you notice any unusual odors, it is best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Factors Influencing the Smell of Rhodesian Ridgebacks

While all dogs have a natural scent, there are several factors that can contribute to a Rhodesian Ridgeback’s smell. Here are the main factors that influence the smell of Rhodesian Ridgebacks.


The food that your Rhodesian Ridgeback eats can have a significant impact on their smell. A diet that is high in carbohydrates or is overly processed can cause the overproduction of skin oil, leading to a stronger odor.

To keep your ridgeback smelling good, feed your Rhodesian Ridgeback a high-quality, balanced diet that is rich in protein and low in carbohydrates. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps, as this can upset their stomach and contribute to a stronger odor.

Keeping your Ridgeback Clean

Keeping your ridgeback clean will help them to stop smelling. Regular bathing and grooming can help remove excess oils and dirt from their coat, leading to a fresher scent. Ceaning your dog’s ears and teeth can help to keep them smelling good.

It is best to bathe your Rhodesian Ridgeback every 4-6 weeks, brush their coat regularly, and clean their ears and teeth as needed. If your ridgeback likes to swim you might need to bathe him more often.

My ridgeback would always find dirty puddles or ponds to jump in when he was off leash. We would need to wash him every week to get rid of the mud and dirty water.

Grooming Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Despite their impressive appearance, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are generally low-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. They do shed, but not a lot, and only require occasional brushing to keep their coat looking shiny and healthy.

I have always used a rubber dog brush because it would gently remove the excess hair and give him a massage at the same time. Rubber brushes were the only type that my ridgeback would enjoy. Otherwise he would squirm away. Find a brush that your dog likes and it will make brushing so much easier.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are generally clean dogs and do not smell bad. However, like any other breed, they can develop a smell if they are not properly groomed or if they have a skin condition.

To keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback smelling fresh, it is important to bathe them regularly with a mild dog shampoo and brush their coat to remove any loose hair and dirt. Additionally, make sure to clean their ears and teeth regularly to prevent any build-up of bacteria that can cause bad breath.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common behavior problems in Rhodesian Ridgebacks?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be stubborn and independent, which can lead to behavior problems if not properly trained. They may also become destructive if left alone for long periods of time.

How much does a Rhodesian Ridgeback typically cost?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a relatively expensive breed, with prices ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 or more depending on the breeder and location.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks enjoy being around water?

While some Rhodesian Ridgebacks enjoy swimming and playing in water, others may not be as enthusiastic. It ultimately depends on the individual dog’s preferences and personality. Swimming in dirty water can make your ridgeback smell. You will need to bath them more often if they swim in ponds or dirty water.

What are some characteristics of Rhodesian Ridgebacks?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their muscular build, short coat, and distinctive ridge of hair along their back. They are loyal, protective, and affectionate with their families, but can be reserved or aloof with strangers.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks tend to shed a lot?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. They do shed, but not excessively, and regular brushing can help keep shedding under control. They will shed more at the change of season from summer to the cooler months and again when it cool and turning warm. Brush them more often during these times to keep your house cleaner.