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Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a powerful hound with a distinctive ridge along its back. This jack-of-all-trades dog was originally bred for hunting in the African wilderness, but has since been developed into a much more versatile breed.

Where I'm From

The origins of the Rhodesian Ridgeback can be traced back to the 16th Century when the first European settlers arrived in South Africa and Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe). Their introduced pets did not cope too well with the diseases of the African continent. The new arrivals that managed to adapt to the environment began crossbreeding with native dogs.

One such native was the wild African dog. Their characteristic curved back is a trait still present in the Ridgeback today. Accompanying the wild dog’s involvement is a variety of breeds including the Bulldog, Greyhound and Great Dane.

European settlers needed reliable hunting partners, meaning that many of them adopted, what was then referred to as “Van Rooyen Dogs” or “Lion Dogs”. It wasn’t until the early 20th Century that standards for the breed were established, and these cunning guys were given the title Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Nowadays, Ridgebacks are popular across the globe, even becoming the national dog of South Africa.

What I Look Like

Ridgebacks get their name from their characteristic ridge running down their spine. Their coats are short and come in a variety of shades of brown, wheat and red.

These hounds are lean and powerful creatures with a defined muscle structure. Once fearless hunters, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are quick and agile, and have extremely strong jaws. They also owe their incredibly keen eyesight to their days as predators in Africa.

How I Act

Known for their unwavering loyalty, Ridgebacks are excellent companions. These loyal dogs naturally follow “pack laws” and will create a very strong bond with members of their family. This means that, once you have established a friendship, your hound will become a devoted companion and protector.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are especially warm when it comes to children. When these loving dogs bond with a child, they will act in a gentle manner and will be more defensive against potential threats. This trait makes them an excellent choice for young families, so long as socialisation and training are put in place from a young age.

Flexible and adaptable, Ridgebacks can live comfortably either in a home with wide-open spaces, or in an urban household, provided they receive ample exercise.

Ridgebacks are sensitive and highly intelligent creatures. They rarely bark, but, if they sense something is not right, these fearless hounds will alert their owner of any nearby dangers.

Looking After Me

Training your Rhodesian Ridgeback can take time, as well as a firm attitude. It is important your pet understands that you’re in charge, as they are used to following the leader of their pack. Apart from showing strength and authority, affection can also be a useful tool to gain your Ridgeback’s trust.

The bond between dog and master is imperative with this breed. The sooner you forge a friendship with your pet, the easier it will be to train them properly.

Regular exercise is key to keep your dog healthy. Ridgebacks love to run, so allow them to do so in an off-leash park for about an hour every day. These dogs are meant to be trim, so also make sure not to overfeed them.

The most common health issue related to this breed is dermoid sinus. This birth defect affects a large number of Ridgebacks, making it important to check any newborn pups for the illness.

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