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Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed Summary

Energetic, Intelligent, Gentle, Loyal and Sensitive

These doggies have a real unique look as they have a ridge going down their backs! They are also extremely highly prized in their home country of Zimbabwe as they make fantastic watchdogs. However, they have since become very popular here in the UK as well thanks to their dashing good lucks.

Affectionately referred to as African Lion Dogs, they have since become a very popular breed of hound in the UK as they make lovely family pets and are extremely devoted to their families.

Fun Fact: Not all of these doggies, even if purebred, have a ridge down their backs!

Kennel Club Group Hound
Lifespan 9 - 15 Years
Height (at the withers) Males 63cm - 69cm, Females 61cm - 66cm
Weight Males and Females 32kg - 36kg
Coat Short, Dense and Sleek Coat
Colour Light Wheaten, Red Wheaten, Wheaten
Eye colour Dark or Amber
Common health issues Hip dysplasia, Elbow dysplasia, Canine epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, Dermoid Sinus, Juvenile Myclonic Epilepsy (JME), Congenital deafness, Bloat/gastric torsion
Other Names Ridgeback, Lion Dog, African Lion Hound

Rhodesian Ridgeback's hunted Lions, yes that's right, LIONS. They therefore need a lot of exercise, so if you're not willing to put in the extra time or you aren't an active 'hooman' then this isn't the breed for you. However, because of their high-energy, they often perform very well in dog sport, such as agility and tracking. They are also great jogging partners and love to plays games such as catch and frisbee in the back garden. They are also equally as intelligent so will require lots of mental stimulation as well, unless you're happy to be greeted with a destroyed house and some very angry neighbours that is. They do make excellent watch dogs however, as they are reserved and imposing when it comes to new, strange 'hoomans'.  However, if you want a strong, confident doggy, who is also a sweet-heart and gentle-minded, you could just have found your perfect match! 

They were developed in South Africa by Boer farmers due to a need for an adaptable hunting dog, able to withstand both extreme temperatures and harsh terrain. After a hard day's work, they also served as companion dogs to the families of the farmers. It's thought that the farmers crossed dogs that had been bought from Europe, including Great Danes, Mastiffs and various Hounds with a local half-wild dog. The ridge displayed on the local dogs back, when crossed with a European dog, resulted in creating excellent hunting dogs. The doggies were then used to hunt both small and large prey, including lions! Cornelius von Rooyen began the first breeding programme and standard for the breed in 1922 and little has changed since this time! After WW2, lots of these doggies found their way to Europe and they shot up in popularity. And even to this day, they are a very prevalent breed in their home country of South Africa.