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Rhodesian Ridgeback

 

Lots of dogs chase cats, but only the Rhodesian Ridgeback can chase down lions. (No wonder it's also called an “African lion dog” and is known for helping keep lions at bay on African plains.) In the United States, it's a favorite for active athletes and individuals who love getting out for at least an hour of exercise every day.

This breed takes its name from the the ridge of hair that grows against the grain along her spine. Bred to withstand extreme African weather and cover long distances, this dog can keep pace with a running horse for over thirty miles. They're also immune to bug bites. We should all be so lucky!

Originally from South Africa, this medium-sized breed can grow to between 70-85 pounds and lives an average of 10-12 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Hound group.

 

AKC RecognizedY
Breed's original pastimeHunting
OriginSouth africa
Breed groupHound
Average lifespan10-13 years
SizeLarge
Bark factorRarely barks, if ever
AKC Ranking53
FamilySighthound
Date of origin1800s
Original function Large game (including lion) hunting
Today's functionLure coursing
Average size of maleHeight: 25-27 Weight: 85
Average size of femaleHeight: 24-26 Weight: 70

 

Other nameNone
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Shy
Friendliness toward strangersShy
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability Low
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

WHAT IS A RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK'S PERSONALITY LIKE?

An even-tempered and dignified dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is protective and loyal. This breed is affectionate toward their chosen people. They often enjoy children, but their exuberance might overwhelm a small one. These dogs can be wary of strangers.

WHAT IS RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK BEHAVIOR LIKE?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are fairly active and will need a long walk or run every day. These are strong, fast, athletic dogs who thrive with lots of socialization and exercise.

This is a fairly quiet breed that seldom barks. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are alert (they look out for lions, after all!) and that makes for wonderful watchdogs. They're also calm and polite housemates as long as they get enough exercise, but can be a challenge for novice dog parents.

HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks respond well to training, but can be tough for novices to take on. If you're considering one, it might be a good idea to start immediately with an experienced trainer. They are strong-willed and independent-minded, so it's important to be patient and consistent with your pup from day one.

These dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, especially food treats. Many Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a little much for the pack at the local dogpark, but some do just fine. They rival Greyhounds in their lure coursing abilities.

CARE & HEALTH

HOW MUCH DO RHODESIAN RIDGEBACKS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are seasonal shedders. They don't shed much, however, and require little grooming. Plan to brush them once a week and bathe them as needed.

WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO RHODESIAN RIDGEBACKS HAVE?

As a breed, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are generally healthy. These dogs are sometimes prone to autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, eye ailments, and hip dysplasia. Some tend toward obesity, so be conscientious about meals and snacks. Deafness and a skin condition that may require surgery to correct (dermoid sinus) are also sometimes found in Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

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