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Rhodesian Ridgeback

RhodesianRidgeback

A Reliable Family Companion

Companionate, Powerful, Scenthound

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are extraordinary pets. While it is interesting to learn about the breeding purpose of Rhodesian Ridgebacks, their genetics actually influence health, outward appearance and behavior. Some behaviors make the Rhodesian Ridgeback and some can be quite irritating! Understanding her unique needs will help you keep her healthy and will create a stronger bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about where she came, which health conditions are a risk to her and how to keep her feeling her best.


Breed Details

Height:24-27" Weight:70-85 lbs Lifespan:10-12 years

Size
4

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
1

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
2

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
1

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or she'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. She can have a high prey drive, so she needs to be leash walked and a sturdy fence is a must.

Grooming: She has low grooming needs. Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly.

Dental: Rhodesian Ridgebacks generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


A Rhodesian Ridgeback is highly energetic and active outdoors, but with enough exercise and socialization she is a laid-back and reliable family companion.

Positive Traits:

  • Even temper and gentle disposition

  • Trustworthy and dependable

  • Good with children

  • Quiet—not much of a barker

  • Large, strong, and athletic

  • Protective of family: good watch dog

Negative Traits:

  • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a puppy

  • Requires vigorous, frequent exercise and space to run

  • Easily bored if not given something to do, which leads to barking and chewing

  • Sees cats and small animals as prey unless trained otherwise

  • Territorial with larger dogs, especially of the same sex

  • Suspicious of strangers

Whether you are considering adding a new Rhodesian Ridgeback to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Rhodesian Ridgeback will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Rhodesian Ridgeback you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

Some health issues a Rhodesian Ridgeback could encounter:

Allergies

Eye Problems

Cataracts

Glaucoma

Eyelid Abnormality

Distichiasis

The Rhodesian Ridgeback originated in Southern Africa in the late 1800’s. They were bred for family protection and hunting large game, including lions! Rhodesians are known for the characteristic “ridge” of hair that grows in the reverse direction along their backs.

They are strong-willed and mischievous, but easily trained by a calm and confident leader and with positive reinforcement. Rhodesian Ridgebacks enjoy family time and are generally “people” dogs that, when mature, are content to relax on the couch. Rhodies are intelligent, vigilant, and brave; naturally protective but not aggressive. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10-12 years.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Rhodesian Ridgeback shows signs of the following:

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

  • Cloudiness to eye lens

  • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye

  • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

  • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound

  • New or changing lumps or bumps, itchy or not

  • Dragging the hind toes and hind limb weakness

  • General reluctance to run or play

  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds

  • Brittle, easily breakable nails

  • Draining wound on the back

  • Care

    Routine Care: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or she'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. She can have a high prey drive, so she needs to be leash walked and a sturdy fence is a must.

    Grooming: She has low grooming needs. Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly.

    Dental: Rhodesian Ridgebacks generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    A Rhodesian Ridgeback is highly energetic and active outdoors, but with enough exercise and socialization she is a laid-back and reliable family companion.

    Positive Traits:

    • Even temper and gentle disposition

    • Trustworthy and dependable

    • Good with children

    • Quiet—not much of a barker

    • Large, strong, and athletic

    • Protective of family: good watch dog

    Negative Traits:

    • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a puppy

    • Requires vigorous, frequent exercise and space to run

    • Easily bored if not given something to do, which leads to barking and chewing

    • Sees cats and small animals as prey unless trained otherwise

    • Territorial with larger dogs, especially of the same sex

    • Suspicious of strangers

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Rhodesian Ridgeback to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Rhodesian Ridgeback will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Rhodesian Ridgeback you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

    Some health issues a Rhodesian Ridgeback could encounter:

    Allergies

    Eye Problems

    Cataracts

    Glaucoma

    Eyelid Abnormality

    Distichiasis

  • History

    The Rhodesian Ridgeback originated in Southern Africa in the late 1800’s. They were bred for family protection and hunting large game, including lions! Rhodesians are known for the characteristic “ridge” of hair that grows in the reverse direction along their backs.

    They are strong-willed and mischievous, but easily trained by a calm and confident leader and with positive reinforcement. Rhodesian Ridgebacks enjoy family time and are generally “people” dogs that, when mature, are content to relax on the couch. Rhodies are intelligent, vigilant, and brave; naturally protective but not aggressive. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10-12 years.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Rhodesian Ridgeback shows signs of the following:

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound

    • New or changing lumps or bumps, itchy or not

    • Dragging the hind toes and hind limb weakness

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds

    • Brittle, easily breakable nails

    • Draining wound on the back

Rhodesian Ridgeback Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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