Dog Breeds

7 Fascinating Facts About The Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Breed

Did you know the Rhodesian ridgeback is a large, distinctive dog breed that originates from Zimbabwe! Now they are hugely popular all over the world as both a pet and a working dog. They are noble looking with a ridge of hair running the opposite way to the norm along their spines, which sets them apart from other breeds, and they are also very loyal, protective and loving with their families.

However, the Rhodesian ridgeback is not generally considered to be a good choice of pet for the inexperienced dog owner or someone who has not spent a lot of time researching and learning about the breed, and with improper handling and the wrong sort of lifestyle, they can soon become pushy and dominant.

Their country of origin is Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, their country of origin, the Rhodesian ridgeback was originally used by landowners and farmers to guard livestock from predators, and the ridgeback takes their job very seriously, and will think nothing of seeing off predators that are often much larger than themselves.

They are fearless and adept hunters

They will stand their ground in the face of extreme threat, and will fight large game animals such as lions, which they used to hunt as part of big game safaris before lions became protected in many areas of Africa. This means that they can be problematic when kept within a suburban environment, as they are apt to chase cats and smaller animals, which their owners must be aware of and work to prevent. Also, if they get into a standoff with another dog, the ridgeback is likely to come out on top, and so adequate early socialisation with other dogs is vital to prevent later problems.

They are excellent guard dogs

They are also very protective of their family and the people they love, particularly children-many dogs of the breed see it as their responsibility to keep the children safe, a responsibility they usually take very seriously!

They are intelligent and energetic

Many specialist guarding breeds are stocky and strong rather than fleet of foot, but the Ridgeback is both quick and strong, which combined with their high intelligence levels, makes for a formidable combination.

They also need plenty of exercise, and will not thrive within a sedentary lifestyle or one where they are indoors a lot of the time or are not able to work off some mental and physical steam. This means that they suit rural properties with outside land and secure fencing much better than they do suburban life.

Super easy to groom

The Ridgeback coat is short and shiny and tends to be odor-free. Ridgebacks who live indoors shed a little year-round, while those who live outdoors have heavier seasonal shedding. So when it comes to grooming, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is pretty low-maintenance. Give him a good going over with a rubber curry brush weekly and a spritz of Leave-On Conditioner to remove loose or dead hair, then wipe him down with a damp cloth. Voila! A clean Ridgeback.

They can be stubborn and pushy

The well-trained, properly managed Rhodesian ridgeback is responsive, obedient and generally a pleasure to be around, but if improperly trained or left to their own devices, they can quickly become hard to manage. The breed is naturally bold and confident and will naturally take the alpha position if it has not been filled, which can lead to them being stubborn, dominant and even snappy if they don’t get their own way, something that not everyone can manage adequately.

They are not a good choice of pet for everyone

The properly trained and managed Ridgeback can do pretty much anything they turn their paws to, from working roles to canine sport to life as a pet for active families. However, they are not the right pick for everyone, and if you have never owned a dog before you should think very carefully about ridgeback ownership and do lots of research so that you can be sure about what you are getting yourself into.


Dog Breed Group:       Hound Dogs
Height:                        2 feet – 2 feet & 3 inches tall at the Shoulder
Weight:                        70 – 85 pounds
Life Span:                     10 – 12 years



For experienced dog owners that have a good understanding of the breed and that can meet their needs for exercise, training, grooming and mental entertainment, however, they are the most loyal and rewarding of breeds to own.

One thought on “7 Fascinating Facts About The Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Breed

  1. Peta McDonald says:

    I have a 5 months old, he is so active, eats a lot and wants to nip at my heels all the time and is pushy!, my first time with this breed of dog, and I can’t seem to train him, he doesn’t listen, but he tilts his head to the side, and looks at me like he understand’s at times.

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