Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Pets Feed
The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed is worthy of respect for its strength and courage. After all, these dogs are ready to fearlessly rush into battle with the lion itself. Therefore, the second name of the Ridgeback is “African lion hound” or simply “lion dog”.
Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs are very popular in their homeland. In Africa, they are still used as hunting dogs and are indispensable safari participants. In other countries, representatives of this breed are in most cases kept as companions, guards, watchdogs and police dogs.
|Breed name||Rhodesian Ridgeback|
|Country of origin||Zimbabwe|
|Weight||30 – 40 kg|
|Height (at the withers)||63 – 69 cm|
|Life expectancy||10 – 12 years|
Rhodesian Ridgeback photos
Characteristics of the Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large, active breed with a short coat and a solid color. It is distinguished by the presence of a “ridge” – a comb of hair along the back. He is a powerful and flexible dog. The height of adult males is 63-69 cm, weight is 30-40 kg. The height of the female is 61-66 cm, weight is 29-34 kg. They can be any solid color – from light wheaten to red wheaten.
- Head: The skull is flat, triangular in shape. The muzzle is large, elongated. The stop is moderate.
- Jaws: The teeth are massive and strong. The jaws are powerful and strong. Bite “scissors”.
- Ears: Ears of medium size, set high, pendulous with rounded tips, close to the cheekbones.
- Eyes: The eyes are rounded and widely spaced. The color of the iris ranges from golden amber to dark brown and harmonizes with the color of the coat.
- Body: Body of graceful athletic build, slightly elongated. The neck is of medium length without dewlap, dense with strongly developed muscles. The back is straight, powerful and deep. The chest is strong and spacious. The ribs are slightly elastic, without noticeable rounding.
- Limbs: The forelegs are regular, rather bony. The hind limbs are stronger than the forelimbs, rather athletic build. The legs are small, similar to those of a cat with curled toes.
- Coat: The hairline is short, dense with a shiny sheen. The color can be of different tones, ranging from light brown to bright copper. Possible black on the ears and muzzle, as well as white spots on the chest and legs.
Behavior and character
A strong hunter, a strict guardian with steel nerves, an elegant athlete, a charismatic pet – this is how dogs of this breed can be characterized. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a well-developed aspect of its own dignity, it fully understands its strength and power.
He is very attached to a person, but he will never impose himself if he sees that the owner is busy. Slightly delicate, perfectly feels the mood of the owner. Badly tolerates loneliness and unjust punishments.
In the family circle, he looks slightly phlegmatic, in fact, he is simply in a static contemplative state – he saves energy for a more important situation.
With the children
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is very intelligent and understands people very well. Therefore, he fits perfectly into any family, regardless of the number of children, and can also live with one person. He perceives children well, he will be happy to play with them, walk on the street and generally spend time there. But the child must learn to handle animals correctly.
With other animals
Small pets and animals are seen as prey. He is always at war with street cats, but he can get along with house cats. Rhodesian Ridgeback is indifferent or friendly towards other dogs.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Health
The spinal dermal sinus is present from birth and if the dog suffers, it is possible to observe a small fossa in the spine. A lumen is usually seen, but vascular lesions and suppuration may also occur. This condition can cause more serious health problems and requires surgical treatment.
Other hereditary diseases of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog are:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
The life expectancy of the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog is 10 to 12 years.
Rhodesian Ridgeback care is not difficult:
- Hair is combed once or twice a week.
- Ears are cleaned 1-2 times in 10 days.
- The eyes are cleaned 2-3 times a week.
- Teeth are brushed weekly.
- The nails are cut once a month.
- They do not bathe more than 2-3 times a year.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback feels good in a spacious house and even in a small apartment, but on condition of benefiting from long walks and daily exercises.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback requires between 2 and 3 daily walks to maintain its muscles. It is also indicated that it can exercise at least once a day. In addition to classic games, such as the ball, we can also introduce the dog to agility, running or other activity promoting muscle development.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Fun Facts
- These dogs did not pursue their prey alone when hunting lions or other wild animals. It was several of these dogs who, having passed the target, skilfully stopped it and held it until the hunter arrived.
- It is the only South African breed to receive official recognition from the FCI.
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks excel in most canine professions, organically seeking out the role of guardians, hunters, and companions.
- A strong stalking instinct makes the breed dangerous to other pets, including cats. If the Rhodesian Ridgeback is categorically indifferent to a cat walking in the distance, then in 99 out of 100 cases this cat grew up with him.
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks are hardy, fast animals that engage in sports such as agility, running, skiing, and bikejoring.
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not very talkative and only bark when they want to draw others’ attention to a phenomenon or event.
- The breed has good learning abilities, but during training its representatives often show stubbornness, testing the authority of the trainer for strength.
- The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an intelligent dog, inclined to leadership and living by the laws of the pack, so it will be difficult for an inexperienced owner to find an approach.
- Female dogs of the Rhodesian Ridgeback are distinguished by a more dominating character and easily subjugate the males with whom they share the living space.
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a reputation for being fearless, courageous and protective, while among them there are truly shy individuals who are put to flight by any shout.
- Despite the fact that the breed has always been considered a hunting breed, its representatives easily abandon their historical mission, willingly turning it into sports training and active outdoor games.
The history of the breed
The distant ancestors of the modern Rhodesian Ridgebacks lived in Africa from the very beginning of our era. It is known that the first owners of such dogs were members of the Hottentot tribe. The specified tribe lived in East Africa and on the territory of the state of Zimbabwe.
It was in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) that the formation of the Ridgeback breed took place, hence the name “Rhodesian”. The birthplace of the breed is the South African Cape. Local farmers needed a dog capable of hunting large animals, even lions.
It was supposed to be a versatile dog that was not afraid of extreme African temperatures and lack of water. In addition, the representatives of the new breed must be adequate companions and guards of the owner’s property.
To achieve the set goals, breeding work was carried out, as a result of which the Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred. In the process of work, the crossing of semi-domesticated Hottentot hunting dogs with a ridge on their back and European hounds that came to Africa with immigrants was carried out. It is also known that in the blood of the Rhodesian Ridgeback there are genes for Mastiff, Greyhound, Great Dane and Bloodhound.
The work of the breeders was crowned with success. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed gained immense popularity not only among lion hunters, but also among farmers. In 1900, the first official kennel for lion dogs was registered. In 1922 the breed standard was approved.