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Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed Profile

Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback gets its distinctive reverse hair coat from the South African Khoikhoi dog.

Other Names:
Lion dog, Ridgeback, African Lion Dog

Dog Breed Profile     Share this K9Obedience page

Origin: Rhodesia, Africa

Breed Purpose: Hunting large game such as lions through the bush and driving the prey towards the hunter's gun.

Kennel Club Dog Group: Hound

Height: Bitch 61-66cm., Dog 63-69cm.

Weight: Bitch 29-34kg., Dog 36-41kg.

Lifespan: 10-12 years

Exercise Needs: This dog loves wide open spaces to run around. They possess awesome amounts of energy and stamina. The Ridgeback can adapt to less exercise if it has a large garden in which to run around. Once trained to heel, the Ridgeback makes an excellent jogging partner.

Feeding Needs: The Ridgeback will eat anything it is given and is not a fussy eater. This breed thrives on a natural, home prepared diet. A rough example of its needs is 600-700gms of meat, 300gms of rice, and 300gms of cooked vegetables.

Common Ailments: This powerful dog is very healthy with no common health problems. As with many of the large breed dogs they can suffer with hip dysplasia. Only choose puppies that have been hip-scored.

Physical Description: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an active, strong and powerful dog. Its distinctive feature is the ridge of hair that grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. The ridge begins behind the shoulders with two identical circular crowns and then extends as a ridge down to the hind quarters. They have a well defined head, a flat skull and the head is broad between the ears with a well defined stop. The eyes are round with a lively, alert expression. The ears are set high and are wide at the base, falling to a rounded tip. The neck is strong, going down to muscular body with moderately sprung ribs and arched loins. The forelegs are straight and well boned. The hind legs are muscular and well angled. The loins are slightly arched. The tail is strong and tapers to a pointed tip. It is carried with a slight upward curve. The coat is short and sleek and the colour can be light, red or wheaten. Overall the Ridgeback has the appearance of a sturdy, solid, hunting dog that looks noble and intelligent.

Rhodesian Ridgeback K9 Obedience Dog Breed Summary:

This impressive dog is calm, energetic and is a quiet and obedient companion. However they do have a laid back, relaxed attitude and they can be difficult and independent. They do not mind children but are not particularly keen on being pulled around. They would rather lie and guard the children than join in with any boisterous games.

When training this dog it must be understood that the Ridgeback reacts best to consistent, firm training in a quiet, controlled manner. Raise the voice or become impatient and the Ridgeback becomes independent and challenging. The owner needs to first have a plan of action and be clear of what they expect from the dog, and how the training will be implemented.

This dog does have an immense desire to please its owner but only if the owner is seen to be calm, dominant, have great patience and can rise to the challenge of training this dog.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback cannot be confined to apartment life and does not do well in town environments. Pavements, busy roads and crowded parks will only depress this breed that has evolved to hunt on the African Savannah.

They must live in the country with a large garden to move around in. The Ridgeback adapts quickly to changes in temperature and is just as happy outside in the cold as he is snoozing in the hot sunshine. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is suitable for a country-dwelling family that can give this dog plenty of exercise, firm training and a peaceful life.

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