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RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK - dignified, even-tempered, affectionate

A large and muscular dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback was not only developed as hunter but also as a family protector. The breed can be light wheaten to red wheaten and are sleek and glossy in appearance. Originally bred to hunt lions the breed is also known as the African Lion Hound.

The peculiarity of the Ridgeback breed is the ridge of hair which grows forward on his back.



The Rhodesian Ridgeback, sometimes referred to as the African Lion Hound, is a native to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), bred by the Boer farmers to fill their specific need for a service able hunting dog in the wilds.The breed was created by the Hottentots and the early Dutch, German, and Huguenot settlers. They combined Danes, Mastiffs, Greyhounds, Bloodhounds, Terriers, and other breeds with half-wild Hottentot hunting breed to create the Ridgeback. In 1922, a group of Rhodesian Breeders set up a standard for Ridgebacks which has remained virtually unchanged ever since. The Rhodesian Ridgeback was admitted to registry by the AKC in 1955.



Rhodesian ridgebacks are loyal, intelligent, and somewhat aloof to strangers. This is not to be confused with aggression; a ridgeback of proper temperament will be more inclined to ignore, rather than challenge, a stranger. The breed is also athletic, requiring regular exercise. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are intelligent animals. They respond well to positive, fair, consistent training, keeping in mind that positive does not mean permissive. Because of this intelligence, an untrained Ridgeback can become a nuisance. Trained, he is a pleasure as a companion, a hunting partner, a show dog or performance competitor. Because of his innate ability to protect his family, a Ridgeback should not be trained as a guard dog. Rather, the natural protective qualities should be supplemented with elementary obedience training.


Coat and Grooming

Beyond regular weekly grooming with a brush, the occasional bath will keep them clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.


Energy and Exercise

​Imposing enough to make intruders think twice, yet swift enough to run with Greyhounds in the sport of lure coursing, Ridgebacks are formidable creatures. They can be strong-willed, independent, and sometimes domineering. RRs must be guided with a firm but patient hand from early puppyhood. These are true-blue loyal friends who look after their humans and are meltingly affectionate with those they trust. Still, Ridgebacks might be too much hound for a family of first-time dog owners.



The Rhodesian Ridgeback, which has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, it may be prone to minor issues such as elbow dysplasia, canine hip dysplasia (CHD). and dermoid sinus are also occasionally seen in the breed.




Image by Animal Planet / Text by AKC

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