Rhodesian Ridgeback - Origin, Trait and Characteristics

Rhodesian Ridgeback or Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Rhodesian Ridgeback, or...

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" The Rhodesian Ridgeback is characterized by an inverted crest of hair along the back. This is the only FCI-registered South African breed, which was formerly known as the Lion Dog. He is a very loyal dog who can sometimes be a little reserved."

Before adopting a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy or adult dog, it will be very important to be properly informed about the needs of the breed in order to ensure that you will be able to make him happy and he althy.Find out all about the Rhodesian Ridgeback in this breed sheet from PlanèteAnimal!


  • Africa
  • Republic of South Africa

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group VI

Physical Characteristics

  • Rustic
  • Muscular
  • Lying


  • Large


  • 55-70

Adult Weight

  • 25-45

Life expectancy

  • 10-12

Recommended physical activity

  • High


  • Shy
  • Strong
  • Passive
  • Very loyal
  • Active

Ideal for

  • House
  • Walking
  • The hunt
  • The guard
  • Sports

Recommended climate

  • Hot

Hair type

  • Short
  • Smooth
  • Hard

Origin of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback originated in the 16th and 17th centuries, when Europeans colonized South Africa. It is the only breed registered in South Africa. The ancestors of the Rhodesian Ridgeback were Cape Colony dogs in South Africa, crossed with pioneer hounds and Hottentot crested hunting dogs.

" From these crossings was born the dog known today as the Rhodesian Ridgeback, but it was not until the 20th century that people began to call it that way. Previously, the Rhodesian Ridgeback was known as the lion dog. Indeed, when working as a hunting dog in small packs, this dog was able to track its prey (such as lions) with great agility and dexterity."

The breed standard was developed by F. R. Barnes, Bulawayo, Rhodesia, in 1992 and is based on that of the Dalmatian, approved by the South African Cynological Union. Today, most Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs make excellent companion dogs.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Features

According to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a balanced, strong, muscular, agile and active dog with a symmetrical silhouette. His head should have no resting wrinkles and the nasolabial depression should be moderately defined.Its nose is black when the eyes are dark, and brown when the eyes are amber. Her eyes are round, shiny and their color harmonizes with that of the dress. His ears are medium in size, wide at the base, with rounded tips and high insertion.

His body is strong and muscular but slender. His back is powerful and his loins are slightly arched. His chest is very deep, but not very wide. Its tail is medium set, thick at the base and of moderate length. The coat of this dog is short, dense, smooth and shiny. Its color can range from light wheaten to reddish wheaten. Small white spots on the chest and toes are allowed. Dark ears and muzzle are also allowed.

According to the FCI, the measurements of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog are:

  • Males: between 63 and 69 centimeters at the withers, for a weight of 36.5 kilograms.
  • Females: between 61 and 66 centimeters at the withers, for a weight of 32 kilograms.

Character of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback dog owes much of its character to its past as a hunting dog. He is a curious dog, very loyal and energetic, sometimes independent or reserved with strangers. To avoid aggressive behavior or related behavioral problems, it will be very important to socialize the puppy.

He is generally a dog very attached to his family, with which he creates a very strong bond. He is very good with children, but due to his energy level, he can be clumsy with them. He is, however, very protective.

Caring for a Rhodesian Ridgeback

Caring for the Rhodesian Ridgeback's coat doesn't require much effort from the guardian. Just brush it every week with a rubber comb (so as not to hurt its dermis) and bathe it every 2 or 3 months with specific products for dogs.You can make it even more beautiful by offering it certain foods from time to time, such as salmon oil, olive oil or egg whites.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback needs 2-3 walks a day to maintain its muscles and it is also recommended that it be exercised at least once a day. In addition to classic games, such as ball games, the dog can also be introduced to agility, running or any other type of activity that promotes muscle development. Remember that if the dog's activity level is very high, they will need kibble specially formulated for sporting dogs or an increase in their daily amount. It will also be interesting to enrich your daily life with intelligence games, for example.

Finally, it should be noted that this breed tolerates hot or temperate climates well, but does not adapt to cold climates, so it is important to pay attention to its dermis during the coldest periods of the winter. year.

Dressage and education of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The education of the Rhodesian Ridgeback begins at an early age, more precisely during its socialization phase, which extends from 3 weeks to 3 months of life. During this period, it is essential to socialize the puppy with other dogs, people, animals and environments, in order to ensure correct communication and to avoid fears or maladaptive behaviors. It is very important to pay attention to this step, because it is a dog that tends to be rather shy. Well socialized, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog that gets along well with all types of people and animals.

It will also be necessary to educate the puppy so that he learns to urinate in the street once his vaccines have been administered or to teach him to inhibit his bites, for example. At this stage, it is important that the puppy sleeps well and that he receives mental stimulation from his guardians, through intelligence games and various activities.

Once weaned and vaccinated, we recommend that you start training him through positive reinforcement to work on basic obedience commands. Once the basic commands have been learned, we can introduce the Rhodesian Ridgeback to other activities such as agility or other canine sports.

The most common behavioral problems in Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs are destructiveness and hyperactivity, usually related to a lack of companionship, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Rhodesian Ridgeback He alth

" The main characteristic of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the ridge on its back. It is actually a coat anomaly: some hairs grow in the opposite direction and give the appearance of a crest. However, this trait makes the breed prone to spinal dermal sinus, a birth defect."

The spinal dermal sinus is present from birth and, if the dog has it, a small dimple can be observed in the spine.A mass is usually observed, but vascular lesions and suppuration may also be present. This condition can lead to more serious he alth issues and requires surgical treatment.

Other hereditary diseases of the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog are as follows:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Deafness
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hemophilia

Visits to the vet every 6-12 months are advised for early detection of any he alth issues and for basic follow-up testing. It will also be essential to follow the vaccination schedule and to regularly administer dewormers, both internal and external.

The life expectancy of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is between 10 and 13 years.

Photos of Rhodesian Ridgeback or Rhodesian Ridgeback

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