Personality:Dignified, even tempered; affectionate toward loved ones, reserved with strangers
Coat & Grooming:The short, dense, sleek coat is an average shedder
Energy Level:Somewhat Active; Athletic, quick, and strong, RRs need lots of exercise and socialization
Originally: Zambia/Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia)
Nicknames: RR; Ridgeback; Lion Dog
Meet the Rhodesian Ridgeback
The distinguishing characteristic of the breed—indeed, one of the rarest of all canine traits—is the ridge that runs down the RR’s back, formed by hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat. Beneath the ridge is a whole lot of hound. RRs are big, powerful hunters who stand 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 70 and 85 pounds. The glossy, solid-wheaten coat is tight enough to hug the big guy’s rippling muscles.
What's Their Story?
In the 1600s, European settlers in Africa (known to history as Boers) began breeding their Euro purebreds with indigenous African canines. The Ridgeback was the result of generations of their experimentation. The Boers’ dog, working in packs, was agile and fearless enough to hold a lion at bay—not to bring the lion down, as is often thought. Like other breeds developed on a frontier, RRs were (and still are) bred for versatility. They earned their feed as big-game hunters, watchdogs, guardians, and herders.
Imposing enough to make intruders think twice, yet swift enough to run with Greyhounds in the sport of lure coursing, Ridgebacks are formidable creatures. They can be strong-willed, independent, and sometimes domineering. RRs must be guided with a firm but patient hand from early puppyhood. These are true-blue loyal friends who look after their humans and are meltingly affectionate with those they trust. Still, Ridgebacks might be too much hound for a family of first-time dog owners.