Rhodesian Ridgeback


A large sized brown Rhodesian Ridgeback
Rhodesian Ridgeback Quick Summary
Also Known AsAfrican Lion Hound
Height (at withers)24-27in (61-69cm)
Weight65-90lbs (29.5-41kg)
Hair Colour(s)Wheaten
Lifespan10-13 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size7-8
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirements
Ease of trainingLow
Suitability for kidsLow
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftLow

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large, sturdy and handsome dog. The well-muscled body is long and sleek with a wide chest, well-sprung ribs, arched loins, straight and heavily boned forelegs, and a tail that slightly curves upwards. The head has a long muzzle, triangular high-set ears and round bright eyes. The coat is short, close fitting and glossy in texture, and the colouring tends to be light wheaten or dark wheaten or shades between the two, sometimes with white markings on the feet and chest. A strip of hair along the back grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat, forming a ridge and resulting in their name.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are friendly and quite energetic dogs, especially as puppies, and tend to be both sensible and dignified at the same time. They need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, and interaction, and without this they can become quite frustrated, which can lead to destructive behaviour. Although they are generally friendly dogs, aggression can sometimes be a problem in some lines, and so early socialisation is essential. This can be a very independent and confident breed, one that will demand respect in order to give it, and they can be dominant, demanding and controlling. On the whole though, with the right training and owners they make well balanced, loving and very loyal and protective companions and family pets. They are intelligent and quick to learn, but training can often be challenging as they can be stubborn and very testing. For these reasons they are best suited to those with some experience in dog ownership and training, rather than novices because confidence and assertiveness will be required. Rhodesian Ridgebacks will get along well with older, more considerate children they have been raised with, but are not suited to younger kids as they do not like being handled roughly. With early socialisation they tend to be fine around other animals, although their dominant and bossy natures may be mistaken for aggression. They will tend to suspicious and aloof around strangers, and their loyal and protective streaks make them effective guard and watch dogs.

History & Skills

Rhodesian Ridgebacks originate from Africa, in particular Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia. Also known as African Lion Hounds, they were used for hunting big game animals such as lions. This may sound impossible but they would use scent and sight when hunting, and would rely on their agility to stay safe while pursuing these larger animals until the hunters were able to bring them down with a rifle. These days they make good family pets and companions, and also enjoy competing in Sighthound field trials and Lure Coursing.

Breed Specific Ailments

Rhodesian Ridgebacks tend to live between 10-13 years , and some of the health problems noted in this breed includes dermoid sinus, thyroid problems, cancer, cataracts, deafness, hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat and deafness.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are low shedders, which makes them suitable for those with allergies. Their grooming requirements are minimal and the short coat simply needs ocassional brushing to remove dead hair, and a wipe down with a damp cloth now and then to maintain the shine. They can be bathed when necessary.

Exercise & Environment

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are adaptable and can withstand warm and cool climates, drastic weather changes and therefore make good outdoor dogs. However, although they can comfortably live outdoors in warm to temperate conditions, they may prefer to sleep indoors with the family. These dogs will need a good daily walk plus an outside area, such as a yard or garden, in which to play. They will adapt to their owners levels of exercise and make good jogging or hiking companions. However, they are sight and scent hounds and are prone to wandering off, and therefore should be kept on the leash when not inside a secure area.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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