Rhodesian Ridgeback Information

General Information on the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed of dog that is ferocious in the wild but is a great pet when domesticated. It appeals to all pet owner types and is a great pet even when there is children around. It is a type of pet which can be loyal to its owner and will be protective of all of their owners interests.

Since this breed is can be agile in its natural habitat, this dog can be very active if given the right space to encourage it. This breed of dog can be a great running or walking companion, and will work just as great to complement its owners physical activities.

Although this dog has all of these good qualities, it can be a very wild and unruly dog if left untrained. It may learn to go against its owner if the owner does not have enough conviction to train and to discipline the dog. Other than that, you will find that this dog will be a great pet that you can take care of for years.


Male Ridgebacks will stand up to 27 inches, while female Rhodesian Ridgeback sizes will range from 24 to 26 inches. The weight of a male Ridgeback will be much heavier than its female counterparts, with a peak weight of 90 pounds compared to a females peak weight of 75 pounds.

Fur Care and Maintenance

The fur of a Rhodesian Ridgeback is quite short and is very smooth to the touch. Occasional bathing can help in maintaining the furs texture and color, and can help in preventing parasites such as lice from digging deep into the dogs skin.

Family Compatibility

Although it seems that this dog to appeal to all family types, it still needs to have an active rather than a passive owner most of the time. It doesnt have to be all of the members of the family, but it helps that all family members are aware of how to treat the dog well.


The lifestyle of this type of dog generally adapts to the lifestyle of its owner, but there are some qualities to the dog which are innately wild. Providing a space exclusively for the dogs use can help in adapting to this nature of this breed.

Life Expectancy and Health

A Rhodesian Ridgeback can live for up to twelve years, for as long as its diet and exercise is consistent. Aside from these aspects, this type of dog can also have complications which can be fatal to its health. A regular check-up with the veterinarian can help in improving the  quality of the dogs life.

Exercise and Well-Being

Its important to avoid overfeeding the dog and to maintain a healthy exercise regimen for this breed.

Training and Behavior Adjustment

A Ridgebacks training can be easy and may not really take a long time to finish. Since the ridgeback picks up easily and can be an obedient dog, its not that hard to carry on with training. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback Information

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a large breed of dog that could be fierce in hunting but very calm and gentle at home.  They have strong stamina and should be given sufficient mental and physical exercise or else they would get unmanageable. Passive owners or those that are very gentle and treat dogs as   family than pet have hard time training a Rhodesian Ridgeback because this breed only reacts best when approached firmly but calmly.  They tend to dominate their owners if they seem to  feel more authority.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are intelligent and skillful. They are good companions for athletic owners and they are excellent jogging companion.  They are also highly commendable watchdogs but not security dogs because they tend to be over protective which could be alarming for neighbors. They should be trained to socialized with other pets like cats so cat-dog-fight like problems will be prevented.

They can withstand sudden changes in the weather or the temperature around them. however they are prone to hip dysplasia (an abnormal formation of the hip socket that can lead to crippling lameness and painful arthritis of joints),  dermoid sinus (a skin defect caused by incomplete separation of the skin and the neural tube during embryonic development of the dog) and cysts.


The Rhodesian Ridgebacks have broad head that is flat between their ears, which are set high.  The colors of their noses depend on the color of their coats.  They have strong legs  and fairly long tails. Their coats are short and dense. The color of their coats may vary from light wheaten to shades of red or sometimes with a little white on the chest and toes.

A grown up Rhodesian Ridgeback is about 25 to 27 inches  or 63 to 69cm tall. Their bitches are about 24-26 inches or 61-66cm.  They could weight from 80 to 90 pounds  or 36 to 41kilo grams for grownups and 65 to 75 pounds  or 29-34 kilo grams for bitches.  They are expected to live for about a decade or more.

The owners of Rhodesian Ridgebacks have no problem grooming them.  They only need shampoo for their coat which could be fixed with a firm-bristled brush.    


They are not active indoors but could live in a small apartment as long as they get the exercise that   they need. They are very active outdoors, and they love running off the leash.   

About Rhodesian Ridgebacks

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a big and muscular hound. It has a broad head that is flat somewhere between the ears. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks muzzle is long and deep but with a defined stop. The dogs nose can be either black or brown, which can depend on the dogs coat. Its round eyes can have a brown color depending on the dogs shade. It has medium sized ears that are set high and drops down, wide at the base but tapering a bit to a point. The chest of the Rhodesian Ridgebacks is deep. Its front legs are very straight and strong. Its tail is fairly long and thicker at the base. The tail tapers to a point and curving upward slightly. Its short but dense coat has a defined symmetrical ridge of hair growth that is in opposite direction somewhere down the middle of its back. The coat colors of the Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be light wheaten or shades of red, but sometimes with a few white on the dogs chest and toes.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) categorizes dogs into 7 groups:

  • herding
  • hound
  • non-sporting
  • sporting
  • terrier
  • toy
  • working


1)      The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a fine hunter, as it is very ferocious in the hunt. However, in homes it can be calm, obedient, gentle and good dog.

2)      This breed is relatively good-natured, however, they are not suited with small children because these dogs may play a bit too rough and knock the children down.

3)      These dogs are intelligent, skillful and very loyal to the owner and his family. They are also brave and vigilant.

4)      Although they can socialize well, these dogs can be reserved toward strangers. They naturally possess a strong stamina. As such, they need enough mental and physical exercise so they will not become high strung and a bit unmanageable.

5)      This dog breed needs a confident and consistent pack leader that can provide rules to the dog. Rules like the dog must follow and the limits to what the dog can and cannot do.

6)      Meek and passive dog owners will have difficulty controlling this dog breed and may also cause these dogs to be a bit combative with other dogs.

7)      When these dogs are given what they naturally need, they can prove to be exceptional companion dogs. However, they are not highly recommended for many people, as most people do not have the energy or time to put into them.

8)      The Rhodesian Ridgebacks react best to a consistent, firm and calm approach to training. These dogs are very intelligent and can learn quickly. However, they can be willful and stubborn if they think they are stronger-minded than their owners.

9)      Training of this dog breed should be gentle, but firm. Also, training should start while the dog is young and small enough to manage.

10)   They can be very good watch dogs, however, it is not suggested that they be made guard dogs.

11)   These dogs can be very loving and protective of its owners.

12)   This dog breed can be quite more destructive than the Labradors if not given adequate exercise and is not convinced that his owner is his authority figure.

Rhodesian Ridgeback History

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks came from Zimbabwe and is used as a hunting dog and also as a retriever. This dog took care of children of owners and also guarded property. It originated from the cross breeding of ridgebacked dogs that were brought by Boer settlers to Africa during the 16th and 17th centuries. These dogs were originally kept by South African tribes along with other dog breeds such as the Great Dane, Mastiff, Khoikhoi dog and Deerhound. In 1877, Reverend Helm brought two Ridgebacks to Rhodesia. Eventually, big game hunters found out that if the dogs are used in packs they can be excellent in the hunting of lions on horseback. As such the Rhodesian Ridgeback got its alternate name of “African Lion Hound”. The dogs were able to adapt well in the hot African weather in the day as well as in the damp but cold nights. In 1950, the breed was brought to the United States. Then in 1955, the AKC recognized the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Grooming and Health Problems

The smooth and short-haired coat Rhodesian Ridgebacks are quite easy to groom. Just brush the breed with a bristle brush and you may shampoo the dog only when necessary. It is an average shedder. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a hardy breed. It has the capacity to withstand dramatic temperature changes of temperature. However, this dog is susceptible to cysts, hip dysplasia and dermoid sinus.

Living Conditions, Exercise and Life Expectancy

Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be ok in an apartment for as long as the dog can get enough exercise. These dogs are relatively inactive indoors, but they can be active outdoors and do best with a big space like a yard. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks have great stamina for action. The dogs need long daily brisk walks or jogs. This dog needs plenty of time to run, preferably without the leash in a relatively safe area. Also, if this dog is allowed to become bored and is not walked, they have a tendency to become destructive and may start displaying some behavioral problems. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an average life expectancy of about 10-12 years.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppy Training & Care

The Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy has originally been developed in the South side of Africa. Even the genealogy of those coming from Europe also showed Southern Africa as the place of origin of this dog breed. Today, people from different parts of the globe have them as companions since they are caring and loving pets.


Back in the earlier years, this breed has been known as the Lion or Lion Hound, specifically because it has the ability to distract the attention of a lion while its master is gearing up to kill the ferocious animal. So it was mainly used for hunting. But aside from that, these dogs also served as guardians to their owners.


A Rodesian Ridgeback puppy grows up to be a lean yet muscular dog. Their ears are erect and also hanging. But the most distinguishing feature of this breed is the ridge of hair that can be found on its back. People will notice that the coat runs in the opposite direction from the rest. And it goes from behind the dogs shoulders to its hips and looks like a folded fan.

When a male Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy matures, it can stand up to 27 inches tall, and can weight around 35 kg, while the height of the females can reach up to 26 inches and its weight can be about 32 kg. In terms of color, the normal colors are either red wheaten or light wheaten, and the coat is dense, short and sleek.


Having a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy is rewarding. It can give so much joy to a household because of its loving nature. It’s also known to be quite protective to their owners which also shows their loyalty. In fact, if trained properly they can be great guards dogs. Although its still recommended to socialize them with humans or other dogs so they don’t exhibit aggressive behavior. Actually, aggression is not typically associated with this breed since they are more aloof when it comes to strangers. They prefer to ignore than to challenge someone they don’t know.

Like other dogs, they are also athletic. However extreme training methods is not advisable for this breed since they don’t have that same ability as working dogs. Since they also have a bit of sensitive side especially when theyre young, rough treatment should be avoided. A consistent light, reward-based and positive training can be done instead to further help them exhibit the right behavior.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has been considered as a prized hunting dog for a very long time. However, it seems that this dog has a different behavior as it becomes a domesticated breed. To give you an idea on the factors affecting Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament as it becomes a domesticated dog, here are some of the things that can contribute to the overall temperament of the Rhodesian Ridgeback.


The typical Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament is aggressive because its very nature is based on hunting and being a predator over being a prey. However, this mood changes when the dog is domesticated, making them calm and reserved and fit to be a family pet.

Even so, it is not advisable for a Rhodesian Ridgeback to be bred in a home where there are children as it can have an adverse response to a childs behavior. It is also not helpful to have the ridgeback in types of home such as condominiums and apartments as it is better for the Rhodesian Ridgeback to be exposed to the outdoors more often than indoors.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament as far as interaction is not as bad as you might think. It knows how to interact with people, but it doesnt illicit the same response as other dogs do. It requires the breeder or the owner to be more sensitive to the dog and to treat the dog as such and to leave it be when they need to be alone. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is also sociable to other dog breeds, although it is not advisable to let them interact with smaller breeds, as well as cats.


The activity of the Rhodesian Ridgeback varies, but generally, it is advisable to make the dog be active as much as you would think it can handle. This breed of dog likes to run, which makes it ideal as a running companion for active owners. It is also preferred by the Rhodesian Ridgeback to move around in a wide area as much as the owner can afford to provide the dog with. This type of active lifestyle is best paired with a balanced diet, making sure that the dog is not overfed.

Taking notes of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament can make you a better breeder and owner. Use these reminders in order to be at one with the dog to have a long and harmonious relationship as a pet and his/her master.