The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the perfect dog for hound lovers that not only appreciate the breed’s hunting abilities, but one that also makes a trusting protector and an affectionate companion. These hounds rate high on all votes when it comes to being good around children, friendliness towards other pets, and as a fearless guard dog.
Loyal to its family, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has an independent, strong-willed personality. But this head-strong attitude will not get in the way of training as these dogs take to obedience training quite easily. They do, however, need the handling of a dominant owner to keep them from trying to dominate the family pack.
A Brief History Of The Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback has been around since the 1800s and its area of origin stems from South Africa. European Boer settlers had arrived in South Africa during the 16th and 17th centuries and needed a dog that could hunt in both hot and cold temperatures, withstand rough brush, work on limited water – all while being a trusted guard dog.
The Settlers created such a dog by crossing the breeds they had brought with them (namely the Greyhound, Pointer, Mastiff, Staghound, Bloodhound, and Great Dane), with the native breed of the local area the Hottentot tribal hunting dog.
These new dogs were not only excellent hunters that could use scent and sight to track down prey, they were also supreme watchdogs and family protectors. They were so fierce on the hunt that during the 1870s several of the dogs were documented as having hunted down Lions in Rhodesia.
They were known then as Lion Dogs and had a distinctive ridge of hair that ran down the top of their back. They became so popular as successful hunters that many people had owned them. But eventually too many varieties of the Lion Dog had emerged so a specific breed standard was created during the 1920s, which is the bases for today’s standard.
Part of the criteria was to change the name to the Rhodesian Ridgeback. The breed was introduced to the United States and England during the 1930s and in the 1980s was officially recognized as a sighthound, thus allowed to compete in sighthound field trials. Today the Rhodesian Ridgeback is one of the more popular hounds and is enjoyed by households all over the world.
Upkeep Requirements For The Rhodesian Ridgeback
Like all members of the Hound Group, the Rhodesian Ridgeback must have plenty of exercise to keep up with its high energy levels. They are also happy when being mentally stimulated through dog training and games. Hiking with its owner is one activity that the breed enjoys the most.
The ideal living arrangements for the Rhodesian Ridgeback is to sleep inside at night with the family but have daytime access to a large fence-in yard to run and play. They can tolerate both hot and cold temperatures but not to the extreme. Grooming requirements for the breed calls for a light brushing every couple of weeks to remove dead hairs.
The average lifespan of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is between ten and twelve years. There are no major health concerns and the only minor health issues are elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and CHD. Rarely seen in the breed is dermoid sinus and deafness. Veterinarians suggest that Rhodesian Ridgebacks get specifically tested for elbow, hip, thyroid, and dermoid sinus.