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Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is presently the only registered breed indigenous to Southern Africa. Its forebears can be traced to Cape Colony of Southern Africa where they crossed with the early pioneers’ dogs and the semi-domesticated, ridged Hottentot hunting dogs. The breed was originally developed as a scent hound in South Africa to track a variety of game. When the breed was taken to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) it was used largely for tracking lions, fast on the scent, athletic in tracking and courageous in holding the lions at bay until the hunters arrived. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is still used to hunt game in many parts of the world, but especially prized as a watch-dog and family pet. A fine hunter, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is ferocious in the hunt, but in the home it is a calm, gentle, obedient dog.

They are intelligent, cunning but straight-forward dogs that are loyal to the family. They have something of a mind of their own, are brave, vigilant, reserved toward strangers, and possess considerable stamina. As imposing as they look, these dogs are whole-heartedly attached to their families, including children. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are ‘people’ dogs that want to be wherever you are, they love you deeply, with unswerving dedication and loyalty. Training should be gentle and start young while the dog is still small enough to manage, they are intelligent and learn quickly, but they are also strong and a bit stubborn. The Ridgeback loves to run, and it needs daily mental and physical exercise to keep it from becoming frustrated, it can be a good jogging or hiking companion! The Ridgeback can live outdoors in temperate or warm climates, but it is usually much happier sleeping indoors and dividing its time between the house and yard during the day. The ridge of fur that runs down their backs makes them a truly unique looking dog.

Read about the history of this breed – HERE


Most of these stats are from the UK Kennel Club. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.

Group – UKHound
Bred ForHunting
Rare BreedNo
Country of OriginSouth Africa
TemperamentIntelligent, Affectionate, Dignified
Exercise NeededMore than 2 hours a day
Size of Home NeededLarge
Height at Withers – Females61 – 66 cm / 24 – 26 in
Height at Withers – Males63 – 69 cm / 25 – 27 in
GroomingOnce a week
ColourWheaten, Light & Red Wheaten
Life Span11 – 13 years
  • The Rhodesian Ridgeback was originally called ‘African Lion Hound’.
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks, aka “Ridgies,” are so named for the ridge of hair running along their spine. It runs in the opposite direction to the rest of their fur coat.
  • Ridgies have no off switch when it comes to food; they’re never full. If left to eat enough food, they’ll happily eat themselves sick or obese. Rhodesian Ridgebacks aren’t considered the world’s hungriest dog for nothing!
  • Despite their inborn urge to chase and to stalk lions, Rhodesian Ridgebacks actually love cats and other animals with whom they’re familiar.
  • They do not bark unless when absolutely necessary, and when inactive it can be easy to forget that they are present at all.


Breed standard varies throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Rhodesian Ridgebacks.


Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃


Enjoy this video about Rhodesian Ridgebacks, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site.

Thanks for reading!

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