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Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs are large and powerful dogs with a marvelous and endless supply of bravery and intelligence. They can be reserved in front of strangers but are usually full of unconditional love and devotion for their owners. These active dogs have a great level of endurance and stamina.

Rhodesian Ridgeback breed dogs were used in earlier times for lion hunting. The dog’s job was to distract a lion to make the task of killing the king of jungle easy for his owner. This breed of dogs, originally developed in Zimbabwe, South Africa is also known by other names like African Lion hound, Lion dog, Van Rooyen’s Lion Dogs, or simply Ridgeback.

Physical Appearance

These powerful dogs are muscular and athletic in build with a symmetrical frame. The breed is characterized by a typical ridge on the back. Ridge refers to a crest of hair growing on the opposite direction from the rest of the hair coat.

The color of the nose varies with the color of the hair coat. So, it can be brown, black or liver colored. Their medium sized, high set ears drop down wide at the base tapering to a point. The dark or amber, round eyes that are moderately well apart always seem to be sparkling with alert and intelligent expression.

Color: Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed is characterized by light wheaten to red wheaten colored hair coat. Small white spots are permitted on the chest and toes.
Height: These dogs can grow to about 25 to 27 inches in height. Female Rhodesian Ridgebacks are generally 24 to 26 inches in height.
Weight: Male Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs usually weigh 80 to 90 pounds. Their female counterparts are considered healthy with a weight of 65 to 75 pounds on an average.

Health Problems

Like other large sized dogs, Rhodesian Ridgeback breed dogs are also prone to degenerative myelopathy, hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also susceptible to Dermoid Sinuses and cysts along the ridges, that tend to become worse with infections. Common health issues like bloating and hypothyroidism can also be troublesome.

These foodies need to be feed moderately according to their dietary requirements, or else your large Rhodesian Ridgeback can become even more bulky with excess weight, not to mention the higher risks associated with obesity. Fortunately, a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog can easily tolerate remarkable temperature changes.

Life Expectancy: Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs usually lead a life of 10 to 12 years or more when physically and mentally fit.
Litter Size: 7 to 8 puppies

Grooming Requirements

Rhodesian Ridgeback breed dogs are quite easy to groom. The short, dense and smooth hair coat should be brushed on a weekly basis with the help of a firm bristle brush to maintain its original glossy condition. They tend to shed moderately. These clean dogs with no doggy odor should be bathed only when necessary.

Nail trimming activity should be carried out once in every two or three weeks. Similarly, their eyes need to be cleaned daily and their ears require weekly cleaning. Like humans, even dogs need teeth brushing on a regular basis to avoid dental issues.


The highly active and energetic Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs are actually quite gentle and calm in temperament. They can be suspicious of strangers but are always loyal towards their owners. These smart dogs are highly responsive to consistent obedience training. They are relatively easier to housebreak too. These large dogs are not suitable for small children as they tend to knock the kids down accidentally due to the enormous size.

Otherwise, they are quite tolerant of children and their mischievous activities. They can be compatible with other pets when socialized with them right from the beginning. Their intimidating, low growls coupled with a sturdy build prove to be of great help in carrying out watchdog duties. Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed is generally protective but can exhibit stubbornness at times.

Key Points

Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs can do well in apartments with properly fenced, large sized yards. Regular outdoor exercise is necessary for these dogs as they tend to be inactive indoors. Lack of physical activity is not at all desirable in case of these dogs as their remarkably destructive behavior can be very difficult to handle. Apart from lying lazily indoors in silence, running and swimming are their favorite outdoor activities.