Rhodesian Ridgeback

A Rhodesian Ridgeback inspires admiration and a cautious distance at the same time thanks to its imposing appearance and its reserve towards strangers. He is an extremely kind dog. Learn all about the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed here.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are among the most popular pedigree dogs among dog lovers. Here you will find the most important information about the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Size: up to 69 cm
Weight: about 36 kg
Coat length: short
Coat Colors: Light wheaten to red wheaten
Country of origin: South Africa

Origin of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Even in its homeland, southern Africa, the Rhodesian Ridgeback had an important and dangerous task. He was not only a reliable guardian of the huts and herds of the population, but was also used to hunt big game. As early as 1480, the first Portuguese reports from southern Africa mentioned the crested dog as extremely useful and loyal.

The immigrants quickly recognized the superiority of the down-to-earth dog compared to the European breeds they had brought with them and began breeding and crossbreeding long-established European breeds. In 1879, Charles Helm brought two Ridge dogs from Swellendamm, South Africa, to Bulawayo, Rhodesia.

Some descendants of these original imports were later acquired by big game hunter Cornelius van Rooyen. From the core of the Helm hounds he built his famous and much sought after breed pack, known first as the van Rooyen hounds, later as the lion hounds and finally as the Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Today, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the only recognized breed that originated in southern Africa.

The appearance of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks impress at first sight with their harmonious, muscular physique, the characteristic ridge (back crest) and their imposing size of up to 69 cm shoulder height and about 36 kg weight.

Fur and colors

The Rhodesian Ridgeback’s coat is short with a light wheaten to red wheaten coloring. The coat of arms of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is its dorsal crest, where the fur grows in the opposite direction to normal hair growth, the so-called ridge. He also named this dog.

The ridge must be approximately 5 cm wide, well defined and symmetrical, tapering towards the hip bones. It must start just behind the shoulders and extend to the hip bones. The ridge must have two opposite vertebrae, crowns. In addition to the Rhodesian Ridgeback, there are two other dog breeds that exhibit this trait, the Thai Ridgeback and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback. Medically, the ridge is a mild form of spina bifida (open spine).

Temperament and upbringing

Anyone who has ever been able to watch the Rhodesian Ridgeback at work and sees the strength and endurance with which he fulfills the tasks assigned to him understands what he is really made of. The traits cultivated over many decades for big game hunting, such as loyalty to people, quick perception, willingness to learn and intelligence, are still inherent in them today – and their Rhodesian ridgeback owners appreciate these traits of their Rhodesian Ridgeback.

A Ridge is not a “will-to-please” dog. He has his own will and an incorruptible character. Despite its outwardly strong appearance, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a sensitive dog that does not tolerate harsh training methods.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is not a dog for inexperienced dog owners. He needs a lot of understanding and as a late developer also a lot of patience and a lot of staying power with a consistent and loving upbringing and leadership. The advantage: The Ridge can learn for a very long time. With quiet friendliness and a lot of empathy, he is enthusiastic about it and shines again and again with unusual performances.

Keeping and caring for the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The active and sensitive Rhodesian Ridgeback absolutely needs close contact with his family in order not to wither socially. Thanks to its great sensitivity and composure, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is also an ideal family dog. He always prefers to lie where the family is. Be it in the house or in the garden. He sees locking away or imprisoning as a personal insult. No matter how big a garden, it is of no interest if there is not a “pack member” with it or, even better, playing with it.

However, as a family dog, the Ridge must first learn tolerance when dealing with children – and the children must learn that a dog is not a stuffed animal that you can cuddle with as you please.

Above all, the Rhodesian Ridgeback must have a purpose. Due to its character, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is ideal as a leisure dog and as a reliable partner for sport and family. It doesn’t matter whether he gets his exercise while jogging or cycling, whether he is used for hunting or in agility, mantrailing or tracking. In any case, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a very versatile dog thanks to its keen sense of smell, its courage, its special cleverness, strength and speed.

Typical diseases

This breed of dog is considered robust overall. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are prone to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Dogs with “ridge” are prone to the hereditary condition of dermoid cysts or dermoid sinus. This is a cyst that results from the incomplete separation of epidermal and nervous system cells during embryonic development.

Otherwise, no breed-typical hereditary diseases are known. If cared for properly, these dogs can live up to 12 years. So before you make your purchase, think about whether you can and want to take care of a dog for that long.


Ideally, you will find your Rhodesian Ridgeback at the breeder’s. You can tell a reputable breeder by the fact that he is a member of a breed club, only sells his puppies with papers and a certificate of pedigree and subjects the animals to a health check at the vet before selling them. He will also advise you in detail about the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed and you can personally get an idea of ​​the parents. You should definitely take note of this! A healthy Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy from a reputable breeder will cost between $1,500 and $2,000.

But the trip to the local animal shelter is always worthwhile: maybe a Rhodesian Ridgeback is waiting there for a new home. In any case, you should avoid cheap offers from the Internet. The puppies that are offered there come from a dog breeder with high risk.

If you have decided on a Rhodesian Ridgeback, you should once again seek comprehensive advice from an expert, ideally from a breeder of the breed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *