Rhodesian Ridgeback

  • Rhodesian Ridgeback Dogs
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppy
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppies
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Great Britain
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback in Great Britain
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback in the UK
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks in the UK

Hound Group

Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 63 - 69cm M | 61 - 66cm F
Weight: 36 - 41kg M | 29 - 34kg F
Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 Years

Looking for a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed from South Africa developed by Boer farmers. It is a good-looking large hound with an average size of 61 to 69 centimetres and 70 to 79 pounds. It has a shiny and short coat highlighted by its distinctive ridge that runs full length on its back. Courage is its greatest strength but a well-socialised and trained Ridgeback is not aggressive towards other dogs.

Are you thinking of getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback? Here is a brief background of this large South African hound.

book icon History

It is believed that the Rhodesian Ridgeback originated in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), South Africa between the 17th and 18th centuries. Also known as the African Lion Hound, it was developed by Boer farmers as a versatile hunting dog that could withstand extreme weather. Its ancestor breeds are thought to be the Greyhound, the Great Dane, the Mastiff, the Bloodhound, and the Saluki brought by Dutch and German settlers that were crossed with the native Hottentot “ridged dog.” The resulting dog became the forefathers of the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed that we see today.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback’s primary role was to flush partridge or bring down an injured buck but eventually excelled in big-game hunting. It bravely held down lions until its human hunters arrived. The breed later on became a popular family dog because while it was bred as a fierce hunting dog, it is kind to humans by nature. It is recognised by The Kennel Club under the Hound group.

comb icon Appearance and Grooming

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a handsome large dog with an average size of 61 to 69 centimetres and 70 to 79 pounds. It has a distinctive ridge that adds charm to its strong and muscular body. This hound has a long and broad head with a well-defined stop, black or brown nose depending on its coat, a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite, and long powerful muzzle. Its round eyes can be dark or amber, which show an alert and intelligent expression. Its moderately large ears are set high on its head and are wide at the base.

The Ridgeback has a beautiful short, dense and sleek coat, highlighted by its ridge that runs full length on its back. According to KC standards, the accepted colours are light wheaten, red wheaten, and red wheaten. Grooming this breed is very easy because it is a clean dog that is virtually odourless. It only needs brushing and wiping with chamois leather once or twice a week.

To complete the Ridgeback’s grooming routine, brush its teeth twice a week to avoid dental problems, trim its nails when you hear clicking sounds on the floor, clean its ears regularly to remove wax build-up, and check its skin for bumps and parasites.

bulb icon Temperament and Intelligence

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a courageous and loyal dog with a formidable body and mind. It is an intelligent breed that does have a stubborn streak so it is not for novice owners. It needs the leadership of an experienced dog owner that can take on the role of the alpha and establish rules and boundaries. When the Ridgeback knows the person it can turn to for guidance, it will become obedient and biddable. It is better off to a family that lead an active life and lives in the countryside, not a sedentary one in a small city apartment because it will need a bigger space to move around. This breed will benefit from early socialisation and training to ensure it grows up a confident and calm adult.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback forms a strong bond with its family members but it can be taught to be on its own without feeling anxious. That being said, owners should not leave their dogs for long periods of time or they may develop unwanted behaviour when they get bored or lonely.

This brave breed is a great watchdog and guard dog because it is a natural protector. However, instead of barking, it would rather put itself in between those it deems a threat. It is gentle toward children but because of its size and lively personality, it is better off to families with older kids. Because of its previous job as a big-game hunter, it is easy to assume that it can be aggressive toward other dogs. However, it actually does fine living with them and has no problem meeting new ones. When it comes to smaller pets, it is better to avoid them altogether because of its strong prey drive.

food icon Nutrition and Feeding

A typical serving for an adult Rhodesian Ridgeback is 2.75 to 3.5 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. The right amount of food will depend on factors like your dog’s age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism. Owners need to research about the basic nutritional needs of their Ridgeback as a breed but they should also know the individual characteristics of their own pet. This is a reason why working hand in hand with a trusted veterinarian is important.

Typical calorie needs of adult Rhodesian Ridgebacks per day:

  • Senior and less active: up to 1,500 calories daily
  • Typical adults: up to 1,700 calories daily
  • Physically active/working dogs: up to 1,880 calories daily

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have different nutritional needs from other breeds so choose dog food specifically formulated for active large dogs with animal meat as the main ingredient. Go easy with the treats and avoid free-feeding to prevent bloat and obesity.

stethoscope icon Health and Exercise

An important thing to consider in owning a dog is the cost of keeping it healthy and happy. The price to purchase a well-bred Rhodesian Ridgeback is around £600 to £800. Insurance costs start at £50 for basic coverage.

To make new Ridgeback comfortable in your home, you have to buy basic equipment like a bed, toys, bowls, a leash and a collar, and others, which will be around £200. Feeding your Ridgeback high-quality food will set you back £40 to £50 a month. A huge yet important expense will be veterinary care, which will include necessary check-ups, vaccinations and other preventive treatments, costing you as much as £1,000 a year. This does not include expenses when your dog becomes ill or gets into an accident.

You will encounter more expenses as your dog grows up but a rough estimate for basic expenses in caring for a Ridgeback will be £100 to £120 a month, depending on the insurance premium you choose.

pound icon Cost of Ownership

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a generally healthy dog that has an average lifespan of 9 to 15 years. The health issues it can be predisposed to include bloat, Congenital Deafness, Hypothyroidism, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Canine Epilepsy, Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy, and Dermoid Sinus.

This active breed will need at least 2 hours of physically and mentally challenging activities to become a well-balanced and docile dog. It will enjoy being outdoors so aside from free time in a fenced yard, take it out for long walks, hikes and runs. Also include mentally stimulating games and tasks.

Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback Right for You?

  • The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a courageous and intelligent large dog.
  • It is not for families who live in small city apartments.
  • The Ridgeback has low-maintenance grooming needs.
  • As an active dog, it will need at least 2 hours’ worth of exercise.
  • It is recommended for experienced dog owners that can take on the alpha role.

Are you sure the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.

Dog Breed Selector Quiz

Having doubts about getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback? You may use our Pet Finder to find other dog breeds based on your personality.

The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.

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