The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a big and muscular hound. It has a broad head that is flat somewhere between the ears. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks muzzle is long and deep but with a defined stop. The dogs nose can be either black or brown, which can depend on the dogs coat. Its round eyes can have a brown color depending on the dogs shade. It has medium sized ears that are set high and drops down, wide at the base but tapering a bit to a point. The chest of the Rhodesian Ridgebacks is deep. Its front legs are very straight and strong. Its tail is fairly long and thicker at the base. The tail tapers to a point and curving upward slightly. Its short but dense coat has a defined symmetrical ridge of hair growth that is in opposite direction somewhere down the middle of its back. The coat colors of the Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be light wheaten or shades of red, but sometimes with a few white on the dogs chest and toes.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) categorizes dogs into 7 groups:
1) The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a fine hunter, as it is very ferocious in the hunt. However, in homes it can be calm, obedient, gentle and good dog.
2) This breed is relatively good-natured, however, they are not suited with small children because these dogs may play a bit too rough and knock the children down.
3) These dogs are intelligent, skillful and very loyal to the owner and his family. They are also brave and vigilant.
4) Although they can socialize well, these dogs can be reserved toward strangers. They naturally possess a strong stamina. As such, they need enough mental and physical exercise so they will not become high strung and a bit unmanageable.
5) This dog breed needs a confident and consistent pack leader that can provide rules to the dog. Rules like the dog must follow and the limits to what the dog can and cannot do.
6) Meek and passive dog owners will have difficulty controlling this dog breed and may also cause these dogs to be a bit combative with other dogs.
7) When these dogs are given what they naturally need, they can prove to be exceptional companion dogs. However, they are not highly recommended for many people, as most people do not have the energy or time to put into them.
8) The Rhodesian Ridgebacks react best to a consistent, firm and calm approach to training. These dogs are very intelligent and can learn quickly. However, they can be willful and stubborn if they think they are stronger-minded than their owners.
9) Training of this dog breed should be gentle, but firm. Also, training should start while the dog is young and small enough to manage.
10) They can be very good watch dogs, however, it is not suggested that they be made guard dogs.
11) These dogs can be very loving and protective of its owners.
12) This dog breed can be quite more destructive than the Labradors if not given adequate exercise and is not convinced that his owner is his authority figure.
Rhodesian Ridgeback History
The Rhodesian Ridgebacks came from Zimbabwe and is used as a hunting dog and also as a retriever. This dog took care of children of owners and also guarded property. It originated from the cross breeding of ridgebacked dogs that were brought by Boer settlers to Africa during the 16th and 17th centuries. These dogs were originally kept by South African tribes along with other dog breeds such as the Great Dane, Mastiff, Khoikhoi dog and Deerhound. In 1877, Reverend Helm brought two Ridgebacks to Rhodesia. Eventually, big game hunters found out that if the dogs are used in packs they can be excellent in the hunting of lions on horseback. As such the Rhodesian Ridgeback got its alternate name of “African Lion Hound”. The dogs were able to adapt well in the hot African weather in the day as well as in the damp but cold nights. In 1950, the breed was brought to the United States. Then in 1955, the AKC recognized the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Grooming and Health Problems
The smooth and short-haired coat Rhodesian Ridgebacks are quite easy to groom. Just brush the breed with a bristle brush and you may shampoo the dog only when necessary. It is an average shedder. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a hardy breed. It has the capacity to withstand dramatic temperature changes of temperature. However, this dog is susceptible to cysts, hip dysplasia and dermoid sinus.
Living Conditions, Exercise and Life Expectancy
Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be ok in an apartment for as long as the dog can get enough exercise. These dogs are relatively inactive indoors, but they can be active outdoors and do best with a big space like a yard. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks have great stamina for action. The dogs need long daily brisk walks or jogs. This dog needs plenty of time to run, preferably without the leash in a relatively safe area. Also, if this dog is allowed to become bored and is not walked, they have a tendency to become destructive and may start displaying some behavioral problems. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an average life expectancy of about 10-12 years.