Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good for Allergy Sufferers?

If you’re considering getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback but either you or someone in your household has allergies, the first question on your mind is probably something like, are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good for allergy sufferers?

So, Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good for Allergy Sufferers?

Well, it depends on the severity of your allergy. It also depends on whether you’re more allergic to some breeds of dogs than others.

The Science Behind Dog Allergies

It basically boils down to your immune system being over-sensitive to allergens. Allergens are usually harmless.

For some people, however, their bodies read the allergens as a foreign substance.

As a result, it releases histamines to push the allergens out through the eyes, nose, and mouth. That’s what makes for those annoying symptoms.

With dog allergies, the usual culprit is a protein that gets mixed in their dander, saliva, or urine.

Dander is the most common because it’s dead skin cells and they shed it with loose hair.

Some breeds produce less dander than others. That’s why it’s possible to be allergic to some dogs but not others.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, no dog is ever completely hypoallergenic.

However, Ridgebacks have very short hair and shed much less than many other breeds.

So if your allergies are mild and/or you react mainly to dogs that shed heavily, you’ll probably be fine.

Besides Medication, Other Things You Can Do to Minimize Your Allergic Reactions

  • Invest in an HEPA (high efficiency particle air purifier) to clean up airborne allergens.
  • Limit the time your dog spends in rooms where you spend most of your time.
  • Shampoo your carpets and rugs regularly. Or else, keep your floors carpet- and rugless.

A Word on Rhodesian Ridgeback Shedding

Since they have short, layered hairs, Ridgebacks are considered to be more or less minimal shedders.

However, those who spend a lot of time outdoors tend to shed a little more seasonally than those kept indoors.

A weekly brushing should help to remove much of the dander. So should an occasional bath.

However, too much bathing can dry out their body’s essential oils. If you use shampoos that contain those same essential oils, however, that shouldn’t be a problem.

How Are Pet Allergies Tested?

How Are Pet Allergies Tested?

If you want to get prescription medication for your pet allergies, your doctor will likely do one of the following tests.:

Examine your nose with a lighted instrument.

He or she will be checking for swelling, a pale or bluish appearance in your nasal passages.

Perform a skin test.

This is commonly done by an allergy specialist.

He or she will inject allergens, including the proteins, into your forearm or back. Then he or she will wait 15 minutes for an allergic reaction to show up.

Itching and redness are common side effects. However, they usually disappear after about 30 minutes.

Have you take a blood test.

If you can’t have the skin test done due to a skin condition and/or medication interactions, your doctor may order a blood test as a substitute.

Blood tests also help to identify specific allergy-causing antibodies. It also shows the degree of sensitivity to an allergy.

What Kind of Medications are Commonly Used for Pet Allergies?


Antihistamines are the most common. They quickly reduce the immune chemical that is active in allergies. As a result, they alleviate itching, runny noses, and sneezing.

Some of the most popular over-the-counter antihistamines are Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec.

Xyzal and Clarinex are a couple of the most commonly prescribed antihistamines.


These are the familiar nasal sprays that quickly reduce inflammation and symptoms of hay fever.

There are some that are consumed orally, however, they carry a higher risk of side effects.

Some of the most common sprays include Flonase and Nasacort.


Decongestants work by shrinking the swollen tissues in your nose. Some over-the-counter ones combine antihistamines.

However, if you have hypertension, heart disease, or glaucoma, you should not take decongestants before talking to a doctor.

Some decongestants can be taken as a nasal spray. However, taking it for more than three days in a row can cause congestion.

Leukotriene modifiers

Leukotrienes block certain immune system chemicals. Singular is the most commonly prescribed leukotriene.

They can make good substitutes if antihistamines or decongestants are not good options for you.

Side effects, however, include headache, fever, and upper respiratory infection. They’re rare but mood and behavioral changes have also been known to occur.

Alternative Treatments


Immunotherapy is usually recommended only if no other treatments have worked for you.

Immunotherapy is a series of shots that “train” your system not to have allergic reactions.

The dosages start out once or twice weekly. Those contain a small amount of animal protein that causes an allergic reaction.

After about four months, the dose is increased usually until about the sixth month.

Maintenance shots are usually needed about once a month between three and five years.

Nasal Irrigation

Neti pots or specially designed squeeze bottles can help flush out the excess mucus that irritates your sinuses. It’s done by a saltwater rinse.

You can do a self-prepared rinse.

Use water that’s contaminant-free and has been previously boiled or cooled. Otherwise, filter your water with a filter of one micron or smaller.

Afterward, be sure to wash your container with contaminant-free water and air dry.

Final Thoughts

Rhodesian Ridgebacks may shed less than a lot of other breeds, for example, the German Shepherd.

However, since they still shed, they’re not 100 percent hypoallergenic.

If your allergies are very mild and you tend to be allergic to some breeds over others, chances are, you’ll be fine with a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

But, fortunately, all hope is not lost if you know the science behind allergies and all of the treatments that are available.

Allergies occur when the body treats harmless allergens as foreign substances. For example, the protein found in dog dander.

But remember, like any other medical treatment, allergy treatments are not foolproof. What works for one person may not for another.