The faithful Rhodesian Ridgeback has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans immigrated to South Africa and brought with them numerous dogs including the Greyhound, Bloodhound, various terriers, mastiffs and danes. Despite this wide mix of dogs, the European settlers found they were missing a versatile hunting dog that could withstand the African landscape and temperature extremes. As a result, they bred their existing dogs with native, half-wild dogs that had unique ridges on their backs. The African dog was known as the Hottentot and is considered to be the foundation stock for the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
In 1875, two of the dogs were introduced to a lion hunter in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) who found them to be highly skilled. He took it upon himself to continue breeding the dogs to form a pack of efficient hunters.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback weighs 70 to 80 pounds and measures 24 to 27 inches.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a short coat that sheds very little. The Rhodesian Ridgeback only needs to be brushed once a week and bathed when needed. Like all dogs, the Rhodesian Ridgeback also needs basic grooming. Brush their teeth, clean their ears and trim their nails on a regular basis.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is calm and composed, but a steadfast protector.
Although the Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred to be a hunting dog, they are more suited to life as a family dog these days. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is very people-oriented and affectionate. Despite their size, Rhodesian Ridgebacks like to think of themselves as lap dogs.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a rambunctious puppy, but matures into a gentle and dignified adult. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is very tolerant and patient, and gets along well with children, other dogs and other pets. They are aloof with strangers and very alert, making them good watch dogs. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known to be quiet and rarely bark. When they do bark, they mean it.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback can be a challenge to train. Although they are smart, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are stubborn and not concerned with pleasing their handler. They respond best to short training sessions and lots of positive reinforcement. With proper and consistent training, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can do well at agility and lure coursing.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback should also be socialized early. They need to learn how to interact with new people and manage their guarding instincts.
As puppies, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very energetic, but they calm down as they get older. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are naturally athletic and need regular exercise. Without enough activity, they can grow bored and become destructive. Rhodesian Ridgebacks need a long daily walk in addition to regular time in the yard or at the dog park to run around.