The Rhodesian Ridgeback comes from South Africa, where it was bred by farmers and called African Lion Hound. The name is self-explanatory – the dog was developed to hunt lions, bears and other large and dangerous game in difficult terrain and extreme conditions and temperatures, without water, etc. The Rhodesian Ridgeback proved to be the perfect dog for the job, resulted from the crossing of the native Khoikhoi with Greyhounds, Great Danes, Bloodhounds, and Mastiffs. The ridge along the back is a sign of a great hunter.
A breed standard was created in 1922 by Cornelius von Rooyen, and it hasn’t changed much since. As of 1924, the Rhodesian Ridgeback was recognized by the South African Kennel Union. The U.S. didn’t see the breed until 1911, and it was only popularized in the United States, Canada, and Britain after the Second World War. Nowadays, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is popular in both South Africa and the United States.
Owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback can be a challenge because this is a very special breed. Intelligent and independent, and a hunter to boot, this dog can become quite aggressive with other animals. Early training is needed, so the Rhodesian Ridgeback learns who’s boss. Affectionate with the family, it does not trust strangers, and it makes an excellent watchdog, barking to alert an intruder or possible trouble.
- Activity level: 3/5 (moderately active and needs a medium amount of exercise)
- Intelligence level: 5/5 (very intelligent)
- Curiosity: 4/5 (very alert and inquisitive)
- Friendliness: 3/5 (affectionate with the family, less so with other animals or strangers)
- Vocal: 3/5 (vocal when need be, such as when there is danger)
By far, the most easily recognizable physical trait of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the ridge that give its name, which runs down its back. The ridge itself dates back to the very beginnings of the breed, having been passed down from generation to generation from the original African wild dog that sported the ridge. Over time, this particularity came to be the sign of a skilled hunter. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is athletic, carries itself nobly and has a spark of intelligence in its eyes.
- Fur: The coat of a Rhodesian Ridgeback presents the distinctive ridge of hair, but is otherwise dense and short. The hairs that form the ridge grow in the opposite direction. The fur can come in red shades or light wheaten, with white toes and chest.
- Eyes: The eyes of this dog are typically brown and round, but the color depends on the coat of the animal.
- Body structure: A tall, strong, muscular and athletic body and long, straight, agile legs characterize the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
- Facial features: The breed features a flat, broad head with a brown or black nose and a long and deep muzzle. Its ears are medium-sized, with a tapered point and wider base. The tail is long, curved and tapered.
- Weight: The female Rhodesian Ridgeback weighs around 70 pounds while the male weighs about 85 pounds.
This breed remains quite healthy throughout its life. However, among the diseases it may potentially suffer from there is the dermoid sinus, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.
We have gathered this information from our breeders based on their experience with this breed. However, remember that each animal is different with its own personality and needs (just like people!), so use this information wisely.
Do you know more about this breed and want to share your knowledge with us? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org