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Unleashing the Majestic: An In-depth Guide to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed

rhodesian ridgeback breed

Unleashing the Majestic: An In-depth Guide to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed


The imposing Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed of dog developed in Africa to serve multiple purposes, including those of a hunter and a watchdog for the family.

After going on a jog with you, they are currently less inclined to hunt lions and more likely to look for a comfortable spot on the couch after their workout.

There is still a chance that some of these purebred canines will wind up in the care of rescue organizations or shelters. If you decide this is the right breed, you should consider adoption.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a smart dog, although it may sometimes be stubborn. It has a moderate activity level, and its coat is easy to care for.

However, because these puppies require significant movement and exercise, they would not do as well living in an apartment.

They would probably do better if adopted by an experienced pet parent who can maintain consistency with the training. If you satisfy the breed’s requirements, you will be rewarded with a devoted and reliable friend for the rest of your life.

More Information Regarding This Breed

The distinctive ridge that can be seen running down the back of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, which gives the breed its name, is typically the first thing people notice about this dog breed.

rhodesian ridgeback breed

The unusual ridge on his head is evidence that he is descended from a combination of European hunting dogs and African dogs that also have the ridge on their heads.

Additionally, they take note of his powerful athleticism, his regal carriage, and the intelligence that can be seen in his eyes.

The breed’s history is only one factor contributing to its attractiveness; owners are sometimes asked, “Did they actually kill lions?” when referring to their dogs.

The answer to your question is correct; the Ridgeback was created in Africa to corner and hold large animals such as lions, bears, and boars.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is still a popular breed for hunting in modern times, and some individuals within the breed have even developed the ability to point and retrieve games.

Additionally, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a good hiking or jogging companion and may be found competing in various dog sports, including agility, lure coursing, obedience, and tracking.

In addition, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an excellent guard dog; the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog that, once fully grown, has moderate exercise requirements in contrast to when he was a playful and hyperactive puppy.

If you take him for a brisk walk or play a game of fetch a couple of times per day and also allow him to run in a fenced-in area a couple of times a week, he will be content, at least in terms of the amount of physical activity he receives.

This clever breed also needs mental stimulation; a Rhodesian Ridgeback who is bored is a Rhodesian Ridgeback that is more likely to be destructive. The Rhodesian Ridgeback maintains a dignified and quiet demeanor when meeting new people.

When he’s with his family, he’s a calm and loving companion who, if the situation calls for it, is able and eager to defend his house and the people who live in it. It is not the right breed for everyone because of its size, intellect, and power.

Those who have never owned a dog or are uncomfortable around animals can find him to be more than a handful. Continue your search if you are seeking a friendly dog who gets along well with everyone.

On the other hand, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an easy-to-care-for, short-haired dog that combines qualities such as tenderness and tenacity with a sense of humor. If these traits are essential to you in a dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback could be your ideal companion.

History Of The Breed

Boer farmers in South Africa were responsible for developing the Rhodesian Ridgeback, formerly known as the African Lion Hound.

rhodesian ridgeback breed

The farmers had a pressing need for a multitalented hunting dog that was able to endure the harsh weather conditions and the varied topography of the wilderness, make it through times of scarce water supplies, guard property, and be a loyal companion to the whole family.

They began by breeding dogs that they had brought from Europe, such as Great Danes, Mastiffs, Greyhounds, and Bloodhounds, with a half-wild native dog that was maintained by the Khoikhoi, who was a pastoral tribe.

Other breeds that were used included the Bloodhound and the Greyhound. Breeders found that offspring of crosses that included this unusual ridge of hair along the dog’s back were more likely to be successful hunters.

This characteristic ridge of hair was one of the dog’s distinguishing features. Initially, the Boers mostly utilized dogs to flush partridge or bring down a wounded deer.

They discovered that the dogs were ideally adapted for accompanying them when they hunted lions from horseback, which became popular around the same time as big-game hunting.

Before the human hunters arrived, the dogs would keep the lion at bay until they arrived.

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Cornelius von Rooyen, a hunter, was the first person to initiate a dog breeding program in what was then known as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

A breed standard, which is the written description of what the breed should look like and how it should behave, was established in 1922, and it has not undergone significant revisions since then.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback gained official recognition as a breed by the South African Kennel Union in 1924. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that substantial quantities of Rhodesian Ridgebacks were imported to the United States, Britain, and Canada.

Some Rhodesian Ridgebacks arrived in the United States as early as 1911. Tchaika of Redhouse was the first Rhodesian Ridgeback to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), which occurred in 1955. In the same year, the breed was officially recognized by the AKC.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes a total of 155 dog breeds and types; the Rhodesian Ridgeback is now ranked 54th in popularity.

The Ridgeback is highly popular in South Africa, where this breed first began its trip.

The Ridgeback’s webbed feet make it easier for them to walk through the sandy ground, much like snowshoes that are created specifically for sand.

Size Of The breed

Male Rhodesian Ridgebacks stand between 25 and 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh approximately 85 pounds.

Female Rhodesian Ridgebacks range in height from 24 to 26 inches and weigh approximately 70 pounds.

Personality Of The Breed

Both independent and intelligent, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can be interesting, aggravating, and rewarding all at the same time due to this combination of characteristics.

rhodesian ridgeback breed

It is essential to get an early start on training, to be rigorous but not harsh, and to be consistent throughout. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a strong desire to hunt due to the hunting heritage of his ancestors.

This means that your yard is not a safe haven for stray cats or other tiny furry animals, and it also means that your yard should have a strong fence around it to prevent him from wandering off and hunting by himself.

As a young pup, he is full of life and energy, but as he gets older, he settles down and has fewer requirements for physical activity.

The Ridgeback is devoted to the safety of his family and property, and he has a discerning bark that can be counted on to warn you of impending danger. He doesn’t open up easily to new people but is sweet and affectionate when he’s among his family.

When they are young, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, like all other dogs, require early socialization, which involves exposing them to a wide variety of people, places, things to see and hear, and experiences.

The socialization of your Ridgeback puppy will ensure that they develop into a well-rounded adult dog.

Health Of The Breed

Rhodesian Ridgebacks enjoy good health, but like other dog breeds, they are susceptible to developing a few specific diseases.

It’s crucial to be aware of these diseases if you’re thinking about getting a Ridgeback, even if it’s true that not all Ridgebacks will get any or all of them.

If you want to buy a puppy, you should look for a reputable breeder who can provide you with health clearances for both of the dog’s parents. Clearances from the veterinarian demonstrate that a dog has been examined for and found to be free of a certain disease.

It is reasonable to anticipate finding health clearances for Rhodesian Ridgebacks from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for the elbows, thyroid, and hips, and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF), which certifies that the eyes are normal.

Health clearances are not given to dogs younger than 2 years old since some health problems don’t appear until a dog reaches full maturity.

This is because some health problems don’t appear until a dog reaches full maturity.

Try to find a breeder who waits until her dogs are at least two or three years old before breeding them. The following ailments are not typical of the breed, but they have been known to appear on occasion:

Elbow Dysplasia

Large-breed dogs are more likely to be affected by the inherited disorder known as elbow dysplasia. It is believed that this condition is brought on by the different growth rates of the three bones that comprise the dog’s elbow, which results in joint laxity.

This can result in a painful condition called lameness. Your veterinarian may suggest that you have surgery to fix the issue or take the medication in conjunction with losing weight to manage the pain.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a disorder in which the thighbone does not fit securely into the hip joint and can be passed down through families. You might not detect any discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia, even though some dogs have pain and lameness in one or both of their hind legs.

Arthritis may develop as the dog gets older. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program are the organizations that provide X-ray screening for hip dysplasia (PennHIP).

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, but it can be made worse by external causes such as rapid growth caused by a diet high in calories or injuries sustained by jumping or falling on slippery flooring.

Dermoid Sinus

A congenital skin defect known as dermoid sinus is characterized by the presence of a cyst or a tube-like structure that runs down the spinal region. It is possible for some of it to reach into the muscular tissue and even attach itself to the spinal cord.

It can also enter the skin to variable degrees. When the dermoid sinus becomes infected, it can lead to further complications. Some puppies born with this deformity are put to sleep, while others are given surgery to correct the issue.

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Care Of The Breed

As long as they get enough exercise daily, Rhodesian Ridgebacks can adjust to various living situations, including apartments.

They should not be confined to an outdoor run or kennel but rather live inside the home with their owners. It would be wonderful to have access to a yard enclosed by a fence.

They will try to escape if they are bored so in addition to making sure that your fence can’t be jumped over, climbed over, or dug under, keep your Ridgeback occupied with training, play, or dog sports.

They will try to escape if they are bored. It is reckless to put him in the yard all by himself for an extended period because it increases the risk of him causing damage.

Even if he does not have a particularly extreme case of boredom, a Ridgeback will frequently have the urge to dig enormous holes into lying down in the cool and comfy soil.

You should either be prepared to give him a portion of the yard or surrender to the fact that the yard will become cratered and resemble the moon’s surface.

Provide your Rhodesian Ridgeback with a couple of walks or playtimes of 15 to 20 minutes per day, as well as the opportunity to run in a safely securely fenced area a couple of times each week.

Because of the breed’s intense instinct to hunt, you must always keep him on a leash in an area not enclosed by fencing.

Regardless of how well you think you’ve trained your Ridgeback, he will still chase a cat, rabbit, or cyclist, no matter how well you think he’s trained.

Ridgebacks, in general, are selective barkers, which means that they only bark at things that are significant to them; however, any dog is capable of becoming a nuisance barker if he is bored and doesn’t have anything else to do.

You should start your dog’s training as soon as possible, beginning with puppy kindergarten and then moving on to a basic obedience class.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has its personality and can be defiant at times. You must be strong, consistent, and not harsh with him if you want to train him properly. Use many forms of positive reinforcement, such as praising, playing, and rewarding with food.

Living With The Dog

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a dog breed that is known for its remarkable level of tolerance and for being a wonderful companion.

Ridgebacks are gregarious animals that take pleasure in the company of other canines; however, families need to exercise caution when bringing multiple male dogs into the home because this can lead to fights over who is the alpha dog.

If these dogs are raised around cats, they might get along well with their feline companions. They are patient and kind with children, but the child and the dog need to learn how to behave around each other.

Younger and more excitable ridgebacks tend to be larger. Thus it’s possible that they could accidentally knock over younger youngsters. Ridgebacks dog breeds are known to be very protective of children as well as other members of the household.

These are wonderful natural guardians and watchdogs for the family, but they must be aware that the primary caregiver is always in charge.

Ridgebacks are not barkers, but they will watch out for anything that seems out of the ordinary. Athletic dogs have the ability to climb.

When anything is intriguing on the other side of the fence, you may find that their innate curiosity takes over, and they try to investigate it.

Even though they are not natural diggers, if you leave them unsupervised in your backyard over the summer, they may make some amazing “caverns.” The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an exceptionally hygienic breed of dog with very little body odor and very little hair loss.

When it comes to food, they are referred to as “easy keepers,” but you may need to control their caloric intake to prevent them from overeating and becoming obese even though they are not picky eaters.

Feeding Of The Dog Breed

The recommended daily intake is between 2.75 and 4.38 cups of high-quality food, to be consumed regularly and split between two meals.

The amount of food an adult dog needs to consume is determined by several factors, including age, size, build metabolism, and degree of activity. Because each dog is an individual, just like each person, their dietary requirements will all be different.

It should go without saying that a dog with a high activity level will require more than a dog whose primary activity is lounging around the house.

The quality of the dog food which you purchase is another factor that plays a role.

The higher the quality of the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing it, and the less you will need to shake into the bowl it eats from.

Ridgebacks are recognized for their love of food and ability to counter surf. Keep food out of your dog’s reach as much as possible, and think about dog-proofing your cabinets to prevent him from getting into his food.

If you want your Ridgeback to remain in good shape, you should measure his food and only feed him twice daily rather than always having food available.

You should give him the eye exam and the hands-on test if you are unsure whether he is overweight. First, look at him from a lower level.

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A waistline ought to be discernible to the viewer. Then position your hands so that they are on his back, with your thumbs running along his spine and your fingers spreading outward.

Without exerting too much force, you should be able to feel his ribs but cannot see them. If you couldn’t help him, he needs fewer calories and more activity.

See our recommendations for purchasing the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog for further information on how to feed your Ridgeback.

Coat Color And Grooming

The coat of the Ridgeback is typically odorless, and it is short and glossy with a smooth texture.

Ridgebacks kept inside shed a little throughout the year, whereas those kept outside have higher shedding during the different seasons.

The hue of the coat can range from light wheaten to red wheaten, which translates to buff, gold, and reddish gold, respectively. Some Ridgebacks have black on their muzzles, ears, or around their eyes.

Others have black around their eyes. Beginning just beyond the shoulder, the distinct, tapering ridge of hair on his back grows in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat.

It begins at a place between the rise of the hips and ends at a point just behind the shoulder. Typically, the ridge will include two whorls, groups of hair that grow in a circular pattern, precisely opposite one another.

These whorls are referred to as crowns, and in the show ring, a Ridgeback with only one crown or with more than two crowns has a very low chance of success. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a relatively low-maintenance breed when it comes to matters of grooming.

Once a week, give him a thorough grooming using a rubber curry brush to remove any stray or dead hair, and then clean him down with a moist cloth. Voila! One that has been groomed.

Dental hygiene and nail care are two additional aspects of proper grooming. To prevent tartar accumulation and the spread of bacteria, you should brush your Ridgeback’s teeth at least twice or thrice every week.

The better option is daily. It is recommended that his nails be trimmed once or twice every month. They are too long if you can hear the nail clicking on the floor when you walk across them.

Nails kept short are healthier for the feet and prevent damage to the carpet from being caused by snagging. When your Ridgeback is still a puppy, you should start grooming him so that he becomes accustomed to the process.

Handle his paws often, as dogs are sensitive about being handled near their feet, and look inside his mouth and ears.

You can lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handlings when he’s an adult if you make grooming a positive experience by giving him praise and rewards while he’s being groomed.

Rhodesian Ridgeback With Other Animals And Children

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is tolerant of children of all ages, but because he is so large and boisterous, he is not the best choice for families with young children.

Always teach your children how to approach and touch your Rhodesian Ridgeback. Supervise all interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or tail-pulling from either party.

As with any other dog breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch your Rhodesian Ridgeback. If the Rhodesian Ridgeback is brought up with other animals, he gets along nicely with everyone.

It’s common for males to be hostile against other males, particularly if they haven’t been neutered. It is essential to properly socialize a Rhodesian Ridgeback with other dogs and animals from the time he is a puppy.

Because the tolerance he displays toward animals in his home is only sometimes extended to animals that are not a part of his family. This can be avoided by exposing him to other animals early on.

Rescue Groups

There are occasions when Rhodesian Ridgebacks are purchased without the buyer’s crystal clear grasp of what is involved in owning one.

As a result, these dogs frequently find their way into the care of rescue groups, where they require adoption or fostering. Some Ridgebacks are surrendered to rescue organizations because their previous owners have passed away or divorced.

A rescue organization is a good place to start looking if you are interested in adopting an adult Rhodesian Ridgeback who has already passed through the stage of being a destructive puppy and may already be trained.


In conclusion, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a captivating breed known for their unique appearance and exceptional loyalty.

By understanding their origins, caring for their needs, and being aware of potential health concerns, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your beloved Ridgeback. Remember, they aren’t just pets; they’re cherished members of the family.

Now that you’ve unlocked the secrets of the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed, you’re well-prepared to provide the love and care these magnificent dogs deserve.

Questions People Also Ask: (FAQs)



Let’s address some frequently asked questions about this incredible breed:

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good with children and other pets?

Yes, when properly socialized, they can be excellent family dogs and get along well with children and other pets.


How much exercise do Rhodesian Ridgebacks need daily?

They thrive on about 60-90 minutes of exercise per day, but more is always welcome.


Do they require a lot of grooming?

No, their short coat makes grooming relatively easy compared to other breeds.


Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks prone to separation anxiety?

Like many breeds, they can develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Early training and socialization can help alleviate this.


What’s their average lifespan?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks typically live around 10-12 years with proper care.


Are they good guard dogs?

Yes, their protective instincts make them excellent guard dogs.


Can Rhodesian Ridgebacks thrive in apartments?

While they prefer open spaces, they can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise.

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