The Rhodesian Ridgeback was created in the southern parts of Africa between a European and African breed. The resident Khoikhoi community bred the ridgeback dogs that they kept for guarding their home and livestock. When European settlers (Germans and Dutch) came to Southern Africa, they cross-bred these indigenous dogs with the European dogs such as the Mastiff, Danes, and hounds. It produced what is now known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback, African Lion Dog or the African Bull dog. These dogs were so fierce that they could hold back lions and leopards during hunting. They were selectively bred by Van Rooyen, who was a Dutch settler.
They are distinguished by the unique forward growing hair on their back which goes against the rest of the coat. They have an athletic appearance with a muscular body and strong well-developed legs. Its head is flat almost in line with its muzzle. It has a ling muzzle that ends with a pointed tanned nose. Its eyes are almond shaped and set on the side of its head just at the tip of its forehead. Its ears are set high behind the head and droop either forward or backward. It has a well-developed chest on which its firm legs and tough neck is supported. It has a long whip tail that curve and is thick at the base.
Though this is a ferocious hunter that was used to hold up lions, it is a good family dog that is loyal to its owner. It is weary of strangers and will need to be well socialized so as to welcome friends of its family. They require lots of exercise daily for its mental and physical well-being. They will provide good company for hikers, bikers and joggers as they have the speed and stamina for all kinds of activities. They are headstrong breeds and will require firm training for them to submit to their owner.
Ensure to provide them regular training daily otherwise, they may become agitated and destructive. They are best kept in a large compound where they will get sufficient exercise by moving around. They will need to be trained early so that they can learn to submit while still young. They will also need early socialization as it is not their nature to be friendly with other pets.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a high metabolic rate due to their stamina and vigor. They should be given sufficient high-quality meals for them to maintain good health. Keep all foods away as they are known to help themselves to unattended food.
They are a healthy breed of dogs and will suffer from few common diseases such as Hip dysplasia, Dermoid sinus, and mast cell tumor. They have an average lifespan of 10 – 12 years.
Coat, Color, and Grooming
They have a thick coat short coat that is odor-free. It has a glossy appearance and the ridge on its back forms in the opposite direction with the rest of its hair. Its coat color comes in a variation of brown and red with a touch of white on the chest and legs.
With children and other pets
It is good family dog keep as it is loyal and protective. It gets along well with children though may be too vigorous for toddlers. It is aggressive towards other pets and will need to be well socialized.