Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Vital Statistics:
Place of Origin: Zimbabwe
Group: Sporting, Guard dog
Height: males 25-27 in., females 24-26 in.
Weight: 70-85 lbs.
Life span: 11-13 yrs.
Trainability: high
Good with children: yes, but supervise with toddlers
Good with other pets: yes with other dogs, other animals may stimulate prey drive

What are the origins of the Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks also known as the African Lion Hound, are originally from Southern Africa. Greyhounds, Bloodhounds, Terriers and other dogs Europeans brought with them in the 1600s and 1700s, bred with ridged wild dogs. The dogs thought to be the ancestors of the ridgebacks are the African Hottentot Dog and the Asian Funan Ridgeback, both now extinct. The only two other breeds known to have the distinctive ridge are the Thai Ridgeback and Phu Quoc. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for the distinctive ridge on the back, the ridge hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat. (Please see dog illnesses for an explanation of Dermoid Sinus, a congenital disease of the Rhodesian Ridgeback).

What does the Rhodesian Ridgeback look like?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a strong, muscular dog with a flat skull, broad between the ears. Height is 24-27 inches tall and weight 70-85 lbs. depending on gender. Eyes are round,nose is black with dark eyes, brown or liver colored with amber eyes. Ears are set high, are wide at the base tapering to a rounded point and carried close to the head. Coat is short, dense and shiny. Colors are light wheaten to red wheaten, sometimes with white on the chest and toes. Coats need little care, brushing weekly and bathing twice a year or when necessary. The outstanding characteristic of the this dog is the ridge of hair in the center of the back that lies in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat giving the dog its name.

What is the temperament of the Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks love their family and are very protective of them. The Ridgeback is a high jumper, so if left in a yard, needs a tall, secure fence. They are great with children, but please watch them with tots as the Ridgeback’s size can be overwhelming. They are good with other dogs if raised with them. Ridgebacks are sight hounds and may see small pets and cats as prey. They are very affectionate with their family but are reserved with strangers. Early training and socialization will avoid problems. Ridgebacks are highly intelligent and very active dogs and need vigorous exercise daily.

What are the uses of the Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Ridgeback has been used for hunting, protection and guarding. They excel at agility trials and are used as therapy dogs. They are loving, devoted family companions.

Possible Health Issues

Hypothyroidism, prone to dermoid sinus (tunnel-like opening between skin and spinal column causing neurological problems), cancer, bloat/gastric torsion, hip/elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, entropion,

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