The Rhodesian ridgeback is a very handsome and distinctive looking dog breed that has enough presence to make people in the street stop for a second look, and this is certainly a dog type that has a huge amount of appeal to many different types of owners.
However, the Rhodesian ridgeback is also a complex breed that needs an owner who has a thorough understanding of their dog, what makes them tick, and how to get the best out of them, and they also need a reasonably large home and garden, so they’re not a good pick for everyone.
This is certainly a breed that needs to be considered carefully before jumping into ownership, and plenty of research is required before any prospective owner can consider themselves ready to go shopping around for a puppy.
With this in mind, this article will share ten things you need to know about the Rhodesian ridgeback dog breed, before you go ahead and buy a pup of your own. Read on to learn more.
First of all, the Rhodesian ridgeback is a large dog breed that is both tall and that has a lot of presence, and as such they need a large home with plenty of space, and with access to their own enclosed outdoor area.
The average height of dogs of the breed can reach 69cm tall at the withers, and they can weigh up to 36kg.
Rhodesian ridgebacks are strong as well as large, and they’re well muscled and have a lot of power. A Ridgeback that pulls on the lead will turn walks into a real challenge, and they are often strong enough to take control if poorly managed.
The breed is also a very confident one, which is a great trait when harnessed correctly, but in the wrong hands, can cross the line into dominance. A dominant ridgeback is both unpleasant and potentially dangerous if the dog becomes snappy or aggressive, and whilst this can be avoided by appropriate training and management and ridgebacks are very even tempered and responsive in the right hands, they can be a nightmare if untrained or poorly handled.
The Rhodesian ridgeback has a long and distinguished history as a guard dog and a watch dog, and they will defend their home, garden and sometimes family from any perceived threat – including the postman and legitimate visitors!
Whilst many people like having a dog that guards the home for their peace of mind, great care must be taken to keep this trait under control and ensure that visitors and passers by do not fall foul of the dog’s defensive endeavours!
The Rhodesian ridgeback is a very high energy breed, and they need a significant amount of exercise each day in order to keep them happy and fulfilled. This should include both on the lead walks and off-lead play and socialisation, and should extend to at least a couple of hours a day.
According to our Pets4Homes statistics, the average asking price of pedigree Rhodesian ridgebacks for sale in the UK as the time of writing (September 2019) is £1,108, and the breed is also quite costly to keep as well, being as they are large dogs that eat a lot of food and that require all of their accessories in large sizes!
The Rhodesian ridgeback’s average lifespan can be highly variable, but there are quite a few hereditary health issues associated with the breed as a whole. Any prospective buyer is cautioned to find out about the breed’s health in detail before committing to a purchase, and to choose a pup from a breeder who undertakes the relevant pre-breeding health tests on their parent dogs.
An advantage of the ridgeback breed for many buyers is that they have short, single-layered coats that don’t require a lot of attention, and a quick brush over with the appropriate grooming tool once a week plus a bath every couple of months is pretty much all such dogs need.
They are also not one of the breeds that sheds fur particularly heavily, although they do shed a little fur all year round.
The Rhodesian ridgeback breed has a very strong prey drive, and they will often chase wildlife and even cats if not kept on the lead and under control.
Dogs of the breed should be trained for good recall, and provided a safely enclosed space to run freely where they cannot pose a threat to other people’s pets.
The Rhodesian ridgeback gets its name from the signature ridge of fur running along the length of their spines, and this is actually fur that runs in the opposite direction to that of the rest of the coat. Researchers have identified this as a specific genetic trait within the breed, which is not found in any other breeds of dog.
The Rhodesian ridgeback is not generally considered to be an obvious choice of dog for a first-time owner, as they need someone who understands the way the breed thinks, and that can provide them with the appropriate home, lifestyle, training and management.
That said, if you are prepared to take your time, do plenty of research and go out and meet lots of dogs of the breed and talk to those knowledgeable in their care, a Ridgeback might be the perfect dog for you nonetheless.